The Bluegrass Expedition Profile

Glen Moffatt
16 Feb 2017

The Bluegrass Expedition grew out of the Dunedin Folk Club in the early 1970s under the strict tutelage of their leader, Alabama banjo picker George Bailey. They went on to release two albums and were the stars of television series Young Country before breaking up when Bailey returned to the United States.

A senior lecturer in biochemistry at Otago University, Bailey called into the folk club soon after his arrival in New Zealand in 1972 and encountered a ragtag group of enthusiastic but not so authentic bluegrass practitioners. For the best part of a year he coached them on the finer points of mountain music before they played a gig.

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Working drawings for Wanted, the debut album by The Bluegrass Expedition
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Read Hudson, Barry Paterson and George Bailey of The Bluegrass Expedition performing at the Sheraton Hotel
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The Bluegrass Expedition reunites, 2016 (L-R): Bruce Fergus, Russell George, Read Hudson, Barry Paterson
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George Bailey, banjo player with The Bluegrass Expedition
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The Bluegrass Expedition reunites for two Dunedin gigs, December 2016
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Bruce Fergus, bassist of The Bluegrass Expedition
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George Bailey, banjo player of The Bluegrass Expedition
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When disco met bluegrass: The Bluegrass Expedition's "final gig in New Zealand" is advertised in Queenstown's Mountain Scene, 1977
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The Bluegrass Expedition in the studio, 1974: Mike Pelvin on mandolin, and bassist Bruce Fergus
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Mike Pelvin, mandolin player of The Bluegrass Expedition, at the Sheraton Hotel, December 1974
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An advertisement for Settling In, the second album by Bluegrass Expedition, released on Kiwi in 1976
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Review of a Bluegrass Expedition gig: their rendition of 'Rawhide' included an "energetic mandolin solo"
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A flyer detailing the acts on the Touch of Country television show, 1976. 
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Bruce Fergus, the bassist of The Bluegrass Expedition, also played fiddle, guitar and banjo
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The Bluegrass Expedition, 1975. From left: George Bailey, Bruce Fergus, Barry Paterson, Read Hudson, and Mike Pelvin
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A sketch for the cover of Wanted, the 1975 debut album by The Bluegrass Expedition
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George Bailey on banjo during a Bluegrass Expedition session, 1974
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The Bluegrass Expedition business card
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The Bluegrass Expedition reunion, 2016 (back, from left): Bruce Fergus, Barry Paterson, Russell George, Mike Pelvin; in front, Read Hudson
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The Otago University Folk Music Club presents The Bluegrass Expedition at Southland Girls' High 
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The Bluegrass Expedition during the TV shoot, 1976
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A letter introducing The Bluegrass Expedition to prospective venues says the band attracts clientele to the hotel, then "stimulates, rather than interferes with, bar trade"
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The Bluegrass Expedition reunion, Dunedin, 2016. From left: Russell George, Bruce Fergus, Barry Paterson, Mike Pelvin, Read Hudson
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The Bluegrass Expedition support Danny Kaye for charity at the Dunedin Town Hall, October 1975; tickets $1
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The Bluegrass Expedition, appearing on South Pacific Television's Touch Of Country, 1976
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Barry Paterson of the Bluegrass Expedition during a TV shoot, mid 1970s
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Bluegrass on the rocks: The Bluegrass Expedition in a humorous TV clip
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Bruce Fergus, bassist with The Bluegrass Expedition
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Bluegrass Expedition's debut album Wanted was released on Pye in 1975
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The Bluegrass Expedition conditions of employment
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When booking The Bluegrass Expedition, a diagram of the stage would be helpful
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Barry Paterson, guitarist of The Bluegrass Expedition, in the studio
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A Bluegrass Expedition promotional flyer
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Confirmed: a gig at your venue by The Bluegrass Expedition 
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Barry Paterson on stage with The Bluegrass Expedition
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Barry Paterson, left, and George Bailey of The Bluegrass Expedition, Sheraton Hotel
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The Bluegrass Expedition appears alongside The Avocados and Rhythm Three; lunch available for 65c
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Read Hudson on Dobro with The Bluegrass Expedition, 1974
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The television series Young Country, produced in Dunedin by Ian Ralston (pictured), featured several appearances by The Bluegrass Expedition
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Barry Paterson of The Bluegrass Expedition in the studio
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The Bluegrass Expedition during a television shoot, mid 1970s
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Members:

George Bailey - banjo, vocals

Barry Paterson - vocals, guitar

Read Hudson - dobro, guitar, vocals

Mike Pelvin - mandolin

Bruce Fergus - bass, autoharp

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Labels:

Pye


Kiwi