Bill and Mary Reid were an act out of Virginia. Bill was the leader and
organizer of the group and was from Lexington, Virginia. In an old folio
of his, they mentioned that he came from a musical family where his father,
brother and sister were all involved with country music.
His wife, Mary Reid, helped him organize the group in 1951 and was from
the little town of Keezletown, Virginia they said. She got her start in
the entertainment business, singing over a local radio station in her home
town with her sister. Quite an accomplished artist in her own right, she
was named "Queen of Viriginia Country Music Singers" for three years
at the annual Virginia Folk Music Festival held in Blackstone. She and Bill
got married on December 5, 1945.
they were performing for their audiences over radio station WFLO out of Farmville,
Virginia every day at 11:30am. They were said to have a 'home-spun' show that
featured old-time country pickin' and singin', heart songs, gsopel tunes
and novelty numbers as well.
Their show then was aired over a network of Virginia stations. They were also
known as the "Shenandoah Valley Sweethearts" as they were both born and raised
in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and had been married for nearly ten years
by the time we found an article about them in 1953. Their radio careers were also
about ten years time by then, too.
At one time, we also found that they had a television show that aired over
WLVA-TV, Channel 13.
Curley Garner, who played electric guitar for the group off and on over a period
of years, was from Robbins, NC. He married the former Louise Stevens of Lovingston, Virginia.
Another member of the band, Joe Meadows played fiddle with the Bill Monroe group
on the Grand Ole Opry before he joined the Melody Mountaineers. He married
a gal by the name of Carolyn Trent of Charlotte County, Virginia.
Curley Lambert played mandolin for the group and was from a town called
Brodnax, Virginia. He married Shirley Woods of Farmville, Virginia.
Bill also wrote many of the
tunes the Melody Mountaineers recorded such as:
- Blue Ridge Waltz
- In the Valley
- You're Stepping Out On Me
- Sweet Lovin' Man
Timeline and Trivia Notes
Group Members included:
- Bill Reid, rhythm guitar, bass fiddle, vocals
- Mary Reid, bass fiddle, vocals, guitar
- Curley Gardner, electric guitar, vocals
- Swanson Walker, banjo
- Joe Meadows, fiddle
- Curely Lambert, mandolin, guitar, bass fiddle
Credits & Sources
- Cowboy Songs No.28; September 1953, American Folk Publications, Inc.;
- a folio of Bill and Mary Reid and the Melody Mountaineers, cover missing;
provided courtesy of Dick Hill, former country music artist and disc jockey
now retired and country music historian