b. 1883, Pikeville, Tennessee, USA, d. 29 January 1954, Nashville, Tennessee, USA. The fiddle-playing Hale and his two daughters, Mamie Ruth (mandolin, fiddle) and Elizabeth (piano), were one of the early acts on the Grand Ole Opry. Hale bought a dairy farm near Nashville around the time of World War I, but for some time he made his living as a sewing machine salesman (he later ran a piano shop in Nashville). The trio played on theOpry from 1926 until the early 30s, being especially remembered for their twin fiddle renderings of such numbers as ‘Listen To The Mocking Bird’ (Theron cleverly produced bird whistles with his finger work on the strings), ‘Red Wing’ and ‘Over The Waves’. These twin fiddle harmonies, boosted by Elizabeth’s piano accompaniment, gave them a sound that was significantly different to the other early Opry bands. In October 1928, when the Victor Company decided to record some of the early Opry acts, the Hales became one of the first bands to record in Nashville. They recorded six sides, including ‘Listen To The Mocking Bird’, but they were not satisfied with the recordings. They played solely on WSM programmes and never toured. In the early 30s, Mamie Ruth, an excellent musician, left Nashville to get married and later became a violin teacher at Vanderbilt University. Theron (who was also a competent banjoist) and Elizabeth continued for a short time with other musicians taking Mamie Ruth’s place, but the act soon folded and Theron quit playing on WSM. He later played some personal appearances with Sam McGee and banjoist Fred Colby.
Share this page