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Carl Sauceman
and His Green Valley Boys
Born:  March 6, 1922
Died:  January 28, 2005
WCYB Bristol, TN
WGVL Greenville, TN
WHKY Hickory, NC
WISE Asheville, NC
WLSG Gonzales, LA
WNOX Knoxville, TN
WRAG Carollton, AL
WROL Knoxville, TN
WWNC Asheville, NC

About The Artist

Carl Sauceman and His Green Valley Boys rank among the best — although not best known — pioneers of bluegrass music. Part of the reason for this is because they recorded more sparingly than the better known early groups and while essentially the same band, they were billed somewhat differently at various times: the Sauceman Brothers (together with brother John Paul or J. P. (B: March 7, 1928 — D: November 24, 1984) on Rich-R-Tone and the Hillbilly Ramblers on Mercury. From late 1948, the band was always the Green Valley Boys.

A native of the Bright Hope community in Greene County, Tennessee, the Sauceman boys came from a family of gospel singers where Carl learned the basics. About 1941, he joined a band led by Dudley Watson (formerly a Rambling Mountaineer) that also included Jack and Curly Shelton playing over WISE radio in Asheville, North Carolina.

When Carl and Curly left, they went to WHKY Hickory, but failed to do very well and finally went to WNOX Knoxville where they were hired by Lowell Blanchard to work at the Mid-Day Merry Go Round.

In 1944, Sauceman was drafted but was not called to active duty for several months so he went back to Asheville and worked at WWNC with Tommy Millard. At that time J. P. also began to work with them. By year's end Carl finally entered the Navy and so remained until late 1946.

Promo Ad - Junior Order Hall - Sauceman Brothers - Morristown, TN - March 1950
Promo Ad - Bird Applicance Record Dept - November 1958 - Carl Sauceman

Promo Ad - Square Dance - VFW Post 1990 - Greeneville, TN - Carl Sauceman and the Hillbilly Ramblers - June 1948
Promo Ad - Bernards' Warehouse No. 2 - Andrew Johnson Post 1990 VFW - Sauceman Brothers - Johnny Odom and His Hillbilly Band - March 1951

Promo Ad Nomar Theatre - Wichita - March 1940 Back in circulation, the Saucemans soon went to work at newly-opened WGVL in Greeneville, TN where their group took the name Hillbilly Ramblers. They did their first recording in 1947 for Rich-R-Tone with J. P. singing lead on a country number.

They next signed with Mercury but later came back to Rich-R-Tone.

When they left Greeneville for WROL Knoxville, they changed their band's name to the Green Valley Boys as Cas Walker did not like a band named "hillbilly" even though that was what music they played. Eventually, they left Knoxville and after a few months in Detroit, came back south and spent about two years at WCYB Bristol and the popular Farm and Fun Time. Band personnel changed often, but at times included Curley Seckler, Joe Stuart, Tater Tate, Carl Butler, Tiny Day, Larry Richardson, Tom Martin, Carman Freeman, and Fuzzy Chamberlain. In later years, material from WCYB radio transcriptions was released on record.

At the beginning of 1951, James Carl Sauceman opted to go south and went to new station WRAG in Carrolton, Alabama. He also signed a contract with Capitol, the largest label for which he would ever record.

At first his band was inadequate with only Don McHan (later known for his work with Jim & Jesse and Bonnie Lou & Buster) being of high quality, but he eventually got J. P. back playing bass and singing, Fred Richardson on banjo, Monroe Fields on mandolin, and Jim Brock on fiddle, the band becoming quite strong.

The new version of Carl Sauceman and the Green Valley Boys cut six sides for Capitol in March 1952, the most successful of which were the McHan-composed patriotic "Wrap My Body in Old Glory" and "Down the Road to Love." The next year, they switched to Republic where their one single, both McHan originals, probably represents his best work.

In addition to Carl's decade long radio work at WRAG, the band also did three TV shows weekly in regional markets and were busy doing personals.

Promo Ad Nomar Theatre - Wichita - June 1940

The Green Valley Boys also did some singles on the N and also D labels in the late fifties and early sixties, the best known of which "Please Be My Love" was later covered by George Jones and Melba Montgomery. Ultimately Carl dropped out of music for a time helping take care of his terminally ill son Terry.

In early 1961, Carl and the Green Valley Boys' recording of "I Walk A Lonely Street" hit the top 50 in Cash Box magazine. The local Greeneville newspaper wrote a glowing article by Claude (Tiny) Day about the break through on the charts. It only took Carl 20 years to make the charts. It was number 41 on the country chart in Cash Box on January 28, 1961 and February 4, 1961. It fell to Number 43 on February 11.

In 1969, Carl bought radio station WLSG in Gonzales, Louisiana, and thereafter seldom played although he apparently did some DJ work. The station did well and he sold it in 1985 and retired.

Achieving some recognition as a bluegrass pioneer, he played a few shows and recorded again doing an album for his revived old label Rich-R-Tone, A Tribute to the King (Bill Monroe) and a reunion album Together Again with old band member Joe Stuart on Atteiram. Copper Creek released another album taken from WCYB transcriptions.

After Carl's death, Patuxent released an album credited to Monroe Fields as Monroe Fields with Carl Sauceman and the Green Valley Boys, made up of cuts on which he was featured when he was working Sauceman's group.

Credits & Sources

  • Hillbilly-Music.com would like to express its thanks to Ivan M. Tribe, author of Mountaineer Jamboree — Country Music in West Virginia and other books that can be found on Amazon.com and numerous articles in other publications for providing us with information about this artist.
  • Jonathan Paul (J. P.) Sauceman, 56, Greene radio personality dies; November 26, 1984; Knoxville News-Sentinel; Knoxville, TN
  • Greeneville's Carl Sauceman Proves Old Slogan "Try, Try Again" No Myth; Claude (Tiny) Day; The Greeneville Sun; Greeneville, SC
  • Country - Top 50 Across The Nation; January 28, 1961; pg 53; The Cash Box; New York, NY
  • Country - Top 50 Across The Nation; February 4, 1961; pg 51; The Cash Box; New York, NY
  • Country - Top 50 Across The Nation; February 11, 1961; pg 43; The Cash Box; New York, NY

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Recordings (78rpm/45rpm)

Rec. No. Side Song Title
  2060 A Wrap My Body in Old Glory (w/Green Valley Boys)
  2060 B God?s Secret Weapon (w/Green Valley Boys)
  2121 A Handy Man (w/Green Valley Boys)
  2121 B Down the Road to Love (w/Green Valley Boys)
  2314 A Goodbye My Love (w/Green Valley Boys)
  2314 B I?m Not Worth Your Tears (w/Green Valley Boys)
Chic Records
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  1012 A Oh Boy, I Love Him
  1012 B What Do You Have Planned
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  1127 A Covin Hill Rag
  1127 B Never Say Bye Bye
  1160 A I Walk A Lonely Street
  1160 B Please Be My Love
  1193 A Love Divided By Three
  1193 B Lonely Waltz
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  6130 A Please Don't Make Me Cry
  6130 B Your Trouble Ways
  6169 A Someone's Last Day
  6169 B The Pale Horse And His Rider
  6173 A Someone's Last Day
  6173 B The Pale Horse And His Rider
  6292 B Everytime Somebody Calls Your Name
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  501 A You Can't Be True
  501 B Who-Ah
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  7047 A I'll Be An Angel Too
  7047 B A White Cross Marks The Grave
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  419 A Day Dreaming in Sorrow (J. P. Sauceman only)
  419 B You Told Me Your Love Was True (as Sauceman Brothers)
  432 A Teardrops
  432 B Please Forgive Me
  436 A Forever We Must Part
  436 B We'll Meet Again, Sweetheart
  437 A You Broke My Heart
  437 B Please Forgive Me
  443 A Just a Petal from a Beautiful Bouquet (as Sauceman Brothers)
  443 B Careless Hands(as Sauceman Brothers)
  457 A Little Birdie(as Sauceman Brothers)
  457 B Pretty Polly(as Sauceman Brothers)
  701 A I?ll Be No Stranger There(as Sauceman Brothers)
  701 B Hallelujah We Shall Rise(as Sauceman Brothers)
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  505 A Come Back, Come Back
  505 B Twisting The Chimes

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