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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Roy Lee Centers


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Pick1949 - Posted - 03/07/2010:  18:32:02


Can anybody tell me anything at all about Roy Lee Centers? How did he die... why.. etc.

Wasnt he a Stanley Style banjo picker as well? Is it true he died in front of his boy?

He is one of my favorite singers... he sounded like it was so "easy" for him to sing... second to Carter Stanley.

Any info will be appreciated!

Bill Rogers - Posted - 03/07/2010:  18:35:24


Have you tried a Google or Bing search? I think there's plenty of information out there on the net.

BobbyE - Posted - 03/07/2010:  18:54:16


"Bluegrass Unlimited' had an article on him several months back. You can purchase backcopies or try Google as Bill said. Only think I distinctly remember is that it was some sort of feud between him and the local sheriff, his singing was noted, and I do think his son was present.

Bobby Elliott

banjer5 - Posted - 03/07/2010:  18:58:42


It is a tragic story, I remember him well when he was traveling with Ralph, a great lead voice.

Pick1949 - Posted - 03/07/2010:  19:09:36


I dont know if my searching skills are bad or what but all I could find was that he was basically just murdered. I was wondering if anybody here had a more fuller story of the murder or any other info about his career. All I have is a little heresay.

Alex Z - Posted - 03/07/2010:  19:18:39


There is a full story in Ralph Stanley's autobiography, "Man of Constant Sorrow: My Life and Times," which was published last fall.

Best to get the story from someone close to it, rather than rely on hearsay, rumors, and guesses.

The Old Timer - Posted - 03/07/2010:  21:32:45


It's a complex story about Roy Lee's death, and not very suitable for this forum, in my opinion. BU got quite a bit of flak for the article they did several years ago. "Too sordid". Maybe it was. Let's say the story doesn't reflect well on anyone or even on the general area of the country where it happened.

Roy Lee was a very good Stanley style banjo picker though, and I believe he recorded some banjo with Skaggs and Whitley and maybe on one of Curly Ray Cline's LPs. I believe Ralph "discovered" Roy Lee when Roy Lee was picking banjo in an Ohio band.

Boy Howdy, could he sing, too.

pick1936 - Posted - 03/07/2010:  22:14:34


I never saw Him pick banjo, I saw Him with Ralf, 4 times in the mid 70's, He always sang lead, and played guitar



Nechville. In higginsville.

dpeacock1 - Posted - 03/08/2010:  05:03:43


http://www.transatlanticbluegrass.c...&func=fb_pdf

Doug

R Buck - Posted - 03/08/2010:  06:53:48


Suffice it to say that the times were different in many ways folks today may not understand. But Roy Lee, was a great singer and who lived in a world that many folks would not understand. Times have changed but, perhaps not all that much, but bluegrass rests for more folks today in the more congenial world of suburbs and not so much in the hollers of the distant hills and ghettos of the misplaced Appalachian refugee. Roy Lee was of these places and the turmoil that marked lives lived under harder circumstances. Now someone is going to call me out but this is how it was and thirty - forty years ago and things were different. I had a gun pulled on me once outside a bar we played in back 1973. It was pulled on the entire band by an irate drunk form the mountains just north of the town we were in. You don't forget that kind of thing.

bnjojo62 - Posted - 03/08/2010:  07:23:51


quote:
Originally posted by R Buck

Suffice it to say that the times were different in many ways folks today may not understand. But Roy Lee, was a great singer and who lived in a world that many folks would not understand. Times have changed but, perhaps not all that much, but bluegrass rests for more folks today in the more congenial world of suburbs and not so much in the hollers of the distant hills and ghettos of the misplaced Appalachian refugee. Roy Lee was of these places and the turmoil that marked lives lived under harder circumstances. Now someone is going to call me out but this is how it was and thirty - forty years ago and things were different. I had a gun pulled on me once outside a bar we played in back 1973. It was pulled on the entire band by an irate drunk form the mountains just north of the town we were in. You don't forget that kind of thing.

You are right dude, remarkedly so. I know because i was there, during those times and I am from the heart of appalachia.

banjoghost - Posted - 03/08/2010:  08:41:50


here's an interesting write up that covers Centers' death, as well as other things:

http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/....php?id=7978

bluegrassboy - Posted - 03/08/2010:  14:35:14


just thought i would add that roys son lennie is a fine guitar picker.

robbif - Posted - 03/08/2010:  17:10:29


Here's one of my photos of Roy Lee from the 1972 Country Gentlemen Festival in Webster, Mass.


Curly Ray Cline, Keith Whitley, Ralph Stanley, Roy Lee Centers, Jack Cooke

See more at http://frobbi.org/slides/cg1972

There's another photo of Roy Lee from the same festival by Phil Zimmerman in the March 2010 Bluegass Unlimited (page 18, Notes & Queries) that just came today.


Edited by - robbif on 03/08/2010 17:18:22

Pick1949 - Posted - 03/08/2010:  19:38:48


Thanks for all the responses guys! Great info! Any other thoughts are welcome as well!

Robbif thats a neat little pic! Great shot of the Clinch Mtn. Boys in action!

rupickin5 - Posted - 03/09/2010:  05:18:04


robbif...thanks for posting that pic...brings back good memories of that time. And, that was one of the best, most powerful bands around...then, or anytime. Glad I got to see/hear them many times. Roy Lee was the best!
Brian

Clark - Posted - 03/09/2010:  22:51:36


quote:
Originally posted by Pick1949

.

Wasnt he a Stanley Style banjo picker as well?


He played banjo on a Keith and Ricky LP There is a live show I've heard where Ralph was late and he played banjo.It may have been Ralphs banjo?? His style is more Scruggs ,he hit Earl licks I have never heard RS play. He did not slide the fourth string ,bend the 2nd string at the 10th fret or play near the bridge.
thanks



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