Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Maddox Brothers and Rose

Artist: The Maddox Brothers and Rose
LP: Christmas Time
Song: "Silent Night" 
[ listen ]

I was excited to stumble upon this old collection of country Christmas tunes at Golden Oldies a few years ago, especially since it features The Maddox Brothers and Rose doing a rendition of "Silent Night." But when I got home, I discovered that I'd accidentally left this record in the bins! I immediately drove back to the store to snatch it up, and it's been a favorite for holiday listening ever since. Originally from Boaz, Alabama, the Maddox family rode the rails and hitchhiked westward in 1933 to find work in California during the Great Depression. They picked fruit and worked in vegetable fields for several years while working on their music, which was called "hillbilly music" then, since country music hadn't yet been invented. The family performed on a radio show sponsored by a furniture store in 1937, then won wider acclaim when they performed "Sally Let Your Bangs Hang Down" in a hillbilly band competition at the centennial Sacramento State Fair in 1939. You can read more about The Maddox Brothers and Rose here and here. The bass that belonged to Fred Maddox is currently part of the museum collection at the Experience Music Project here in Seattle, since some folks believe Fred may have used it to play the very first note of rock 'n roll. Don Maddox is the only surviving member of the original family group. He lives in Ashland, Oregon and, currently enjoying a career resurgence, he's been performing pretty regularly around the country (in October Don was at Rockabilly Rockout at the Gold Coast Casino in Las Vegas). Coincidentally, Don turns 92 years old today. Happy Birthday, Don!

[ The Maddox Brothers and Rose ]

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