Big Bill Davis!

Here is a promotional photo of one of the original WBT Briarhoppers, Big Bill Davis.  The BHoppers would send glossies up to Chicago to have them reprinted on cheap paper and would sell them at concerts for 10 cents a piece or something like that.  Big Bill was a trained fiddle player who came to Charlotte with his band, "Bill Davis and his Clover Blossoms."  We do not know a lot about him after he left Charlotte and presumably moved to the Winston-Salem, NC, area.   We have read that his son became a music teacher and continued his dad's love for the bass and violin.  If you know any more about him, let us know!


Faith said...

So glad to have found this site, as Big Bill Davis was my grandfather! I will send your site to my mother, who can give you all the detail you want! Best wishes, Faith McLellan

The WBT Briarhoppers said...

Glad to hear from you! You know there is a book on the WBT Briarhoppers? Has stuff on your grandfather as well as sons Judge and Roger! We are going crazy trying to find the video of when he and the BHoppers were on Fred Kirby's show in the 1970s.

Faith said...

No, I did not know about this book and am fairly astonished to hear about it--since my mother and family are alive and well and living in North Carolina! Where did you get your information?!

Faith said...

Mom will call you. You will enjoy talking with her!

Shirley said...

Big Bill Davis was my father.
He lived just outside of High
Point NC. He continued to play jobs around here. He played his last job at age 95.
He died in 1988 at the age of 96. He inspired me to teach music which I did for 38 years. His sons were Roger and Charles. They worked at WBT briefly.Both are dead now.

The WBT Briarhoppers said...

Let's use my email for

My number is 803-222-5737. The book was published in 2007 and the info came from the Crutchfields, Whitey and Hogan, Don White's files, the Country Music Hall of Fame, Billie Burton (the little blonde girl who lives in Wilmington), Homer Drye's family, and a ton of other sources.

Faith said...

Thanks much! To be continued in email!

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!