Jim McCall passes away

Bluegrass music pioneer Jim McCall passed away on Tuesday, 9 February.

McCall, who was perhaps best know for his association with Earl Taylor, was a mainstay in the Cincinnati area for many years appearing and recording with Benny Birchfield, Vernon McIntyre and the Appalachian Grass and others.

He has been rated as an extremely solid guitar player who laid a perfect rhythmic foundation for whichever singer he was supporting. He was a fine stylistic singer in his own right. Songwriter Jon Weisberger recently described McCall as “one of the greatest singers in bluegrass.”

McCall and Earl Taylor with the Stoney Mountain Boys recorded three albums for Rural Rhythm in the mid-to-late 1960s. Cuts from those excellent LPs, three separate volumes have been re-released on CD; 20 Bluegrass Favorites (Best Of The 60’s) (Rural Rhythm RHY-188) and 24 Bluegrass Favorites (Best Of The 70’s) (Rural Rhythm RHY-320).

In the early 1970s McCall recorded a solo album entitled Pickin’ & Singin’ for Vetco. Later he recorded with Vernon McIntyre, the duo producing two LPs both released on the Vetco label. Accompanied by Vernon McIntyre, Harley Gabbard, Paul Mullins and Benny Birchfield, McCall recorded four sides, released as two singles, for the REM label.

McCall was as hard edged as a bluegrass musician can be.

Among the family members who survive Jim McCall is his son, mandolin player and vocalist in the fashion of his father, Dwight McCall, currently performing with JD Crowe & The New South.

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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.