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Colwell Brothers

About The Group

The Colwell Brothers were born in Detroit, Michigan. From Detroit, the family moved to Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, a town outside of Bedford. After about three years, the family moved again, this time all the way to Los Angeles, California. It was in LA, when Steve, Paul and Ralph were 14, 12 and 10 respectively, began their music careers.

They started off with a five dollar guitar, a second hand banjo and a 'uke'. They started as youngsters do, entertaining friends and performing at school functions. Later, they got their parents to get them some better musical instruments. Before long, they were being invited to appear on various radio programs.

From 1949 to 1951, their career took them back to the Mid-West. There, there appeared on:

  • WIBC - Anderson, Indiana
  • WLW - Cincinnati, Ohio
  • WHAS - Louisville, Kentucky
  • WFBM-TV - Indianapolis, Indiana

1950 saw them winning the Class "A" Indianapolis Amateur Contest. And later that same year, won a Hillbilly Band Contest in Renfro Valley, Kentucky. By fall 1950, their careers had an interruption due to a siege of Polio. But in 1951, they resumed performing and were a part of the Horace Heidt show.

The family decided to move again in 1951 - and again, back to California. They were determined to see if they could make it in the entertainment scene that was growing out west.

Cliff Carling was managing them back then and got them a few appearances on Tex Williams' Coast-to-Coast "Round-Up Time". Tex was quoted in one article:

"Those kids are the brightest young stars to hit the big-time in many a moon."

By 1952, they had caught Columbia records attention and were getting ready to release their first record for the label. In the mid-1950s and they were touring with the "Moral Re-Armament" group that devoted itself to getting entertainers to travel thoughout war-torn Europe and entertain the folks.

The brothers were said to be accomplished yodelers also.

The boys were also quite athletic during those early years. Steve played varisty football, basketball and baseball in high school and during his freshman year at Occidental College, was on the varsity baseball team. Paul won a varsity letter at South Pasadena High School. Ralph was going to try and make the football squad next fall.

Timeline and Trivia Notes

Group Members included:

  • Steve Colwell
  • Paul Colwell
  • Ralph Colwell

Credits & Sources

  • Cowboy Songs No. 23; November 1952; American Folk Publications, Inc.; Derby, CT.

Read More About The Group

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Recordings (78rpm/45rpm)

Rec. No. Side Song Title
  20939 A Thing-A-Ma-Jig
  20939 B The City Song
  21023 A Mountain Valley Blues
  21023 B Bluebonnet Lane
  21112 A It's All Over Now But The Shoutin'
  21112 B Spanking New Day
  21164 A No Down Payment
  21164 B Morgan Poisoned The Water Hole

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