Personalities | Patsy Montana & The Prairie Ramblers | Cowboys & Playboys | Country

(Vocal/instrumental group, 1933–50s)

Patsy Montana And The Prairie Ramblers were stars of the WLS National Barn Dance, fortuitously paired for a number years beginning in 1933. Montana (1908–96) was born Ruby Blevins in Arkansas and arrived in Chicago after stints in Los Angeles and Shreveport. The Ramblers (originally Kentucky Ramblers: Tex Atchison, fiddle; Chick Hurt, mandolin/tenor banjo; Jack Taylor, bass; and Salty Holmes, guitar) were initially an eclectic Kentucky string band, but took on a western identity upon moving to Chicago. They moved increasingly towards western swing with later additions like fiddlers Alan Crockett and Wade Ray, and guitarist Bernie Smith. The Ramblers recorded prolifically without Montana, but they gained their greatest fame together with the hugely successful 1935 recording of ‘I Wanna Be A Cowboy’s Sweetheart’. The Ramblers remained active into the 1950s, while Montana continued to perform into the 1990s, elected to the Country Music Hall Of Fame in the year of her death.

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Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Music, consultant editor Bob Allen


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