Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

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WISEMAN, Mac

(b 23 March '25, Crimoa VA) Bluegrass guitarist, singer. Played in a country band in high school, joined Molly O'Day as lead singer, then with Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, then Bill Monroe; went solo, recorded for Dot and became label's country A&R man; bluegrass began to be picked up by folkies, especially on college campuses; cover of Carter Family song 'Jimmy Brown, The Newsboy' was a top five country hit '59. Switched to Capitol: first Capitol LP Bluegrass Favourites '62 reissued on Stetson '87; 'Your Best Friend And Me' was '63 hit. Starred on WWVA Jamboree in Wheeling WV (also appeared on Louisiana Hayride, Grand Ole Opry, other radio barn dances); had own radio show Mac Wiseman's Record Shop. Recorded for MGM ('Got Leavin' On Her Mind' '68); to RCA '69: 'Johnny's Cash And Charley's Pride' was top 40 hit that year; he reunited with Scruggs for LPs Lester 'n' Mac and On The Southbound. Also ran annual bluegrass festival in Renfro Valley KY; not only a fine guitarist but one of the half-dozen best singers in the genre. Compilations available '96 were on cassettes on various labels, most, incl. Grassroots To Bluegrass, CMH, except Teenage Hangout on Bear Family, Classic Bluegrass on Rebel (nearly all remakes of early '50s hits on Dot).