Hillbilly-Music.com—The People. The Music. The History.
Jake Taylor
and the Rail Splitters
WMMN Sagebrush Roundup
WWVA Original Jamboree
WBOW Terre Haute, IN
WMMN Fairmont, WV
WPDX Clarksburg, WV
WWVA Wheeling, WV

About The Artist

James (Froggie) Cortez was a country comic and bass player who worked with various musical groups, most notably Doc Williams and the Border Riders. His skills included singing humorous songs, participating in skits, and demonstrating tricks with his pet monkey Jo-Jo. He later organized his own show and worked out of his hometown of Elwood City, Pennsylvania. Cortez came from a large family of Italian extraction, being one of fifteen children. He joined the Border Riders at WWVA in the spring of 1938. Doc Williams said it was his first job in entertainment, but he apparently adapted to it quickly and well. One of his favorite songs was the old 1872 chestnut "Courtin' in the Rain," which seems to make a new appearance in country music circles every few years. He was also good in comical skits with Doc acting as straight man as well as working with Jo-Jo the monkey. He apparently left the Border Riders a short time prior to the World War II break-up of the band. He later worked with another former Border Rider Mary "Sunflower" Calvas at WKPT in New Castle, Pennsylvania. By 1947 or early 1948, he was doing comedy at WMMN Fairmont, West Virginia and its Saturday night Sagebrush Roundup. Somewhat later he returned to Elwood City and developed his own show. Earlier he had married his wife Nellie-who came from Doc Williams' hometown of Kittaning, Pennsylania-and in 1939 the couple had a daughter Mary Catherine. Froggie died at the relatively young age of fifty-one.

Credits & Sources

Recordings (78rpm/45rpm)

Rec. No. Side Song Title
  6166 A Softly And Tenderly
  6166 B Whispering Hope