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Sage Riders
WLS National Barn Dance

About the Group

About 1945 or so, the group appeared on the WLS National Barn Dance. Unfortunately, their horses had to stay outside due to space constraints. Dolores and Pauline were sisters and were also known as Polly and Dolly. Harriet was married to Curley. Later on, around 1947 or so, Ray Klein, accordionist, and brother of Augie Klein, another famed accordionist, joined the group.

We turn the pages to 1949 and we find that the group had undergone some personnel changes. Joining the group were Don White, guitar; Red (I'm Donald) Blanchard and Dolph Hewitt along with Ray Klein. As one might expect, Red Blanchard played the role of comedian and also emcee for the group.

Around 1951 or so, the Sage Riders were seeing another change in personnel. Cy Rowley had joined the group, characterized as an 'old time eccentric fiddler' and was a bit of a comedian, this Kentucky native. Don White was still with them, a vocalist and played electric guitar. Don's wife was Mary, a North Carolina native, said to know all about corn bread and fried chicken. (We apologize for those who may be getting hungry browsing some of these pages.) Jimmy Hutchinson was the emcee for the group around this time, as well as playing guitar and bass and handling some vocal duties. His wife had a brother by the name of Dolph Hewitt. Jimmy and his wife had a son at the time, James Steven. Another hold over was Ray Klein, brother of Augie Klein and nephew of Lou Klatt. Ray played the accordion. His wife was Eva DeZurik, who just happened to have two other sisters, one married to Augie Klein and the other to Rusty Gill. Check out the listing for the DeZurik Sisters. Ray and Eva had two kids, Ronnie and Yvonne.

We found a bit of a write up on the Sage Riders themselves in a Cowboy Songs article from January of 1952. At that time, the group consisted of five members: Ray Klein, Wally Moore, Don White, Jim Hutchinson and Jack Taylor.

Ray Klein was their ace accordion man. But he didn't start off on that instrument. When he was eleven, his dad gave him a fiddle. His older brother Augie got the accordion. But whenever Augie wasn't around, he'd sneak a way to try out the accordion. Later, Augie got a new accordion and Ray got the old one and started taking lessons. And the rest is history.

Wally Moore also started out on the fiddle and ended up quite talented on several other instruments. His home was somewhere in Ohio. Then he started working with Pappy Howard's Cleveland Clambake after three years in the U.S. Army. Then became a member of the WLS Sage Riders group.

Don White was also a fiddler. His mother taught him to play that instrument as well as to sing and play the guitar. He did an audition at WOBU in Charleston and got a job doing regular broadcasts. His first professional job was with a group called the Blue Ridge Mountaineers. Later, he went on to work with several other bands and even at Hollywood's film studios before joining the Sage Riders and WLS.

Jim Hutchinson got most of his early musical education from his mom, who was teaching at the conservatory in Beaver, Pennsylvania. But when he was about 13, a person from Arkansas moved next door that played the guitar. Jim took a liking to it and bought his first guitar for all of 50 cents. His neighbor taught him a few chords and along the way, he got determined enough to make a career of it.

Jack Taylor learned to play the five-string banjo from his dad, but he took a bit of time before he decided on a musical career. His previous jobs included stints as a foreman in a sawmill and as a stone cutter. Along the way, he saved his money so he could try his luck as a musical entertainer.

Timeline and Trivia Notes

Group Members included:

  • Harriet Miller
  • Dolores Kendall
  • Pauline Kendall
  • Curley Miller
  • Ray Klein, Augie Klein's brother and married to Eva DeZurik, a sister of the DeZurik Sisters team
  • Ray and Augie were nephews of Lou Klatt of the WLS orchestra, who just happened to be in the business of manufacturing accordions at one time
  • Don White, circa 1949
  • Dolph Hewitt, circa 1949
  • Don Blanchard, circa 1949
  • Jim Hutchinson
  • Jack Taylor
  • Wally Moore

Sound Sample—(RealAudio Format)
How Long Has It Been

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