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Hoosier Sod Busters
WLS National Barn Dance

About The Group

It was reckoned that the Hoosier Sod Busters played the largest and the smallest harmonicas in the world back then. One was said to be the size of your little finger. And the other one, both had to carry. They wrote back then it only proves if you work hard enough at something, you'll get somewhere with it. They were quite adept with the harmonicas and would sometimes change instruments as many as three times in a single tune! Later on they kept at it and sometimes you'd see them use four or five harmonicas during a song.

The boys were well travelled around the midwest, making many personal appearances.

The group was also a part of Chicago television history. Back on March 30, 1939, Howard, Reggie and Rusty appeared on the first television broadcast in Chicago. They said the experimental telecast was received all of 18 miles from the television transmitter.

Both of the boys were Hoosier natives. But then, we kinda figured that.

Around 1939, they added two members to the group. One, Rusty Gill, later became a solo artist in his own right. With the addition of those two, they said the group could make a few harmonicas sound like a '15-piece orchestra'.

Sometime between 1939 and 1941, Jack McCoy left the group. Reggie was said to have one of the 'largest harmonica collections in the world.' And once in a while, he'd play one that was nearly four feet long!

Timeline and Trivia Notes

Group Members included:

Members of this group:

  • Reginald Cross
  • Howard Black
  • Jack McCoy - joined around 1939
  • Rusty Gill - joined around 1939
  • Gene Colin, around 1947

Other notes:

  • Howard got married around 1936-37 to Billie Flannery, one of the Flannery Sisters.

Appearance History This Month

 
September 8, 1935
Wuerth Theatre
Ypsilanti, MI
WLS Merry-Go-Round
 
September 9, 1935
State Theatre
Kalamazoo, MI
WLS Round-Up Show
 
September 10, 1935
State Theatre
Kalamazoo, MI
WLS Round-Up Show
 
September 12, 1935
Eagle Theatre
Wabash, IN
WLS Parade Show
 
September 13, 1935
Miami County Fair
Converse, IN
WLS Barn Dance
 
September 15, 1935
The Mart
Muskegon, MI
WLS National Barn Dance
 
September 17, 1935
Civic Auditorium
Grand Rapids, MI
WLS National Barn Dance
 
September 18, 1935
Oakland Theatre
Pontiac, MI
WLS Barn Dance (1935 Edition)
 
September 21, 1935
Lewanee County Fair
Adrian, MI
WLS National Barn Dance
 
September 22, 1935
Rossi's Park
Braidwood, IL
WLS National Barn Dance
 
September 25, 1935
Winnebago County Fair
Oshkosh, WI
WLS Merry-Go-Round
 
September 7, 1936
Douglas Park
Rock Island, IL
WLS Barn Dance
 
September 8, 1936
Sandusky County Fair
Fremont, OH
WLS Barn Dance
 
September 10, 1936
Dodge County Fair
Beaver Dam, WI
WLS Artists
 
September 11, 1936
Allamakee County Fair
Waukon, IA
WLS Barn Dance
 
September 13, 1936
Ilgair Park
Chicago, IL
WLS Barn Dance
 
September 18, 1936
Miamia County Fair
Converse, IN
WLS Merry-Go-Round
 
September 2, 1937
Whiteside County Fair
Morrison, IL
WLS On Parade
 
September 3, 1937
Blakes Prairie Fair
Bloomington, WI
WLS On Parade
 
September 3, 1937
Blakes Prairie Fair
Bloomington, WI
WLS On Parade
 
September 5, 1937
Kewaunee County Fair
Luxemburg, WI
WLS National Barn Dance
 
September 5, 1937
Kewaunee County Fair
Luxemburg, WI
WLS National Barn Dance
 
September 6, 1937
Dickinson County Fair
Norway, MI
WLS National Barn Dance
 
September 6, 1937
Dickinson County Fair
Norway, MI
WLS National Barn Dance
 
September 9, 1937
Shawano County Fair
Shawano, WI
WLS National Barn Dance
 
September 10, 1937
Crawford County Fair
Gays Mills, WI
WLS Roundup
 
September 10, 1937
Crawford County Fair
Gays Mills, WI
WLS Roundup
 
September 12, 1937
Marinette County Fair
Wausaukee, WI
WLS National Barn Dance
 
September 12, 1937
Marinette County Fair
Wausaukee, WI
WLS National Barn Dance
 
September 14, 1937
Burnette County Fair
Webster, WI
WLS National Barn Dance
 
September 17, 1937
Wayne County Fair
Wooster, OH
WLS National Barn Dance
 
September 17, 1937
Wayne County Fair
Wooster, OH
WLS National Barn Dance
 
September 19, 1937
Amherst Agricultural Fair
Lynchburg, VA
WLS Barn Dance Show
 
September 19, 1937
Amherst Agricultural Show
Lynchburg, VA
WLS Barn Dance Show
 
September 20, 1937
Grand Opera House
Buckhannon, WV
WLS Barn Dance Show
 
September 20, 1937
Grand Opera House
Buckhannon, WV
WLS Barn Dance
 
September 21, 1937
Lorain County Fair
Elyria, OH
WLS Barn Dance Show
 
September 21, 1937
Lorain County Fair
Elyria, OH
WLS Barn Dance Show
 
September 22, 1937
Strand Theatre
Lansing, MI
WLS On Parade
 
September 22, 1937
Strand Theatre
Lansing, MI
WLS On Parade
 
September 23, 1937
Charbell Theatre
Rochester, IN
WLS Barn Dance Show
 
September 23, 1937
Charbell Theatre
Rochester, IN
WLS Barn Dance Show
 
September 26, 1937
Butcher Brothers Mar Theatre
Wilmington, IL
WLS Smile-A-While Show
 
September 26, 1937
Butcher Brothers Mar Theater
Wilmington, IL
WLS Smile-A-While Show
 
September 27, 1937
Criterion Theater
Poplar Bluffs, MO
WLS On Parade
 
September 27, 1937
Criterion Theater
Poplar Bluffs, MO
WLS On Parade
 
September 28, 1937
Mississippi County Fair
Blytheville, AR
WLS On Parade
 
September 28, 1937
Mississippi County Fair
Blytheville, AR
WLS On Parade

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