Junior Barber passes away

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James Traylor's picture

Howard Parker posted this over on resoguit:

Regrets to inform that Junior Barber is no longer with us. A great dobro

player noted for his lack of capo use in the melodic style. A great guy.
Original member of the Gibson Brothers Band.

A friend and supporter of the early dobro forums/lists.

He will be missed dearly.


Mr. Barber was one of my favorite dobro players. My prayers and condolences to he and his family.Cry



MarkinSonoma's picture

The "melodic style" is what I loved about Junior. 

On faster 'grass material when it was his turn for the break, it wasn't like he was trying to cram a bunch of 16th notes togther based on hammer ons and pulloffs, and the melody pretty much goes out the window. There are really only a handful of players who can pull that off, Jerry Douglas being sort of the originator. When lesser beings make the attempt it often leaves me cold.

I have heard Junior's style referred to as being "simpler" in comparison to a lot of "name" players. To me it just sounded "musical."

badger's picture

So sorry.  He was a class act all the way.  I never heard a superfluous note in anything he played - every note, and every silent space was there for a reason.  One of my favorite players, and a real loss to the community.


"You don’t have to be brilliant; it’s enough to become progressively less stupid"  - Marshall Rosenberg

MarkinSonoma's picture

Badger, are you going to haul your (b)ass over to Sebastopol for the Folk & Bluegrass Festival tomorrow (and maybe a Harlow if you still have it)?

I'll be there - mainly to see the Good Ol' Persons reunion show tomorrow evening.

For those not in the know, Sally Van Meter is the Persons dobro player.  

badger's picture

I'm going to miss it for the first time in years - a dear friend (and best man at our wedding) passed, and his children hadn't considered bluegrass festival dates when arranging the memorial.  The thoughtlessness of some folks...Wink

GOP should be a great show - hope you enjoy it!  Oh yeah, the Harlows are both still here - they get dragged to the occasional jam when I'm splitting the session with another bassist.  My reso playing may be the main reason the jam seems to perk up when I take over on bass - amazingly, the less I play reso, the worse I sound.  Go figure. 

Hope all's well with you and family.

bluegrass2's picture

Sad news for sure. A true stylist that had is own identity in this hubcap playing world.

MarkinSonoma's picture

We're all in good shape, thanks.

Oh man, sorry to hear about your friend and best man. 

Time marches on. And I hadn't realized Junior Barber was 75 until I read the obit. I saw Good Ol' Persons live a couple times back in the early days. I was looking at the then-vs.-now photos of the band. Yep, time marches on alright.

I'd never actually seen The Three Pickers DVD until last night, a friend loaned me her copy. I'd only seen snippets on YouTube. I saw both Doc and Earl several times more after that show was filmed in 2003, mostly at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, and Ricky Skaggs was pointing out in the film that they were both pushing 80. And they were both still amazing. So by comparison, as players, Good Ol' Persons are teenagers. Should be a great show!


Pablo Conrad's picture

James Traylor:
Mr. Barber was one of my favorite dobro players. My prayers and condolences to he and his family.

I'm so sorry I never had the chance to meet Junior Barber and say thank you for making so much great music on his dobro.

Can't someone figure out a way to re-release his 1997 CD Stone Bottom Boogie, (Hay Holler cat. no. HH-CD-1337) so more people can hear these great dobro arrangements. He had a way of pushing and pulling the timing on melodies that really opened up these songs and made them fresh. His version of Hershel Sizemore's "Rebecca" is a good example; also his version of "Sally Ann."


Gold Rush


Road To Columbus


Stone Bottom Boogie

Sally Ann

Texas Moonbeam Waltz

Panhandle Rag


Summer For Two

Big Sciota

Mom And Dad`s Waltz

Those Were The Days

Streets Of Laredo


His record Steffi's Waltz you can get at County Sales — and it's well worth getting. 

And then, his recordings with Gary Ferguson and with Fairley Sparks featuring fine work on a Weissenborn guitar, as well as resonator.


Really wish I met him.


P a b l o


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