Binkley Brothers

Amos Binkley (b. 30 March 1895, Cheatham County, Tennessee, USA, d. 6 October 1985; banjo) and his brother Gale Binkley (b. 7 May 1896, Cheatham County, Tennessee, USA, d. April 1979; fiddle). Although…
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Artist Biography

Amos Binkley (b. 30 March 1895, Cheatham County, Tennessee, USA, d. 6 October 1985; banjo) and his brother Gale Binkley (b. 7 May 1896, Cheatham County, Tennessee, USA, d. April 1979; fiddle). Although important as one of the early acts in country music, the brothers basically performed as part-time musicians, running their watchmaking and jewellery shop in Nashville for a living. Along with their friend guitarist Tom Andrews, as the Binkley Brothers String Orchestra, they made their debut on the Grand Ole Opry, on 30 October 1926. George D. Hay, with his penchant for colourful nicknames for the performers, soon renamed their act the Binkley Brothers Dixie Clodhoppers, and they retained that name until they finally left the Grand Ole Opry in August 1939. On 28 September 1928, with vocalist Jack Jackson, since neither brother had any claim to vocal ability, they and Paul Warmack And The Gully Jumpers were the first artists actually to record in Nashville. Seemingly, a recording equipment fault saw them re-record the numbers on 2 October 1928. Six of their Victor Records recordings were released and two, ‘I’ll Rise When The Rooster Crows’ and ‘Give Me Back My Fifteen Cents’, issued on Victor V-40048, became local hits. Some of their recordings have been reissued by County on compilation albums. (Jackson, often referred to as ‘The Strolling Yodeler’, later made solo recordings for Columbia Records.) At a time when similar Grand Ole Opry bands were renowned for their loudness, the Dixie Clodhoppers were noted for having what one writer described as ‘a delicate, restrained sound for an old time string band, perhaps because the brothers were watch repairmen by trade’. After they left the Grand Ole Opry, they retired and nothing seems known of their later years.