Bayless Rose was a Kentucky guitarist and singer who recorded several Ragtime-style Blues tracks for the Gennett label in 1930. His articulate, ‘Piedmont’ picking got him some session work, and his occasional use of a slide is reminiscent of the Memphis guitarist Walter ‘Furry’ Lewis, who had been recording since 1927. Not much is known about Bayless, as there are no surviving photographs and very little documentary evidence beyond his birth records in Booneville Kentucky in 1890. At a time when the Jim Crow laws were strictly enforced, it seems nobody is sure of Bayless’s ethnic origins, but the daughter of ‘white’ Blues player Dick Justice, who was a friend of ‘Bailey Rose’, reported that he had an ‘Arabic’ appearance.
Bayless sings his ‘Original Blues’;
Bayless showed that he was an accomplished guitar player when he recorded four tracks at Gennett Records Richmond, Indiana studios in May 1930, and he returned there the following month to re-record those tracks, and added his instrumental composition ‘Jamestown Exhibition’ and sang his ‘Original Blues’. At the same sessions, it seems he played on some tracks by pianist Cow Cow Davenport, and he was later called in to accompany singer Clara Burston. Clara’s records were issued on the Champion label, but exactly the same cuts were then released on the Superior label, credited to Lucille Brown. Bayless also played guitar on singer Walter Cole’s records around the same time. The economic depression saw record sales fall dramatically, and Bayless did not record again. He would have been an old man when the Folk/Blues revival came around in the 60s, and he passed away in Fayette County, Kentucky in 1986, at the age of 95.