Two of the most famous cowboy and country numbers received their earliest recordings on efforts involving this classic vocalist, banjo picker, and songwriter. The very first commercially available recording of cowboy evergreen "Red River Valley" featured the duo of Hugh Cross and the legendary Riley Puckett, and of the first three pre-Roy Acuff recordings of country train warhorse (or should we say war-engine) "Wabash Cannonball," two of them were done by Cross. Cross was also associated through radio broadcasts with popular cowboy artists such as the Girls of the Golden West and the Drifting Pioneers. But his credits as a journeyman musician included stints in many different string bands including the Cumberland Ridge Runners, Smoky Mountain Ramblers, and most important of all, the classic lineup of Gid Tanner & the Skillet Lickers which also included fabulous players such as brother-in-law fiddlers Clayton McMichen and Bert Layne, as well as Puckett. His duo with Puckett was sometimes released under the name of the Alabama Barnstormers, and their records included a version of "When You Wore a Tulip," as well as the premier trip down into the "Red River Valley." Cross also worked with Lowe Stokes, Ted Hawkins, Gordon Tanner, Linda Parker, and Hoke Rice. With Roy Acuff he co-wrote the famous number "Don't Make Me Go to Bed and I'll Be Good," a song which spoke for the dreams of the younger generation for a longtime, at least until Nirvana came along. In 1983, Cross was posthumously awarded one of 50 engraved bronze stars presented to classic country artists by the Wheeling, WV, Jamboree.
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