Hillbilly-Music.comThe People. The Music. The History.
About The Artist
Eddie Adams was a country music singer who told his fans in one of his fan club newsletters that "...as long as I can remember I've wanted to be a recording artist in the hillbilly field." His mother wrote in one fan club journal that Eddie was born in 1930 in Mulliken, Michigan in Eaton County and they named him Edward Vaughn Adams. Mom said she always called him Edward, but fans and friends knew him as Eddie. Mom (Fannie Adams) didn't make any pretensions about being musically inclined as she signed off her note "An unmusical mother".
He went on to tell them that when he was twelve years old, he got his first guitar as a Christmas present from mom and dad. He notes in a self-deprecating way whether they regretted giving him that instrument that he thought must have sounded like a bit of noise when he started out.
During his high school years, he would often play at events such as PTA meetings and talent shows. In fact, he was still in school when he got his first 'job' playing at a local supper club.
He was first heard on radio station WMUS out of Muskegon, Michigan on Cowboy Kelly's program. As he developed his talents and skills, he moved to radio station WCEN in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan where he had his own show on a daily basis. That is, until Uncle Sam tapped him to serve two years in the military service.
While in the service, he would often entertain his fellow troops, doing two shows a day at times with a band that was known as the MOuntain Rhythm Boys.
When Uncle Sam discharged Eddie, he came back to his native Michigan and found work over WBRN in Big Rapids, Michigan. He did 15 shows over a television station in Cadillac. The shows over WBRN aired every Saturday afternoon from 3:00pm to 3:30pm.
The show over in Cadillac on WWTV, Channel 13, appears to be Don Stewart's Melody Roundup show.
The fan club newsletters contain many details of Eddie's personal appearances around the Michigan area and who he was working with. Unfortunately, it's hard to determine the time frame as they don't contain any dates, such as when they were published, etc.
His first fan club journal was dubbed a 'prelude' by then president Marilyn Davis as she felt they didn't have all it took to make it a real journal at that time. She tells the readers that Eddie appeared at Bill Lyon's Fan Club picnic that was held at the Tamarack Roller Rink in Howard City. Eddie met other Michigan artists and disc jockeys such as Sally Massey, Freddie Miller, Pat Boyd (WMAX DJ), Larry Lee; Cowboy Slim; Ramblin' Ranch Hands; BIlly Boy; Earl Luillen; and, Frank Saunder. This journal appears to have been published about 1954 as it includes the words and chords to several of Eddie's tunes. The latest was copyrighted in 1954 ("With ALl Your Heart"). Other tunes included were I've Been With the Boys (1954); Have You Been To See Your Mother and Dad (1951); One More Chance With You (1953)
Judy Sharpe was Eddie's fan club president according to one journal and noted that Eddie and his band had played at the Shepherd VFW Hall for over a year, but the desire to play a venue closer to home ended that stint.
During one stint, Eddie and his band was playing at Chippawa Lake. The president of his fan club, Agnes McDonald, mentions she attended the shows a couple of times one summer. She notes that Eddie and the band played from 5:00pm until 9:00pm every Sunday. Chippawa Lake is located about eleven miles north of Remus, Michigan on Michigan Route 66, and she then notes "...and eight miles west on the blacktop."
Aggie as she was known also tells of what it was like watching television back then - before cable and satellite tv - she notes that once in a while she was able to get WKZO-TV in Kalamazoo and pick up Rem Wall and the Green Valley Jamboree on Saturday night. One show she got to see included the Beverly Sisters (who were once known as the Gaye Sisters. She also tells us that Earl Peterson, another Michigan country music artist, was the new owner of radio station WPLB in Greenville, Michigan, 1380 on the AM dial.
Aggie followed Marilyn Davis in that role; Marilyn had decided that she would rather work as a club representative and artist. Aggie wrote in her first journal as president that she had Eddie and his wife, Marilyn, over for dinner one Sunday. And of course, Eddie brought along his guitar and entertained the folks at Aggie's home, which included her parents.
In one newsletter, Eddie writes that he went over to Howard City (?) one Sunday to be a part of the Bill Lyon Jamboree. He then notes that he and the Mountain Rhythm Boys would be appearing at the ALma High School to play at a dance on one October 22nd.
We even get some insight into his home life. In one newsletter, he notes that a lot of his time was going into completing an addition that had been made to their home. But at the same time in another issue, he asks fans if they know of any one looking for a home in Mecosta - for he was putting his home up for sale.
The VFW Hall in Shepherd, Michigan was another venue that Eddie Adams and the Mountain Rhythm Boys would make personal appearances, though again, we don't know when, but it is mentioned in his journals. In the Eddie Adams Fan Club Journal No. 3, he writes in his column that Saturday night, July 18 was to be there last engagement at the Shepherd VFW Hall. From looking at calendars for that era, this could be the year 1953. The band had also stopped playing at the Continental. Eddie notes that he got to play with folks such as Bill Lyon, Ronnie Williams, Herb Brown and Freddie Miller at the Continental. He also mentions being on the same bill with Kenny Roberts at a Marion, Michigan date. Eddie noted that it was getting hectic for him around this time, managing the Mecosta baseball team and making the personal appearances.
One issue provides some details about his band. Tom Hoffman was the youngest, only 18 years old and a graduate of Shepherd High School; he was said to have did some of the rock and roll numbers of the day and played the bass fiddle. Warren Leiter, played fiddle and did some vocals. He lived with his wife, Thelma, and five children in a home near Weidman, Michigan at the time. His day time job was at Farro Stamping Company. Warren had been in the music business for nearly 16 years at the time. Wally Hanely was the steel guitar player and had been playing since 1947. He and his wife lived on a 240 acre farm near FOrrest Hills, Michigan. He also did the calls for the square dances. Chum Schafer played the Spanish guitar and lived with his wife and son near Boal City, Michigan back then.
Aggie wrote that the Eddie Adams Fan Club had their picnic one August 31 at the VFW Hall in Mecosta, Michigan. One of Eddie's old band members, Ronnie Williams showed up. Eddie's parents attended as well.
Aggie wrote in 1953 in the Eddie Adams Fan Club Journal No. 3 that the fan club picnic was going to be on Sunday, August 23 at the VFW Hall in Mecosta. The Hall was located on M20 just about when you entered the town and was newly built back then. She also advised, as we have always learned over the years, if they had trouble finding it - stop and ask at the gas station. The fans were told to bring their own sandwiches and a dish to pass along with their own table service. The drinks and ice cream were to be provided. And members were encouraged to bring their friends and enjoy an afternoon of fun and dancing. We are guessing that Eddie and the band probably played some at these events.
One Halloween, it appears that Eddie and the band made an appearance at the Remus Town Hall on October 31st. Again, no year was mentioned.
Eddie notes in one of his columns that his first break came with the help of a good friend, Jimmie Skinner in Cincinnati, Ohio. Jimmie introduced Eddie to Estel Lee, who owned the Excellent Record Company label at the time. It may help date that newsletter by mentioning that Eddie notes that Jimmie's new release at the time was "I Met My Girl In THe Good Old USA".
In July of 2008, Music Unlimited in Mecosta, Michigan announced the release of
a CD of all of Eddie's recordings that were remastered by PBP Music. The CD
is available from:
The cost of the CD is $15.00+ $5.00 shipping. For more information, please call 1-231-972-4787.
The Liner Notes were written by Mark Ray:
The 1950's through the 1970's is known as the "Honky Tonk Heyday" for Michigan's country music lovers. Virtually every bar in the state big enough to have a dance floor featured live country music from a four or five piece band every Friday and Saturday night. One of the most noteworthy and sought after bands of the day was Eddie Adams and His Mountain Rhythm Boys. They could often be seen and heard throughout the state from Detroit to Grand Rapids to the U(pper). P(enninsula). and everywhere in between. Their brand of country music, a mix of all time country hit cover and original songs went straight to the hearts of their fans that were guaranteed to forget all their troubles for a few hours.
Timeline & Trivia Notes
Other Group Members:
Credits & Sources