SMILEY, ARTHUR LEE JR. “RED” (1925-1972)

One-half of the great Reno and Smiley duo, Red Smiley sang lead and played guitar. He was born in North Carolina and had worked with Zeke Morris and the Sauceman Brothers before meeting Don Reno in Tommy Magness’s band, the Tennessee Buddies. They recorded with Magness in Cincinnati on Federal Records, a subsidiary of King, in 1951. After leaving Magness, Don and Red worked briefly with Toby Stroud and then left to form their own band, the Tennessee Cut-Ups, and secured a recording contract with King Records. They worked the road and TV and recorded together until 1964, when Red’s health worsened and he decided to get off the road. He formed a new group, the Bluegrass Cut-Ups, and continued on Roanoke TV. They cut one album on Rimrock and three on Rural Rhythm before Red’s retirement in 1968. In 1970, Red got back together with Don Reno and Bill Harrell and worked dates with them until his death. Along with Don Reno, Red was elected to the IBMA Bluegrass Hall of Fame in 1992.

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