Personalities | Bill & Cliff Carlisle | Early Years of Hillbilly | Country
(Vocal/instrumental duo, 1930s–50s)
Raised near Louisville, Kentucky, Cliff Carlisle (1904–83) was attracted as a boy to blues and Hawaiian music. His fusion of the two would make him one of the most distinctive musicians of his time. Playing the dobro resonator guitar with a slide, he transmuted the blue yodels of Jimmie Rodgers, becoming a popular performer on radio and records. In the 1930s he worked on WBT in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his brother Bill (1908–2003) an equally talented singer and a fast flatpicking guitarist, who also recorded prolifically in his own name. Both men adapted to the changes in country music after the Second World War, scoring in their family group The Carlisles with records like ‘Too Old To Cut The Mustard’ (1951) and ‘No Help Wanted’ (1953). Cliff retired in the 1950s, but Bill maintained his career for another 50 years, making his last appearance on the Grand Ole Opry 10 days before his death.
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