Hillbilly-Music.comThe People. The Music. The History.
About The Artist
Known and loved by thousands of radio listeners in ever section of the country as "The Mountain Boy with His Houn' Dog Guitar and Old Mountain Songs".
Now how did he get to have a hound dog guitar? The story is that his father swapped a hunting dog for his guitar. He didn't like the term 'hillbilly' singer and preferred to call himself a folk singer. But we hope he realizes that we use the term with some affection here.
He did his first appearances as a singer over radio station WLS in Chicago as part of the YMCA College quartet in 1926, 1927. Then, as fate often does, a Mr. Campbell, the director of the quartet, mentioned to the musical director of WLS, Don Malin, that Mr. Kincaid played and sang the old mountain ballads. He was asked to come on down to the studio and do a program. How good was he? The fact that "The Mountain Boy" ended up being on every Saturday night National Barn Dance programs since then would speak to that fact.
Born in Garrard County, Kentucky. His father was a farmer, but seemed to enjoy hunting also. The story is that he would come in after a day of work then get the fox horn, get on his horse and go fox hunting in the hills. It was during one of those expeditions that his father traded one of his fox hounds to a Negro friend for an old dilapidated guitar. That guitar became the 'Houn' Dog Guitar'. And of the ten children in the family, Bradley had the first musical instrument any of them had. Though before long, they could all strum a tune.
Bradley had very little schooling until he was 19 years old. That's when he entered the sixth grade in the Foundation department of Berea College in Kentucky. He attended school there for two years and finished the 6th, 7th and 8th grades then volunteered for army service at the age of 21 and spent two years in the service during the World War, one of which was overseas in France. He returned to Berea College at the age of 23 and enered high school, finishing at the age of 26. Later, he went to Chicago and became a student at the YMCA College and got his degree. While at Berea, Bradley met his wife, Mrs. Irma Forman Kincaid (a graduate of the Oberlin College Conservatory).
He enjoyed playing the old, genuine American folk songs and mountain ballads and allowed others to be able to enjoy that with the publication of his folios, which his wife played a role in arranging.
It is written that he collected songs and that the sales of his 12 published song folios were over 100,000 copies.
Most of the above from "My Favorite Mountain Ballads and Old-Time Songs" by Bradley Kincaid from notes attributed to Harold A. Safford, master of ceremonies at the WLS National Barn Dance. (copyright 1928, Bradley Kincaid)
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