Poor Curley Tuttle, always relegated to the end of an alphabetical list of bluegrass pickers nicknamed after their curly locks, daydreaming of the time an old-time music archivist will evidence of a bluegrass picker named Curly Zinnich, even better if it turns out he plays mandolin. Many of the bluegrass curlies do, after all, and a few of them even share Curley Tuttle's stock in trade: the ability to double between the lower register of the baritone vocal and the sound of his mandolin, either trilling in the high register or chipping away at chords with rhythmic precision, yes, but with all the bottom end of a potato chip. One of the most superb early bluegrass combinations billed itself as Dave Woolum, Curley Tuttle, and the Laurel Mountain Boys, the latter organization consisting at least in the studio of just two other fellows: tenor and rhythm guitarist Virgil Joseph and the Gene Sweet's tasty Dobro. The group worked in the regions overlapping Kentucky and Ohio and had some material released on Starday following the usual custom pressings made for on-stage sale. Tuttle first began recording in the mid-'50s, but it was 1960 before he got to record a set of gospel-flavored numbers for Starday, at that point the king of the hill when it came to independent bluegrass releases. The session produced the wonderful track "Road of Shame," later reissued as part of the Rounder label's The Early Days of Bluegrass series. He continued collaborating for at least another decade with the charismatic Woolum in various bands, including the Laurel County Partners, the latter outfit cutting a series of average quality albums for Pine Tree in the '70s.
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