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Odey Crabtree
and His Western Pioneers
Born:  May 18, 1936
Died:  February 13, 2009

In the 1950s, WSAZ-TV out of Huntington, West Virginia had a show called the "Saturday Night Jamboree" and one of the stars was Odey Crabtree and his Western Pioneers.

A 1957 article mentions the show had been on at least four years, putting its origins to about 1953 or so. Dean Sturm was the master of ceremonies for the show. The show was quite popular in its time - it played to a live studio audience of about 75 people and folks had to write in advance to get tickets, often several weeks in advance.

Not much else was mentioned about Odey nor have we found much else at this time. A 1956 article simply describes Odey and Norma Hoople (we suspect this may be the singer also named Normal Lee), and Phyllis Noel as "talented kids with fine future in the country and western field."

Ivan Tribe mentions Mr. Crabtree in his book, "Mountaineer Jamboree: Country Music in West Virginia". He writes that the band came to WSAZ-TV in the 1952-1953 time frame. Odey and the boys also had two quarter hour shows that aired weekly. Odey and his sister, Retha Neal, gamed some fame by winning a contest that led to a an appearance on "The Horace Heidt Show" according to Mr. Tribe.

Mr. Tribe mentions other members of the band included Eddie King on fiddle, Ken Farley on guitar and Bill Rhodes on guitar.

Credits & Sources

  • Country & Western Jamboree; June 1956; Maher Publications; Chicago, IL
  • Rustic Rhythm; September 1957; Vol. 1, No. 6; Rustic Rhythm, Inc.; 5 East 40th Street, New York, NY
  • Mountaineer Jamboree; Ivan Tribe; The University Press of Kentucky; 1984; ISBN: 0-8131-0878-0; 243 pages

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