Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Onie Wheeler - Something New And Something Old

This has to be a mega-rare LP!! It was issued in 1982 and by that time Onie would have been a really obscure artist. By this time about all he was known for was playing the harmonica and making the train whistle effect for Roy Acuff on the Opry.
Onie (that`s a great name!!) was born in Senath, Missouri (south-east Missouri) on November 10th, 1921 and passed away at a late night gospel performance on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry May 26th, 1984.
Onie`s early recorded music (1953) was a new type of country music. It was some pretty hard rockin` stuff that we now would call rockabilly, or at least pre-rockabilly. Onie was also well known as an excellent harmonica player.
I`m not going to go into a whole lot of detail about Onie because there just isn`t all that much information on him. If you like this LP even a little bit I HIGHLY recommend buying a cd called Onie`s Bop on the Bear Family label. It`s a great cd featuring music he recorded in the 50`s for Columbia and Sun. There is also a 24 page booklet with the cd. The quality of the cd package is excellent, which the Bear Family label is well known for excellent sound restoration and really nice liner notes and such.
A few interesting facts I know about Onie is that he toured some with Elvis when he was first starting out. He also toured some with George Jones. Sometime in the late sixties Roy Acuff added Onie to his Smoky Mountain Boys. I never have heard the story about Roy hiring Onie. I wonder if Roy hired him more for his train whistle imitation than his harmonica player because Roy already had the best harp player in country music, Jimmie Riddle. Look on you tube for an Onie Wheeler clips, there is at least one of Onie doing one of his own songs with the Smoky Mountain Boys and some other clips of him playing harmonica for Roy. On the Roy Acuff song, Freight Train Blues, Onie and Jimmie Riddle play some pretty intense twin harmonica.
Onie wrote 4 of the songs on this LP---Onie`s Bop, I`d Rather Scratch With The Chickens, his best know number John`s Been Shuckin` My Corn and it`s "answer" song, Shuckin` My Way To The Hall Of Fame.
Well, I guess that`s about all I can say about Onie, he was a great singer with a rich baritone lead voice and great harp player. As I said, if you like this LP, buy the Onie`s Bop cd!!

Track listing---
She`s Layin` Down The Lovin`
Lunch Box Hero
Wreck Of The Ole Ninety-Seven
Lucian`s Song
John`s Been Shuckin` My Corn
Layin` Around With Susie
Living Without You
Onie`s Bop
I`d Rather Scratch With The Chickens
Shuckin` My Way To The Hall Of Fame

Download Something New And Something Old Here


  1. THANK YOU FOR THIS!!! Loved Onie ever since I heard "Shucking My Corn," and was disappointed Bear Family dropped the ball and didn't release a complete box set or something.

  2. Uncle Gil has sent me the link…
    Thanks for this rare treasure.
    Have a good day

  3. Great album! This record of Wheeler was unknown to me.


  4. As far as I know this is Onie`s only LP issued. Seems all his material besides this was issued on 78`s & 45`s. I`d love to hear if there was any more LP`s. He recorded in the 70`s some singles for some small labels.

    1. Yes there is Allen. I'm his daughter, Karen Wheeler. "The Best Of Onie Wheeler," ""Onie's Country Boppers," "John's Been Shuckin' My Corn," and there's an album of daddy's that has Mother Songs and it explains on the album that daddy lost his mama at the age of 4 years old. My website is: karenwheelermusic.com

    2. Thanks for the information, Karen. I`ll keep looking!

  5. Thanks for the link -- I've just stumbled into this AWESOME live TV performance by Onie:


    ENJOY (I know you will)!

  6. Anybody know the name of his song- starts out,"the wind is cold and life is hard, in eastern Tennessee. Anybody know the name of it ?

  7. Hillbilly researcher#65 the singles1960-69,is amust for any fan.


  9. This is one great album and I will be going for the CD. I do love the amount of knowledge you seem to have on your subjects that you have on here. Thank you for posting these.

  10. Thanks Allen. Amazing that the links is still active.

    1. I try to keep links working. If you ever try to download anything and it won`t work anymore just contact me and I`ll fix it.