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Captain Stubby and and the Buccaneers
WLS National Barn Dance
WDAN Danville, IL
WLS Chicago, IL
WLW Cincinnati, OH

About The Artist

Captain Stubby's Buccaneers were a group of five country boys were in the United States Navy together and when they got out of the service, they had some ideas about entertainment. They appeared on WLS around the early 1950s and were known to do good music and some great comedy effects. They also did well in more serious tunes as noted by their "Hymn Time" program.

They were know for some hilarious comedy routines and the versatility they showed with the fifteen different musical instruments to go along with their vocal harmonizing.

Captain Stubby started his first musical group when he was just in high school. Later, when attending at Indiana State College, he met Jerry Richards and persuaded him to change from "long hair" to novelty tunes. As a team, they won their college theatre's contest. That summer, "Tiny" Stokes joined them to make it a trio.

A Cowboy Songs article in 1952 shed some more details about how the group came about. Captain Stubby was a freshman at Indiana Central College and happened to hear a sound of clarinet that captivated him. It was being played by Jerry Richards. Stubby at the time was playing a variety of instruments, including a 'gizmo' that was basically a washboard. They began tinkering with some of the classical tunes. Eventually three others joined Stubby and Jerry, and they became the talk of the campus.

World War II came along and all three of them joined the Navy. There, they met Tony Walberg and then they had a foursome. It wasn't too long before they met Sonny fleming and he became the fifth member. The group appeared on the "Meet Your Navy" radio program. They toured the USA and overseas, and got a lot of laughs wherever they went and brought a great deal of cheer to the folks at the hospitals they visited.

Tiny Stokes joined the group after the other fellows had seen him in action at a personal appearance in Frankfort, Indiana. He was singing 'Freight Train Blues' at the time and got their immediate attention. Later, he accepted their offer to join the group.

Later on, they were sponsored by a midwestern livestock feed company and did personal appearances at various business functions in the sales territory of the company. It wasn't too long before the company got them a gig on radio station WDAN in Danville, Illinois and that gave them their start in radio.

They spent about 18 months at WDAN, then moved to the powerhouse WLW station in Cincinnati, Ohio. They stayed there until World War II broke out and rather than wait, they enlisted as a group. But only three of them were accepted by the U.S. Navy.

When they got their discharge from the Navy, they returned to WLW for a time, but due to the following they had gained while in the Navy, they wanted to try other venues. They moved to New York City for a time and started appearing at the Village Barn in New York. While seemingly enjoying the popularity on the east coast, their hearts were evidently still in the Midwest. In 1949, they moved back to Chicago and became a part of the WLS National Barn Dance. They also had a few other shows over WLS during the week in addition to their popular appearances on the Barn Dance each week.

Captain Stubby had a gimmick with his singing and was known as "...the lad with many voices." Even as far back as the age of ten, he had learned how to go from falsetto to foghorn range, a gimmick he used to great advantage and entertainment of the audiences in the tunes they did.

Timeline and Trivia Notes

Group Members included:

  • Captain Stubby (real name Tom Fouts)
  • Tiny (Dwight) Stokes
  • John (Sonny) Fleming
  • Tony Walberg
  • Jerry Richards

Credits & Sources

  • Cowboy Songs No. 18; January 1952; American Folk Publications, Inc.; Charlton Building; Derby, CT

Recordings (78rpm/45rpm)

Rec. No. Side Song Title
  46149 A Money, Marbles And Chalk
  46149 B Tennessee Tears
  46168 A Come, Wet Your Mustache With Me
  46168 B Country Boy
  46196 A Grandma Got To California
  46196 B Beyond The Sunset
  46265 A Beautiful Morning Glory
  46265 B Helegged Hilegged
  46321 A God Put Rainbow In The Clouds
  46321 B The Gentle Carpenter Of Bethlehem
  46384 A Every Time I Wanna Little Kiss
  46384 B Girl In The Gilded Picture Frame
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  12003 A Concert In The Park
  12003 A Concert In The Park
  12003 B Henny Penny (My Black Hen)
  12003 B Henny Penny
  12004 A Meet Me Tonight In The Cowshed
  12004 B Terrible Terry The Termite
  12005 A Piccolo Pete
  12005 B Alexander's Ragtime Band
  12006A A Brazen Little Raisin
  12006B A Wahoo
  1205 A Dum Dot Song
  1205 B Buffalo Gals
  1254 A Pecos Bill
  1254 B Goodbye