In Memoriam: Part Four

Ken Morton, Jr. | December 14th, 2011

Scott, Wayne – Wayne Scott was the father of producer/songwriter Darrell Scott, and released his debut album, This Weary Way, in 2005, at the age of 70. Here is a tribute Darrell posted on his site.

Smith, Willie “Big Eyes” – Smith was a revered harmonica player in the field of blues music. He played with Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters and was part of the backing band for John Lee Hooker in the classic movie Blues Brothers. He passed away in September at the age of 75 following a stroke. Here’s an obituary posted on the WBEZ blog.


Spears, Dan “Bee”  – Spears, Willie Nelson’s bassist for over four decades, passed away on December 9 from exposure to the elements after slipping and falling. He can be heard on classic albums including 1975′s Red Headed Stranger.

Stamper, Trudy – Stamper personally handled artist contacts for Opry bookings for many years for several decades. She was promoted to Public Relations Director WSM and the Opry, eventually announcing her retirement at the 39th Birthday Celebration of the Grande Ole Opry on November 7, 1964. She passed away in July at the age of 94. Here is an obituary written by Robert K. Oermann.

Stauffer, Virginia Mae – The talented songwriter wrote several songs that Bill Monroe recorded including “I Live in the Past,” “With Body And Soul,” “Road Of Life,” “Show Me the Way,” and “That’s Christmas Time to Me.” Here is an article Richard Thompson wrote on Stauffer’s passing for Bluegrass Today.

Stone, B. Jeff – Stone worked with Marty Robbins, Willie Nelson and Jim Ed Brown and headed up bands called The Westernairs and The Newsboys. He passed away in August at the age of 75.  Here is Stone’s page on the Rockabilly Hall of Fame website.

Sumlin, Hubert – Fiery blues guitarist Sumlin was best known for playing in Howlin’ Wolf’s band and influencing numerous musicians including Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, who paid for Sumlin’s funeral. Here’s an obituary from the Chicago Tribune.


Wayne, Don – Wayne had written for numerous country music artists and is best known for “Saginaw, Michigan” (which he co-wrote) and his song “Country Bumpkin,” which won CMA and ACM Song Of The Year in 1974. He also penned such tracks as “Don’t Water Down the Bad News” by Ernest Tubb, “What in Her World Did I Do” by Eddy Arnold and “MacArthur’s Hand” by Tex Ritter. In 1978, Wayne was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Here’s an obituary Peter Cooper wrote for the Tennessean.

Wehner, Mark – Wehner created/produced the weekly Americana Tonight showcase series in Nashville, one of the nation’s most respected vehicles for presenting live Americana performances to the industry. Mark was also an Americana artist himself with two highly touted releases, including That’s The Way That It Goes and Wait … I Wasn’t Finished.

Wells, Bill — Bill Wells of Bill Wells & Blue Ridge Mountain Grass passed away in November after a battle with brain cancer. He also owned Bill’s Music Shop & Pickin’ Parlor, a West Columbia institution since 1985 that hosted many national bluegrass acts over the years.


Wright, Johnnie – Wright spent much of his career working with Jack Anglin in the popular duo Johnnie & Jack, and was also the husband of Kitty Wells for more than 70 years. He first performed with Anglin in 1936 and in 1952, the duo and Wells were invited to join the Grand Ole Opry. Here is a lengthy, must-read piece on Wright that Peter Cooper wrote for the Tennessean.


Yandell, Paul – One of only five Chet Atkins CGP certified guitar players in the world, Yandell played with Atkins for over thirty years. He also played with Kitty Wells, Jerry Reed and the Louvin Brothers and played as a studio musician on albums by Wariner, Dolly Parton, George Strait, the Everly Brothers, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and more.


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