About The Artist
Jim Greer and the Mac-O-Chee Valley Folks were a traditional bluegrass band of quality quite active in the 1960's. Founded in 1961, they were based in West Liberty, Ohio where James Marvin Greer operated a clothing store. The leader proved adept on both banjo and mandolin. He and various band members took solo leads depending on the song and arrangement. They took their atypical name from the colorful Mac-O-Chee Creek and Valley in Logan County, Ohio., Their membership was fairly stable throughout their existence.
Unlike many bluegrass bands, only one of the Mac-O-Chee Valley Folks came from Appalachian backgrounds. All were Buckeyes except fiddler Aaron Hicks who was a native of Magoffin County, Kentucky. Besides Jim, band members included his sister Valeda who sang and played guitar; her husband John Wentz; Bob McPherson who played guitar and sometimes mandolin; Aaron Hicks on fiddle; and Dalton Burroughs who played bass fiddle
During the 1960s, the band was quite active during the warmer months by playing county fairs in Ohio and adjacent states. They also guested several times on the Renfro Valley Barn Dance and became regulars on the WWVA Jamboree. Their initial recordings appeared on the Starday subsidiary Nashville label and on the Cincinnati-based custom operation, Rite. Fiddler Aaron Hicks had not yet joined the band on the first records. The first LP release Bluegrass in Ohio (Rite LP 2004) included five originals by McPherson and an original banjo tune by Greer.
Jim and his band took part in a large benefit — The Carter Stanley Memorial Concert — on April 9, 1967. It was sponsored by the magazine Bluegrass Unlimited and the Campus Chest (University of Maryland). It was a six and a half hour event of bluegrass music. Local DJ's helped promote the event - Tom Cat Reeder, Red Shipley and Gary Henderson. Some of the artists that appeared, donating their time and talent, were: Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys, Mfac Wiseman, The Country Gentlemen, Jim Greer and his Mac-O-Chee Valley Folks, Tex Logan, Don STover, Bill Emerson and Buzz Busby, Mike Seeger, Doc Watson and Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys. The event was marked by the climax of the show led by Bill Monroe. He sang, "Swing Low Sweet Chariot," a hymn he sang at the foot of the casket at Carter's funeral; he was joined by Doc Watson and all the other performers and the audience sang the chorus.
When the band signed with Rural Rhythm in the mid-sixties, they tended to do primarily older numbers that was much in line with Uncle Jim O'Neill's policy of cutting public domain songs on which he did not have to pay writer royalties. Their three albums were Log Cabin Songs (RR 133), Memories in Song (RR 152)), and Stars of the WWVA Jamboree (RR 161). The band recorded a bluegrass gospel album in 1968, Gospel Singing Time, on Rite's Golden Shield label. The band also released a song and picture booklet, Country Scrapbook, in the mid-sixties.
By the early seventies, the Mac-O-Chee Valley Folks were faced with the choice of going full time or cutting back. They chose the latter and thereafter did only a few shows per year, mostly for hometown events.
Greer passed away in 2016, survived by his wife Sharon and singing sister Valeda and another sister Bonnie.
Credits & Sources
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