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Lilly Brothers & Don Stover

The Lilly Brothers, Charles Everett and Bea, played old-time/bluegrass music together for over three decades. They may best be remembered in New England, where they were a fixture in the downtown Boston music scene from the early '60s through 1980.

Charles Everett and older sibling Mitchell Burt "Bea" Lilly were born three years apart in Clear Creek, West Virginia. Everett played the mandolin, banjo, and fiddle while Bea played guitar; both brothers sang; early influences included the Delmore Brothers, the Callahan Brothers, and the Monroes. The Lillys debuted in 1938 singing old-time country on a West Virginia radio station. They initially billed themselves as the Lonesome Holler Boys. Later they added a banjo and became a bluegrass group. In 1939, they began performing regularly at the newly established WJLS Beckley, where they performed together and with other musicians. After that they spent a few years at various Southern stations playing in such groups as the Smiling Mountain Boys and Red Belcher's Kentucky Ridgerunners.

They made their recording debut in 1948 while working with the latter group at WWVA. They remained at the station through 1950, whereupon they returned home after a heated fight with Belcher over money. From there the Lillys split up for a time; Charles became a mandolin player and tenor with Flatt & Scruggs' Foggy Mountain Boys, and remained with them through early 1952 when he left to join his brother, fiddler Tex Logan, and banjo picker Don Stover in Boston. They got their first job playing on WCOP's Hayloft Jamboree and from there hit the local club circuit.

The Lilly Brothers recorded fairly frequently during the '50s. Between 1958 and 1959, Charles spent another year with Flatt & Scruggs while Stover did a bit of touring with other bands. But for that, the Lilly Brothers remained intact through 1970. In addition to playing downtown Boston, they also played the local festival circuit and were instrumental in the development of urban bluegrass. In the early '70s, Charles and his wife Joann left Beantown and returned to West Virginia. Bea Lilly came down a while later to help Everett host a local television show, but eventually returned to the city. After 1971, Charles infrequently joined the band to perform at festivals during the summers and occasionally recorded with them. The Lilly Brothers' career was later chronicled in a 1979 documentary, True Facts in a Country Song. Suffering from Alzheimers disease, Bea Lilly died on September 18, 2005 in Plymouth, Massachusetts at the age of 83; Everett Lilly died at his home in Clear Creek on May 8, 2012; he was 87 years old. ~ Sandra Brennan
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Bluegrass at the Roots 1961

1. In My Dear Old Southern Home

2. Midnight On The Stormy Sea

3. Forgotten Soldier Boy

4. Down On The Banks Of The Ohio

5. Where Is My Sailor Boy? (What Does the Deep Sea Say?)

6. Sinner, You Better Get Ready

7. What Would You Give In Exchange?

8. Oh, Hide You In The Blood

9. Little Annie (Gentle Annie)

10. 'Neath That Cold Grey Tomb Of Stone

11. Barbara Allen

12. The Fox And Hounds

13. John Hardy

14. Old Joe Clark

15. Salt River

16. Cornbread And 'Lasses And Sassafras Tea

17. The Waves On The Sea

18. When The Saints Go Marching In

x

Track List: On The Radio 1952-1953

1. Intro

2. Why Don't You Tell Me So

3. That Star Belongs To Me

4. Here Rattler Here

5. Rawhide

6. Girl With The Blue Velvet Band

7. Why Did You Wander

8. Don't Make Me Go To Bed And I'll Be Good

9. The Old Man's Story

10. I'll Still Write Your Name In The Sand

11. No Mother Or Dad

12. Cumberland Gap

13. The Old Home Town

14. Good Old Mountain Dew

15. What Is A Home Without Love

16. We're Going To Have A Big Time Here Tonight

17. When The Saints Go Marching In

18. Sinner You Better Get Ready

19. The Prisoner's Song

20. Cumberland Gap (Outro)

x

Track List: What Will I Leave Behind

1. I Would Not Be Denied

2. In A Little Village Churchyard

3. On My Way To Glory

4. What Will I Leave Behind

5. What Would The Profit Be

6. Will You Meet Me Over Yonder

7. I'll Live On

8. I Need The Prayers Of Those I Love

9. On The Sunny Side Of Life

10. The Dying Boy's Prayer

11. The Great Reaping Day

12. I Have Found The Way

x

Track List: Early Recordings

1. Bring Back My Blue Eyed Boy

2. Tragic Romance

3. Southern Skies

4. Long Journey Home

5. Wheel Hoss

6. When The Saints Go Marching In (1956/57)

7. John Henry

8. Are You Tired Of Me My Darling

9. Little Annie

10. Weeping Willow

11. Riding On My Saviour's Train

Comments

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saffronfremy 0 1
Awesome!
Report as inappropriate
it rings so true ............ . . .

Report as inappropriate
I enjoy all this old time music

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