About The Artist
Frank Dudgeon became known as the "West Virginia Mountain Boy" in a radio and recording career that spanned much of the 1930s and 1940s.
A native of Evans in Jackson County, West Virginia, Dudgeon moved to Perry County, Ohio during World War I to work in a brick and tile plant.
With an ability to play guitar and sing and with Bradley Kincaid gaining fame on station WLS in Chicago, Dudgeon decided to emulate the "Kentucky Mountain Boy." The nearest radio station was in Zanesville where Dudgeon first played, but he soon advanced to WAIU in Columbus and then to WWVA in Wheeling, West Virginia.
In 1932 and 1933, he also recorded a total of eight songs for Gennett that were released on their subsidiary label Champion.
He also had a number of song books sold over the air, one of which was purchased by Henry Ford.
Later, about 1936, Frank relocated to WMMN in Fairmont where he had popularity roughly equal to what he did at WWVA and carried a band for a time. He also played at times over stations in Western Pennsylvania.
In 1939, he made some radio transcriptions. When World War II came along, Frank worked in a defense plant in Cleveland, but planned to resume radio work after the war.
He first went to KLRA Little Rock, Arkansas with former WWVA girl vocalist "Little Shoe" (Alma Crosby). He played briefly at WWVA and WMMN again. At the latter locale in mid-1946, he recorded six more sides with his oldest son Gilbert assisting on electric guitar.
As his earlier work bore some inspiration from Bradley Kincaid, his later recordings were more in a style not unlike those of Ernest Tubb.
Thereafter, Frank worked with Joe and Shirley Barker in the Chuckwagon Gang until 1950 when he retired from music. About 1948, he went to work as an auto mechanic at Three Rivers Motors in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and followed that line of work until his retirement.
Married twice, he had children from both marriages who fondly recalled their father. He maried the former Mildred Kaufman in Newport, Kentucky on December 1, 1919.
Credits & Sources
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