View Full Version : Congrats to the late John Duffy

Scotti Adams
Sep-28-2010, 7:11am
The one, the only John Duffey - the Scene played at the Bean Blossom Indiana Bluegrass Music Festival this weekend and John was inducted into Bean Blossom's Bill Monroe Museum's Hall of Fame - well deserved I would say! I always love the sound of his mando


Willie Poole
Sep-28-2010, 11:30am
John was the best, and also my buddy.....Willie

Sep-28-2010, 11:33am
Thanks, Scotti.

He was quite the character, wasn't he?

Scotti Adams
Oct-01-2010, 6:38am
Im really suprised John didnt get more fan fare for this honor fromt the folks here. He may not be your cup of tea but you cant take away from his "Take No Prisoners" approach to his music.

Oct-01-2010, 7:29am
John Duffey truely was a master musician. His taste for what he played, how he played, how he sang, what material he picked to play is inspiring. I think he is well recognized. It may be that he is not well noticed by the young ones but he certainly lives through the impact he had on bluegrass. I remember picking up two records at the FNAC (a record shop in Paris) in 1987. They were "I Meet You In Church Sunday Morning" (Monroe of course) and Act I. This about reached as far as my background was them days. Sadly Monroe and Duffey passed on the same year. It would have been fun to see him on stage. Monroe was impressing even at his old age (when I saw him at the Ryman).

Oct-01-2010, 7:36am
I agree. Time passes, and sadly (inevitably), impact fades. Younger pickers simply don't know who he was, what he was like (despite youtube). During the early CG days, he was playing some very new stuff that *nobody* did - chord voicings, syncopations - but bg back then was very much in the public background, totally off the commercial success radar.

Those Seldom Scene records were great. The first one I really connected with was Act IV, or maybe Live At The Cellar Door. When Starling left and Phil joined, they remained just as great, imo.

Scotti Adams
Oct-01-2010, 7:42am
You guys nailed it. Is a shame the "young guns" dont reach back in time more often to find out where the instrument they hold in their hands came from. Pay more homage to the "young guns" of their time. Ah..dont get me started with this and other things that are on my mind this morning.

Oct-01-2010, 2:18pm
I'm not sure the cut-off for "young" is, but I LOVE Duffey...mando playing, singing, humor...he's got it all.

Oct-06-2010, 4:54am
And what a VOICE !!!!. Yes youngters don't have much respect for the old timers I have noticed. To most of the ones I have seen around the past couple of years, if you dont pick like Thile, well according to them you ain't playing.

Oct-06-2010, 8:51am
Duffey was certainly "one-of-a-kind" and his mandolin style was truly unique. I had a chance to visit with Ben Eldredge and he tells some real funny stories about his time with John. Seems like even Bill Monroe himself liked John Duffey.

Oct-08-2010, 12:28pm
I too loved John's playing, singing, clothing and offbeat humor. And he sure had control of himself during a performance. Back in the late 80's, I saw him at the Old Town School in Chicago. There was a very drunk and abusive heckler (with all heckles aimed at John) in the audience who wouldn't give up and about ruined the set for everyone. I wanted to slug the guy and was prompted to do so by the gal I was with but I held back as I would have ended up in the lockup. But John just kept his cool and continued the set....and John was big guy. If it was me I would have stopped and had the guy removed from the room. But John just kept entertaining. I was very said sad when I heard not too long after from Roland White at a NBB concert in the Chicago burbs that John had passed. One of my mandolin heros.

Scotti Adams
Oct-08-2010, 2:50pm

Tom Wright
Oct-09-2010, 3:33pm
Saw the Scene in the 70s, in Arlington, VA. Duffy was the star of the group.

Bernie Daniel
Oct-10-2010, 8:45am
Thanks for posting that Scotti. I was lucky enough to see John Duffey in a live concert once in the late 1970's. It was a great performance - he tore the mandolin up -- but I don't think I was aware then what a signature figure in bluegrass that he was.

That was a great video -- at about 2:30 there is a great view of his mandolin. It looks like a '30's Gibson F-5? (obviously there were no Sam Bush signature models then! :) )

Oct-11-2010, 10:26pm
This is a view from the outside. Since I'm not a hard core Bluegrass follower, I have a lot of gaps in my collection when it comes to Bluegrass.
So a couple of years ago I picked up the 2 Folkways CD's of the Country Gentlemen (Country Songs Old & New and Folk Songs & Bluegrass). Jeez, they're good. The playing, the singing, great,great. Duffey is outstanding in both departments.

I find their music deep & soulful.

Jeez, their good.

Charley wild
Oct-12-2010, 8:49am
I missed this thread! John was the reason I bought my first mandolin.

Rick Albertson
Oct-12-2010, 8:54am
If anyone is interested, I'll try to post more Duffey videos from the early 80s when I get a chance. I put those clips together from a show at Masterson Station Park in Lexington.

Oct-12-2010, 9:02am
I first saw the band live in 1980, either Tenafly, NJ or Waterloo Village in Stanhope, can't remember. At Waterloo, JD was knockin back the CC after their set. I sheepishly approached him with my white paint A-40, he took it, chopped a few licks, handed it back and grabbed his cup.

Here's to Big Bad John...

re simmers
Oct-12-2010, 2:11pm
Duffey was 'the man.' I approached him behind the stage at a festival and asked if they still did "Stars in my Crown." It was in the mid 80's. He was sitting in a lawn chair drinking a mixed drink. He looked straight at me and sang the entire song; he did 3 verses. By the end of his solo acappella version he had a crowd listening reverently. We all applauded. The he lifted up his drink and said, "now I don't have to do that request on stage. I'll drink to that."

In the late 80's Duffey was on stage at a festival after the Jimmy Swaggart news. Duffey announced, "we will close with a good gospel number. I asked Jimmy Swaggart to join us, but Jimmy said 'no thanks, I'll just watch.'"

Duffey was like Johnny Carson with a mandolin, a Pavarotti voice and a bowling shirt.


barney 59
Oct-12-2010, 9:54pm
Whether they know it or not anyone that dabbles in progressive mandolin playing or progressive bluegrass for that matter owes John Duffey a great debt. He wrote the book as far as I'm concerned, great mandolin playing and maybe the best voice to ever sing in a bluegrass band. The Country Gentlemen and later The Seldom Scene almost single handedly rescued bluegrass from near oblivion in the 60's by adopting new and contemporary material that brought a new young audience(probably most of us) into the fold. I stumbled on a great youtube series by Akira Otsuka where he discusses John Duffey's mandolins which he now owns.

Salty Dog
Oct-12-2010, 11:56pm
Of course, as there are so many historical nuances, we apparently nearly missed much of John's greatness. From what I have read, he had left the Country Gentlemen, effectively retired from performing after his F12 was stolen, and would have become a bluegrass historical footnote had he not heard John Starling sing at a jam session.

Oct-13-2010, 8:22am
Yeah, the Akira vids are terrific.

Footnote: reading Still Inside, Tony talks quite a bit about Starling, Duffey, the Seldom Scene. Seems Rice was *very close* to joining that band as lead vocalist/guitar. Hmmm...wonder how he and JD would have gotten on?

Matt Bowe
Nov-01-2010, 10:10pm
"Duffey was like Johnny Carson with a mandolin, a Pavarotti voice and a bowling shirt."

The PANTS!! Don't forget the PANTS!!