This skilled bluegrass pro was part of some of the earliest recording groups of innovative mandolinist Frank Wakefield and continued a fairly low-key career based out of Tennessee, where he had his own weekly bluegrass special on the radio station WNNT. He also had live broadcasts from venues such as the Turner Music shop in New Tazewell. Besides working with Wakefield, Buster Turner's credits include gigs and recording with the Honeycutt Brothers, with whom he cut an EP of gospel music for the Valley label in the early '70s, and the cooperative Don Gulley & Buster Turner & the Pinnacle Mountain Boys lineup that recorded highly entertaining sides for the Cumberland label in the early '60s. Yet another of Turner's outfits was the appropriately named Bluegrass Professionals. This lineup also sometimes collaborated with bluegrass artist Walter Bailes, coming up with a fine version of the gospel chestnut "Dust on the Bible." With so much gospel in his discography, it should be stressed that Turner wasn't always considered part of the holy crowd and was even considered something of a rockabilly demon when he was younger. He began his recording career in the mid-'50s as part of a group of Appalachian performers that had gravitated to the North and Midwest looking for employment. Detroit may not be particularly known for bluegrass, but Turner, along with Wakefield and Marvin Cobb, was temporarily part of the bluegrass crowd there before scurrying back to the South. The music that was developing at that point was not really even identified as bluegrass and like quite a bit of country music of the time, it sloshed over into the early rock & roll or rockabilly world like a drink that had been filled to the top. To no surprise, an early Turner effort, entitled "That Old Heartbreak Express," was picked for inclusion in a volume of the Boppin' Hillbilly Series devoted to the early Detroit scene. Turner was also a respected songwriter over the years. His tune "Let Me Live Again," one of the few country tunes that might have been appropriate as a theme song for the frequent recovery of monsters such as Freddie Krueger and Jason, was recorded by Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, among others.
Share this page