Wayne Raney Biography

17 August 1921, Wolf Bayou, near Batesville, Arkansas, USA, d. 23 January 1993. Raney became interested in music at an early age, owing to the fact that a crippled foot prevented him playing games. He learned to play the harmonica and listened intently to the playing of Lonnie Glosson on Border radio station XEPN. In 1934, at the age of 13, he hitch-hiked to the station’s studios in Eagle Pass and recorded some transcription records. He returned home, but when he was 17 he teamed up with Glosson and in 1938, the pair became favourites on KARK Little Rock and continued to play together on many occasions throughout the 40s. In 1941, Raney had his own show on WCKY in Cincinnati and sold a great many ‘talking harmonicas’ by mail order through the programme.

In the late 40s, he became friendly with the Delmore Brothers and between 1946 and 1952, made many King Records recordings with them as the Delmore Brothers, the Brown’s Ferry Four or under his own name (some recordings also included Glosson). One of his most popular was the 1946 recording of ‘Harmonica Blues’. He enjoyed two Top 20 US country chart hits in 1948 with ‘Lost John Boogie’ and ‘Jack And Jill Boogie’. In 1949, his recording of ‘Why Don’t You Haul Off And Love Me’, which he co-wrote with Glosson, became a country number 1 and also made number 22 in the US pop charts. In the mid-50s, he left the King label and spent some time as a member of the Grand Ole Opry and toured with its shows. He recorded contributions to rock ‘n’ roll in 1957, such as his Decca Records version of ‘Shake Baby Shake’. He left WCKY in 1961 and moved back to his native Arkansas, where he relocated to Concord, opened his own Rimrock recording studio and became involved with promotional work. He published his autobiography in 1990, three years before his death.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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