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George Riddle performing in Nashville on June 28, 1964. Mr. Riddle died July 20, 2014 at age 78. / Joe Rudis / The Tennessean

Country musician and songwriter George Riddle - who founded George Jones' touring band, The Jones Boys, and wrote and recorded several well-known tunes including She's Lonesome Again - died Sunday in Indianapolis. He was 78.

A native of Marion, Ind., Riddle came to Nashville in 1960. There, he soon teamed up with Jones, whose star was quickly rising after 1959's White Lightning, his first No. 1 hit.

Riddle was the first member of Jones' famed backing band The Jones Boys. He was also a solo recording artist throughout the '60s, and toured with numerous country legends on package tours.

Among those acts was The Louvin Brothers - Riddle was on the bill of the Country Music Hall of Famer duo's final concert in 1963, and was riding along in the car when the brothers decided to call it quits. It was a memory he'd later cherish.

"I realized I was in the presence of country music greatness," he told The Tennessean in 2013.

In his later years, Riddle was a frequent sight on stage at the Grand Ole Opry as a member of Bill Carlisle's band. Riddle performed with the Country Music Hall of Famer throughout the '90s until shortly before Carlisle's death in 2003.

In his Opry appearances with Carlisle, Riddle played the ever-affable straight man. He'd say that he'd seen Carlisle around Goodlettsville in the company of an attractive young woman, to which Carlisle would exclaim, "Doctor's orders! He said find a hot mama and be cheerful." Riddle would say, "No, you heard him wrong. He said, 'You have a heart murmur, be careful.' "

After Carlisle's death, Riddle returned to Marion, Ind., where he hosted Classic Country Jamboree, a weekly radio show.

Riddle is survived by sisters Roberta King and Lola (Ron) Miller; daughter Suzanne Fiser of Toledo, Ohio; grandchildren Benjamin Fiser and Jacob (Kelli) Fiser; and great-grandchild Jade Fiser.



Copyright 2014USAToday

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