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An important figure in Bluegrass music with close ties to the Ozarks passed away Monday August 2nd in Columbia. Mike Smith has the story:
Mitch Jayne, served as bassist and front man for “The Dillards” a Salem Missouri Bluegrass band which found success after the first of six appearances as “The Darlin’ Family” on the Andy Griffith Show. The original Dillards were Rodney and Doug Dillard on guitar and banjo respectively; Dean Webb on mandolin; and Mitch Jayne playing the up-right bass. In the early and mid 1960’s in folk music clubs like The Hungry i in San Francisco or the Mecca in Los Angeles, The Dillards would impress and entertain audiences with their musicianship and Mitch Jayne’s storytelling. Dean Webb recalls Mitch’s casual style of “leaning on the bass” while setting up the audience for what song was to come next. Webb says “Mitch would pause a moment, reach into his pocket for some tobacco to put into his pipe, slowly light the pipe while the audience is silently waiting… and continue with the story behind the tune. It was amazing to watch those people go through that whole thing with him fascinated”.Several tunes Mitch Jayne co-wrote with The Dillards are now considered Bluegrass classics. Dooley; There is a Time; The Old Home Place, and The whole World Round among them. Dillards tunes have been recorded and released by The Kingston Trio; The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band; Phish and Ricky Skaggs. Last October, Mitch Jayne talked with KSMU about The Dillards up-coming induction into the IBMA Bluegrass Hall of Fame: “We appreciate so much the fact that somebody has finally told us that we mattered. That we made a difference.”A memorial service for Mitch Jayne is planned for sometime this fall. Meanwhile, this Saturdays Seldom Heard Music on KSMU will feature music of The Dillards and more from Dean Webb and archive interviews from Mitch Jayne. For KSMU, I’m Mike Smith.