Hillbilly-Music.com - Keeping Country Music History Alive
Hillbilly-Music Folio Display

James (Froggie) Cortez
Born:  December 5, 1914
Died:  May 1, 1966
WMMN Sagebrush Roundup
WWVA Original Jamboree
WKST New Castle, PA
WMMN Fairmont, WV
WREC Memphis, TN
WWVA Wheeling, WV

About The Artist

James (Froggie) Cortez was a country comic and bass player who worked with various musical groups, most notably Doc Williams and the Border Riders. His skills included singing humorous songs, participating in skits, and demonstrating tricks with his pet monkey Jo-Jo. He later organized his own show and worked out of his hometown of Elwood City, Pennsylvania.

Cortez came from a large family of Italian extraction, being one of fifteen children. He joined the Border Riders at WWVA in the spring of 1938. Doc Williams said it was his first job in entertainment, but he apparently adapted to it quickly and well.

One of his favorite songs was the old 1872 chestnut "Courtin' in the Rain," which seems to make a new appearance in country music circles every few years. He was also good in comical skits with Doc acting as straight man as well as working with Jo-Jo the monkey.

1950s - Charlie and John - Chisholm Brothers 1950s - Charlie and John - Chisholm Brothers

1950s - Charlie and John - Chisholm Brothers

Froggie registered for the draft in 1940. His draft card indicates he was working with Doc Williams and the Border Riders at radio station WREC in Memphis, TN at the time.

He apparently left the Border Riders a short time prior to the World War II break-up of the band. He later worked with another former Border Rider Mary "Sunflower" Calvas at WKST in New Castle, Pennsylvania.

In 1944, Froggie was working with Slim Carter and Brown Eyes on the Home Folks Jamboree on WKST in New Castle, PA.

1950s - Charlie and John - Chisholm Brothers 1950s - Charlie and John - Chisholm Brothers

1950s - Charlie and John - Chisholm Brothers

By 1947 or early 1948, he was doing comedy at WMMN Fairmont, West Virginia and its Saturday night Sagebrush Roundup. He was doing personal appearances with Jake Taylor and his Rail Splitters. They published a song book that included some of the comedy routines that Froggie and Jake would do as well as some jokes Froggie probably told the audiences.

Some Jokes and Humor from Froggie Cortez & Jake Taylor

Frog: I'm just laughing at the funniy sight I saw last week—I saw six men standing under one small umbrella - ha, ha.
Jake: Nothing so funny about that.
Frog: The funny part of it was that none of them got wet.
Jake: You say there were six men under a small umbrella and none of them got wet? How was that?
Frog: Very simple—you see, it was not raining.
She: Where did you learn to sing?
He: In a correspondence course.
She: Well, some of your lessons must have been lost in the mail.
Frog: Oh, he's CRAZY to see you.
Jake: What makes you act so foolish, Frog?
Frog: Didn't you hear about it?
Jake: About what?
Frog: My wife is married.
Jake: Wife is married! To whom?
Frog: Why to me, of course.
Jake: Speaking of wives, would you believe it my wife and I were born on the same day.
Frog: That's nothing, my wife and I were married on the same day.
Jake: You'll tell me something?
Frog: Yes, do you know that hot butter is contagious?
Jake: Hot butter is contagious? Who ever told you that hot butter is contagious?
Frog: Well, it spreads easily doesn't it? Anything that spreads is contagious.
Frog: When you get married, it's best to pay the minister by check. Why? Because if you don't like the bride, you can stop payment on it.
He: Now listen Gertrude! You've persuaded me to come out on this stage and now what are we do do? Just stand here?
She: Why, no! We're going to have a play.
He: A play? What play? Just you and I, and we're going ot have a PLAY? Well, what will the play be?
She: We'll have a play, now let me think! Oh! I've got it. Let's play house?
He: Play house?
She: Yes, let's play house. You be a door and I'll slam you.

1950s - Charlie and John - Chisholm Brothers 1950s - Charlie and John - Chisholm Brothers

Somewhat later he returned to Elwood City and developed his own show.

He married his wife, the former Nellie May Lemmon in 1939—who came from Doc Williams' hometown of Kittaning, Pennsylania. Froggie's obituary indicated that the couple had four children — two sons - Fred and John and two daughters - Mary Catherine (Weir) and Janie (Morrison).

Froggie died at the relatively young age of fifty-one. His wife Nellie was born on August 5, 1918 and died on September 2, 1960.

1950s - Charlie and John - Chisholm Brothers 1950s - Charlie and John - Chisholm Brothers

Credits & Sources

Printer Friendly Version

Artist Lists


Yes, Hillbilly Music. You may perhaps wonder why. You may even snicker. But trust us, soon your feet will start tappin' and before you know it, you'll be comin' back for more...Hillbilly Music.

Hillbilly-music.com ...
It's about the people, the music, the history.