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Ray Lunsford
Born:  November 8, 1908
Died:  October 17, 1981
WNOP Newport, KY

About The Artist

Promo Ad - Dixie Harper - Majestic Theater - October 1947 Ray Lunsford who hailed from Broadhead, Kentucky is best known for his decade and more playing electric mandolin on 102 Jimmie Skinner recordings. He met Jimmie in Hamilton, Ohio and his instrumental support provided Jimmie with his distinctive sound on all of his Red Barn, Radio Artist, Capital, Decca and nearly all of Skinner's Mercury offerings. Lunsford also made a few recordings of original instrumental tunes on his own, mostly on local Cincinnati labels.

Ray did a bit of songwriting during his career. Some of the songs we have found attributed to him include:

  • Station Door Blues (co-writer Jimmie Skinner)
  • Running Out Of Time (co-writer Jimmie Skinner)
  • I'm Allergic To Your Kisses
  • What A Pleasure (co-writer Jimmie Skinner)
  • Tell Them (co-writer Jimmie Skinner)

Prior to his move to Ohio, Ray had played in the area around Renfro Valley and appeared a few times on their barn dance. However, he never gave much thought to a musical career until he and Jimmie began playing in the taverns around Hamilton and Middletown after he had migrated to the Buckeye State during World War II (Skinner had relocated to Ohio in the mid-and late twenties). His mandolin playing was quite prominent on nearly all of Jimmie's best known numbers until about 1958 when Mercury producers begin tuning down his instrument in favor of more conventional country sounds of that era.

Promo Ad - Dixie Harper - Hilarity Club - August 1947 Promo Ad - Dixie Harper - Majestic Theater - October 1947

The major and real reason for discord was misunderstandings over money. The two had only a brief chance meeting a few years prior to Skinner's death.

Of Ray's mandolin tunes, "Sheila" and "Carroll County Blues" are probably best known.

Lunsford's musical prominence began to fade after he left Skinner, but he lived on another two years after Jimmie died.

Promo Ad - Dixie Harper - Majestic Theater - October 1947

Credits & Sources

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Recordings (78rpm/45rpm)

 
Doc Records
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  30909 A A Little Bitty Tear (w/Doc Armstrong)
  30909 B In A Mansion Stands My Love (w/Doc Armstrong)
 
Excellent
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  309 A Mount Vernon Rag
  309 B Carroll County Blues
  310 A Under The Double Eagle
  310 A Bluegrass Blues
  310 B Bluegrass Blues
  310 B Under The Double Eagle
  400 A Sheila
  400 A The Tragedy of School Bus 27 (by Ralph Bowman)
  400 B Tragedy of the School Bus
  400 B Shelia
 
Prism Records
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  PR-1918 A A Little Bitty Tear (w/Doc Armstrong)
  PR-1918 B In A Mansion Stands My Love (w/Doc Armstrong)
 
Sage
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  EP 285 A I Don't Love Nobody
  EP 285 B Rustic Dance
  EP 285 C Red Wing
  EP 285 D Pickin' Around
 
Starday
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  296 A Carroll County Blues
  296 A Carroll County Blues
  296 B Mt. Vernon Rag
  296 B Mt. Vernon Rag
 
Style
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  45-1928 A Down And Out Feelin' (Called The Blues) (w/Randell Barker)
  45-1928 B Mt. Vernon Rag (w/Randell Barker)


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