About The Artist
Evelyn Schackow was born in Fayette County, Iowa; country music fans came to know her as Evee, The Yodeling Cow Girl. On a side note, that area of Iowa was and perhaps still is known as "The Little Switzerland of America". And it may explain how she began to not only sing, but yodel as well.
Around 1942, Evee began performing with a friend of hers, Arlee Wetherbee. Evee and Arlee formed a duet team and billed themselves as "The Rangerettes". Their act featured yodeling and harmonizing on many of the favorite tunes of the day.
In December of 1944, Vance Horne wrote a letter of the goings on at radio station KMMJ in Grand Island, Nebraska. One act he mentioned had a show at 9:30am every day, Evee, the Yodeling Cow Girl. He noted that she drew quite a bit of listener mail as well. It appears that she was also a part of the "Old Timers" group show that aired at 7:30am as well.
On Saturday afternoons, Vance noted that they had an hour long show called the "Ranch House Review" that included the whole entertainment staff. The show also usually played to a full house in the studio 'auditorium' that could seat about 200 people.
It appears that Evee left KMMJ for a time but not for long.
Doc Embree noted noted in his June 1945 column with Mountain Broadcast and Prairie Recorder that Evee and Arlee had joined the station at the behest of Jimmie Johnson, who was the new musical director. Jimmie had told him they had moved to a new building and had also signed several new acts. Doc noted succinctly, "The girls have a very big following, won by doing the right songs, the right way."
In 1945 Evee and Arlee were being heard several times a day over radio station KMMJ in Grand Island, Nebraska, either together or separately on their own or with other acts.
Her work at KMMJ inlcuded working with Jimmie Johnson and His Kactus Kids.
In 1945, she alwso worked with another act at KMMJ, who was quite a fiddle player, Blackie Hastings. They were billed as "Blackie and Evee, The Saddle Pals". This appears to be around the March - April time frame. But that act broke up when Blackie decided to move on to radio station KOMA in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and became a part of the Rhythm Rangers.
Texas Frank Karpinski wrote back in 1945 that the girls had worked with many other radio entertainers prior to signing on with KMMJ. Those acts included Happy Haines, Tom Owens' Cowboys; Sunny Sue and Maureen Canavan. They did duets and trios with Happy Haines and Maureen as well.
During her stint at station WMT, Texas Frank mentions that Evee did some work with the WMT entertainers (probably where she worked with Tom Owens) and entertained the sick and wounded veterans who were at the hospital in Clinton, Iowa. When they made that appearance, they spent the day wandering the hallways, stopping and singing to the boys who were recuperating. They also put on a two hour show in the hospital auditorium.
Jimmie Johnson wrote a letter to the editors of National Hillbilly News complaining that his subscription hadn't followed him to his new address in San Antonio in 1946. He notes he had left KMMJ in December of 1945. He and his wife, then billed as Arlee, The Girl From The Golden West were working with the Texas Outlaws act. Jimmie and Arlee were married on August 30, 1944.
Credits and Sources
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