Raymond Fairchild (born March 15, 1939) is an American banjo player from the Great Smoky Mountains. He is known for his fast playing, his fancy and intricate picking and his ability of making the banjo mimic both animals and humans.
Fairchild was born in Cherokee, Swain County, North Carolina and learned music, from an early age, from his mother's side of the family. His musical influences also included Earl Scruggs, and Don Reno. When he was young he played for tips at a tourist stop in Maggie Valley. The owner of the tourist stop, Ted Sutton, taught young Fairchild about show-business. When Fairchild wasn't performing he worked as a stonemason. In the mid 1960s, he formed the Frosty Mountain Boys but soon changed the name to the Maggie Valley Boys.
In 1963, Fairchild was signed by Uncle Jim O'Neal to record for the Rural Rhythm label. In the early 1970s, He made a successful performance on the Grand Ole Opry at WSM in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1975, he met the Crowe Brothers, (Wallace Crowe and Wayne Crowe) and together they formed a trio. The bluegrass trio lasted until 1991 when Fairchild formed the New Maggie Valley Boys with his son Zane Fairchild.
Fairchild has won five awards as a champion banjo player and has scored two gold records. He has his own line of banjos, the Cox/Fairchild banjo. Since he is reluctant to leave his home district he is mostly seen at the Maggie Valley Opry House.
- King of the Smokey Mountain 5-String Banjo Players, Rural Rhythm RR-146 (1963)
- Mama Likes Bluegrass Music, Rural Rhythm RRFM 159 (1967)*
- Raymond Fairchild & the Maggie Valley Boys, Rural Rhythm RRMVB 170 (1967)*
- Honky Tonkin' Country Blues, Rural Rhythm RRRF 245 (1971)
- King of the Smokey Mountain Banjo Players, Rural Rhythm RRRF 254 (1972 - Re-issue of RR-146 from 1963, with Drums, Electric Guitar, and Electric bass overdubbed onto the original Mono recordings to create a Stereo effect)*
- King of the Smokey Mountain 5-String Banjo Players, Rural Rhythm RRRF 256 (1972 - Re-issue of RRMVB 170 from 1967, with Drums, Electric Guitar, and Electric bass overdubbed onto the original Mono recordings to create a Stereo effect )
- King of the 5-String Banjo, Rural Rhythm RRRF 260 (1976)*
- King of the 5-String Banjo, Rural Rhythm RRRF 261 (1976)
- King of the 5-String Banjo, Rural Rhythm RRRF 262 (1976)
- King of the 5-String Banjo, Rural Rhythm RRRF 263 (1976)*
- Legendary Raymond Fairchild, Skyline SRO 003 (1981)
- Plays Requests, Skyline SRO 012 (1985)
- World Champion Banjo, Skyline SRO 016 (1987)
An Asterisk (*) denotes LPs which have since been reissued on Compact Discs (See Below).
- Mama Likes Bluegrass Music, Rural Rhythm RHY 159*
- Raymond Fairchild & The Maggie Valley Boys, Rural Rhythm RUR-170*
- 31 Banjo Favorites, Rural Rhythm RHY 254*
- 16 All-Time Favorites, Rural Rhythm RHY 260*
- 15 Gospel Favorites, Rural Rhythm RHY 263*
- 31 Banjo Favorites Vol 2, Rural Rhythm RHY 270
- Smoky Mountain Christmas, Rural Rhythm RHY 290
- The Bluegrass Banjo Collection, Rural Rhythm RHY 294
- 31 Banjo Favorites (The New Collection), Rural Rhythm RHY 324
- Little Zane, Copper Creek Records CCCD 0156
An Asterisk (*) denotes CDs which are reissues of the original LPs (See Above)
- Rehder, John B. (2004) Appalachian Folkways, JHU Press
- Williams, Michael Ann (1995) Great Smoky Mountains Folklife, University Press of Mississippi