My How Far We Have Come!

If you have not purchased the WBT Briarhopper book (and why not?), you missed a great picture like this one, taken in the early 1950s at the Union Christmas Party held in the Cooleemee School Auditorium in Cooleemee, NC. This picture comes from the Cooleemee Historical Society who gave us permission to use the picture in the book.

Here is Fred Kirby, with his horse, Calico, in a segregated hall. Yes, we have come a long way from those times. When Fred started, he didn't have Calico. It was Charles Crutchfield who told the radio show listeners that Fred, "with his horse Calico," would be ambling to the microphone. People started asking Fred where in the heck was Calico, so he got him a horse! No telling how many Calicoes there were.

Fred came to mind when my cousin said she went up to Tweetsie Railroad and said that she missed the Singing Cowboy. "Take me back/To my boots/And skee-dattle!"

No comments:

The Legendary Briarhoppers!

In 1934, a potential advertiser called WBT's Charles Crutchfield to ask if the station had a hillbilly band to help advertise its products. Telling a fib, Crutch said "Yes," which led to the birth of the Briarhoppers. The name comes from WBT announcer Bill Bivens who, during a hunting trip with Crutch, was startled by a rabbit jumping out of a thicket, and Bill yelled, "Look at that briarhopper!" At that moment, Crutch found the name for his hillbilly band.

The original band members were Johnny McAllister, Big Bill Davis, Don White, Thorpe Westerfield, Clarence Etters, and Jane Bartlett. The last original 1934 Briarhopper, Don White, died in 2003. Billie Burton Daniel, who joined the group in 1936, is happy and well in Wilmington, NC. Since that time, The Briarhoppers' fans are/were Bill Monroe, Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs (who filled in on banjo a few times), Curly Seckler, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, and many other entertainment stars.

In keeping with the tradition, the band kept going through the years by adding new musicians to those who left the station or who died. Today, Alana Flowers and Tom Warlick head the band with their stage show including the old Briarhopper songs, new songs, and the original scripted commercials of Peruna, Kolor-Bak, Zymole Trokeys, and Radio Girl Perfume! Enjoy this site and learn about the Briarhoppers' storied past and the bright future that is ahead. Don't turn that dial...Hit's Briarhopper Time!