FARLEY, TAYLOR JR. (c.1953-2011)

Taylor Farley was born and grew up in the rough and tumble atmosphere of then wide-open Newport, Kentucky. His father had come from Clay County, Kentucky and, along with his uncle and other Kentucky friends and relatives, operated several gambling clubs in Newport. In a dispute with the rival syndicate, Taylor’s father and uncle were gunned down; his father survived and later evened the score. As a kid, Taylor would stand outside the Newport clubs and make up to $80 a night running errands for winning gamblers. His life turned around when he was ten years old and heard Earl Scruggs play “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.” After that, all he could think about was the banjo, and he eventually began playing professionally around the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky area. At one time, he was a member of Muddy River and also played with Dave Pinson in Pinson and Farley. In 1987, he organized the group Blue Rock, whose name comes from their mixing of bluegrass and rock ‘n’ roll, in much the same way as the Earl Scruggs Revue had done. In 2007, the band consisted of Taylor on banjo, Taylor’s son Spud on acoustic lead and rhythm guitar, Mike Reese on electric lead and rhythm guitar, Jerry Clutter on upright electric bass, and Eddie Napier on drums and percussion. They have one CD out entitled Beat This!. In 2000, Taylor won an award for “Best Folk/Bluegrass Instrumentalist” at Cincinnati’s Cammy Awards show, which annually honors Cincinnati musicians in all fields of music. After Taylor’s death, the band was taken over by his son Spud (Taylor Farley III). The band in 2016 included Spud, Jerry Clutter, Eddie Napier, and Mike Clutter, who plays banjo and mandolin. In 2016, Taylor was honored with induction into the Northern Kentucky Music Legends Hall of Fame.

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