Accordionist Sonny Day, an original member of Roy Acuff's
Smoky Mountain Boys and a regular on the Grand Ole Opry,
died Sunday after a bout with bone cancer. He was 80.
Mr. Day's accordion playing is featured on original recordings
of Acuff's signature hit, "The Wabash Cannonball," and he starred
with Acuff in the film "Night Train to Memphis." He also performed
or recorded with Minnie Pearl, Patsy Cline, Tanya Tucker and Vince Gill.
He received a star on the Walkway of the Stars at the Country Music Hall of Fame
A September 1949 National Hillbilly News column by Mary Jean Shurtz told fans that Sonny
had left Sonny after appearing in the movie and went out on his own. He had a band called
Sonny Day and the Radio Raskals. For a time, they were being heard over WEOL out of Elyria, Ohio.
The band had a 30-minute show that was heard at 6:30am each day. The band members included
Chuck Taylor on guitar, Gene Jenkins on electric guitar, Jody Wallis on electric steel guitar
and handling the emcee chores for the show was Uncle Jack Carens.
An earlier issue from 1947 showed a picture of Roy Acuff's Smokey Mountain Boys back then.
In addition to Sonny Day, the troupe included Tommy Magnus, Jess Esterday, Joe Zinkan,
Bashful Brother Oswald, Velma Williams, Jimmy Riddle and Lonnie "Pappy" Wilson.
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