Doc Williams made his first appearance on the WWVA Jamboree back
in December of 1937. He's the oldest living regular member of the Jamboree
and still a favorite of the fans. It didn't take him long to capture
the hearts of the fans - in 1938 he won the distinction as the station's
most popular act.
His band the Border Riders were there when he joined - back then it included
"Rawhide" Flincher, his brother Cy Williams, Sunflower and Curly Sims.
Before Doc and the Border Riders made it to WWVA, he made a few stops. He grew
up in the small towns of Pennsylvania. Doc and his brother played locally in the
Kittaning area until Doc went back to Cleveland in 1932 and joined a group
called Doc McCaulley and his Kansas Clodhoppers, where Doc learned a lot
about the music of the West Virginia mountains.
It wasn't long til Doc
formed his own group called the Allegheny Ramblers. That group had his
brother Cy (real name Milo) on fiddle and Curley Sims on mandolin while Doc
handled guitar and harmonica.
Around 1935, Doc and his group went to radio station KQV in Pittsburgh and
also changed their name to the Cherokee Hillbillies. Shortly after that
they met up with a female singer named Billy Walker and became the Texas
Longhorns. She left for WWL in New Orleans in 1937. Doc and his group,
regrouped so to speak and then became the Border Riders. It was at this time,
Cowboy Doc (as he was known then) took the surname of Williams, too.
Later on, Doc also started his own record label, Wheeling Records. And opened
a store in Wheeling across from the Capitol Music Hall . In fact, his wife, Chickie had quite a hit
with "Beyond the Sunset" that included a poem called "Should You Go First"
back in 1947.
Timeline and Trivia Notes
- Real name was Andrew Smik; from Cleveland, Ohio
- Founded Wheeling Records
- Started "Doc Willams Country Store" in Wheeling
Border Rider members included:
- Doc Williams
- Curley Sims
- Doc's brother, Cy
- Sunflower (real name Mary Calvas (who was also married to Cy)
- Hamilton "Rawhide" Flincher, who played a comedian role
- Big Slim (Harry C. McAuliffe) joined in December 1937 as vocalist
- James "Froggie" Cortez later took over for Rawhide in comedy
- Marion Martin, accordion player was added later, too
- Doc's wife, Chickie (real name Wanda) filled in for Sunflower
when needed and eventually held that role permanently and became a star
in her own right
- Shorty Godwin appeared as Hiram Hayseed for a stint, too in the comedy role.
Related Web Links
|Sound Sample(RealAudio Format)