Shannon County, Missouri
Gene Goforth cracks a smile during the Land of Mark Twain Fiddle Championship in Hannibal, Missouri, 1987. Howard Marshall photo.
Sail Away Ladies
Players: Gene Goforth, fiddle; Bob Black, banjo; Al Murphy, guitar
From the Missouri fiddling anthology, “Now That’s a Good Tune,” (1989). Recorded by Howard Marshall and Margot McMillen in 1987.
Gene Goforth was born into a musical family in 1921 in Shannon County. Gene took to the fiddle with a great deal of determination and by the age of eight was playing for socials and dances. Gene got both repertoire and style from sources like Roy Wolliver, Arthur Smith, Benny Martin, Howdy Forester, and, of course, from WSM’s Grand Ole Opry. Gene worked as a heavy equipment operator in St. Louis for many years, while contributing to the entertainment and learning of young musicians and other displaced Ozarkers. In the 1970s, he toured extensively with Norman Ford and Dub Crouch as the Bluegrass Rounders.