Jim Greer remembered 

Jim GreerOhio banjo player Jim Greer passed away on Tuesday, September 13, 2016, at Logan Acres Care Center, Bellefontaine, Ohio.  He was 74 years old and he had been battling cancer.

James Marvin ‘Jim’ Greer was born in West Liberty, Logan County, Ohio, on September 3, 1942.

He had a passion for music that began at a young age alongside his sisters, Valeda and Bonnie. He learned to play the mandolin at an early age and appeared on radio at five years of age.

The siblings worked on an early morning radio show in Bellefontaine. They did guest spots on other stations, including WBPF in Middletown, and even made a few appearances on the Renfro Valley Barn Dance.

After graduating, Greer served in the U.S. National Guard.

Greer, now playing banjo, organized his band, the Mac-O-Chee Valley Folks, in 1961, with sister Valeda (Greer) Wentz playing guitar and singing the high tenor part.

The name came from the historically rich valley where the Mekoche (Mequachake) Indian tribe lived, one of the five divisions of the Shawnee Indians, whose village once stood in the valley in Logan County during the 18th century.

In July 1962 the band recorded their first releases at Starday Sound Studio, Madison, Tennessee, two songs being paired on a Nashville Records single.

Initially, the band worked at jamboree-type shows, but in 1965 they became cast members of Jamboree USA in Wheeling, West Virginia, performing alternate Saturdays for three and half years. During the other weekends they travelled to play in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, at the outdoor Shindig at Cripple Creek and the indoor Shindig in the Barn. During the summer months the band played at numerous fairs, festivals and Country music parks, sometimes working on weeknights.

Mac-O-Chee Valley FolksThe Mac-O-Chee Valley Folks disbanded early in the 1970s as domestic pressures grew too demanding; all members had regular day jobs, with Greer having a clothing store in West Liberty.

During the 1960s and through to the time of their break-up the band continued to be very active in the MidWest, as they constituted one of the more exciting bands in the region.

Their association with WWVA (Wheeling) led to a run of three albums for Uncle Jim O’Neal’s Rural Rhythm label; Log Cabin Songs (RR Greer 133, released in 1961), Stars of the WWVA Jamboree, Vol 1 (RR Greer 152, 1965) and Stars of the WWVA Jamboree, Vol. 2 (RR Greer 161, 1967).

Also, they did a LP for Rite Record Productions, Bluegrass in Ohio (LP 2004, 1964) and finally Gospel Singing Time (Golden Shield LPS 132, 1969), which includes some sides on which Greer played 12-string guitar.

Greer continued to play, with his last performance in May 2016.

Greer, who had started work at a clothing store part time while still in school, went on to purchase two similar stores in Bellefontaine, combining both businesses which he owned and operated for many years. He was well-known for his personable service and genuine care for all customers.

He closed the business and retired about ten years ago.

One of Jim and Sherry Greer’s favorite pastimes was travelling across the country in their RV.

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.