Saturday, September 03, 2005

Homer and Jethro

"Besides being a touring comedy team they were noted as seasoned Nashville session musicians. In other words they played on a lot of albums backing up various famous musicians. They were not always credited on the records, and they were paid a set fee for their work. They had their first break as teenagers playing on the Renfro Valley Barn Dance. A locally produced radio show in Tennessee (USA). This lasted until around 1938.

When World War II began the budding stars split up. Homer served in European theater of Operation and as Jethro put it "He was the unsung hero of the Pacific. They wouldn't let me sing!"

After the war the two regrouped and took jobs with Spike Jones. They toured briefly but then got a gig as regulars on the Chicago National Barn Dance as well as regular spots on Don McNeil's Breakfast Club. Both radio programs were based in Chicago. Homer & Jethro were to settle in Chicago and remain even after becoming a national success.They recorded a record or two on the King label circa 1946-48 and then Were Signed by Steve Sholes to RCA in 1948.

Their routine had always been deadpan parodies of popular songs. (sort of a precursor to Weird Al Yankovich) However, they were both first rate musicians and this is why their parodies songs were always popular. They had a number 2 country hit with How Much Is That Hound Dog In The Winder and number 14 with the Parody, Battle of Kookamonga (take off of Horton's Classic Battle of New Orleans)"

Homer and Jethro - Pore 'Ol Koo-Liger

Homer and Jethro - Yaller Rose of Texas

These You Send It files are available for seven days or until exhausted.


Cate said...

Ooh, I wish I could hear this. I remember seeing Homer and Jethro on television many years ago.

I live not far from Renfro Valley, but it's in the beautiful hills of Kentucky not Tennessee. We went to see George "No Show" Jones in concert there a couple of years ago. He showed.

My mom and dad tell a story about driving to the Renfro Valley Barn Dance when they were first married (65 years ago), and by the time they get finished with the story, their dancing was responsible for the cow not getting milked and going dry. I'm still not clear on how one led to the other.

michael said...

I'm envious that you were able to see Homer and Jethro on TV. I was amazed to find the record ( at a flea market in Crewe),. Its called "The Humourous Side of Country Music" and the sleeve can be seen on the right here at top of the links section.

Cocaine Jesus said...

Where on earth did you hear about these two amazing chaps? Fascinating stuff Michael. The only Jethro that I know of, apart from the geezer in the Beverley Hills TV sit com, was Ian Anderson.

More please!

HP said...

If you like Homer and Jethro, you'll love Jonathan and Darlene Edwards. The Edwards' do for that 1950s Capitol "lounge" sound what Homer and Jethro do for Nashville.

I've had very little luck finding Jonathan and Darlene on .mp3, despite the fact that their vinyl is all out of print, and at least at one time was all over used record stores.

michael said...

Thanks CJ and Hp. Glad you like them as much as i do. Somebody sent me a few Homer & jethro tracks on a novelty song compilation once which is where I first heard them I think. I had no idea they had such a long and illustrious career. I never thought I'd find one of their records in the u.k. especially in Crewe flea market! But it is amazing what you can find.
I do have a couple of tracks by Jonathan and Darlene Edwards too somewhere. Thanks for the link hp!