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Cherokee Jack and The Rhythm Ridin' Wranglers
Born:  July 11, 1908
Died:  September 25, 1993
KMO Tacoma, WA

Cherokee Jack had a show that aired every Monday through Saturday over KMO in Tacoma, Washington that mixed playing recordings and live music. They had a regular live Thursday night television show over KMO-TV called the "Lucky Channel 13 Roundup". We found later that the show had a heft Hooper rating of 8.6 at one time. The group started at KMO in 1945 judging by an article in 1948 that said they had been there for three years. Cherokee Jack also had three other shows during the week in addition to his 'live' broadcasts.

He was born in Oklahoma but raised in North Carolina. He was a bit of a rodeo specialist, doing riding and breaking horses before he became an entertainer.

His career goes back to the early days of the Sons of the Pioneers and he performed with the famed western stars of the day in California. Later on, he worked with other well-known stars such as Stuart Hamblen's group, Merle Lindsay's Oklahoma Night Riders, the Spade Cooley and Ray Whitley bands. On top of that, he took a break from singing and did some acting with companies in Denver, appearing in performances as what they termed a drama 'heavy'.

Cherokee Jack was discharged from the marines because of a severe back injury. At that point, he took over Jack Guthrie's old group and held the group together during the time Guthrie was overseas. The plan was that Jack Guthrie would take over the lead role again when he got back and returned to civilian life. However, that wasn't to be as Jack became ill and was attended to at Veteran's Hospital in Livermore, California until his untimely death in January of 1948. The group asked that Cherokee Jack continue to lead the group.

In 1948, they had just marked their second anniversary at Spanaway Park, the only park in the Tacoma area that featured 'folk entertainment'.

Cherokee Jack and his band had a regular Saturday night stint, heading up a dance and jamboree show over at the Midland Dance hall in Tacoma. On Wednesday evenings, they were featured over at the Crescent Ballroom in Tacoma.

He also achieved a bit of fame as a songwriter, having penned the hit "Don't Just Stand There" for Carl Smith on Columbia.

Timeline and Trivia Notes

Group Members included (1948):

  • Cherokee Jack, emcee, guitar, bass fiddle, vocals
  • Shorty Justus, steel, vocals, comedy
  • Walter Heins, accordion, piano
  • Kentucky Slim, guitar and vocals
  • Kenny Gauthier, take-off guitar, bass and vocals
  • Bernard McNeil, trumpet
  • Wally Lee, drums

Group members included (1954):

  • Cherokee Jack, emcee, guitar, bass fiddle, vocals
  • Arvin "Pops" Avera, steel guitar, vocals
  • Ira Edwards, lead guitar, vocals
  • Shorty Rahm, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, vocals
  • Bob Lovelace, piano and vocalist
  • Howie Lee, drums

Credits & Sources

  • Country Song Roundup No. 32; June 1954; American Folk Publications, Inc.; Derby, CT.
  • Jamboree Magazine, October 1948; Western Song Club; Ventura, CA.

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