Janet was born in Inglewood California on April 5th, and is the third
child in the line of the four children. In late December 1941 the
parents, who were from New England, put the family into their
1935 Ford and along with everything they owned they drove to Chelsea,
Maine where they lived for several months before the family settled
on an old farm in North Whitefield Maine. (The house still stands
there today and Rooney Road hasn't changed much.) They lived
there until New Years Eve 1945. By New Years Day 1946 the family,
again with all they could pack into the car, was on their way back
to Southern California but the path of Janet's life had been changed
forever. She had been bitten by the yodeling bug and the addiction
would never leave.
Before moving to Maine, Janet and her siblings had been very popular
as a quartet singing at churches in the area and appearing regularly
on the network radio shows. The Lister Quartet sang harmony and
found they were in big demand. Their ages ranged from 4 thru 10
years old at that time. While in Maine, the cowboy music they loved
began to change to country music and that sound had invaded the
home of the Lister's. They started listening to the country radio
shows including the Saturday Night Grand Ole Opry and the Wheeling
West Virginia late Saturday Night Bluegrass Show. It was on
these shows that Janet remembers hearing the yodeling songs and the
sounds that were to change her life forever. Janet was the one
who was most obsessed with yodeling. She learned all of the songs
that contained a yodel run and before long she had the quartet
yodeling along in harmony with her. They were all pretty good too.
Janet took her yodeling to a higher level than the rest but they
While in Maine, the quartet regularly sang on radio station WRDO
in Augusta. They appeared on the show called 'Meet The Mike' which
was open to young and old alike. Outside of this show and
occasionally a grange or school show at the one room schoolhouse
where they attended, there wasn't much opportunity in those days for
them to perform. After returning to California in 1946 they continued
to sing but the opportunities were few and far between. Janet
tells the story about when she was in the eighth grade and was
urged to perform in the school talent show. She intended to play
her guitar and sing 'The Streets of Laredo' but on the day of the
show she lost her nerve and decided not to play the guitar but she would
just sing. She dressed in her new blue jeans, wore her cowboy boots
and shirt and was ready for the show. The announcer went out,
announced Janet as 'The Little Girl With The Big Voice' took the microphone
with him when walked off of the stage. Janet went on and sang her
song in that big auditorium without a mike and without accompaniment.
There were some snickers that day but the experience and snickers just
made Janet more determined to go on with her dream. She practiced
harder on her guitar and her yodeling. This meant Janet spent a
lot of time after school making the neighbors really uncomfortable.
You see, upon returning to Southern California in 1946, Janet and
the family moved into an eighteen-foot trailer. From 1946 thru
1953 they lived under those conditions until in 1954 they were
able to purchase a larger trailer. Janet caused many a neighbor
to move from one trailer space to another just to get away from
the noise she was continually making.
In 1950 the family moved to Chelsea Maine again, trailer and all.
Janet attended high school in Gardiner Maine and since the quartet
was older now and could play their guitars along with their singing
they found they were in great demand. They sang at grange halls, dances,
church pot luck dinners that the whole family loved because the food
was good and things weren't going well at the time in the employment
area. They were even asked to sing at Governor Payne's Christmas
Party in 1950. In early 1951 however, the family hooked up that
trailer and returned to Southern California for the last time. Her
parents realized things were just too tough in their beloved State
of Maine and they never returned.
By 1954 brother Don and sister Joan had given up singing and it
was Janet and Dan performing as a duet. Janet and Joan sang with
some of the girls they worked with for a while and even thought
about a female trio but that didn't work out.
In 1954 a girlfriend introduced Janet to a young sailor from Lake
Village Arkansas named Claude McBride. They married in 1955. Claude thought
Janet was as good as 'Kitty Wells'. Janet performed with a group
of friends known as the Harbor Playboys from 1954 through 1959 but
after Claude was discharged from the Navy he started booking Janet
at some of the local nightclubs. He had bigger plans for Janet Mcbride
than just local stuff. After a few visits with popular recording
artists Johnny and Joannie Mosby, Janet began singing on shows with
them when possible.
By 1959, Janet and Claude had two children. When Claude realized it
might be time for Janet to start recording he approached Wynn Stewart
about producing a Janet McBride record. Wynn had Claude bring Janet
to his club where he was working and after hearing her sing he agreed
that he would set up studio time, bring his band and record Janet but
he suggested that we find some original songs. Claude found three
songs that would work but needed one more. He wrote the fourth
song recorded on the first session.
With the masters from that first session in hand, Claude and Janet
packed up the kids, left them with his family in Louisiana and headed
to Nashville TN. They thought for sure they had what it took to
make it in the recording business. The session sounded really
good and he felt this music business would welcome them with open arms.
Their first stop was Cedarwood Publishing Co. with the great Webb
Pierce who listened intently to the session. He liked it but nothing
happened there. Chet Atkins of RCA Victor actually listened to
the session also. Claude had no appointment but he did have a
letter Chet had written to him saying he 'would listen to his masters
should he ever be in Nashville'. No doubt Chet meant by appointment
but Claude showed up with letter in hand. The secretary took
the letter to the great Chet Atkins who came out and ushered Mr. Claude
into his private office. He did listen, he told him it was good but
he wasn't looking for a girl singer at the time. This was 1960
and Janet and Claude were just working folks and didn't have a lot
of money. They had arrived in Nashville really early in the morning
and due to finances being short, they slept in the car for several hours
waiting for the record companies to open up. They were tired and
were ready to start home after that disappointing first trip
to Nashville. There would be more trips to Nashville but none
of the trips left them more dismayed than that first trip did.
Claude didn't give up easily. He took the recordings to a local
DJ in Southern California who owned 'Toppa' records. His label was
getting lots of local airplay and soon Janet's songs were being
played on the air local and even getting some airplay around
the country. Janet went on to release five singles on Toppa Records
and began booking appearances in the area which included a regular slot
on several of the Cal Worthington Television Shows.
From 1960 thru 1965 Janet McBride was a very popular recording artist.
Records were also released on Galahad, Brookhurst, Sims and Longhorn
Record Labels during those years and in 1961 another child was
added to the family. In 1963 and 1964 she won 'Female Artist
of the Year' in the Southern California Country Music Awards,
which are now known as the Academy of Country Music. Janet cut
the music soundtrack for the movie Hud, with along with Skeets McDonald
in this time period also. Janet did all of this while holding down
a regular job at Northrop Aircraft.
In 1965 they moved to Dallas Texas where the Longhorn Record Company
Office was located and where they continued to pursue their dream of
stardom. It was time to give it all they had. They had some good
luck and some bad luck from 1965 thru 1969. Janet worked all over
the country with Vern Stovall and their own band. Their duet
recording of 'I'm Wild Bill Tonight' made the national charts and they
toured the Midwest with the Grand Ole Opry Shows, sang in Vegas
at the Golden Nugget and even did a week in Toronto Canada at one
of the 'hottest' nightspots in the town. It was an exciting time.
Janet and Claude moved to Nashville in 1969 and released another single
on Metromedia Records but it was a very disappointing six months
and it would be the end of the line for Janet McBride's dream.
She could see it wasn't going to happen. She decided that a move back
to Texas was the best decision for her and the children and they
settled in a small home on five acres in Seagoville just outside of
Dallas. Janet McBride became a beautician.
Claude McBride passed away in 1973 and in 1976 Janet met and married
a Dallas County Deputy Sheriff named John Ingram. By 1979 John had
talked Janet into becoming a Deputy also and to give singing
another try. She tried out at the Grapevine Opry Country Music Show
and in June 1979 she was on a show for the first time since early
in the 1970's. Janet got a 'standing' ovation that night and she
was thrilled and she was back.
In 1981 Janet and John bought the Texan Theatre and started a
15 year run of the Mesquite Opry Saturday Night Country Music Show.
Janet started recording again in 1981.
In 1984, Janet was contacted by Dagmar Binge from Germany and soon
there was two albums of Janet's old recordings released on the
Binge Label and finally her recordings were distributed world wide.
In 1985 and 1986 two Cattle Albums also from Germany were released
featuring Janet McBride and Dexter Johnston and his band.
Janet started writing songs again and from 1985 till the present
Janet has released 11 cassettes and three CD's. A new project is
in the works at this time.
The Mesquite Opry Country Music Show closed on December 30th 1995.
The nearly 15 years of doing the show was the best of all worlds
for Janet. She was able to continue to her employment with the Dallas
County Sheriff's Department, earn her retirement and still be in
the entertainment business she loved so well. Because of that show,
Janet was able to stay active as an artist, continue to write
and record songs and help mentor to young singers who had questions
like she had when she was their age. Janet is able to tell them
what the pitfalls of the business are and how to progress with
Her list of her achievements is long. Those she helped along the
way are names like Le Ann Rimes, Lee Ann Womack, Richie McDonald
of Lone Star, Tim Rushlow of Little Texas, David Bradley formerly
with the legendary group The Sons of the Pioneers, Ken Lattimore
currently with the Sons of the Pioneers, multiple artists
currently recording and many appearing on the shows in Branson,
Missouri, and many of the Mesquite Opry Band members who are
currently working as session musicians or are touring around the world
with major artists as back up musicians.
Janet continues to give yodel instructions to those who want to
learn the art. You can find Janet and John volunteering their time
on the second Sunday of each month with The Cowtown Opry Group.
They meet in the Stock Yard Area of Fort Worth TX. The Second Sunday
features the youngster's and they are known as the Buckaroo's. Devon
and Chuck Dawson along with Janet and John and other adults who
encourage these kids to do their best at what ever their particular
talent might be. These kids are destined to be some of the next
wave of entertainers to become well known. These kids are urged
to learn to accompany themselves on guitar, mandolin, fiddle and even
to play the bass. Two of the Buckaroo's were chosen to perform
at the President's Inaugural Gala's January 2001 where they impressed
the crew of Good Morning America so much that they put them on
the show where they were seen by millions. These girls are known as
The Texas Two Bits and are 12 years old.
As of 2002, the Texas Two Bits are not a duo anymore but the girls
are both carrying on with separate careers. (Kacey Musgraves lives in
Mineola TX and Alina Tatum lives in Sulphur Springs TX.)
Janet's Bio is not complete yet. Janet hasn't stopped performing
yet. We'll keep updating it until she retires which doesn't seem to
be in the plans at this time.
Credits & Sources
- Bio information and photos, courtesy of Janet McBride