About The Artist
Ray Lunsford who hailed from Broadhead, Kentucky is best known for his decade and more playing electric mandolin on 102 Jimmie Skinner recordings. He met Jimmie in Hamilton, Ohio and his instrumental support provided Jimmie with his distinctive sound on all of his Red Barn, Radio Artist, Capital, Decca and nearly all of Skinner's Mercury offerings. Lunsford also made a few recordings of original instrumental tunes on his own, mostly on local Cincinnati labels.
Ray did a bit of songwriting during his career. Some of the songs we have found attributed to him include:
Prior to his move to Ohio, Ray had played in the area around Renfro Valley and appeared a few times on their barn dance. However, he never gave much thought to a musical career until he and Jimmie began playing in the taverns around Hamilton and Middletown after he had migrated to the Buckeye State during World War II (Skinner had relocated to Ohio in the mid-and late twenties). His mandolin playing was quite prominent on nearly all of Jimmie's best known numbers until about 1958 when Mercury producers begin tuning down his instrument in favor of more conventional country sounds of that era.
The major and real reason for discord was misunderstandings over money. The two had only a brief chance meeting a few years prior to Skinner's death.
Of Ray's mandolin tunes, "Sheila" and "Carroll County Blues" are probably best known.
Lunsford's musical prominence began to fade after he left Skinner, but he lived on another two years after Jimmie died.
Credits & Sources
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