Formed in Maine, USA, by members of the LeBlanc family from Canada who changed their name to White. Best known was the magnificent guitarist Clarence White (b. Clarence LeBlanc, 7 June 1944, Lewiston, Maine, USA, d. 14 July 1973, Palmdale, California, USA), and he and older brother Roland, who played mandolin, and sister Joanna, bass, formed a trio. Their multi-instrumentalist father was Eric White Snr., and a third brother was banjoist Eric Jnr. In 1954, the family moved from Maine to California and Clarence, Roland and Joanna soon attracted attention. The following year Joanna was replaced on bass by Eric Jnr. Known as the Three Little Country Boys, this trio won a radio talent show and then appeared often on the air. In 1958 Roland left and was replaced by Billy Ray Latham and the group’s name was shortened to the Country Boys. When Roland returned, Latham stayed on and dobro player LeRoy Mack (b. LeRoy McNees, California, USA) was added. They had a full engagement book and their popularity surged when they began playing bluegrass music. In 1959 they released their first single for Sundown Records, ‘I’m Head Over Heels In Love With You’/‘Kentucky Hills’. In the early 60s, the Country Boys were seen on television, including The Andy Griffith Show, and appeared on a linked LP. In 1961, Eric Jnr. dropped out and was replaced by Roger Bush; the year after that Roland was drafted and was replaced briefly by mandolinist Scott Hambley. When Hambley left, the band continued with Clarence as the only original member along with Latham, Mack and Bush. In 1962, the band released its first album, The New Sounds Of Bluegrass America. This prompted another name change as the record company were already promoting a band named the Country Boys that was led by Mac Wiseman. The group was therefore renamed the Kentucky Colonels. Over the next few years other musicians drifted in and out of the line-up as Clarence became steadily more popular. He became an important member of the latter-day Byrds and was tragically killed in 1973.
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