Last night I learned through social media that longtime guitarist for the Grand Ole Opry staff band James
(sometimes called Jimmy) “Spider” Wilson was taken to hospice care and passed away last night on the 26th.
He was one of the many people involved with Country Music that made the music famous from the background.
There were so many thousands of special people that took no credit for what they gave Country Music and he
was certainly one of them. The TRUE hero of the Opry were the ones that backed up all those that went through the doors.
He was born June 9th ,1935. In 1947 he began recording and playing with Little Jimmy Dickens and Buddy Emmons
and many more that went on to become Country Music Legends in their own rights.
In 1953 he began working on the Opry as a staff musician playing every friday night, Saturday matinee
and Saturday night show for many years along with Jimmy Capps Billy Linneman and other Country Music Legends.
Spider also played the Ralph Emery Show every weekday morning for many decades and so much more.
He recorded and backed more Country Music Legends than I can possibly name in one article. I have been
introduced to his work whole studying Hank Locklin, Don Gibson, Justin Tubb and the list goes on and on.
If you have a vinyl record collection that beats or rivals mine you have this man’s name on the credits
of many of them…Ray Price, Dolly Parton…it just keeps going.
I never stop researching and learning about Country Music and I don’t plan to stop anytime soon.
My friend Mr. Joe Rucker who was good friends with Hank Locklin shared a really nice story on his
personal page not long ago saying Hank would announce “Here comes Spider” when it was his time
to do the turnaround.
In 1957 Don Gibson wrote and recorded “Oh Lonesome Me'” and I found his guitar work on this
number a few times which I believe the original solos were Hank Garland. One of my personal regrets
is my age, I always wished I was born about 40 years before I was and to actually get to be a part of
this era of Country Music. I missed out on the greatest era in history and there is no doubt about that.