Walter Haynes, steel guitar player and producer, passed away on Thursday, January 1, in Tyler, Texas. He was 80 years old.
Born December 14, 1928, in Kingsport, Tennessee, Haynes was an under-rated steel guitar player who worked with Little Jimmy Dickens, Ferlin Husky and Webb Pierce.
However, Haynes’ legacy is not solely defined by his steel guitar playing prowess. He was the producer at several of Bill Monroe’s recording sessions from December 2, 1970 through to May 1983. As well as the regular studio sessions, Haynes oversaw the recording of a ‘live’ album, that at Bean Blossom, and the gospel set at Cathedral Caverns, near Huntsville, Alabama, the recordings from which remained unreleased for over two decades.
Haynes was producer for as many as 40 Monroe Decca/MCA sessions, which yielded recordings of such titles as Kentucky Waltz, My Little Georgia Rose, Tallahassee, Milenburg Joy, Tall Pines, Walls Of Time [both with James Monroe], Jerusalem Ridge, Old, Old House, Weary Traveler, My Sweet Blue-Eyed Darling and That’s Christmas Time To Me.
Additionally, Haynes produced the wonderful all-instrument album, Master Of Bluegrass, which includes the immediately emotive cut My Last Days On Earth, and the less successful collection, Bill Monroe And Friends.