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The Broncho Busters
WGLC Hudson Falls, NY
WGY Schenectady, NY
WIBX Utica, NY
WOKO Albany, NY
WPTR Albany, NY
WSNY Schenectady, NY
WTRY Rennsalaer, NY

About The Group

One of the earliest country and western / hillbilly music groups to be broadcast in Vermont and upstate New York was Cliff Japhet's first band that he helped co-found, The Broncho Busters.

They appeared on the air on such shows as the Major Bowes Network radio program out of New York City and on the Fred Allen Town Hall Tonight program. The group played on various stations in that area, such as:

  • WTRY Renssalaer, New York
  • WSNY Schenectady, New York
  • WOKO, Albany, New York
  • WIBX, Utica, New York
  • WGLC
  • WPTR
  • WGY

Over the air waves, you may have heard their theme song (that Cliff Japhet wrote) and opening of their show that went a bit like this...

Greetings to all you people
So far away and yet so near;
  We can make you smile
  So tune us on your dial
We promise to fill your hears with cheer...
If you've a fav'rite you'd like to hear us play
  We'll do our darndest to chase your blues away...
  Just send it to The Broncho Busters...

In 1938, Cliff remembers that The Broncho Busters had a Saturday night show each week from the huge Grange Hall in Peru, New York just a few miles from Plattsburgh. The show was aired over radio station WMFF from 8:00pm to 9:00pm. After 9:00pm, round and square dancing was the entertainment the rest of the evening. Appearing on the show with the Broncho Busters were different artists and amateurs appearing in the area at the time.

Later on they hit the road and were broadcasting on WMFF out of Plattsburgh, NY. The group made personal appearances with other name entertainers of that era through the WGY agency of talent. Names such as Vernon Dalhart, the legendary Country Music Hall of Famer who had the first million selling country music record, Marc Williams, Doc Schneider and his Texas Yodeling Cowboys, The Banjoleers from Radio City and more.

Broncho Busters Show Date - 1935

Cliff related a story of one of their personal appearances. Their Fiddler Lyman Meade, one of the original Broncho Busters, used to lay the fiddle on his arm while playing it, instead of under his chin, especially when he was tired.

Quite often he would appear to be asleep, for he would be playing with his eyes shut. Well, Cliff says that they would all be quite tired for that matter. The Broncho Busters used to put in some long hours on the Radio and on the road then play late into the wee hours of the morning.

The Broncho Busters were playing at The Moose Club of Johnstown, New York. The club had no stage, so the band was set up at one end of the dance floor. One microphone served the purpose in those days, which was sometime in l936.

Lum was playing close to the microphone while folks were square dancing right in front of the band. Lum was playing of course in the manner describe above, his eyes were shut, the fiddle on his arm, etc. The square dancers had done a "Grand Right & Left" around the set, and returned to their original positions. The lady in front of him was being swung around by her partner and her dress had puffy, lace-like sleeves on it. As she was being swung around, the lacelike material which had quite large openings in it, caught onto one of the fiddle's tuning keys and snapped that fiddle right off from Lum's arm.

Needless to say Lum snapped to attention real fast, and saw his fiddle billowing out and around this girl. (Cliff's not sure but it could also have been the skirt of her dress that had caught on to the fiddle.)

At any rate Lum stood with his hands poised and ready, and the next time it came around he grabbed it and thus saved it from possible damage. But what about the girl's dress? Cliff doesn't recall. And we might wonder, how did she keep dancing without noticing that suddenly she had something new attached to her dress? Or was the music that good and in concentrating on the dance moves? Cliff recalls that this was one of several funny instances that he would never forget. "It couldn't have been done like that if you had tried," said Cliff

Timeline and Trivia Notes

Group members included:

  • Cliff Japhet, trumpet, guitar
  • Blondy (Elwin) Harris, piano
  • Lum (Lyman) Meade, fiddle, banjo
  • Mel (Melvin) Nellis, guitar
  • Putch (Allen) Morley, banjo
  • Other group members in later years:
    • Ken Waite

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