Lonnie Glosson

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One of country music’s greatest harmonica players as well as talented guitarist.
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b. 14 February 1908, Judsonia, White County, Arkansas, USA, d. 2 March 2001, Arkansas, USA. One of country music’s greatest harmonica players but also a talented guitarist. His mother, Cora, taught him to play the harmonica as a child and in 1926, he made his radio debut on the KMOX station in St. Louis. He hoboed his way around for the next four years playing and singing at numerous venues, before he became a cast member of WLS Chicago’s National Barn Dance in 1930. After a few years, he moved to the WWVA Wheeling Jamboree until his wanderlust saw him move to another station, a practice he continued throughout the 30s. In the early 40s, he was at WHAS Louisville, where he worked with Molly O’Day on theEarly Morning Frolic. When she moved to Wheeling, he spent some time starring on theRenfro Valley Barn Dance, and worked with the Lilly Brothers and Fiddling Burk Barbour in the Smiling Mountain Boys, before rejoining O’Day in Knoxville, Tennessee. In 1947, she made the first recording of Glosson’s sacred song ‘Matthew 24’. Glosson had written the song, which predicted the second coming, in the mid-30s and had sung it himself on various stations. O’Day and her husband Lynn Davis’ noted duet recording of Glosson’s ‘Don’t Forget The Family Prayer’ also became very popular with their fans. Glosson also sometimes appeared with his brother and sister, Buck and Esther, who were also entertainers. In 1948, Glosson began a long association with fellow harmonica player Wayne Raney, which generated the country chart-topper ‘Why Don’t You Haul Off And Love Me’. They presented radio programmes together that sold harmonicas and tuition books. It has been estimated that, from the late 40s through to the mid-50s, several million harmonicas were sold through this radio advertising. After 1956, Glosson mainly confined his performing to special matinee shows in schools all over the south and Midwest, a practice he continued into the 80s. He incorporated words of wisdom of the dangers of drink and drugs and generally proved popular not only with his audiences but also with the Education authorities. Glosson made his first solo recordings for ARC in 1932, which included his noted ‘Lonnie’s Fox Chase’ and the bluesy styled recitation ‘Arkansas Hard Luck’. He also recorded for Mercury Records (1949), Decca Records (1950) and later in the 50s, he recorded instrumentals and vocals on the Acme label, including the semi-talkie ‘The Old Dutchman’s Prayer’. He also played on some of Raney’s King Records recordings. In the 70s, he made further recordings on Raney’s Rimrock label and in 1980, the two old friends reunited to record an album.