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Big Bob Shaffer
and The Saddle Pals
Born:  November 6, 1917
Died:  October 8, 2005
WLS National Barn Dance
WKNX Saginaw, MI
WLS Chicago, IL
WTOD Toledo, OH

Big Bob Shaffer as he was known was a native of Clarksburg, West Virginia. Not much is known at this point of his early life and career. The 1952 WLS Family Album indicates he did his first radio work in West Virginia. His life was a normal boy's life until his dad brought home a guitar. He practice and study the guitar any chance he got. He was hooked on music.

Like many of his fellow entertainers of that era, World War II interrupted his life. But he was able to take his guitar with him and entertain his fellow troops not only in the United States, but in Belgium, Germany and France.

When the war came to an end, Bob came back and organized a small group that was to be called The Saddle Pals. Moe Berg signed on to play the steel guitar. Curly George played the 'hot fiddle'. And on rhythm guitar would be a guy known only as Smitty. Handling female vocal duties was a gal named Reth (we think it was a typo and was named "Ruth"). Another article in 1950 told essentially the same story but indicated that there was also a fellow named Slim on the bass and Andy on the accordion.

Bob Shaffer and His Saddle Pals were hired on at radio station WTOD in Toldeo, Ohio. An old article indicates the band moved around to other stations in the area as country acts would often do.

At some point, Hollywood discovered the group and invited them to do a series of personal appearances for "Hollywood Productions". This was a theatrical tour with the show entitled "The Best Is Yet To Come."

Radio station WKNX in Saginaw, Michigan contacted Bob and offered him a spot on their station. Bob accepted and started the "Bob Shaffer's WKNX Good Neighbor Show".

He wrote a couple of tunes - "I've Been Away Too Long (My Darling)". The song may have been recorded for the "Donett" and "Hit" record labels. He also wrote "Oh, Why Break My Heart Little Darling".

His fan club was led by Elaine Meyer of Bay City, Michigan back in 1951.

Bob joined radio station WLS in August of 1951. A 1951 Cowboy Songs article that WLS was impressed by audience reaction to his first appearance and invited him back.

By 1951, his band included Roni Lynn of Fremont, Ohio on steel guitar. Smokey Steinmetz of Tiffin, Ohio was playing the accordion. Bob's brother, Slim was playing bass fiddle and doing comedy routines for the group.

Was said to be broad shouldered and stood 6 feet 2. Joined WLS in August of 1951. Sang modern folk ballads in a deep voice. Started his radio career in his native West Virginia. He followed that with stints on radio stations in Michigan and Northern Ohio. He had a wife and two daughters back in 1952.

Credits & Sources

  • Country Song Rounup; No. 6; June 1950; Charlton Publishing Corp.; Charlton Building; Derby, CT
  • National Hillbilly News; Vol. 5 No. 6; July-August 1950; Mr. and Mrs. Orville Via; Huntington, WV
  • Country Song Rounup; No. 11; April 1951; Charlton Publishing Corp.; Charlton Building; Derby, CT
  • Cowboy Songs; No. 16; September 1951; Charlton Publishing Corporation; Charlton Building; Derby, CT
  • WLS Family Album; 1952; Prairie Farmer; Chicago, IL

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