Credited as writer or co-writer of more than 100 songs, instrumentals, and arrangements, including:

  • “Along the Way”
  • “Border Incident”
  • “Bringing Mary Home”
  • “A Cold Wind A’Blowin’”
  • “Don’t Bother with White Satin”
  • “Hills and Home”
  • “This World’s No Place to Live (But It’s Home)”
  • “Travelin’ Dobro”
  • “Victim to the Tomb”

Early Influences

  • Bill Monroe
  • Flatt & Scruggs
  • Stanley Brothers
  • The Osborne Brothers & Red Allen

From the Archives

“He told me that he had heard my music before and that my recording of ‘Mary Dear’ [1957] was one of the reasons he had decided that he wanted to play music. John told me that after he had heard the mandolin, he went to the local music store and looked at the instruments and said: ‘I’ll take that one!’ He bought it, took it home, and just hoped that he could figure out what to do with it.”
Bill Clifton, quoted in Rienk Janssen’s liner notes to “Bill Clifton: Around the World To Poor Valley,” Bear Family Records, 2001.
“We’re not mountain boys. We’re gentlemen.”
Quoted in Richard Harrington, John Duffey obituary, Washington Post, December 11, 1996
“When I first met him in 1958, he wouldn’t talk on stage, he wouldn’t say a word – he couldn’t do the MC work or anything. Charlie [Waller] and I did that the first year or so, but slowly, a word here and a word there came, until we couldn’t control him any more.”
Eddie Adcock, quoted by Jon Weisberger in liner notes to John Duffey: Always in Style, Rounder Records, 2000.