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The McCormick Brothers: Bio

In December 1955 a new country music monthly from the publishers the jazz magazine Down Beat, Country and Western jamboree, printed the results of their first readers’ poll. Mainstream country dominated the poll – Hank Williams was the “all time favorite, “Faron young and Kitty Wells were the most popular male and female singers – but the impact of newer music could be seen in some of the results. Elvis Presley was voted “
Best New Male Singer,” and this was considered an “upset” by the compilers of the data.

Receiving less comment was the domination of the “Instrumentalist” sections of the poll by groups with five-string banjo: winners in the “Best Instrumentalist Group” listing were Flatt and Scruggs; Reno and Smiley placed fourth and The McCormick Brothers, a Tennessee goupr that had started recording bluegrass instrumentals for hickory Records in 1954, came fifth. In the “Best new Instrumentalist Group” section first place was taken by the Stanley Brothers, and The McCormick Brothers appeared again, this time in second place.

…..In the March issue of Country and Western jamboree the full-page Skinner ad featured “5-String Banjo Instrumentals” and listed recordings by Flatt and Scruggs, Reno and Smiley, The McCormick Brothers, Jim Eanes (who had recorded a cover of “Home Sweet home”), the Stanley Brothers and hack Johnson. The same ad appreaed in the April issue of Country Song Roundup. Such ads with “specials” on either the Osborne mailorder offer or five-string instrumentals continued to appear regularly in these monthlies and fanzines during the next few years.

Bluegrass: a history By Neil V. Rosenburg

The McCormick Brothers are not as well-known as other country and bluegrass harmonizers who were popular in the 1950s, such as the Stanley Brothers and the Louvin Brothers. But they were a good bluegrass band, though they weren't as long-lived as the most renowned ones working the same turf, and certainly didn't record as often or sell as many records. The seeds for the act were planted when Lloyd McCormick and Kelly McCormick formed a guitar-mandolin duo as youngsters, performing duets on Kentucky and Tennessee radio stations. Their personnel and instrumentation expanded, and younger brother Haskel McCormick joined on banjo in the early '50s. At one point, the lineup was filled out with a couple of cousins, Hayden Clark (on bass) and Billy Clark (on fiddle), before the youngest brother joined on bass and Dewel Bullington on fiddle; Charlie Nixon later joined on Dobro.

From the mid-'50s to the early '60s, the McCormick Brothers recorded for Hickory, run by Fred Rose (who co-ran the enormously successful Nashville publisher Acuff-Rose with Roy Acuff). The McCormicks did some rockabilly sides in an attempt to boost their sales, but are known primarily for the fairly straight bluegrass recordings they did on Hickory, alternating between harmony vocals and purely instrumental workouts. Their biggest seller was their first single for the label in 1954, "Red Hen Boogie," penned by Charlie Louvin and Ira Louvin. Enjoy "Red Hen Boogie" once again released on their latest CD......"Somewhere In Time".