PRESSMEN'S HOME, Tenn. - Charles L. Bailey of Pressmen's Home in Hawkins County died Friday, March 12, 2004, in Bear, Del., after a long illness. He was 88.
Mr. Bailey was born Feb. 9, 1916, in Happy Valley (now Pressmen's Home), member of a large musical family.
He was a U.S. Army veteran of World War II.
Mr. Bailey and his brother Dan, better known as The Bailey Brothers, performed on WSM's Grand Ole Opry during the early days of bluegrass and attained near legendary status in such locales as WNOX Knoxville, WPTF Raleigh, N.C., and WWVA in Wheeling, W.Va. They are considered by some to be among the most influential and significant artists in early bluegrass history. It was The Bailey Brothers who brought their tight, close harmony style singing into bluegrass and merged the two forms.
With the addition of their Happy Valley Boys, The Bailey Brothers were the first well-known brother duet to introduce the beautiful harmonies characteristic of early brother duets into the full bluegrass group. They also collected, arranged and popularized numerous songs, many of them now bluegrass standards, which were brought to wide public attention later by other groups. Songs made popular by The Bailey Brothers have been recorded by Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Flatt and Scruggs, among others.
Many well-known country musicians either got their start with The Bailey Brothers or worked with them early in their career, including Tennessee Ernie Ford, Tater Tate, Buck Graves, Carl Butler and the Osborne Brothers. Although their contribution to the roots of bluegrass has been recognized by the Smithsonian Institute and music historians, commercial fame eluded the talented, innovative Bailey Brothers. As Rounder Records noted on its "Have You Forgotten The Bailey Brothers" release, "That music and musicians of this caliber could be overlooked for so long is a cultural tragedy which we hope this record will remedy..."
Mr. Bailey is survived by three daughters, Charlona Smith-Bryan of Nashville and Carol Burns and Danna Thomas, both of Bear; a son, Charles L. Bailey Jr. of Bear; and two brothers, Dan and Earl Bailey.
Services will be 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the chapel of Colboch-Price Funeral Home, Rogersville, where friends may call two hours earlier. The Rev. Victor Wallace will officiate.
Graveside service will be 10 a.m. Wednesday in Bailey Family Cemetery in Pressmen's Home.
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