Dean Webb Bluegrass mandolin master BORN 1937
Born in Independence, Missouri, Dean Webb graduated from entertaining rural honky tonks to playing his mandolin on radio and TV with The Ozark Mountain Boys. In 1959 he joined Rodney and Doug Dillard in bluegrass band The Dillards. A move to Los Angeles in 1962 brought a recording contract and releases including 1968’s electrified Wheatstraw Suite, which blended bluegrass and rock in ways which influenced the Eagles, John Paul Jones and their tourmates The Byrds (Webb also remembered assisting Roger McGuinn’s then-emergent folk-rock group with the vocal harmony arrangement of their version of Mr. Tambourine Man, while Doug Dillard would take his Rickenbacker electric banjo to join ex-Byrd Gene Clark in Dillard & Clark). The Dillards also toured with Elton John, and in the earlier ’60s were familiar to US viewers as The Darlings band on The Andy Griffiths Show. Webb stayed with the group into the ’80s, and took part in reunions thereafter.