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Harry (Haywire Mac) McClintock
Born:  October 8, 1882
Died:  April 24, 1957
KFRC San Francisco, CA
KQW San Francisco, CA

About The Artist

Fifty Years From Now - Harry (Haywire Mac) McClintock - 1931 Harry Kirby McClintock, sometimes known as "Haywire Mac" or simply "Mac," had a varied and likely adventurous life and who spent his middle years as a radio and recording artist.

He spent those years singing a wide range of cowboy and humorous novelty numbers, but was probably best known for songs about hobos. A Knoxville native who left home to wander in his teens, his travels seemingly took him to exciting locales around the globe, but he eventually settled in California where he lived for a half century.

McClintock's years of travel spent largely as a merchant seaman took him to South Africa during the Boer Wars, China during the Boxer Rebellion, the Philippines during the Spanish-American War, and England during the Coronation of Edward VII, as well as Australia and Argentina.

Eventually he settled in California in 1903 where he worked most often as a brakeman or switchman for the Southern Pacific Railroad.

After his 1914 marriage to a train engineer's daughter and the 1917 birth of a daughter, he became more settled.

In 1925, he added radio to his resume with regular programs at KFRC and in 1928 singing on Victor discs. While his initial numbers were cowboy songs, "Hallelujah! I'm a Bum" and "The Bum Song" made his reputation. Some of his efforts were released under the name of Mac's Haywire Orchestra.

Haywire Mac and the Big Rock Candy Mountain Book - 1981 He placed a second hobo classic on disc some months later with "In the Big Rock Candy Mountains" which was used on the soundtrack of the movie O Brother Where Art Thou.

He continued with Victor through 1931 although with the passage of time he turned increasingly to comedy numbers.

In July of 1938, KFRC promoted a show called the "Blue Monday Jamboree" on the Don Lee owned station that would feature all KFRC artists. It was to broadcast Monday nights between 9:00 and 10:00pm. The station was claiming that it was the only west coast program "...that has managed by hook, crook, or kilocycle to become an institution. It has taken its place along with marriage, "Skippy," the one-way street, the Pacific Ocean, aloofness to the eighteenth amendment and storis about the traveling man as part and parcel of American life on the Pacific Coast."

The variety show included comedy, novelty musical presentations and soloists "who would shine on any program." "Mac" as he was known then had his "department" all to himself. He "...specializes in hay-wire tunes and old tunes, the older the better. He has made more friends and phonograph records than any other radio artists on the Pacific Coast." His "hay-wire orchestra" included Bill Kelley and Cecil Wright.

Other acts on the show included: Harrison Holloway, the manager of KFRC and ringmaster of the Jamboree. The article goes on "down in the basement we find the comedians." It might be noted that the characters and characterizations might not be viewed through the modern policitally correct prism.
  • Pedro (Euguene Hawes), "the dumb janitor of Seal Rocks and minister extra-pentitent from Mexico"
  • Frank Watanabe (Eddie Holden), an "Oriental gentleman making mud pies with nitroglycerin and powdered fish meal"
  • Professor Hamburg (William H. Wright) - "peeling hard-boiled eggs with a sword"
  • Lem and Lafe (Tommy Monroe and Arnold McGuire) - "two negro boys operating on "Simpy Fitts (Monroe Upton)" with a pair of tin snips"
  • Silas Solomon (Al Pearce) - "hanging by his heels from the fire sprinkler"

Moving up to the 'next floor' are the vocalists it seems.

  • Norman Nielsen, tenor, sometimes actor, sometimes comedy roles, sometimes tragic roles
  • Robert Olsen - romantic tenor
  • Edna O'Keefe - "unmarried and unsophisticated"
  • Juanita Tennyson - KFRC staff soprano
  • Lucille Atherton Harger - mezzo-soprano
  • Margaret O'Dea - "one of the richest contralto voices"

Moving to the 'jazz department' we find:

  • Edna Fischer, painaist
  • Abe Bloom - "joy boy" of KFRC
  • Hazel Warner - blues singer
  • He stepped away from KFRC for a bit, but in November 1933, news reports show that he was back on the air at KFRC with a 15 minute program. It noted that his "haywire orchestra" was a "pioneer in the (radio) field" and "achieved a popularity rarely equalled before the microphone.

    Promo Ad - KQW - SF Examiner - Haywire Mac - 1934 Promo Ad - Oroville CA - Robinson's Corner - Haywire Mac

    Promo Ad - Crystal Theatre - Haywire Mac - Les Smith - Wyoming Cowboys - Salinas CA - 1938 Promo Ad - Red Lion Inn - Marysville CA - Haywire Mac - 1935

    In 1938, he moved to Los Angeles, re-recorded his four most remembered songs for Decca, and apparently tried his hand in films, but with little success.

    Mostly he worked as a night watchman. Eventually, he returned to San Francisco, still sang on occasion, and did some recordings released on Folkways.

    At his death he received a Masonic funeral.

    After "In the Big Rock Candy Mountains" was revived in the movie soundtrack, most of his old recordings came out again on the BACM label in Great Britain.

    Harry married the former Bessie K. Smith on September 8, 1917 in Utah. She was born January 25, 1899 in Utah and died on December 16, 1980. The couple had one daughter, Joan.

    Credits & Sources

    • Hillbilly-Music.com would like to express its thanks to Ivan M. Tribe, author of Mountaineer Jamboree — Country Music in West Virginia and other books that can be found on Amazon.com and numerous articles in other publications for providingus with information about this artist.
    • Blue Monday Jamboree Features All KFRC Staff Artists In Weekly Show; Monroe R. Upton; July 17, 1930; The Sacramento Bee; Sacramento, CA
    • Radio Jamboree Artists To Show; August 12, 1930; The Sacramento Bee; Sacramento, CA
    • 'Mac' Is Back On KFRC Air Line; November 19, 1933; San Francisco Examiner; San Francisco, CA

    Recordings (78rpm/45rpm)

     
    Montgomery Ward
    Rec. No. Side Song Title
      4465 A Billy Venero
      4469 A Trail To Mexico
      4469 B Get Along Little Doggies
      8121 B That Big Rock Candy Mountain
     
    Victor
    Rec. No. Side Song Title
      21343 A Hallelujah! I?m a Bum
      21343 B The Bum Song
      21420 A Sam Bass
      21420 B Jesse James
      21421 A The Old Chisholm Trail
      21421 B Red River Valley
      21487 A The Texas Rangers
      21487 B Billy Venero
      21521 A My Dad?s Dinner Pail
      21521 B Jerry, Go Ile That Car
      21567 A The Man on the Flying Trapeze
      21567 B Circus Days
      21704 A The Big Rock Candy Mountains
      21704 A The Big Rock Candy Mountains
      21704 B The Bum Song No. 2
      21704 B The Bum Song
      21761 A Cowboy?s Lament
      21761 B Goodbye Old Paint
      22003 A Hobo?s Spring Song
      22003 B If I Had My Druthers
      22843 A Fifty Years from Now
      22843 B When It?s Time to Shear the Sheep I?m Coming Back
      23510 A Homespun Gal
      23510 B Note: Not Harry McClintock
      23586 A He Sure Can Play a Harmoniky
      23586 B His Parent?s Haven?t Seen Him Since
      23690 A My Last Old Dollar
      23690 B Note: Not Harry McClintock
      23704 A Sweet Betsy from Pike
      23704 B Note: Not Harry McClintock
      23829 A Bald Top Mountain
      23829 B Note: Not Harry McClintock
      40016 A Trail to Mexico
      40016 B Get Along Little Dogies
      40101 A Ain't We Crazy
      40101 B Note: Not Harry McClintock
      40234 A Fireman Save My Child
      40234 B The Trusty Lariat
      40264 A Can I Sleep in Your Barn?
      40264 B Roamin'
      VI40016 B Trail To Mexico
      VI40101 B Aint We Crazy
      VI40112 A Hobo's Spring Song
      VI40112 B If I Had My Druthers