Curly Dan & Wilma Ann

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Although for practically their entire career, they were only part-time entertainers, this husband and wife duo became a very popular act in bluegrass music for over four decades. Curly Dan (b. Densile…
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Although for practically their entire career, they were only part-time entertainers, this husband and wife duo became a very popular act in bluegrass music for over four decades. Curly Dan (b. Densile Holcomb, 12 September 1923, Clay, West Virginia, USA) learned guitar, mandolin and banjo and began playing and singing in local groups in his teens. Wilma Ann (b Wilma Ann Lowers, 11 August 1924, Charleston, West Virginia, USA) married Curly Dan in 1942. In 1952, because of the lack of employment in the West Virginia area, the couple relocated to Detroit, where Curly Dan found work in the motor industry with the Chrysler Corporation. Eventually he worked as an engineer in public schools in Royal Oak, Michigan. They became involved with the local music scene and in 1955, with Wilma Ann playing bass, they formed their Danville Mountain Boys, which for many years included Lester Flatt’s cousin Carmon Flatt. They made their first recordings the following year on the Fortune label. In 1961, they recorded ‘South On 23’, which became their signature tune on Happy Heart and proved popular enough for Starday to release it on their Nashville label. They subsequently recorded ‘North On 23’, which like many of their songs was biographical or relating to their home. In 1973, they were signed to John Morris’ Old Homestead label for which they recorded three albums. By this time their son, Ricky Dan, was playing banjo with the band and appeared with his parents on some of the recordings. They continued to play mainly local venues until 1993, when after Carmon Flatt’s death they retired from the music to live in Hazel Park, Michigan.