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Jimmy McAbee
and The Lazy River Boys
WAYS Charlotte, NC

About The Artist

The old publications would often include a letters to the editor column as part of their regular features. In the 1940s, that was sometimes how the various regional artists would create their own publicity by writing of what was going on where they were entertaining their audiences. In 1944, Jimmy McAbee wrote about his group, the Dixie Mountaineers who were being heard over WAYS in Charlotte, North Carolina along with his subscription renewal.

The band seemed to be gaining some popularity. Jimmy told the readers that they had a sponsor, Menthe-Mulsion Company of Atlanta, Georgia and the group had just completed a series of 15-minute radio transcriptions that would be sent to about 100 stations. He said that they had already gotten time slots on major stations in such cities as St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Minneapolis-St.Paul, Atlanta and Milwaukee.

In June of 1945, Floy Case wrote tells her readers that she had gotten a letter and picture from Jimmie. At that time, the group had undergrone some personnel changes. Curly Colvard was now playing steel guitar. Carl Norkett was doing vocals. They were still doing transcriptions and sending them on to a number of stations in the south and southwest. Their shows were being heard five days a week at 6:15pm over WAYS.

Jimmie wrote the magazine again two years later. He had finished a stint in the armed services, serving with the U. S. Navy during World War II. We'll have to take Jimmy at his word on this one. Cowboy Music World in one of their issues has him listed as being in the U. S. Army. He notes that the group was now called the Lazy River Boys to better fit the type of music they were playing for the fans. In 1946, Jimmie and the Lazy River Boys were heard twice a day over WAYS. In the mornings, you could hear them from 8:30am to 8:45am and then later in the day from 4:00pm to 4:30pm. Jimmy notes they were receiving a fair amount of fan mail, having once received 2,400 letters over one three-day period. We are going to assume that this was due to some kind of sponsor promotion.

In that September 1946 letter, he provides a few personal observations or details about each member of his band. Pat Patterson had been with him about three years by then and would sing baritone when they did trio numbers. Sam Poplin was a champion fiddle player, having won the title three years running when he was a part of the Royal Crown Rangers. Dewey Price was known as the heartbreaker to the ladies for the way he did the old time love songs. He sang tenor on the trio numbers. Ted Orr did not play an instrument, but Jimmy says he was '...one of the best singers ever heard on anybody's radio'. Roy Rector was a find steel player and invited listeners to tune in and 'hear how Roy walks around on that double neck guitar of his.'

Timeline and Trivia Notes

Group Members (Dixie Mountaineers - circa 1944) included:

  • Jimmy (Curly) McAbee, bass and manager
  • Fiddling Pat Patterson, fiddle
  • Johnnie (Boy) Keziah, mandolin and vocals
  • Lonesome Lonnie Smith, guitar and vocals
  • Bashful Alex Simmons, steel guitar
  • (Pretty Boy) Roy Lear, guitar and vocals

Group Members (The Lazy River Boys) included:

  • Jimmie McAbee, bass and manager
  • Pat Pattersonm, fiddle
  • Sam Poplin, fiddle
  • Dewey Price, guitar
  • Ted Orr, vocals
  • Roy Rector, steel guitar

Credits & Sources>

  • The Mountain Broadcast and Prairie Recorder; 'The Mail Box'; September 1944; Mountain Broadcast Pub. Co. Inc.; New York, NY
  • Cowboy Music World; Vol. 1 No. 4; November - December 1944; Frank Karpinski; Long Island, NY
  • The Mountain Broadcast and Prairie Recorder; March 1945; Mountain Broadcast Pub. Co. Inc.; New York, NY
  • The Mountain Broadcast and Prairie Recorder; June 1945; Mountain Broadcast Pub. Co. Inc.; New York, NY
  • Cowboy Music World; Vol. 2 No. 2; September - October 1945; Frank Karpinski; Long Island, NY
  • The Mountain Broadcast and Prairie Recorder; September 1946; Mountain Broadcast Pub. Co. Inc.; New York, NY

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