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Mulkey Brothers
Renfro Valley Barn Dance
WHAS Louisville, KY

About The Group

The Mulkey Brothers, Ray and Shug, were long time performers John Lair's Renfro Valley Barn Dance. Buddy Starcher reported in one of his 1949 newsletters that the Mulkey Brothers had a five-year contract with John Lair.

In the summer of 1949, the Mulkey Brothers took John Lair's spot at 7:15am over WHAS in Louisville, Kentucky while Mr. Lair was touring the south.

Nicola and Rose Fantetti wrote in 1949 that the listeners responded favorably to their "...swell handling and rendition of the old time montain and folk songs."

As part of the Renfro Valley gang, the brothers were also part of the Glory Land Quartette, which specialized in the old time harmonies on the spirituals and hymn numbers. Rounding out the quartette were Shorty Sheehan, who handled the baritone parts and Old Joe Clark, doing the bass. Shug handled the tenor vocals while Ray did the lead parts.

In one article, we learned that the brothers won their first guitar when they won a singing contest they had entered as a duet act.

For a time, the boys were also part of a group that essentially had the same makeup as the Glory Land Quartette - Old Joe "Speedy" Clark and his Lonesome Pine Boys.

Credits & Sources

  • National Hillbilly News; January-February 1948; Orville W. Via, Publisher; Huntington, WV
  • Buddy Starcher Newsletter; Volume 1 No. 1; January-February-March 1949; Marietta, Ohio
  • National Hillbilly News; July-August 1949; Orville W. Via, Publisher; Huntington, WV

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