Bill Emerson

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William Hundley “Bill” Emerson, Jr. (born January 22, 1938 in Washington DC is an American five-string banjo player known for being one of the founding members of the original Country Gentlemen and Emerson & Waldron.

Career

Bill Emerson joined Buzz Busby and the Bayou Boys in the 1950s. In 1957, when Busby was injured in a car accident, Emerson and Charlie Waller – who was also a member of the Bayou Boys – formed the Country Gentlemen, Emerson’s stint with the Gentlemen lasted until 1958 when he left the group and began working as a sideman. In 1962, he joined Jimmy Martin’s  Sunny Mountain Boys where he remained until 1967 with the exception of a brief interlude with Red Allen between 1964-1965. In 1967, Emerson and guitarist Cliff Waldron formed “Emerson & Waldron” recording for Rebel Records The sound and repertoire of Emerson & Waldron was very similar to the Country Gentlemen often performing songs from contemporary rock, soul and country.[3] Three years later, in 1970, Emerson was back with the Country Gentlemen. In the absence of Emerson, Waldron renamed the group “Cliff Waldron and the New Shades of Grass.[4] When Emerson joined the Navy in 1973 he also joined the Navy Band performing with them for the next twenty years. In 1992, the Stelling Banjo Company issued an Emerson signature banjo model.[2]

Click here to see Emerson-Style Solos. New Song Collection with MP3’s and Tablature!

Discography

Emerson & Waldron

  • New Shades of Grass (Rebel, 1968)
  • Bluegrass Country (Rebel, 1970)
  • Bluegrass Session (Rebel, 1970)

Bill Emerson

  • Banjo Pickin’ ‘N Hot Fiddlin’ (Coronet, 1963)
  • Banjo Pickin’ ‘N Hot Fiddlin’ Vol 2 (Coronet, 1964)
  • Country Banjo (Design, 1969)
  • Home of the Red Fox (Rebel, 1987)
  • Gold Plated Banjo (Rebel, 1990)
  • Reunion (Webco, 1991)
  • Banjo Man (Webco, 1996)
  • Bill Emerson & the Sweet Dixie Band (Rebel, 2007)
  • Southern (Rural Rhythm, 2010)
  • Eclipse (Rural Rhythm, 2011)
  • The Touch of Time (Rural Rhythm, 2012)
  • Dancin’ Annie (Rural Rhythm, 2014)

Emerson and Goble

  • Tennessee 1949 (Webco, 1987)
  • Dixie In My Eye (Webco, 1989)
  • Webco Classics Volume One (Webco, 1995)

 

Janet asked Bill the following question in an email:

I wasn’t aware of the Country Gentlemen Tribute Band. Is this the new name for the continuous band?

Bill’s reply to Janet!

Janet, there are many versions of the Country Gentlemen. First we had the (real, original and true) Country Gentlemen which I founded with John Duffey and Charlie Waller in July 1957. Now we have we have Randy Waller and the Country Gentlemen, Bill Yates and the Country Gentlemen Tribute Band, The Original Country Gentlemen – whom I sued because they were NOT the originals. Finally there are the Classic Country Gentlemen who include Adcock, Jimmy Gaudreau, Tom Gray and Randy Waller. In short, almost everyone who was ever connected to the Country Gentlemen is out there using the name in order to make a buck. I am the sole remaining founder and original member of the Country Gentleman but have never done that – and won’t.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it ~ Bill

I joined Buzz Busby and the Bayou Boys in the 1950s. In 1957, when Busby was injured in a car accident, Emerson and Charlie Waller – who was also a member of the Bayou Boys – formed the Country Gentlemen, Emerson’s stint with the Gentlemen lasted until 1958 when he left the group and began working as a sideman. In 1962, he joined Jimmy Martin’s Sunny Mountain Boys where he remained until 1967 with the exception of a brief interlude with Red Allen between 1964-1965. In 1967, Emerson and guitarist Cliff Waldron formed “Emerson & Waldron” recording for Rebel Records. The sound and repertoire of Emerson & Waldron was very similar to the Country Gentlemen often performing songs from contemporary rock, soul and country. Three years later, in 1970, Emerson was back with the Country Gentlemen. In the absence of Emerson, Waldron renamed the group “Cliff Waldron and the New Shades of Grass. When Emerson joined the Navy in 1973 he also joined the Navy Band performing with them for the next twenty years. In 1992, the Stelling Banjo Company issued an Emerson signature banjo model.

beandsweetdixie2

Bill Emerson and “Sweet Dixie”!

Click here to see Bill play “Theme Time” with his band “Sweet Dixie”!