Tennessee Cut-Ups

The Tennessee Cut-Ups were Don Reno and Red Smiley’s backing band on King Records, other labels, and their TV and personal appearances. The classic lineup included Don on banjo and tenor vocals, Red on guitar and lead vocals, Mack Magaha on fiddle, and John Palmer on bass. Ronnie Reno worked with them, as did Sid Campbell and Steve Chapman. The Cut-Ups are probably the most under-rated of the early bluegrass bands, probably because they stuck close to home in Virginia for their daily Roanoke TV show. Don Reno’s great banjo, tenor singing, and songwriting ability; Red Smiley’s relaxed lead singing and rhythm guitar playing; Mack’s showmanship and excellent fiddle’ and John Palmer’s solid bass along with the group’s comedy skits as “Chicken and Pansy Hot Rod” made the Cut-Ups an exciting group to watch. Don Reno kept the band name after an amicable split with Red Smiley in 1964.

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