Lonesome Pine Fiddlers

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Noted early bluegrass band who weathered personnel changes and did much to help popularise the form.
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The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers were an enduring force in the development of bluegrass music for over three decades. Over the years, the band underwent many personnel changes and played a variety of styles, ranging from old-time string music to bluegrass to country.

The group was founded in 1938 by Ray Cline in Baisden, West Virginia. Originally it consisted of Cline and his adolescent cousins. The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers started out playing at WHIS in Bluefield, West Virginia, and soon after, Gordon Jennings joined them. The Fiddlers temporarily broke up during World War II. After the war they reunited back on WHIS, joined by Charlie Cline, who sang duets with Ray. In 1949, the Cline brothers were replaced by fiddler Ray Morgan, Bob Osborne, and Larry Richardson. By 1950, they had become a full-fledged bluegrass band. Bob and Larry left the following year and were replaced by Jimmy and Paul Williams. More personnel changes ensued and in 1953, the band began playing at WJR in Detroit. While there, they cut six sides for Victor in Chicago, among them their best-known song, "Dirty Dishes Blues."

The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers then moved to WLSI in Pikeville, Kentucky, and stayed there the rest of their career. They recorded eight singles in 1954, including two bluegrass classics, "Windy Mountain" and "No Curb Service." The band had a golden opportunity that year to perform on the Martha White-sponsored program at WSM in Nashville, but they refused and Flatt & Scruggs took it instead. This refusal limited the band's exposure to the Appalachian area, where they remained popular on radio and television shows while recording and performing full-time through 1964, when they decreased the pace of their schedule. By 1966, the members of the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers had gone their separate ways. In 1988, some of the founding members got together for a reunion album. Charlie Cline later used the band's name for his own country music group.