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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The Bluegrass Expedition reunion, Dunedin, 2016. From left: Russell George, Bruce Fergus, Barry Paterson, Mike Pelvin, Read Hudson
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Barry Paterson, left, and George Bailey of The Bluegrass Expedition, Sheraton Hotel
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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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George Bailey, banjo player of 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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Mike Pelvin, mandolin player of The Bluegrass Expedition, at the Sheraton Hotel, December 1974
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Barry Paterson, guitarist of The Bluegrass Expedition, in the studio
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An advertisement for Settling In, the second album by Bluegrass Expedition, released on Kiwi in 1976
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The Bluegrass Expedition appears alongside The Avocados and Rhythm Three; lunch available for 65c
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The Otago University Folk Music Club presents The Bluegrass Expedition at Southland Girls' High 
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A Bluegrass Expedition promotional flyer
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A flyer detailing the acts on the Touch of Country television show, 1976. 
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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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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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A sketch for the cover of Wanted, the 1975 debut album by The Bluegrass Expedition
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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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Barry Paterson of The Bluegrass Expedition in the studio
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Bruce Fergus, the bassist of The Bluegrass Expedition, also played fiddle, guitar and banjo
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Bruce Fergus, bassist with The Bluegrass Expedition
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The Bluegrass Expedition conditions of employment
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The Bluegrass Expedition business card
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The Bluegrass Expedition in the studio, 1974: Mike Pelvin on mandolin, and bassist Bruce Fergus
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The Bluegrass Expedition during a television shoot, mid 1970s
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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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When booking The Bluegrass Expedition, a diagram of the stage would be helpful
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Bluegrass on the rocks: The Bluegrass Expedition in a humorous TV clip
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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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Read Hudson on Dobro with The Bluegrass Expedition, 1974
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Barry Paterson of the Bluegrass Expedition during a TV shoot, mid 1970s
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Bluegrass Expedition's debut album Wanted was released on Pye in 1975
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George Bailey on banjo during a Bluegrass Expedition session, 1974
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The Bluegrass Expedition reunites, 2016 (L-R): Bruce Fergus, Russell George, Read Hudson, Barry Paterson
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The Bluegrass Expedition, appearing on South Pacific Television's Touch Of Country, 1976
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Barry Paterson on stage with The Bluegrass Expedition
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George Bailey, banjo player with The Bluegrass Expedition
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A "folk concert extraordinary" featuring Christine Smith, Phil Garland, Bluegrass Expedition and Tole Puddle, Christchurch, February 1974. Alexander Turnbull Library, Eph-D-MUSIC-Garland-1974-01                 
Photo credit: Alexander Turnbull Library
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The Bluegrass Expedition during the TV shoot, 1976
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Confirmed: a gig at your venue by The Bluegrass Expedition 
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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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Review of a Bluegrass Expedition gig: their rendition of 'Rawhide' included an "energetic mandolin solo"
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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

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