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    York, Rusty  (24th May 1935 – 26th January 2014)

    Charles Edward "Rusty" York hails from Harlan County, Kentucky, where he was born in 1935.  His sister bought him a used guitar with the moniker "Rusty" on it and the nickname stuck.

     

    In the 1950s, he paired with guitarist Willard Hale and they went on to perform at local clubs.  When rock and roll was born, they begrudgingly took requests for Elvis songs and eventually caved, although they always tried to play fifteen minutes of bluegrass per show.

     

    It wasn't until 1959 that York and Hale were able to release three bluegrass cuts for Starday's Banjo in the Hills album, including "Banjo Breakdown".  Billy Thomas pitched in on fiddle and Herman Kress on bass.  His 1959 Fraternity single "Cajun Blues" inspired the creation and name of a rock and roll trio, The Cajuns, who toured with Dick Clark and subsequently enjoyed the honor of being the first rock act to play The Hollywood Bowl.

     

    In 1964, Rusty found himself on the road with rising country artist Bobby Bare, with whom he would continue to work for the balance of the decade.  He also started the Jewel record label, at first literally operating out of his garage.  Such luminaries as bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley and The Grateful Dead have haunted his studios.

     

    His last foray into recording as a performer was on the timely 1973 release Dueling Banjos.  Aside from a couple of tours, Rusty continued to devote himself to his true musical legacy, Jewel Records.  He passed away at Redington Shores, Florida in January 2014 when he was 78 years old.

     

    Rusty York and Willard Hale recordings

    Banjo Breakdown

     

    Sources:

    1. http://www.rockabillyhall.com/RustyYork1.html
    2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rusty_York

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



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