b. John Dill Jarvis, 21 April 1924, Manchester, Clay County, Kentucky, USA. He began to play guitar when he was seven and later also became highly competent on banjo, mandolin and bass. He developed an early love of traditional music being particularly keen on gospel numbers. He served in the US Army from 1942-48 and was seriously wounded during World War II. After recovering he became a dedicated Christian. He also worked with his friend, Brother Claude Ely, at his church in Cumberland, Kentucky and played on Ely’s recording made at the church by King Records. He relocated to Hamilton, Ohio in 1959, where he made a living by forming a painting and decorating company. He began to write songs and played on local radio and television and at social gatherings. He was a most prolific recording artist in the 60s and 70s, making recordings for Jewel, Rural Rhythm, Vetco, Heart Warming, his own Down Home and Log Cabin labels and others. He mainly recorded with a bluegrass backing supplied by any of the genre’s musicians who were available in the area at the time. These, on occasions, included Buck Graves, Harley Gabbard and even Ralph Stanley’s Clinch Mountain Boys. Later some of his gospel songs such as ‘Take Your Shoes Off Moses’ and ‘Six Hours On The Cross’ were recorded by noted gospel groups like the Lewis Family and by Ralph Stanley. He also wrote patriotic and saga songs such as ‘Thank God For Old Glory’ and ‘The Hyden Mine Tragedy’. Jarvis remained active in a smaller way in Hamilton into the 90s; his decorating company was still operative but managed by his son.
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