Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mac and Slim Split- The Grand Ole Opry 1936


On the left you can see the performers on the 1936 Grand Ole Opry (click to enlarge). I'm not positive but it look like Mac is on the front row (Third from far right) seated with his fiddle.

Slim Byant and McMichen briefly parted ways in fall of 1936. With Mac's blessing he took Loppy, Jack Dunigan, Kenny Wallace, and another fiddler and dubbed themselves Slim, Jack and the Gang. Slim went back in St. Louis and appered on KWK radio.

According to Slim the group went briefly back to Louisville, then in early '37, Slim's band returned to Pittsburgh and KDKA. In Pittsburgh they teamed up with singer/fiddler Kenny Newton then returned to Louisville during the summer.

Meanwhile McMichen reorganized the Wildcats with bassist Bucky Yates, a highly talented young fiddler from Kokomo, Indiana named Carl Cotner and guitarist Blackie Case. By the fall of 1936 McMichen and his new Wildcat line-up which was now, Carl Cotner, Red Penn, Joe Bowers, Blackie Case were in Nashville where they landed a spot on the Grand Ole Opry.

"The Opry didn't pay much," said Juanita McMichen Lynch, "so they had to do road shows and hurry back to the Opry to play on radio. It wasn't long before Daddy gave up on it- he was losing money playing there."

Juanita remembers moving to Nashville and going to school there in the fall. The Wildcats were headquartered in Nashville until the Spring of 1937 when the Ohio River flooded. In 1937 a young guitarist named Merle Travis joined the group. They moved to Covington, KY across the river fron Cincinnati where they appeared on WLW. [See: earlier blogs on Merle Travis]

More to come,


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