Beloved bluegrass songwriter Pete Goble died today in Michigan. He was 86 years of age.
Excluding Bill Monroe, Carter Stanley, and Flatt & Scruggs, it is unlikely that anyone has contributed as many songs to the bluegrass canon as Pete. Both alone and with his long time songwriting partner, Leroy Drumm, and there like Bobby Osborne, Goble composed classics like Tennessee 1949, Blue Virginia Blues, Coleen Malone, Windy City, Big Spike Hammer… the list goes on and on.
His songs have been recorded by nearly everyone in the business, with several from superstars like Larry Sparks, The Osborne Brothers, the Bluegrass Album Band, IIIrd Tyme Out, The Traditional Grass, and Alison Krauss.
He was also a recording artist, releasing several albums under his own name, and with partners like Bill Emerson and Andy Ball.
Goble is generally remembered as a good friend to everyone in bluegrass. He was open to working with most anyone who approached him, and quite generous with his time where young songwriters and performers were concerned.
Pete was honored with a Distinguished Achievement Award from the IBMA in 2002, and told Chris Stuart back in 2012 that he had written over 700 songs up to that point, with only 90 or so having been recorded. Most songwriters would be delighted to claim that many cuts!
He continued writing up to as recently as last month, and is legitimately known as a bluegrass hero.
Pete will be long remembered for both the quality and quantity of his output, and his ability to convey both joy and sorrow in his songs. One suspects that if people are playing bluegrass in Swaziland, they are probably jamming on Big Spike Hammer.
No information about funeral arrangements has been announced.
R.I.P., Pete Goble.
Editor’s Note: Arrangements for Pete’s funeral services have been announced.
Visitation is scheduled for Sunday (July 29) at the Michigan Memorial Funeral Home in Flat Rock from 1:00-8:00 p.m. Funeral services will be held at noon on Monday (7/30) at the same location.
Lunch with family and friends will follow.