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Woody Williams
Born:  June 16, 1919
Died:  May 28, 1989
Renfro Valley Barn Dance
KLRA Little Rock, AR
WCHS Charleston, WV
WHAS Louisville, KY
WHIS Bluefield, WV
WJEJ Hagerstown, MD
WSVA Harrisonburg, VA

Elwood LeRoy Williams came into the world in June of 1919 in Boynton, Pennsylvania. Hillbilly music fans came to know him as Woody Williams. Woody's mother passed away in 1936; his father was living in Keyser, West Vriginia around the mid-1940s we're surmising. He had two brothers and sisters. His two brothers eventually were a part of his band. Buddy Williams was the oldest and Jack Williams was the youngest. According to an old folio or picture album of Woody's, he was about 5 feet 11 and a half inches tall and about 194 pounds.

Woody began his career in radio at station WMMN in Fairmont, West Virginia in 1933. That started him on a long musical journey that is said to have taken him to 30 of the then 48 states.

Over the years through the 1940s, Woody had five musical troupes of his own.

  • The Pine Ridge Hillbillies
  • Woody Williams Radio Gang
  • Wonder Valley Gang
  • Home Folks Gang
  • Flyin' X Round-Up

His wife was also part of his musical act. He had a daughter, Karen June by a former marriage. He had another daughter, Barbara Jean.

According to his second wife's notes in a memory album, he played guitar and hot guitar. She said he played in an orchestra for about two years, "...then went hillbilly." He also played bass, tenor banjo, piano, mandolin and harmonica.

Woody traveled a lot from radio station to radio station as many hillbilly music artists would do in that era. For a time, he was with John Lair's Renfro Valley Barn Dance.

Burrowing into our collection, we can perhaps piece together a bit of a timeline of his movements. He tells us he started at WMMN in 1933. Uncle Mose (Lou Emerson) told Mountain Broadcast and Prairie Recorder readers in a letter to the editor that he was hearing Woody and his gang over WHIS in Bluefield, West Virginia while he himself was on the move from WSFA in Montgomery, Alabama.

Around 1945 or earlier, Woody had worked at radio station WSVA in Harrisonburg, Virginia as a fan had wanted to hear more of a female singer that had been a part of Woody's act then, Lottie Biscuit.

The Buddy Starcher fan club newsletter told its readers that Woody was at WJEJ in Hagerstown, Maryland in 1946.

Timeline and Trivia Notes

Group Members included:

  • Woody Williams, lead vocals, guitar
  • Buddy Williams
  • Jack Williams
  • Dotty Williams (second wife)

Credits & Sources

  • Woody Williams Memory Picture Album; No publication data available; circa 1946
  • The Mountain Broadcast and Prairie Recorder; March 1945; Mountain Broadcast Pub. Co., Inc.; 45 Astor Place, New York, NY
  • The Mountain Broadcast and Prairie Recorder; June 1945; Mountain Broadcast Pub. Co., Inc.; 45 Astor Place, New York, NY
  • Starcher's Buddies; September-October-November 1946; Vol. 2 No. 1; International Buddy Starcher Fan Club

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