JOHN DUFFEY, “The Rebel Years: 1962-1977,” Rebel. 15 tracks.

It’s hard to believe that John Duffey has been dead nearly 15 years now, felled by a heart attack on Dec. 10, 1996, at age 62.

He’d only be 76 now, still within the prime years of many bluegrass acts.

Duffey sang with a passion that few musician could equal.

Now, an entire generation has almost grown up without hearing his amazing tenor vocals and mandolin playing.

But Rebel Records has compiled 15 of Duffey’s solos with his two fantastic bands — the Country Gentlemen and the Seldom Scene — into an album that’s sure to be a hit with fans of those two classic bands.

The album comes with a very well-researched booklet written by critic Geoffrey Himes.

Included in the collection is “Bringing Mary Home,” the only Gentlemen song to reach Billboard’s country charts (in 1965). Duffey co-wrote the classic hitchhiking ghost story with Joe Kingston and Chaw Mank.

He also co-wrote “Reason For Being,” which is included here.

The compilation also includes “The School House Fire,” a very graphic song about children dying in a school fire (“You could hear those children screaming,”), recorded in 1963 by the Gentlemen but never released until now.

Duffey was known for searching for songs from other genres to bring to bluegrass.

There’s the folk of Bob Dylan’s “Girl From The North Country” as well as “500 Miles,” “The Young Fisherwoman” and “I’ll Be There Mary Dear”; the pop of Dean Martin’s “Small Exception of Me,” the country of Grandpa Jones’ “Falling Leaves” and the gospel of “Heaven” and Lester Flatt’s “I’m Working On A Road.”

But it’s all bluegrass here.

A must have for fans of the Country Gentlemen and the Seldom Scene.

Can’t find it in stores? Try

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