Saturday, December 16, 2006

the boy wonder...

boywonder

here he is, age 6, the youngest violin player in the u.s.a on an RPPC from 1922. when i found this card i figured l. wade ray was a flash in the pan that no one had ever heard of, but boy was i wrong...

by the time the above photo was taken, he had already been touring for a year; and by the time he was 10 he'd amassed a collection of over 100 fiddles given to him by adoring fans. my favorite of his many feats is that in 1958 he was the first person to ever play an electric fiddle - made for especially for him by fender.

in classic hillbilly tradition, wade learned to play the fiddle as a young child on a homemade instrument made by his father out of an old cigar box. dropping the "L" from his name, wade ray would eventually appear in some of cowboy rex allen's hollywood films, and later on in some of the country hillbilly themed early televison shows. much of his honky tonk music of the 60's is still available on cd; and it seems he was good friends with willie nelson. ironically, after wade ray became a star, the boy wonder was nicknamed "pappy"...

wade pappy ray died in 1998, with a little less chops than the image above, but still fiddlin' right up until the end. below is a photo found online from the 50s... note the resemblence of pappy to the young guy...

12008

4 Comments:

Blogger Matterhorn1959 said...

Wow- great find and great history. I especially like that he was the first to play the electric fiddle. I like it when I find something and can put a great story to it.

5:54 PM  
Blogger sroden said...

yeah, the internet is pretty darn useful at times. it never evern ocurred to me that this kid was a somebody and searched his name on a total whim...

9:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How did you come across this in first place? Ray has a very intresting life story. Thanks.

11:36 AM  
Blogger sroden said...

i have been scouring flea markets, used bookstores, ebay, and anywhere else old paper lives for years. i generaly pick things up because i like how they look, the discovery of their life stories comes later....

3:51 PM  

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