We have not found much about Rex Kelly to date. An old photo postcard from his days
at radio station KFNF in Shenandoah, Iowa tells fans listening in that he had been
"...picking up these old Western ballads for a good many years." He also notes
he picked out the most popular 100 tunes he sang and put them in a book
that included the lyrics to the songs.
In promoting the booklet, he tells fans that the requests for a book of his
songs was so frequent that he had to print one up. Though in reading the biographies
of other stars, such as Roy Acuff, that they were able to quite successfully augment
their earnings by selling the music and songs they sang in booklets. Rex notes
that in "...nearly all the letters I get they say something about wishing they had
a book of my songs." One might surmise that this was a form of marketing to make
such statements, but the booklets were a staple of the acts in the early era.
Rex notes in his typewritten postcard that he would send one to fans for $1.00,
postage paid and said he would sign it for the fans, too.
If only such bargains still existed today!
We also came across some old photos in our collection that show Rex with the
folks that made up the Georgie Porgie Foods gang, perhaps when they were on WWVA
in Wheeling, West Virginia. That group included such folks as Hugh Cross,
Raymond Gulley, Monty Rivers, Uncle Charlie and the Sheep Herder. Also pictured
as part of the group then was the Kentucky Briar Hoppers, Little Anne, John
Holder, a violinist and Old Time Fiddler, Bernard Ruby on Guitar and Banjo,
"Cousin Paul" (Paul Crutchfield) - known as the "Voice from the Sunny South".
Credits & Sources
- Undated photo postcard of Rex Kelly, KFNF Shenandoah, Iowa
- Undated loose photos of Georgie Porgie Gang