Speedy Krise passes

We have some sad news to share about another early pioneer in our music, Speedy Krise. The following is a contribution from Dan Margolies, who was a neighbor and friend of Krise.

I’m sad to send along the news that George ‘Speedy’ Krise died on June 9, 2011. He was 89 years old and his passing marks the end of an era in country and bluegrass music. A service was held yesterday, June 12, at Brent Lox Baptist Church in Chesapeake, Va, and Speedy will be laid to final rest in his family plot in Hinton, West Virginia on June 15.

Speedy was one of the true pioneers of the dobro in early country as well as the dobro player credited with being the first to record bluegrass (while playing in Carl Butler’s band in 1950-51). Speedy is perhaps best remembered for his groundbreaking playing on Molly O’Day’s classic sessions for Columbia Records.  He also performed for many years on radio stations like WJLS in Beckley, West Virginia and WNOX in Knoxville throughout the 1940s and 1950s.

Speedy was a songwriter of note with songs recorded by Roy Acuff, Carl Butler, Mac Wiseman, and Jim & Jesse among others. It was from singing on a demo of Speedy’s songs that Carl Smith first came to the attention of Peer-Southern Music and Columbia, launching his career. Speedy continued to play and record music after moving to Akron, Ohio,
notably with his good friend Glenn Lehman.

Speedy had a lot of stories about his long career (he remembers eating fried chicken with Little Jimmie Dickens when the news came on the radio about the bombing of Pearl Harbor) and loved to play, sing, and talk about music until the very end. He sang several songs at his 89th birthday party last month.

Speedy leaves behind his wife Freda, three daughters and a son, and a large family including  ten grandchildren, seventeen great- grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. Speedy was the nicest person you’d ever want to meet and he’ll be greatly missed by family and friends.