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Carolina Playboys (WBT)
WBRM Carolina Barn Dance
WBT Charlotte, NC

About The Group

Sonora - Carolina Playboys - Circa 1946 The Carolina Playboys were an informal studio group of Charlotte, North Carolina musicians, most of whom had an association with WBT radio.

They recorded some 28 numbers between 1945 and 1947 that were released on the Sonora label with no individual artist's names attached. Some of Fred Kirby's Sonora recordings included a credit to the Carolina Playboys as backing him.

The personnel included:

  • Fred Kirby
  • Claude Casey
  • Roy "Whitey" Grant
  • Arval Hogan
  • Dewey Price
  • Garnet "Hank" Warren
  • Bill Davis
It may have included Don White (on the first Sonora recording session) and Nat Richardson. Not all of them were on every cut or even on every session. Don White went to Chicago and WLS for a time and could not have been present on many, if any, numbers.

Both Fred Kirby and Whitey & Hogan were already contracted to Sonora. The others were not.

According to Grant who vaguely recalled the recordings at age ninety when the others were deceased, they gathered at a WBT engineer's house where the songs were done (although there were at least three sessions, he seemed to think there were only one).

He seems not to have recalled them at all until the Cattle label in Germany released a compact disc containing 25 of the songs. Grant said that they wanted to call themselves by a different name and did not expect the material to be released but someone—either Kirby or Casey—sent the material to Sonora and the songs were released.

However, the Carolina Playboys apparently never played live shows as a group by that name. Research shows that Fred Kirby did personal appearances in the mid-1940's and advertised his band as "His Carolina Playboys." This time frame would be about the time that the Sonora recordings were done. Research also indicates that there were at least two other groups known as the Carolina Playboys. One was led by Bob Hester and they were over radio station WCBT in Roanoke Rapids, NC or perhaps also in Raleigh, NC. One article caught our eye during research. It seems Hester's group was doing a show for the patients at Roanoke Rapids Hospital. Mr. Hester thought it would be a good idea to dedicate a number, any number for that matter, to the folks in the hospital. But it dawned on him after the show was off the air that he did not pick an appropriate tune to dedicate. The tune was "You Can Only Fill One Grave."

Another group by the same name were playing at radio station WTYC in Rock Hill, SC.

Still another group named the Carolina Playboys seems to have been based in Gastonia, NC. That group included Jack Everhart, fiddle; Ravon Smith, trumpet; George Lecroy, saxophone, Bob Trevarthan, drums; Jimmy Heavner, bass; Plato Haynes on rhythm guitar; Ralph Davis did the vocals and was said to be a Sonora recording artist. They were doing square dances at the Gastonia Armory auditorium.

Sonora - Carolina Playboys - Circa 1946

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 providing us with information about this artist.
  • Dedication; June 14, 1946; The News and Observer; Raleigh, NC
  • Square Dances Back Saturday; October 29, 1948; The Gastonia Gazette; Gastonia, NC

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Recordings (78rpm/45rpm)

Rec. No. Side Song Title
  7002 A Gold On The Rainbow
  7002 B Be My Darlin'
  7005 A Precious Jewel
  7005 B There's a New Moon Over My Shoulder
  7006 A Fort Worth Jail
  7006 B Each Minute Seems A Million Years
  7007 A I Want to Live and Love
  7007 B Plant Some Flowers by My Grave
  7015 A Let's Be Sweethearts Again
  7015 B Forget and Forgive
  7016 A I Can't Believe It's True
  7016 B Baby, You Gotta Quit that Noise
  7017 A I'll Get You Back Somehow
  7017 B So Long to My Little Ole Homestead
  7018 A Don't Cry Over Me When I?m Gone
  7018 B It Makes No Never Mind
  7026 A Divorce Me C.O.D.
  7026 B I Love You Mary Lou
  7038 A I'd Trade All My Tomorrows
  7038 B You, My Love, Will Have to Pay
  7039 A It Takes a Long Tall Brown-Skin Gal
  7039 B I've Got a Feeling Somebody's Stealing My Darling
  7041 A Headin' Home
  7041 B Is There Somebody Else
  7042 A I Traded My Soul for a Rose
  7042 B Then You'll Be the One to Cry
  7044 A All I Have Is Love
  7044 B Nobody's Love Is Like Mine

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