Hillbilly-Music.com - Keeping Country Music History Alive
Hillbilly-Music Folio Display

Cumberland Ridge Runners
WLS National Barn Dance

About The Group

This group had quite a history and saw several changes in makeup. In a folio called "Doc Hopkins and Karl and Harty of the Cumberland Ridgerunners" published back in 1936, it seems to detail the roots of this group. As fate would have it, Doc Hopkins, Karl and Harty all attended the infamous "Red Bud School" near Mt. Vernon, KY - in the Renfro Valley area where another infamous barn dance started and still exists today.

They wrote that Doc, Karl and Harty took to "mountain music" at an early age and could often be seen together at the Davis' barn or the Taylor's blacksmith shop playing their tunes on their guitar and mandolin. In this case, it was 'birds of a feather' did indeed flock together. When Doc returned from the world war, the three boys formed a string band and called themselves the Krazy Kats. They got themselves quite a following in central and eastern Kentucky. Later, they were heard singing over radio station WHAS in Louisville, KY.

Then, in 1930, a friend of theirs, Bradley Kincaid, helped get the group on WLS in Chicago and from that point, they became the now infamous "Cumberland Ridgerunners".

Ridge Runners doing Goofus number The Cumberland Ridge Runners were a versatile crew, always happy and willing to do their best, whether it was midnight or six in the morning. The feeling that came across from this group was that they were like a chapter out of the past, suggesting 'the days of long rifles and coonskin caps of pioneer Kentucky'. Many of their songs had their roots in those same hills, passed along from memory until the group put them on paper.

Hugh Cross was one of the vocalists at one time. Known as a husky chap and was reared on a mountain farm near Oliver Springs, TN. He was married and had two daughters (Katherine Doris and Coloris Lou) and a son (Jack). When he wrote Daddy's Little Girls, he had is daughters in mind.

Karl Davis and Hartford Taylor, known as the Renfro Valley Boys, were boyhood pals who secretly practiced on the guitar and mandolin until they considered themselves expert enough to appear in public. They were born and raised in Mt. Vernon, KY.

Red Foley was part of the group and also sang with Lulu Belle as "Burrhead".

Linda Parker was a part of the group and known as the "Sunbonnet Girl" who sang the old quiet ballads of the hills.

Karl was a tall, lanky, good-natured person and was the only bachelor in the group at one time.

Harty was married and had a daughter named Betty Taylor.

The Cumberland Ridge Runners Homer "Slim" Miller was rated one of the best old-time fiddlers as well as being the clown of the group. They wrote that he usually played jokes on one of his partners or was making faces at the control room. He made Indianapolis, In his home at the time. At the time, he had a daughter named Betty. Later, he became associated with the Renfro Valley Barn Dance when John Lair talked him into it.

John Lair was their manager and announcer on their Saturday night programs. Often, he'd play the 'jug' with them. His home was in Mt. Vernon, KY at the time, but he also had lived in Chicago for several years. He was married and had a daughter named Ann. John Lair would direct many of the interesting sketches of 'mountain life' that they did. One of the regular sketches they did was "Coon Creek Social".

Timeline and Trivia Notes

Group members
at one time or another:

  • Hugh Cross (the Boy from Smoky Mountain) was the tenor soloist, played both guitar and banjo (1932)
  • Karl Davis (one of the Renfro Valley Boys) Guitar and mandolin (1930)
  • Harford ("Harty") Taylor (one of the Renfro Valley Boys) Guitar and mandolin (1930)
  • Homer "Slim" Miller, known as the clown of the Ridge Runners.(1932)
  • John Lair, manager of the group and announced their Saturday night programs.(1932)
  • Linda Parker (1934)
  • Red Foley (1934)
  • Doctor Hopkins (1930)

Appearance History This Month

July 6, 1935
Pekin Theatre
Pekin, IL
WLS National Barn Dance
July 7, 1935
Roxy Theatre
Logansport, IN
WLS National Barn Dance
July 10, 1935
Capitol Theatre
Taylorville, IL
WLS On Parade
July 11, 1935
Mattoon Theatre
Mattoon, IL
WLS On Parade
July 14, 1935
Crescent Theatre
Grand Haven, MI
WLS On Parade
July 15, 1935
Palace Theatre
Charlevoix, MI
WLS National Barn Dance
July 16, 1935
Temple Theatre
East Jordan, MI
WLS Merry-Go-Round
July 17, 1935
Lyric Theatre
Evart, MI
WLS National Barn Dance
July 18, 1935
Bohm Theatre
Albion, MI
WLS Merry-Go-Round
July 21, 1935
Mayville Park
Mayville, WI
WLS Merry-Go-Round
July 22, 1935
Royal Theatre
Ashland, WI
WLS Merry-Go-Round
July 23, 1935
Rex Theatre
Park Falls, WI
WLS National Barn Dance
July 24, 1935
Capitol Theatre
Madison, WI
WLS National Barn Dance
July 25, 1935
Capitol Theatre
Madison, WI
WLS National Barn Dance
July 28, 1935
Club Barber (Sponsored by Lakeside Mother's Club)
Stoughton, WI
WLS National Barn Dance
July 29, 1935
Waupaca Theatre
Waupaca, WI
WLS On Parade
July 30, 1935
West Bend Theatre
West Bend, WI
WLS On Parade
July 31, 1935
Cosmo Theatre (79th and Halsted)
Chicago, IL
WLS Merry-Go-Round

Read More About The Group

Printer Friendly Version

Recordings (78rpm/45rpm)

Rec. No. Side Song Title
  20654 A I Dreamed About Mom Last Night
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  8160 A Goofus
  8160 B Round' Up The Yearlings
  8161 A Sally's Not The Same Old Sally
  8161 B Ole Rattler
  8162 A Riding On A Humped Back Mule
  8162 B Nobody's Darling
  8310 A I'm Here Go Get My Baby Out Of Jail
  8310 B I Dream I Searched Heaven For You
  8626 A We Buried Her Beneath The Willow
  8626 B No Place To Pillow My Head
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  5235 A Sally's Not The Same Old Sally
  5235 B Ole Rattler

Group Lists


Yes, Hillbilly Music. You may perhaps wonder why. You may even snicker. But trust us, soon your feet will start tappin' and before you know it, you'll be comin' back for more...Hillbilly Music.

Hillbilly-music.com ...
It's about the people, the music, the history.