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.