Hillbilly-Music.comThe People. The Music. The History.
About The Artist
Juanita Long Mullins came into the world in Johnson County, Kentucky, near the town of Painesville, in the waning days of 1930. Music found a way into her life at a very early age and she began getting attention for her singing when she was just seven years old.
Juanita's parents later moved to Waverly, Ohio then to Richlands, Virginia where she graduated from high school in 1950.
Her producer or manager was Eddy Ollikainen, who was also a guitarist on all of her recordings. A 1964 article indicates Eddie had a trio that backed her on her recordings. He was also helpful in getting her to record upon first hearing her sing. That article also notes that her talents were rather natural and from the heart at her local church, for she had no formal vocal training. Juanita's publicity manager was a Howard Mobey, a newspaper editor from Painesville who also worked out of Ashtabula, Ohio.
Country music artists back in an early era often found themselves working with a sponsor whether on the radio or for their personal appearances. In Juanita's case, her personal appearances included many Ben Franklin stores in their music departments as well as other similar stores that back then were called "five and dime" stores. She made visits to many radio stations, all through the southern part of the United States, tirelessly promoting her music.
Her popularity with the local folks was such that she was always in demand for unerals and weddings.
A short 1964 article mentions that Juanita had published a song book of over 120 of her favorite hymns.
That same article mentions a bit of information about her recording efforts. Her recording her self-penned, "Jesus Is Waiting For You" included background vocals by the Columbia Revelators, a group from Columbia, Ohio. That record had the tune "The Man Of Galilee" on the flip side.
She had a bit of a hit tune during the Christmas of 1963 with her record of "Put Christ Back In Christmas" b/w "Christmas". That effort was backed by the vocals of the Geneva Gospelaires, out of Geneva, Ohio.
To this day, Juanita and her husband are pastors at a Pentecostal Holiness Church in Ashtabula, Ohio. On most Sunday mornings, Juanita herself can be seen leading the services. Even hip replacement surgery hasn't slowed her down one bit. Juanita's family includes two daughters, Anita and Sharon and sons, Don and Jimmy, Junior. All of the children are grown and living on their own.
On display at their church is a case of memorabilia from her career, including song books, records and other mementos.
Juanita and her husband have lived the life that they preach - offering their home and support to over 100 foster children over a span of 40 years.
When asked to recount her life and career, she noted to her husband, "...life just flew by."
Credits & Sources