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Bill Case
and His Melody Boys
Born:  July 26, 1903
Died:  October 23, 1969
KCNC Fort Worth, TX
KFJZ Fort Worth, TX
KNOW Austin, TX
KTAT Fort Worth, TX
KTNM Tucumcari, NM
WRR Dallas, TX
WWL New Orleans, NO

About The Artist

Bill Case and the Melody Boys made their debut as a trio act in 1935 while on KTAT which later consolidated with KFJZ. They also made appearances as well as used transcriptions and used other names such as:

  • Royal Ramblers
  • Royal Melody Boys
  • Lacy's Melody Boys

Radio Log - Fort Worth, TX - June 3, 1935 - Bill Case and His Melody Boys - KTAT

Radio Log - Fort Worth, TX - September 15, 1939 - Royal Melody Boys - KFJZ

Photo - Bill Case and His Melody Boys - 1948

One of the nice things about researching Bill Case and company is that Floy Case would often mention the group in her columns in publications. Bill was a fiddler. In September 1941, Floy told of a person in Fort Worth who did repairs of old fiddles/violins and one that was done for Bill. She wrote of the home and shop of J. H. Stamps on S. Jennings in Fort Worth. She wrote he was a 'noted violin maker, retired railway mail clerk." In his 'retirement', he devoted his time to making and repairing such instruments. They were popular and in demand. Floy noted, "...are sold as fast as they are made."

Mr. Stamps had blueprints of all famous violins and would make or rebuild fiddles to be as near an exact copy of such names as "Strad," "Guarnerius," etc. Those who played his instruments include both "hillbilly fiddlers" and "symphony orchestra violinists."

He was proud of his work and told Floy that he never had someone enter a contest using his instruments that did not win. Mr. Stamps would give visitors a tour of his shop and its working. Red Steeley, an old time break down fiddler player, winner of many contests, was his assistant. Bill Case was the proud owner of a fiddle that Mr. Stamps had rebuilt by Mr. Stamps. Now one wonders, what happened to Bill's fiddle and more, Mr. Stamps?

A 1941 article mentions their appearance at a reunion of the Case and Webb families that was held near Bronte, TX. "Messrs. Bill and J. C. Case and Homer Hargrove, original Bill Case and his Melody Boys on a local radio station, the group now being known as the Royal Ramblers, furnished music at the reunion in a typical Western setting of moonlight and stars."

Their programs were once heard on KTAT, KFJZ, WRR, KNOW and KTNM. In October of 1948, they were at KCNC out of Ft. Worth, Texas with a show on at 7:15am, Monday through Friday. The transcribed show was billed as "Fiddlin' Bill Case and His Melody Boys". An article mentions that they had been heard across the country via the border radio stations and also on the clear channel powerhouse station out of New Orleans, Louisiana, WWL.

While on KCNC, the group also had a couple of gals that were known as The Melody Girls with them to do harmony vocals. They would also team up with Homer at times to form a vocal trio. Jeaninne and Homer were also recording together on Royal-Tone records.

Homer also co-wrote a song with Ernest Tubb called "I Hate To See You Go" that was recorded by Ernest on Decca records.

In 1945, Floy writes of the group which was not performing at the time. Bill and J. C. Case had been assigned to work in Washington, DC as part of the war effort. Vernon Young found himself in the Pacific Theater in the Philippines.

In December 1945 she told readers that Sgt. Vernon Young was on the second American transport plane to land in Japan. He was stationed on Le Shima (now called Lejima), a small island in Japan in the Okinawa prefecture.

Floy shared another tidbit about the group. They started on KTAT in 1935. They recorded three programs each Sunday that were transcribed. They were then aired over radio station KDNT (about 35 miles from Fort Worth) and heard at 8:00am on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Most in the group were songwriters. In addition to Bill's effort with Ernest Tubb, he also wrote a tune called "Jennie Lou" with Bill Boyd which he recorded on the Bluebird label. Their show was called "Timekeepers of the Air" - seemingly appropriate as some of the group worked in the jewelry store.

When Vern Young finished his tour of duty as a radio operator in Japan, Bill Case and his Melody Boys all got together for the first time since October 1942.

Group members included:

  • Bill Case, fiddle
    B: July 26, 1903 - Belcherville, TX — D: October 23, 1969 - Fort Worth, TX

  • Homer Hargrove, guitar and vocal lead
    B: December 4, 1910 - Tyler, OK — D: November 8, 2000 - Odessa, TX

  • J.C. (John Calvin) Case, electric mandolin, harmony singer
    B: February 6, 1909 - Montague County, TX — D: November 24, 1964 - Garland, TX

  • (James) Vernon Young, bass fiddle (joined group in 1940)
    B: November 28, 1920 - Denison, TX — April 2, 2010 - Fort Worth, TX

  • Norma Jean (Case) Jones vocals
    B: January 19, 1934 - Fort Worth, TX — D: September 16, 2020 - Euless, TX

  • Jeaninne (Hargrove) Slusher, vocals
    B: September 16, 1934 - Fort Worth, TX — D: November 15, 1998 - Odessa, TX

Norma Jean and Jeaninne were known as "The Melody Girls."

Footnotes:
Further research revealed the details of Joseph Henry (J. H.) Stamps that Ms. Case mentioned in her 1941 article. He was born January 20, 1877 in Mount Selman, TX. He passed away on May 2, 1952 in Fort Worth, TX. His obituary mentioned he would sometimes boast that he "...made all the good violins in Fort Worth." The obituary also mentioned he turned out 10 to 15 violins a year as well as 3 or 4 violas. When he passed, several violins were ready to be picked up by customers. His widow, Julia, took over running the music shop after her husband's death. She was born May 3, 1874 in Kentucky and passed away on April 17, 1956 in Fort Worth. Each of their gravestones include an engraved violin.

Albert Lee (A. L.) Steeley was born September 10, 1893 in Scottsborras, AL. He passed away on December 16, 1969 in Austin, TX.

Bill Case - Obituary - October 24, 1969

Credits & Sources

  • Down Blue Bonnet Way; Floy Case; September 1941; Mountain Broadcast and Prairie Recorder; Mountain Broadcast Pub. Co., Inc.; New York, NY
  • Group Back From Reunion At Bronte; September 4, 1941; Fort Worth Star Telegram; Fort Worth, TX
  • Gulf Coast Gossip; Constance Keith; December 1941; Mountain Broadcast and Prairie Recorder; Mountain Broadcast Pub. Co., Inc.; New York, NY
  • Floy Case Reports; Floy Case; December 1944; Mountain Broadcast and Prairie Recorder; Mountain Broadcast Pub. Co., Inc.; New York, NY
  • Down Blue Bonnet Way; Floy Case; March 1945; Mountain Broadcast and Prairie Recorder; Mountain Broadcast Pub. Co., Inc.; New York, NY
  • West of the Mississippi; Janie B. Hamilton; March 1945; Mountain Broadcast and Prairie Recorder; Mountain Broadcast Pub. Co., Inc.; New York, NY
  • Floy Case Reports; Floy Case; December 1945; Mountain Broadcast and Prairie Recorder; Mountain Broadcast Pub. Co., Inc.; New York, NY
  • Floy Case Reports; Floy Case; March 1946; Mountain Broadcast and Prairie Recorder; Mountain Broadcast Pub. Co., Inc.; New York, NY
  • Floy Case Reports; Floy Case; January 1947; Mountain Broadcast and Prairie Recorder; Mountain Broadcast Pub. Co., Inc.; New York, NY
  • Floy Case Reports; Floy Case; February / March 1947; Mountain Broadcast and Prairie Recorder; Mountain Broadcast Pub. Co., Inc.; New York, NY
  • Bill Case and his Melody Boys; October 1948; Jamboree Magazine; Western Song Club; Wm. T. Allen, Editor; Ventura, CA
  • Featured Vocalist; January / February 1949; National Hillbilly News; Mr. and Mrs. Orville Via; Huntington, WV
  • Southwest Air Lanes; Floy Case; March / April 1949; National Hillbilly News; Mr. and Mrs. Orville Via; Huntington, WV
  • Cowboy Songs No. 39 (February 1955); American Folk Publications, Inc.; Derby, CT
  • Down Blue Bonnet Way; Floy Case; September 1955; Melody Trails; Vol. 12 No. 08-09; Ernest Tubb Fan Club; Norma Winton Barthel; Roland, OK
  • Down Blue Bonnet Way; Floy Case; August-September 1956; Melody Trails; Vol. 12 No. 08-09; Ernest Tubb Fan Club; Norma Winton Barthel; Roland, OK
  • Down Blue Bonnet Way; Floy Case; August-September 1956; Melody Trails (Vol. No. 8-9); Ernest Tubb Fan Club Newsletter; Norma Winton; Roland, OK

Recordings (78rpm/45rpm)

 
Royal-Tone
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  1001 A My Happiness
  1001 B Just A Little More Loving
  1002 A When It's Christmas Time In The Valley
  1002 B If I Could Be Alone With You