Norman Wilson of The Primitive Quartet passed away Wednesday after suffering an apparent massive heart attack while hunting with friends in Graham County. Wilson played mandolin and sang tenor for the band since 1973.
The Primitive Quartet began when two sets of brothers, Reagan and Larry Riddle and Furman and Norman Wilson, carried a guitar and mandolin with them on a fishing trip to Fontana Lake. After the fishing trip, with the encouragement of their parents and pastor, they began to sing together at area churches, calling themselves the Riddle-Wilson Quartet.
The Riddle and Wilson brothers went on the road as full-time musicians in 1978. Now called the Primitive Quartet, in honor of the old-time gospel singing that inspired them.
They have recorded several albums and have toured throughout the United States and abroad. The group was the subject of a BBC documentary in 1984, and Singing News has listed them among the top five nominees for its readers’ Band of the Year award for several years consecutively. All but one of “the Primitives” live in Candler.