Local musicians to be inducted into WV Music Hall of Fame

·5 min read

Sep. 10—Two musical acts coming from Mercer and McDowell counties are being recognized and inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame in 2023.

The living inductees are Clarence "Fuzzy" Haskins, a McDowell County native, along with his other West Virginian musical partner, Calvin Simon of Beckley.

Haskins was a prominent figure in the funk genre, and many consider him and Simon "perhaps the country's most groundbreaking and influential funk band," according to the pair's biography sent by the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame for the announcement of the inductees.

Haskins and Simon were the founders of a group called Parliament-Funkadelic that made music through the '60s and '70s that was a combination of funk and acid-rock.

Haskins and Simon originally joined a doowop barbershop quintet called The Parliaments shortly after their families moved to Plainfield, New Jersey in the mid- 1950s along with three others.

According to George Clinton's official website for the Parliament-Funkadelic group, the leader of the group was George Clinton who worked at a local barbershop in Plainfield, and he, Simon, Grady Thomas were barbers while Haskins and Ray Davis were their patrons.

Haskins often sang lead for the group during their performances in the back room of the barbershop.

It was after the group got their first hit in 1967 that they temporarily lost the rights to the name The Parliaments, so they then morphed into Parliament-Funkadelic or P-Funk when the original Parliament group morphed with another band.

It was during this time that the group used the names interchangeably in order to distinguish the different styles of music they did.

Also at this time Haskins released his first solo album called "A Whole Nother Thang" in 1976 that featured several P-Funk members, and he released a second solo album, "Radio Active," two years after that as well.

It was in 1978 when Haskins, Simon, and Thomas left P-Funk, and then in 1981 released the album "Connections & Disconnections" under the name Funkadelic.

They also later appeared on "Soul Train" under that name.

Haskins and Simon saw much success in their time as musicians, and were even inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.

They were also given Grammy Lifetime Achievement Awards in 2019.

Haskins is currently living in Michigan, but Simon passed in January of this year.

The deceased inductee is the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers, and among that group are two Mercer County natives, Melvin and Ray Goins.

This will actually be the second time that the Goins brothers will be inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame as they were first inducted in 2013 for their success as The Goins Brothers band.

The two brothers are originally from Bramwell, and Mercer County is where they started playing music.

"Melving and Ray, my two oldest brothers, put together a group, and they would play up above the farm over on Sinai Mountain where they had built themselves a stage in a log cabin," said Donnie Goins, younger brother of Melvin and Ray.

The Goins brothers consisted of themselves, a man Donnie called "Uncle Tom" and Clyde Dylan.

"They got themselves a job at WHIS in Bluefield, and they would go on a morning radio show," said Goins.

It was in 1953 that Melvin went to Kentucky to join the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers to join their cousin Ezra Cline where he took Bob Osborne's place as lead guitarist.

Soon after Ray followed along to take the place of Charlie Cline playing the banjo for the group.

The two brothers were there for much of the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers' success right from the beginning.

"They went straight to Nashville and recorded in '53 'Windy Mountain' at RCA which was the top recording company in Nashville, and Chet Atkins produced it," said Goins.

The album and song "Windy Mountain" was a hit among the Bluegrass genre, and Melvin even later rewrote parts of it and rerecorded the song.

It was after this that Ray took a break from music and moved to Michigan to work at a car manufacturer while Melvin went on to work with Ralph Stanley playing base for him and doing comedy where he would dress as a clown.

"When Ray came back from Michigan, they went back to Kentucky and got their band together as the Goins Brothers, and that's where they left it," said Goins.

The brothers toured and performed for over 50 years together up until Ray's death in 2007.

After Ray passed, Melvin continued playing as Melvin Goins and Windy Mountain up until his death in 2016.

Donnie and Kelly recalled that some of their favorite memories of the brothers include getting to watch Melvin play at The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville three separate time, and getting to be with him while The Goins Brothers were inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame the first time.

Kelly said that his favorite memory was attending the street fair with his brothers and traveling with them for the weekend while they jumped around cities playing shows.

"I was so tired when I got back to Bluefield, I don't know how they did it for so long, but they loved it," he said.

The Goins brothers have been honored in many different ways including being named Honorary Kentucky Colonials by the Kentucky governor, highways named after them in Pikeville and Prestonburg, and they were included in the International Bluegrass Music Museum's oral history Project.

According to the press release sent by the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame, Melvin is considered a "true master of the genre," and according to his brothers, he worked with and helped around 560 different musicians in getting established.

By himself, Melvin has been recognized in many different ways as well.

He was the first Bluegrass musician to be featured on the cover of Smithsonian magazine, inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Association of Fame as a Lonesome Pine Fiddler in 2009, and the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame in 2011.

— Contact Kassidy Brown at kbrown@bdtonline.com.