I was at a friend’s house in Chapel Hill, one warm day in 1975, listening to WDBS, the Duke radio station where I worked at the time. As often happened with ‘DBS, a great tune came on: “Bottom Dollar,” sung by Mike Auldridge, with Linda Ronstadt singing high harmony. What blew us away, though, was not Mike’s honey baritone, but his dobro playing. It was beyond sublime. We learned the song came from the album “Blues and Bluegrass,” and promptly drove into town to buy it.
Later I gave the album to Ray Simone, to help him prep for doing Mike’s Eight String Swing album cover. It disappeared after that, and many years went by before I replaced it when a double-CD of Mike’s old albums came out. It wasn’t easy to get then. I had to send off to somewhere in Europe, as I recall. Now its at that last link on Amazon. Cheap too, considering.
I actually became acquainted with Mike earlier, when he played with The Seldom Scene. But I had no idea he was so damn good solo until I heard that song, and that album.
A few minutes ago, when I was searching for something else, I ran across this tribute site, which was created just a couple months before he passed away, one day short of his 74th birthday, on December 29. This was bad news. We lost a treasure.
So was his music. Go listen.