LYLE & DORIS MAYFIELDAlbum Page
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The story of the Mayfield family music began in the middle thirties when Lyleís mom purchased him a 25-cent harmonica. She turned to the seven-year-old and said, "Learn to play it, son. I like French harp music."
Next came the acquisition of a six-dollar, used guitar. The friend he bought it from showed Lyle three chords. Eight months later the friendís band had a new guitar player.
In 1950, Doris Mindrup became Mrs. Mayfield. Less than a year later the couple were doing their own radio show on WSMI in Litchfield, Illinois, as the "Bond County Sweethearts."
Over the course of their career, the Mayfields appeared at hundreds of festivals, picnics, shows, church activities, benefits, square dances and plain old jam sessions. Some of the high spots included bookings at the Olde Towne School of Folk Music in Chicago (where they opened for bluegrass legend Bill Monroe), The Arkansas Folk Festival (sharing the stage with Jimmy Driftwood-the composer of "The Battle of New Orleans" and "Tennessee Stud"), The Lincoln Jamboree in Kentucky, Illinois State Fair, The Smithsonian's Bi-Centennial Folk Festival in Washington DC (1976) and various other functions from Kansas City to Grand Rapids to St. Louis to Indianapolis to Battle Ground, Indiana.
Starting with their first 45rpm single in 1964, the Mayfields recorded two 45rpm singles and more than 100 albums. They also contributed to several other albums for various folk music groups around the country. In 1963, they cut five bands on an album of folk music produced by the Campus Folksong Club at the University of Illinois. It was titled "Green Fields of Illinois." From this Lyle came up with the inspiration for the song "Green Fields of Illinois." It became their theme song and is the title piece for their 1976 LP "Green Fields Re-Visited."
From a repertoire of songs numbering in the thousands, the Mayfields performed music ranging from folksongs to popular tunes of the 30s and 40s to classic country to down home gospel. They supplemented this with many of their own original compositions. They played a variety of instruments, several of which Lyle designed and built. Among those invented by Lyle were the Guitalin and the Guinjo.
In the early 2000s, Lyle began working with his oldest grandson Ryan Smith (a sound engineer) to restore and preserve the entire Mayfield family music library for the digital age. This project led to the launch in 2005 of www.greenfieldrecords.com as the repository for the entire Mayfield family recorded legacy. Since Lyle's death in 2012, Ryan has continued preserve the family library of nearly 1,000 archival tapes. Over time it is the goal to see as many of these tapes as possible made available to the public through digital downloads.
Additionally, the Mayfields' youngest grandson Nathan Smith has continued the legacy of instrument-building by launching the Mayfield Music Company (www.guitalin.com) to continue the line of Guitalins and Guinjos first pioneered by Lyle.