Monday, January 4, 2010

What ever happened to the Pickard Family!!??

Since I`ve been a little slow about posting lately, I thought I`d post one more for the New Year today.
Here is an "extry odd" LP for sure. The Pickard Family was a pretty popular family group in the late 20`s and early 30`s. They got their start on WSM on the Grand Ole Opry in about 1927. Seems the story goes that one of their children turned up missing and they pleaded to radio stations to broadcast this unfortunate fact in hopes of finding the missing child, which they did find. Sounds like a happy ending, but the story just gets better. Seems the Solemn Old Judge, George D. Hay (inventor & manager of the Grand Ole Opry at the time) got to know them some through the missing child episode and learned that they were musically inclined. So, he seems to have auditioned them and next thing you know the Pickard Family were on their way to the "big time".
Now when I say big time, I don`t mean they became Opry stars and lived happily ever after. Actually, and unfortunately, the Pickard family is rarely mentioned in Grand Ole Opry history books. They stayed with the Opry awhile, then moved to WLS in Chicago to be stars on the National Barndance. They also recorded records in the late 20`s, including a Jew`s harp solo 78 for Columbia that is still considered the apex of Jew`s harp artistry!
The story gets just a little better for them yet. Seems soon after War World 2 they wound up in California on radio and wound up having their own TV show! I have looked for any clips from their show and have had no luck finding anything yet. So if anyone has any of this material I`d love to see it!!
This LP is sort of strange. Their original recordings were mostly old pop songs done in an old-time country style, but on here they sound more folk-ish than old-time. Obed "Dad" Pickard died soon after this was recorded, although by my ear "Dad" nor "Mom" Pickard are even on the record. Maybe they were not able to perform anymore due to age. I believe that this was recorded arount the mid to late 50`s. Mom & Dad Pickard would have been in their late 70`s I believe.
Maybe I`ll post some of my Pickard Family 78`s sometime. Hope you all enjoy this ultra-rare, unusual record!!



Click here to download The Pickard Family Sings Hits Of Yesteryear

28 comments:

  1. Here's old Obed Pickard, the Jew's harp player...gonna play "The Old Gray Horse"...then something about the darkies dancing at the hoedowns by the light of the moon, and the mammies crooned.

    And he mentions his daughter Anne, and playing for the Columbia Records man I believe.

    Please, post anything else you've got, or feel free to email me tracks.

    Nice to see someone's keeping this alive. I can't wait to get my eventual vinyl into the CD age.

    Long live shellac and the 78 :)

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  2. Well Allen, feel free to post some 78s of them. For my part, I like 78/45 posts much more, don't why... :)

    Keep up the good work,
    Mellow

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  3. Arkansas Red-Ozark TroubadourJanuary 21, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    Howdy Brother Allen, Thanks so much for putting all this great music on the net. I know for dang sure it's very much appreciated. Keep up the good work. Your pickin' buddy- Arkansas Red-Ozark Troubadour, Ozark Mountains, Arkansas

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  4. I am simply dying for any Obed Pickard records his version of "Old Gray Mule" gives me an ecstatic love for life.

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  5. My maternal grandmother was Ruthie Pickard Colwell, the older of the two female children in this group. I spent lots of time in my childhood with her and her husband, my grandfather Frank Colwell, in Los Angeles and Ventura CA. Unfortunately that whole generation of the family is passed, the youngest (my Aunt Anne) died last just a few years ago. My sister has a box of audio cassettes and VHS tapes compiled by one of my cousins, a child of Uncle "Bub" (called "Bob" on the album notes above). These show all the TV shows and various recordings etc. The other son in the group, my mom's Uncle Charlie, died tragically young shortly after this album was released.

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    1. Nixon Pickard ChildsJanuary 20, 2013 at 12:32 AM

      Re: Charlie. He was killed accidentally by his sister. His father - my Great Uncle Obed - was a traveling salesman at the time and couldn't be located. That's when they contacted George Hay who put out a radio announcement for anyone who knows Obed to tell him to "get home right away". Later, Obed and George Hay developed a friendship that led to his starting his music career on the Nashville Barn Dance, which later became the Grand Ole Opry.

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    2. Charlie Pickard was my father. Actually he accidentally killed his sister when he was 10. He went on to have a career of his own as an entertainer. He played guitar, sang songs, his own and others. He also told jokes; some "adult humor" for the day.
      He died many years later from cancer. Unfortunately my mother, Patricia Pickard, and my sister, Janalee Pickard, have also passed. If you have any information about my family, I would sincerely appreciate it if you would share it with me! Thanks! Lisette Amoroso nee Pickard. Improvldy@gmail.com

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  6. Wow Michael , I`d love to hear and see some of those tv shows!!!

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  7. Thanks for posting this. I'm writing a book on one man bands and just read that Dad Pickard was a one man band. Anyone know anything about that?

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  8. I am trying to reach the Pickard family. I have accquired a family picture dated Jan 27th 1936. This is signed : greetings from the Picard family and Puruna. Mother, Ruth, Little Ann, Dad, Charlie and Bub Pickard. Please get ahold of me. My e-mail is jhn17340@aol.com

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    1. Charlie Pickard was my father and I would love to get that picture! Thank you! Improvldy@gmail.com

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  9. correction: greetings from the pickard family and Peruna,Mother,Ruth, Little Ann, Dad, Charlie and Bub Pickard, Dated Jan 27th 1936. I wish to return the picture to their relatives. reach me at jhn17340@aol.com. thanks for your help. Tara

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    1. Steve Rasche would be interested. Lives in California. Has a lot of the Pickard Family memorabilia. Obed Pickard was his great grandfather, and my great uncle. I lost touch with Steve 8 years ago. strategy10@bellsouth.net

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  10. Tara I am one of the Pickard family

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  11. Hello - I am curious to know where the Pickard family originated. Is this a French name by some chance?

    Thank you,
    James LaForest

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  12. I have no idea where the Pickard`s originated from. Good luck looking!

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    1. Ashland City TN. Col P.P. Pickard was Obed's father, and my great Grandfather. Here's some background. http://files.usgwarchives.net/tn/cheatham/bios/pickard308nbs.txt

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  13. What a treat to find this site! My grandparents and grand-aunts and uncles were the Pickards mentioned here. I was so fortunate to grow up with them all singing these old favorites when we got together at the holiday table or in the back yard at parties.

    Dad Pickard was actually the first person to sing on the National Barn Dance (Grand 'ol Opry). He was known as the One-Man Band because he could play any instrument except the clarinet, which he just didn't like the sound of. He's best known in folk music history as the American master of the Jaw Harp.

    I transcribed many personal stories while they were alive, including that of the "lost daughter" (which in reality ended up pretty much like Nixon Pickard explains above). There is a lot about the Pickard family history back to the early 1600s when their ancestors first came to America.

    I'm the cousin who compiled all the music tapes and shows that Michael Kennedy mentions. We have their memorabilia which is likely the largest collection of Pickard 78s, 45s and LPs, radio show transciptions, old tapes, photos and show bills.

    It's terrific to see other Pickard descendants on this site! If you'd like to chat about the Pickard Family as entertainers, connect as a relative, or learn what I've learned about Pickard ancestral origin, I'd welcome hearing from you.

    Steve Raschke
    customboy at aol

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    1. Mr. Raschke,
      My family lived next door to the Pickard family in Ashland City TN until the singing part of the family moved away. My mother tells of going next door to play with the Pickard children and gathering around a piano to sing along and be entertained. I guess it was your great grandfather who was president at the local bank. My family bought the Pickard family home next door and eventually it was used as a funeral home started by my grandfather who was a good friend of your family. The house is still there but stands empty now. I at one time had a law office there as it is located on the town square. My family still owns it and the house my mother grew up in next door is still there as well but is now also office space. If you ever get around Nashville I will be glad to give you the grand tour. I believe Col. P. P. Pickard is buried in the same local cemetery as my grandparents. Unfortunately my oldest relatives who knew them best have passed but my mother has some memories. Hopefully I will be able to see what you have collected some day. I may also have an item of memorabilia you might be interested in. Chris Young

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    2. Hi Steve - it's Lisette. Email me if you'd like - improvldy@gmail.com

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  14. I am not a descendant but my name is Eleanor (Nell) Pickard Yes I can help you about the name It originated from France but the descendants went to Scotland for 5 generations then later they settled in England. My father was Arthur Pickard lived N.S.W. Australia Born Otley England in 1887

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  15. I have two Pickard photos. One sounds like the one mentioned starting with "Greetings,etc" with 1936 calender printed on the back. The second photo is three young men and an old gentleman [bearded] it says "Greetings from Peruna, Pappy, Elton, Ezra, and Zeb. It also has a printed 1936 calender on the back.

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  16. I have a photo card of the family I found in a 1928 Central High School (Nashville, TN) annual. They are behind some boxes of Stephens Work Clothes "A Little Bigger, A Little Better" and a large box-type WSM microphone. The youngest girl looks to be about 7-8 years old and is holding a box of clothes rather than an instrument. six 1 five 7 1 nine two 5 nine nine.

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    1. When I was a young lad I saw a B western starring Jimmy Wakely titled "Riders of the Dawn" (aka "Riding the Dusty Trail") and I was intrigued by a bespectacled old timer who sat on a wagon and played his jews harp as one of Wesley Tuttles All Stars on songs like "Boil that Cabbage Down." I later found out his name was Dad Pickard but it was many more years before I discovered The Pickard Family and their music on CD. The Wakely film is a rare opportunity to see movie of Dad Pickard. - John Brooker Sept 2015

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  17. There is a short film clip of the Pickard Family posted on YouTube. It appears to be from the year 1949 and originated from station KNBH (now KNBC, Channel 4.)

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  18. Started by the National Life and Accident Insurance Company in 1925, WSM has been one of the most influential and exceptional radio stations in the history of broadcasting and country music.The driving force behind the creation of the station was National Life and Accident Insurance Company executive Edwin W. Craig, son of one of the insurance company’s co-founders, C.A. Craig. Believing that a radio station would enhance National Life’s identity, the younger Craig convinced the company’s board of directors to invest in the new technology. He chose the call letters “WSM” to reflect National Life’s motto: ‘We Shield Millions.”
    WSM officially began broadcasting on October 5, 1925. The show that would become The Grand Ole Opry aired for the first time a little more than a month later. The WSM Barn Dance was the brainchild of George D. Hay. Nicknamed “The Solemn Old Judge,” Hay was a 30-year-old former reporter for the Memphis Commercial Appeal and announcer for the National Barn Dance on Chicago’s station WLS.



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    1. Sorry about that folks....Posted the WSM info here by mistake. Had a "senior' moment!!

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