Mac Odell

b. Odell McLeod, 31 May 1916, Roanoke, Alabama, USA, d. 11 January 2003. Odell, who sang, wrote songs and played harmonica, guitar and mandolin equally well, was a popular radio entertainer. He grew up…
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography

b. Odell McLeod, 31 May 1916, Roanoke, Alabama, USA, d. 11 January 2003. Odell, who sang, wrote songs and played harmonica, guitar and mandolin equally well, was a popular radio entertainer. He grew up listening to early country stars such as Jimmie Rodgers, the Skillet Lickers and especially the harmonica wizard Deford Bailey. He first worked with Slim Bassett and hoboed for a time around several states before they gained a regular show, as Mac And Slim in New Orleans, in 1935. After he married, he worked with his wife as Mac And Little Addie. They played WJJD Chicago’sSupper Time Frolics for some time but their career was interrupted by World War II. Odell worked in a Michigan factory but continued to write songs as a staff writer for Roy Acuff (he wrote Acuff’s popular ‘Radio Station SAVED’ and ‘That Glory Bound Train’). After the war, he and his wife resumed their career on WLAC Nashville, remaining there until 1957. During this time he did daily shows with Addie and also appeared solo. He recorded for Mercury Records in 1949 but in 1952, he joined King Records. Many of his recordings were self-penned numbers, with the vast majority being of a gospel nature. These included ‘Thirty Pieces Of Silver’ (popularized by Wilma Lee Cooper) and ‘From The Manger To The Cross’, both of which have become much-recorded country standards. In 1957, he relocated to Benton Harbor, Michigan, where for some years, he neglected music to run Odell’s Signs, until a 1974 heart attack forced him to give up sign writing. In the late 70s, he was persuaded to make further recordings for Folk Variety of Germany, who also released some of his earlier material. In 1985, he and Addie made a tour of the Netherlands with the popular gospel singing Dutch duo, A.G. And Kate. In the late 80s, he was entertaining locally with three old friends as the Silver Threads. Odell also wrote ‘Purple Robe’, ‘The Stone Was Rolled Away’ and the Flatt And Scruggs hit ‘Cora Is Gone’.