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Happy Birthday Richard Underwood!

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Jul 14, 2020 - 2:14:54 PM
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3383 posts since 7/12/2006

Thank you Richard for putting the drive back into bluegrass banjo at a time when many were pushing the boundaries.

Jul 14, 2020 - 2:39:33 PM
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13102 posts since 10/30/2008

I REALLY liked how Richard Underwood "sold" his banjo playing! I liked his Stanley-ish style in the first place, but his body language really put it over great on stage. A great old banjo friend of mine said of Richard "He makes it look harder than it really is."

PLUS, Richard was an unbeatable lead singer in duets with Dudley and trios with Dudley and David.

Plus, any fellow banjo player is gonna "feel" for a brother who had his banjo ripped out of his hands behind the theater and broken to pieces (the Ode Model D). How he was able to "come back" from that really impressed me. Especially with a "proper" old arch top Gibson.

Jul 14, 2020 - 2:43:50 PM

3383 posts since 7/12/2006

man youre gonna have to expound on that story!

Jul 14, 2020 - 3:16:33 PM



50785 posts since 10/5/2013

Please tell us, Dick !

Jul 14, 2020 - 6:30:11 PM
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13102 posts since 10/30/2008

Richard started out performing on an Ode D. I don't know if it was a Baldwin or not. It's pictured on one of the early LP covers.

The story I was told was the band was on some steps or a porch or some such thing behind the theater, waiting to go on, and some bunch of toughs rolled up on 'em and took Richard's banjo and pitched just as far as they could, destroying it. Now I wasn't there, so this isn't testimony, but it's what I was told decades ago when we all noticed Richard was playing an archtop Gibson instead of the Ode.

I hope it's not true, but reputable people told me the story.

Jul 14, 2020 - 8:18:45 PM
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1054 posts since 11/9/2010

Well, that's quite a story Dick! I can't confirm that, but I do own that album titled "The Johnson Mountain Boys" and he was playing a 1970-77 Baldwin Ode model D, has the Baldwin banner and ODE inlays in the peghead. And what a great banjo that was!

And yes- Happy Birthday Richard!

Edited by - rbfour5 on 07/14/2020 20:24:54

Jul 14, 2020 - 10:44:03 PM



220 posts since 8/4/2006

The Johnson Mountain Boys were awesome in their day. Saw them several times. Underwood really inspired me to play. His drive, archtop banjo and Stanleyish sound were hooks for me. The JMB were raw energy, something missing in most of today’s sanitized bluegrass bands.

Happy birthday

Jul 14, 2020 - 11:28:32 PM
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Bill Rogers (Moderator)


23785 posts since 6/25/2005

And,, they could sing!

Jul 15, 2020 - 6:20:54 AM



1259 posts since 11/3/2016
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Sure enjoyed Richards playing & singing w/ the JMB at quite a few festivals & quite a story Dick ! my kind of "DRIVING BANJO"

Jul 15, 2020 - 11:49:26 AM



2724 posts since 11/29/2007

Was that song, "GoldRush?" Heard some of it in there I thought.


Jul 15, 2020 - 1:01:08 PM

3383 posts since 7/12/2006

the song i posted is Newton Grove. youcan actually use part A of the song as backup or an alternate break for part a of clinch mtn.backstep

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