1934 WLS Family Album:
Note: Louise Massey (1902-1983), wife of Milt Mabie, was perhaps the
best known of this family group. Her song "My Adobe Hacienda" (1941)
became a popular music classic.
The Westerners first performed on KMBC in Kansas City. They came to WLS in 1933.
In 1936 they moved to New York where they continued their radio work on NBC. In
1938 they appeared in a Tex Ritter singing oater, "Where the Buffalo Roam.
The group returned to WLS in 1939 and, during some of the World War II years,
did a morning broadcast on NBC called "Reveille Roundup". The Westerners
disbanded around 1950.
Curt Massey (perhaps the "Dott" Massey referred to below) eventually
composed the theme music for television's "The Beverly Hillbillies"
and "Petticoat Junction". Some five hundred Westerner artifacts are
in the collection of the Historical
Center for Southeast New Mexico. Someone ought to use that as a resource for
a deeper study on a musical group that had significant crossover appeal.
I would presume that Milt Mabie acquired a new pair of chaps not too long after
the photograph below was taken. He certainly wasn't wearing them when Fons
Ianelli photographed the group for the 1941
WLS Family Album.
|Meet the music-making
Westerners, newest members of the WLS staff. The dangerous looking man on the
left with the bass "fiddle" is Milt Mabie. Next to him is Larry Wellington
with his accordion. Then Dott Massey who plays violin and trumpet; Louise Massey
Mabie, singer and pianist, and Allen Massey, guitar and banjo specialist. Louise,
Dott and Allen are sister and brothers. Milt was "adopted" bt Louise
several years ago, while Larry joined the group more recently. Reared on a ranch
near Roswell, New Mexico, the Massey's took to music rather than "cow punching",
so their father, an old-time fiddler, led them in Chautaqua and Lyceum appearances
for three or four years, after which they entered radio. They specialize in the
sweet and rollicking songs of the West, but at any time you may expect them to
break forth in modern music.
to the 1934 WLS Family Album Index page
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Rich Samuels (e-mail to email@example.com)