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Johnny B's, Medford, Oregon|
February 6, 2008
The Maddox Brothers and Rose were one of the top names in country
music in the 1940s and 1950s. They were a family band consisting
of four brothers and their baby sister Rose. The group made records
for Four-Star and Columbia and were responsible for such hits as
"Philadelphia Lawyer," "Paul Bunyan Love," "Ugly and Slouchy," and
the proto-rockabilly anthem "The Death Of Rock and Roll." They were
huge stars on the Louisiana Hayride radio show and one of the
top attractions on the West Coast, drawing thousands of people to
their shows. Hank Williams said that Rose Maddox was his favorite
singer. Their style of music, with its wild beat and slapping
upright bass, predated rockabilly and influenced many musicians
towards a wilder "boogie woogie" style. Elvis Presley's bass player Bill
Black was hugely influenced by Fred Maddox's bass style, and the two
The Maddox Brothers and Rose broke up in 1955, so imagine my surprise when I found out that none other than Don Maddox, the sole surviving member of the group, was booked to open for us in Medford, Oregon! Don has been out of the music business for fifty years, retiring to run a farm in Ashland, but was talked into playing again by a local group of hillbilly freaks who have a band called Screamin' Gulch.
It was one of those things that was simply too good to be true. How was it possible that 53 years after the Maddox Brothers and Rose broke up, we could be treated to a set of Maddox Brothers tunes from Don "Juan" Maddox, in fine form at 86 years young?
I got to sit in on bass for "Paul Bunyan Love" and a couple of other tunes. It was a treat that I'll never forget. God bless ya, Don "Juan" Maddox. And thanks to Johnny B. and the Screamin' Gulch guys for making it happen!