RUSC Radio - US Presidents

Willis Brothers

Show Count: 8
Series Count: 1
Role: Old Time Radio Star
Old Time Radio

The Willis Brothers were a country music ensemble from Oklahoma, consisting of several brothers.

Three of the Willis brothers (James, Charles, and Joe) played together as teenagers from the early 1930s under the name Oklahoma Wranglers. They were regulars on Shawnee, Oklahoma station KGEF through the decade, but in 1939, Joe married and exited the group. John (Vic) joined, and soon after the group moved to Kansas City, where they appeared on the Brush Street Follies through 1942. All three members fought in World War IIseparately, preventing them from continuing as a group until war's end, but in 1946 they reunited and played the Grand Ole Opry. They became members of the Opry in the 1940s. Signing with Sterling Records, they began recording both as the Oklahoma Wranglers and as a backing band forHank Williams.

In 1949 the group left the Opry and toured nationally with Eddy Arnold through 1957. They also performed in the films Feuding Rhythm and Hoe Down. Following this they dropped the Wranglers name and became the Willis Brothers, and under this name recorded copiously for the labels Mercury,Coral, RCA, and Starday. In 1964 they released the single "Give Me Forty Acres (To Turn This Rig Around)", which became a Top Ten country hit in the United States.

The group remained a fixture on the Opry until 1995, when Vic died in a car crash at age 73.

Source: Wikipedia