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Pie Plant Pete
Born:  July 9, 1906
Died:  February 7, 1988
WLS National Barn Dance
WBZ Boston, MA
WEAF New York, NY
WEBQ Harrisburg, IL
WHAM Rochester, NY
WSYR Syracuse, NY
WLS Chicago, IL (1927)
WTAM Cleveland, OH (1929)

About The Artist

Promo Ad - Shorty and His Alabama Cotton Pickers 1938 Pie Plant Pete, whose real name was Claude Moye, was an Illinois native who spent virtually all of his country music career in northern states. A native of Shawneetown, he learned to sing and accompany himself on guitar and harmonica, which often was termed a two-cylinder cob crusher.

At age twenty-one he auditioned for the National Barn Dance at WLS in Chicago and was accepted and took the radio name of Pie Plant Pete, a term used for rhubarb which was often used for pies and was, he thought, easy to remember but hard to pronounce (a tongue-twister).

After two years, he moved to WTAM Cleveland where in 1936 he added a partner Joe Troyan who was known on stage as "Bashful Harmonica Joe." They worked together into the 1950's at radio locales in Rochester, Boston, and Detroit. As live country music on radio began to phase out, Pete worked in children's television.

Like many artists associated with WLS, Pie Plant Pete began his recording career with Gennett and many of his numbers were released on the Sears Roebuck related Supertone label, often under the pseudonym "Asparagus Joe."

He later moved to Decca and the American Record Corporation. While some of his songs were similar to other artists, others concentrated on either nonsensical songs typified by "Did You Ever Hear a Goldfish Sing" or about farmers such as "Farming By the Fire," "Stay on the Farm." "Prairie Home", and "You Wouldn't Know the Whitewashed Stable Now."

Later in 1947, he and Joe recorded twenty numbers for the Process label.

Promo Ad - Shorty and His Alabama Cotton Pickers 1938 Promo Ad - Shorty and His Alabama Cotton Pickers - Rawhide - Sally - 1939

Around 1965, Claude had moved to Illinois. There he had a 15-minute television program over WSIL-TV (Channel 3) in Harrisburg, IL. The logs reviewed indicate that this show began sometime at the end of March 1962. It appears to have run its course by mid-June 1965. He had a 15-minute radio 'personal monolog' on WEBQ in Harrisburg. He finally retired from WEBQ radio and TV on December 31, 1984.

Promo Ad - Shorty and His Alabama Cotton Pickers 1938 He enjoyed some bit of celebrity in the town of Ridgway in the latter part of 1965. He was to be the goodwill ambassador during their annual Popcorn Festival held during September 10-11, 1965. He was the guest of the local newspaper and radio station WVMC.

Columnist John F. Hurlbut tells readers of Claude's visit to radio station WVMC in 1965 as part of the Popcorn Festival events. He sang one of the songs that made him famous — "Eleven More Months And Ten More Days." Mr. Hurlbut thought the song could be reissued and become a hit all of over again.

Pete retired to Ridgeway, Illinois were he ran a little company that created custom jingles.

In 1975, he attended old-timer events at Fan Fair in Nashville.

At the end of 1984, Claude announced he would retired and officially end his long association with radio stations WEBQ and WEBQ-FM in Harrisburg. In addition to his on air program, he also served as an account executive for the station. Prior to that, he had a program on WSIL-TV in Harrisburg, IL. Dave Bard, WEBQ station manager noted at the time, "...Claude Moye has been an asset to WEBQ and can retire in the knowledge he has been a credit to the radio and TV industry and has been afforded the rare opportunity to start his radio career almost at the outset of commercial radio and to see it develop to the advanced point it has attained."

He died several weeks before his 82nd birthday.

Pie Plant Pete and Bashful Harmonica Joe
— Read about their career together by CLICKING HERE.

Credits & Sources

  • WLS Performer Pie Plant Pete Visits Mt. Carmel; August 24, 1965; The Daily Republican Register; Mount Carmel, IL
  • Bits And Pieces; John F. Hurlbut; September 7, 1965; The Daily Republican Register; Mount Carmel, IL
  • Claude Moye Plans To Retire From WEBQ; December 20, 1984; Hardin County Independent; Elizabethtown, IL
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    Recordings (78rpm/45rpm)

     
    Champion
    Rec. No. Side Song Title
      15688 A Hand Me Down My Walking Cane (as Asparagus Joe)
      15688 B When The Work's All Done This Fall (as Asparagus Joe)
      15752 A Boston Burglar (as Asparagus Joe)
      15752 B The Letter That Never Came (as Asparagus Joe)
     
    Conqueror
    Rec. No. Side Song Title
      8446 A Stay On The Farm
      8446 B Don't Try It, It Can't Be Done
     
    Decca
    Rec. No. Side Song Title
      5014 A I'll Remember You Love Me In My Prayers
      5014 B Goodbye My Lover Goodbye
      5030 A Going Down The Road
      5030 B Rosalee
     
    Mel-O-Tone
    Rec. No. Side Song Title
      35-10-14 A Little Mohee
      35-10-14 B The Lake of Ponchartrain
     
    Melotone
    Rec. No. Side Song Title
      6-01-52 A Farming By The Fire
      6-01-52 B I'm Going Back Tu 'Tucky
     
    Montgomery Ward
    Rec. No. Side Song Title
      4987 A Hand Me Down My Walking Cane
      4987 B When The Work's All Done This Fall
     
    Perfect
    Rec. No. Side Song Title
      6-06-52 A Prairie Moon
      6-06-52 B Think Of Mother All The Time
     
    Process Records
    Rec. No. Side Song Title
      512 A The Story Has Ended
      512 B Down By The Railroad Tracks
      513 A That Mother-In-Law
      514 A You Go To Your Church And I'll Go To Mine
      514 B I'm Gonna Ride That Train To Heaven
      516 A Gonna Have A Big Time Tonight
      520 A I Miss You Sweetheart
      520 B Over Yonder Over There
      521 A Come Back To My Heart
      521 B You Wouldn't Know The Whitewashed Stable Now
      522 A Shadows of Night
     
    Superior
    Rec. No. Side Song Title
      2643 A O Jailer Bring Back That Key (as Jerry Wallace)
      2643 B Roving Gambler (as Jerry Wallace)
      2677 A When The Work's All Done This Fall (as Jerry Wallace)
      2677 B Hand Me Down My Walking Cane (as Jerry Wallace)
     
    Supertone
    Rec. No. Side Song Title
      9351 A When The Work's All Done This Fall
      9351 B Boston Burglar
      9405 A Asleep At The Switch
      9405 B Ben Tucker Reel
      9652 A The Ocean Waves
      9652 B Nutty Song
      9667 A Melody of Old Familiar Tunes
      9667 B Melody of Old Familiar Tunes Pt. 2
      9668 A Oh Jailer Bring Back That Key
      9668 B Waiting For The Railroad Train
      9669 A Sand Will Do It
      9669 B The Farmer Song
      9701 A You'll Find Her With The Angels
      9701 B Lightning Express
      9712 A Roving Gambler
      9712 B Good Old Turnip Greens
      9717 A Lakes of Ponchartrain
      9717 B Little Brown Jug


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