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Apr 20, 2024 - 2:28:20 PM
199 posts since 8/9/2007

on Chicago radio. It began as a program of old-time fiddling. links to the whole

I did a blog post with story and a lot of recordings. It may be of interest to some of you Hanger-Outers

Apr 20, 2024 - 4:23:40 PM



11892 posts since 12/2/2007

Thanks, Paul. As it happened I was interested in the Barn Dance just yesterday, and visited this page about it on the WLS website:
If you click the button at the bottom of the page it will take you to a couple more pages with brief bios of the performers. I had no idea it was a historic day - I was just wondering if there had been any "barbershop" quartets in the cast.
I used to collect old records, and one the first I found was "Buckwheat Batter" by Tom Owen's WLS Barn Dance Trio, probably as pictured in your blog.

Apr 20, 2024 - 4:45:11 PM

199 posts since 8/9/2007

Thanks Doug. That webpage is quite old. I used it when I started my research over 20 years ago.

As for barbershop quartets, there were a lot of close harmony singing groups on the Barn Dance over the years. But I've never identified one as being of the barbershop school of arranging. The Maple City Four may have pulled that off on occasion. But they were also a comic group. I imagine a vocal counterpart to the Hoosier Hot Shots. But I've only ever heard one recording by them.

Apr 20, 2024 - 5:02:30 PM



11892 posts since 12/2/2007

Yes, I'd seen that website before - I was revisiting it since someone on here mentioned barbershop singing, and I thought if had been anywhere on those early radio shows it might have been the barn dance with its midwestern "pop" flavor. They mentioned the Maple City Four as sometimes singing in that style.
I was just looking for stories about "Rhubarb Red" and came across this website run by Les Paul's son:
On one of the early pages there's a short transcription of the opening of the Barn Dance on location at the Wisconsin State Fair (but surely not from 1924)

Edited by - DougD on 04/20/2024 17:04:47

Apr 20, 2024 - 6:05:36 PM

199 posts since 8/9/2007

It may have been Bill Malone, or perhaps one of those other country music historians who stuck the barbershop tag onto the National Barn Dance. There were a lot of pop music there, but very little that could accurately be described as barbershop. If you go through the Rural Rhythm article that I linked, I've linked lots of samples. The Overstake Sisters are probably the most representative of the pop harmony type. There is the one Maple City Four cut that I've heard.

The Wisconsin State Fair show is from 1942. It's one of a half dozen or so air checks that we located for the Hayloft Gang film. Only 1 is from the '30s. And there's one more that has a few selections from 1938. And the only recordings that exist are from the 1-hour NBC network segment, which was more pop than the rest of the weekly broadcast.

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