b. Arnim LeRoy Fox, 9 November 1910, Graysville, Tennessee, USA, d. 10 November 1995, Graysville, Tennessee, USA. At the age of 13, Fox, the son of a fiddler, was already touring with a medicine show before joining the Roane County Ramblers, with whom he made his first recordings in 1929. In the early 30s, he played with the Carolina Tar Heels and in 1932 with his own band, the Tennessee Firecrackers, he was a popular performer on WSB Atlanta. In 1935, he recorded some Decca recordings with the Shelton Brothers, including his noted instrumental, ‘Listen To the Mocking Bird’ (complete with special fiddle-made bird effects), and his vocal ‘Curley’s New Talking Blues’. In 1937, Fox teamed up with Texas Ruby (b. Ruby Owens, 4 June 1908, Wise County, Texas, USA, d. 29 March 1963, Nashville, Tennessee, USA). She was the sister of Tex Owens (the writer of ‘Cattle Call’) and had played on many radio stations, including theIowa Barn Dance Frolics and appeared on the Grand Ole Opry in 1934 with Zeke Clements. Fox and Owens (often working with the Shelton Brothers) toured the south, where they appeared on numerous stations and where Fox won a great many fiddle contests. They were married in 1939 and became firm favourites on theOpry, where, along with Rod Brasfield, they were stars of the Purina segment. During the 40s, they recorded for Columbia and King Records and between 1948 and 1955, they were regulars on a KPRC Houston television show but then returned to theOpry and also made further recordings for Starday.
Their close partnership was ended in 1963 when Texas Ruby was killed by a fire that destroyed their trailer home. Fox was devastated and effectively retired from the business; although from the mid-70s, he was, on occasions, persuaded to make special appearances at some bluegrass festivals, he never recovered from his loss. He is rated by experts to have been perhaps the greatest showman of all the early country fiddlers. Texas Ruby initially billed herself as Radio’s Original Yodeling Cowgirl but she was an outstanding vocalist. Equally at home with country ballads or blues songs, she was an undoubted influence on other female singers including Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn.