Western Swing Personalities-Wade Ray
Historical Western Swing
Historical Western Swing
In the next several issues of
Pencilstubs, I will try to continue my several articles on the history of
Western Swing. Many, many,
have been received directly by me and many more have appeared below the
articles I have written since the October Issue of 2000.
There are still comments being made on the original article because
referenced any time someone just looks for Western
Swing by typing just those two words
a search engine. Well, let’s
It, I love the referrals, and now just thinking of that, I feel I should
continue to add all the information I can find on an interesting subject,
all sources beside all the information I have accumulated over the years
clippings and the backs of old record covers.
Here is another article on a very
interesting person and his band
who did so much for
Keep Posted to This Site!
Ray, Child Prodigy, Fiddler
November 11, 1998
Fiddler, Wade Ray, made his name playing Traditional Country
Western Swing from a very young age but made very few recordings of his own
his lengthy career.
Born Lyman Wade Ray, he grew up in
, and at age four began playing a homemade fiddle his father had fashioned
a cigar box. Within a year, he was touring the vaudeville circuit as the
Youngest Violin Player; he also learned to play tenor banjo and remained
vaudeville regular until his 18th birthday in 1931.
then moved to
and spent the next 12 years as the fiddler, singer, and musical director
Pappy Cheshire's Western Swing group, the National Champion Hillbillies,
he was called to serve in the Army in 1943.
’s group had a morning spot during the ‘30s on KMOX, a St Louis CBS
Upon his return, he joined Patsy Montana and The
Prairie Ramblers for
several years and also recording with the Ozark Mountaineers. Here
is an early picture of the Ozark Mountaineers, from the collection of
also played with them at KMOX.
He moved to
in 1949, where he became a regular on The Rex Allen Show and
appeared in films.
He signed with RCA and released a total of 23 singles from 1951 to
none of which charted.
Red" is perhaps the best known.
However, he made a good living performing residencies in
and played frequent gigs in various
He also appeared regularly on The Roy Rogers Show and The Ernest
Show. Later he moved to
and did session work in the mid-'60s and also recorded his first solo
‘A Ray of Country Sun’ for ABC-Paramount in 1966. RCA Camden
Softly (And Other Country Songs)’
later that year, and in 1967, Ray collaborated with the likes of Homer & Jethro, Sonny Osborne and Hargus "Pig" Robbins
on Down Yonder.
on the West Coast came to haunt him when he decided to move to
, the center of country western. Although he enjoyed gigs on the Grand Ole
and performing with musicians such as Ferlin Huskey and Hank Cochran, he
come up through the
system and had no love loss for the music produced from that city.
coincidence that Wade hooked up for a time with Willie Nelson traveling the
southwest and other areas willing to listen to their brand of music. Nelson
Wade had a number of similarities. Nelson also broke into music while still
also took to knocking him down after his early success. Wade
and Floyd Tillman are said to be Nelson's primary influences and Nelson
remembered his old friend. In
Willie sent an audio tape played at the Wade Ray Fiddle Contest and
Show, an annual event held in
, wishing Wade good luck and suggesting that one day he might attend the
Soon after the 1996 show, Willie sent a limo to Wade's Sparta home
took Ray and his wife Gracie to St. Louis where Wade joined Willie's band
stage for a couple of numbers.
lamented the fact that he was not at his best and the only member of
band familiar with Ray's old songs was Willie himself.
bit of a comeback and in addition to the annual show in
, TRG Studios in
, released a CD of his old songs. For all his pride in the musicianship of
western swing, Wade Ray remained an entertainer first. "When
I'm playing, I try to pick out someone who is really into the music,
feet and all," Wade once said. "But if I see him searching his
for a cigarette and looking bored, I know it's time to change gears."