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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Maddox Brothers and Rose....Part 1

The Maddox Bros. and Rose

The Maddox Brothers and Rose, known as America’s 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.

Having settled in Modesto, the family developed their musical ability and, in 1937 performed on the radio, sponsored by a local furniture store. In 1939 they entered a hillbilly band competition at the centennial Sacramento State Fair after driving to Sacramento in their Model A. When they took the stage they tore through "Sally Let Your Bangs Hang Down" with rocking rhythms and risque lyrics. They became, officially, California's best hillbilly band.

The brothers and Rose appeared at places such as the 97th Street Corral in Los Angeles.

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."

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.

Fred Maddox played upright bass using the "slap bass" technique as early as 1937. 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.

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."

I love 'em! Ever since I was a kid I've been a big fan.....this list was one of the most fun to put together, and it came from a lot of different sources. I hope you all really enjoy it : )

Almost (radio)
At the first fall of snow
Away this side of heaven
Baby you should live so long
Beautiful Louisiana (radio)
Beautiful bouquet
Breathless love (radio)
Bring it down to my house
Brown eyes
By the sweat of my brow
Careless driver
Cherokee maiden
Chill in my heart
Cocquita of Laredo
Dear Lord, take my hand
Detour #2
Dim lights, thick smoke (and loud loud music) (radio)
Don't hang around me anymore (radio)
Don't let your sweet love die
Dust on the bible
Eight Thirty blues
Empty Mansions
Faded love
Flowers for the Master's bouquet (live Grand Ole Opry 1949)
Freight train boogie (radio)
Freight train boogie
Fried potatoes (radio)
Garden in the sky
Dark as a dungeon
The death of rock & roll/I got a woman


  1. I'm getting a Service Unavailable error on the link.

  2. I checked...I'm having probs getting into 4shared this morning. Maybe I'll load this on mediafire or megaupload if the probs keep up.

  3. Seems to be fine, now. Let me know if it works.

  4. Thanks. Haven't had a chance to get back to it yet, but will this week. I'll let you know if I have problems.

  5. Hi,

    I've just discovered your blog after a web search for Maddox Brothers and Rose. It seems you have a lot of other really interesting stuff so I'll have to spend some time reading it!

    I was able able to download the first groups of MB&R files but the others are unavailable as they were loaded on Megaupload. Have you upload on any other service recently - if not would it be possible to do so? If they are available elsewhere I would appreciate it if you could let me have the URLs. Many thanks.

    Keep up the good work and a happy new year.