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Maddox Brothers And Rose - Honky Tonkin (1949)

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Uploaded on Dec 26, 2009

The Maddox Brothers and Rose, known as Americas Most Colorful Hillbilly Band from the 1930s to the 1950s, consisted of four brothers, Fred, Cal, Cliff and Don Maddox, along with their sister Rose. Cliff died in 1949 and was replaced by brother Henry

The family hailed from Boaz, Alabama, but rode the rails and hitch hiked to California in 1933 when the band members were still children, following the failed efforts of their sharecropper parents during the early part of the Depression. They were a little in advance of the flood of Okies who were to flood the state in the 30s. They struggled to make a living as intinerant fruit and vegetable pickers following the harvest as far north as Washington state, and as far east as Arizona, as well as in the San Joaquin Valley. They often worked from dawn to dusk, sleeping and eating on the ground.[1]

Having settled in Modesto, the family developed their musical ability and, in 1937 performed on the radio, sponsored by a local furniture store. From 1946-1951 the group recorded for 4 Star Records (Hollywood), then for Columbia Records. Some 4 Star masters were leased and released by US.-Decca Records at the beginning of the 1950s. The following quotes are from Rose Maddox. "We were called hillbilly singers - not country - then. No, none of this country music then. People just called us hillbilly... People tell me that I was one of the first women to sing what I sang - country boogie. I guess I was. There was no rock 'n' roll in those early days, before 1955. Only country boogie. My brothers also played that way. We called it country then."[2]

The Maddox's material ranged from the country standards of Hank Williams and Merle Travis, cowboy songs, to the Western swing of Bob Wills, to old-time, folk, and church singing, to jazz, swing, boogie woogie and even a taste of early rock and roll.[3][4]

Fred Maddox played upright bass using the "slap bass" technique as early as 1937.[2] This trademark backbeat, a slapping bass style, helped drive a broad change in popular music, sporting a faster, immediately discernible rhythm that came to be known as rockabilly.[4]

Fred Maddox's bass is displayed at the Experience Music Project in Seattle. "They wanted his bass because they believe he might have hit the first note of rock 'n' roll on it."[5]

The Mayfield Brothers of West Texas, including Smokey Mayfield, Edd Mayfield, and Herbert E. Mayfield, were among the warmup musicians employed by Maddox Brothers and Rose.

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