Kenny Haddock passes

William Kenneth “Kenny” Haddock, a pioneer Dobro® player from Ohio, passed away on Sunday, November 21, 2010, at an assisted-living facility in Virginia Beach.

Born in Richmond, VA in 1935 to a Methodist minister’s family, Haddock was 74 years old and had Alzheimer’s disease in his later years. He also played drums, banjo, fiddle and mandolin. Most recently he had lived in Mineral, near Lake Anna in Virginia, where he loved to boat, fish and picnic.

Haddock will be remembered for his work with the bands of Earl Taylor and Billy Baker and with the original Country Gentlemen, all between 1955 and about 1963.  Later he filled in for Josh Graves when the latter took a leave of absence from the Foggy Mountain Boys.

As a member of the Baltimore band The Franklin Country Ramblers, he became acquainted with a young mandolin wizard named Frank Wakefield. The band, along with another Ohio-based picker, Red Allen, moved to the Washington area in 1961. Allen and Wakefield reformed their band, The Kentuckians, and Haddock joined the Country Gentlemen.

Gentlemen band-mate Tom Gray takes up the story ….

“It’s hard to remember just which tunes had Kenny on Dobro, and which ones had John Duffey overdubbing. I’m pretty sure that it is Kenny on Two Little Boys.  Kenny was along on the historic appearance of the Country Gentlemen at Carnegie Hall. Six songs from that concert are on the Smithsonian-Folkways CD (SFW CD 40133) The Country Gentlemen On The Road (and more). On the record, you can hear Charlie introducing the band, including Kenny.”

Haddock played on WRVA radio’s Old Dominion Barn Dance, at Woodstock and appeared with Flatt and Scruggs on the Grand Ole Opry. He recorded four songs with Flatt & Scruggs, Pearl, Pearl, Pearl; What About You; Rambling Gambler; and Mama Don’t Allow during a session in February 1963.

Haddock can be heard playing drums on Scruggs’s His Family And Friends/Nashville Airplane set.

He shared top billing on the Billy Baker & Kenny Haddock, Dobro and Fiddle LP (Zap MLP 103, released 1967).

Haddock worked various jobs while he pursued his musical career. He surveyed, sold motor homes, did trailer set-ups and sold used cars. An avid pilot, he sometimes sold the small airplanes that he flew.

For Mike Auldridge, Haddock was an important influence …..

“Kenny Haddock was one of the first ‘live’ Dobro players I ever saw, when I was a teenager. He was only a few years older than me, but was considered one of the top pro players, as I was getting interested in learning the Dobro. His work with the Country Gentlemen, and his stint with Flatt and Scruggs, made him a local hero to me and many others in the Washington, D.C. area. He was a kind and gentle soul who will be missed.”

Tom Gray adds his own tribute …..

“Sorry to learn that the world has lost Kenny. I always liked being around him.”

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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.