Gordon Terry

(fiddle, guitar - 1951, 1954)
Early 50s photo. Click for full version.

Born: 10/7/1931    Died: 4/9/2006

As a Blue Grass Boy: Gordon Terry joined the Blue Grass Boys in 1951, replacing Red Taylor. Terry met Bill Monroe when when Monroe played a show in Decatur, AL, where Terry was working in a chicken processing plant in Decatur, AL. Soon after, Taylor left the band and Terry was called to join. He was soon drafted into the Army, but returned after his discharge in 1954. In later years, Monroe continued to call him frequently for recording sessions, particularly for double or triple fiddle arrangements. In 1970, during a triple fiddle session along with Kenny Baker and Red Hayes, he played guitar on two songs that didn't call for three fiddles.

Recording Sessions: 7/1/1951, 7/6/1951, 10/28/1951, 6/26/1954, 9/4/1954, 9/16/1955, 4/20/1957, 5/14/1957, 5/15/1957, 2/25/1958, 12/2/1970, 12/3/1970

Before and After: Terry started as a child, working with his father and older brothers in a group called Floyd Terry and his Young'uns. They played on the Grand Ole Opry in 1941, and Terry won the Alabama state fiddling title at the age of 14. After leaving Monroe in 1954, he went to work with country star Faron Young for several years, before being convinced to try a solo career as a singer around 1957. He moved to the West Coast and appeared in films and television, as well as touring for several years with Johnny Cash's show. In the 1960s, he moved back to Tennessee, briefly ran a theme park called Terrytown, and resumed session work. Health problems eventually forced him to retire from performing in the 1980s. One of his best known showpieces was "Johnson's Old Gray Mule", a number he learned from Curly Fox but which has become identified with Terry.

Honors: Fiddlers Hall of Fame (1981)


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