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CHUBBY WISE

  • From Lake City, Florida.
  • Real name: Robert Russell Dees. He was adopted by his father’s sister, whose husband’s name was Wise.
  • Has been called “The Dean of Bluegrass Fiddlers” and “The Original Bluegrass Fiddler.”
  • Co-author of the fiddle tune “Orange Blossom Special.” At age 18, Wise moved to Jacksonville, Florida where he drove a taxicab by day and played fiddle in bars by night. It was there that he met fiddler Ervin Rouse in 1939 and together they composed “The Orange Blossom Special” in about 45 minutes. When Rouse suggested that they go get it copyrighted, Wise said, “Ervin, I haven’t got time to fool with a fiddle tune. If you can do anything with it, buddy, it’s yours.”
  • 1942, joined Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys, replacing Howdy Forrester. Was a member of Monroe’s “original bluegrass band” of 1945-1948 (Monroe, Flatt, Scruggs, Watts and Wise).
  • 1949, left Monroe to work with the York Brothers in Detroit, and later, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs (1951).
  • Has also worked with Jimmy Martin, Sam and Kirk McGee, Uncle Dave Macon, Hylo Brown, Mac Wiseman, Hank Snow and Merle Haggard.
  • 1994, released In Nashville album (Pinecastle) at age 78. Produced by Butch Baldassari.
  • 1995, released An American Original album (Pinecastle).
  • Died January 6, 1996.
  • 1998, was inducted into the IBMA’s Hall of Honor.
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