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Southern Moonlight Entertainers

About the Group

About The Group

The Southern Moonlight Entertainers was a name for a Vocalion recording group that one might suspect from the name might be a pop vocal group or a small orchestra. But in reality, under ordinary circumstances, it was a fiddle band better known as the Rainey Family. It was led by George Rainey. Members included:

  • George Rainey, well known fiddler from Coal Creek, TN
    (B: October 9, 1883 — D: March 1, 1967)
  • Albert Rainey, guitar
    (B: November 2, 1904 — D: December 2, 1979)
  • Willie Rainey, banjo
    (B: March 5, 1908 — April 1, 1986)
  • Marvin Rainey, mandolin
    (B: August 24, 1914 — April 15, 1950)
  • Luke Luallen, fiddle
    (B: May 15, 1908 — D: March 4, 1976)

Compared to many early day recording artists, the Raineys were a relatively experienced and polished group having already played numerous dances in their locale.

In fact, the Raineys already had a recording background as well as being part of Warren Caplinger's Cumberland Mountain Entertainers. At which time George, Albert, and Willie journeyed to Ashland, Kentucky in February 1928 and cut several numbers for Brunswick and Vocalion. At their 1929 session they recorded eight numbers and had two more releases from their 1930 session.

According to Albert and Willie, their father was a natural musician who taught all of his children to play. At times the Rainey Family band would go out on tours, sometimes make a little money, and other times made scarcely enough to get back home. Marvin died at a relatively young age in a car crash, but Albert and Willie lived long enough to be interviewed by Charles K. Wolfe about their family's experiences as country music pioneers.

Vocalion 5388 - Southern Moonlight Entertainers - My Carolina Girl - Knoxville, TN - August 27, 1929

Credits & Sources

Recordings (78rpm/45rpm)

Rec. No. Side Song Title
  5372 A My Blue Ridge Mountain Queen
  5372 B Are You Happy or Lonesome
  5388 A Dreams Waltz
  5388 B My Carolina Girl
  5407 A Sister Liz
  5407 B Kickin? Mule
  5440 A How to Make Love
  5440 B Then I?ll Move to Town
  5460 A My Cabin Home
  5460 B Lost John