Early Bluegrass Pioneers: Don Reno & Bill Harrell, Jim & Jesse, Snuffy Jenkins, Bea Lilly

The first decade of the Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival included many early bluegrass pioneers, in addition to Monroe and Stanley. Don Reno, Jim and Jesse McReynolds, Jimmy Martin, and Bea Lilly are some of the legendary figures represented in the Delaware collection. Don Reno and Bill Harrell are full of energy on this version of Harrell’s “Everybody’s Something They’re Not” (1973). Jim & Jesse are in fine form on the classic brother duet, “I Heard The Bluebirds Sing” (1980), featuring the fiddling of Blaine Sprouse. Snuffy Jenkins, a major influence on the first generation of bluegrass banjo players, demonstrates his three-finger style with a historic take on “John Henry” (1984). In 1980, the Lilly Brothers with Don Stover were scheduled to appear, but had to cancel due to a family illness. Fortunately, Bea Lilly was present and able to assemble a backing band with Joe Val, who had performed with the Lillys in the 1950s. They are heard singing together here on “Mother’s Not Dead” (1980).

Everybody’s Something They’re Not (by Don Reno And Bill Harrell), 1973

I Heard The Bluebirds Sing (by Jim And Jesse And The Virginia Boys), 1980

John Henry (by Snuffy Jenkins And The Hired Hands), 1984

Mother’s Not Dead (by Joe Val, Eric Levenson, Bea Lilly, and Bill Hall), 1980

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Early Bluegrass Pioneers: Don Reno & Bill Harrell, Jim & Jesse, Snuffy Jenkins, Bea Lilly