The Ross County Farmers – 1948 Radio Shows (FRC307)
By Betty Seymour
Phone conversation w/ Betty Seymour 2/27/07 (Sue Goehring)
Visit w/ Betty Seymour 03-08-07 (Lynn Frederick)
Everett Seymour was Lonnie’s brother. He usually played guitar, mostly informally with his sister Helen’s singing. He only scratched around on the fiddle. Not likely that he is fiddling on any of these recordings.
Webb and Minnie Seymour were Lonnie’s parents.
John Seymour was Lonnie’s grandfather.
Milton Seymour was Lonnie’s great uncle and did play fiddle with Lonnie occasionally.
It is very possible that it is Milton playing double fiddle with Lonnie on those recordings.
Everett Steepleton was a distant cousin of Lonnie. He did play fiddle, but Betty is not sure if he played fiddle on any of these recordings – probably not a strong fiddler like Lonnie.
The Ross County Farmers:
11-23-1947 WBEX broadcast, identified by emcee George Klemzer(?): “Lonnie Seymour, violin; Kyle (Karl?) Riley(sp?), five-string banjo; Joe Elliot, electric guitar; Eldon Shoemaker, bass”
12-25-1948 WBEX broadcast, probably as in FRC cover photo: Lonnie Seymour, violin; Joe Elliot, electric guitar; Eldon Shoemaker, guitar & emcee; Claire & Ruby Hunter
Eldon Shoemaker mostly played guitar and emceed with Ross County Farmers
Kyle Riley (sp?) mentioned as banjo player by one of the radio emcees. Betty didn’t think he was a regular player with the RCF, and she wasn’t even familiar with his name—but added that some of the RCF history occurred before she was in the picture, so she couldn’t be sure (Betty and Lonnie got together c. 1950). Betty was also unfamiliar with George Klemzer (sp?)
Lonnie played regularly with the “McCoy Brothers,” brothers Leonard and Alva McCoy.
Norman and Virginia Manson (husband and wife), Bill Barns and “Lonzo”—his was definitely Lonnie (Alonzo is his first name)
Kenny Caplinger occasionally played bass or guitar with the RCF, but usually just in informal situations. Rarely performed with them, if ever. He was a policeman in Chillocothe.
Chum Galligher was an old man that lived way out in the country, whom Lonnie befriended. The two of them went coon hunting together, and Lonnie was always required to play some fiddle tunes with him before he could go home!
Betty had no idea who might have played those fiddle melodies on the electric guitar (most likely Joe Elliot).
Regarding the Scott Landrum Family and Kenny Roberts, Betty said she had heard the names but wasn’t familiar with them or their music. Information on Kenny Roberts can be found here. Perhaps these songs were recorded from Cincinnati or Dayton radio broadcasts, if not from Chillicothe. Born in 1927, Roberts may still be around, as he is listed as an “invited” performer at the 2007 National Traditional Country Music Association (NTCMA) festival in Iowa.
The recordings were each cut into a recording disc on an “Ultratone,” from Audio Industries of Michigan City, Indiana. The suitcase-size machine could record either from an external microphone or from a built-in radio receiver. It was owned by young Chillicothe, Ohio fiddler Lonnie Seymour and used to record home musical performances of family and friends, radio broadcasts of them and others from local station WBEX, and even euchre games and other silliness. Betty Seymour still has the “Ultratone” and recordings at her and Lonnie’s home, just a few houses away from where Webb and Minnie lived.
- Farmers’ Theme – probably home recording of Lonnie and the McCoy Brothers; July 5, 1948.
- Program Opening?”A great big howdy” – RCF guitarist and emcee Eldon Shoemaker, radio broadcast of December 25, 1948.
- Waco – RCF, ibid. On one of Jeff Goehring’s field recordings, Lonnie mentions picking this tune up while serving in WWII. See also FRC403.
- Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain – the Hunter sisters w/RCF, ibid. Fred Rose wrote this in 1945.
- Cumberland Gap – RCF, ibid.
- Address Unknown – Ruby Hunter w/RCF, radio broadcast of April 2, 1947 or 1948(?); (written by Vaughn Horton, Gene Autry & Denver Darling)
- Black Mountain Rag – RCF, radio broadcast of December 25, 1948.
- Way Out There – home recording of Lonnie and the McCoy Bros, July 5, 1948; written by Bob Nolan; recorded by Bill Boyd’s Cowboy Ramblers, Bluebird AMX2-5503, 1936. This and the next two tracks appear to have been recorded in one continuous take.
- Arkansas Traveler – home recording of Lonnie and the McCoy Bros, July 5, 1948.
- Trouble Among the Yearlings – home recording of Lonnie and the McCoy Bros, July 5, 1948.
- Cotton-Eyed Joe – Lonnie, fiddle solo; date unknown.
- Fort Smith (?) – Lonnie, w/unidentified guitarist; date unknown; low part matches the “Fort Smith” Lonnie plays on FRC403; high part differs—variant?
- Sugar Barrel – home recording of Lonnie and the McCoy Bros, July 5, 1948. Favorite tune of Lonnie’s uncle Lon Seymour.
- Tennessee Wagoner – Lonnie, w/electric gtr – possibly Joe Elliot.
- Buffalo Gals – Lonnie, fiddle solo; date unknown.
- Paddy on the Turnpike – Lonnie, w/unidentified guitarist; date unknown.
- (unknown watlz in D) – Lonnie, w/unidentified guitarist; date unknown.
- Stonewall Jackson – Lonnie and the McCoy Bros; date unknown. Kerry Blech remembers Lonnie also calling this tune “Robert E. Lee.”
- Wake up Susan – Lonnie, w/Joe Elliot and Eldon Shoemaker; date unknown.
- Hog Trough Reel – Lonnie, w/unidentified electric gtr & bass; possibly from November 21, 1948. Also known as “McMichen’s Reel.”
- (unknown G-tune) – Lonnie, w/unidentified guitarist; date unknown.
- Stay All Night – informal gathering of family and friends; date unknown.
- Turkey in the Straw – RCF, with Jake Nobel as the turkey; radio broadcast of November 23, 1947.
- Blue Eyed Elaine – Lonnie and the McCoy Bros, July 5, 1948; written by Ernest Tubb.
- Rocky Mountain Goat – Chum Galligher, fiddle, w/unidentified gtr; date unknown. Chum Galligher was Lonnie’s source for this tune, which he fiddles on FRC403.
- Webb’s Tune – Lonnie and (probably) Milton Seymour, double fiddles; date unknown. The tune is from Lonnie’s father, Webster.
- Hell Among the Yearlings – Joe Elliot, electric guitar; RCF radio broadcast of April 2, 1949(?)
- (birthday and wedding dedications) – Eldon Shoemaker, emcee, RCF radio broadcast of April 2, 1949(?)
- White-Winged Angel – The Hunter Sisters w/RCF; radio broadcast of December 25, 1948.
- O.B. Special/Landrum Family introduction – unidentified radio emcee opens the Scott Landrum Family program; date and broadcast source unknown.
- Frog on a Log – Mary Landrum w/Junior & Holland Landrum, guitars; date and broadcast source unknown.
- Blues Stay Away from Me (?) – Bill Hannawair (or Hannawalt?) and Bob Rumbaugh, electric “Hawaiian” guitar w/elect gtr; date unknown.
- (birthday dedications) – Kenny Roberts introduces next track; date and broadcast source unknown.
- With the Bald-Headed End of a Broom – Kenny Roberts; date and broadcast source unknown. Song was recorded by Walter Smith, Posey Rorer and Norman Woodieff in Richmond, Indiana on March 20, 1929.
- March Winds Goin’ to Blow my Blues all Away – Norman and Virginia Manson, Bill Barns and Lonnie Seymour; date unknown. The Carter Family recorded this song December 11, 1934 in Camden New Jersey.
- Tragic Romance – Kenny Caplinger w/gtr; date unknown. Wiley Morris wrote this song to the tune of “Omie Wise” .
- Up the Lazy River – Everett Seymour, guitar and whistling; date unknown. Song written by Hoagy Carmichael & Sidney Arodin, 1931.
- South – Joe Elliot & Eldon Shoemaker, electric guitars; date unknown.
- Lopp Eared Mule – RCF, with Jake Nobel as the turkey; radio broadcast of November 23, 1947.
- Old Kentucky Shore – Kenny Roberts; date and broadcast source unknown. Song unknown at this writing.