Paper and Pen—Open Page

UPDATE: I know that scrolling to the newest comments is a bit of a pain.   But reversing the order (so newest appear on top) makes hash out of replies.  I have broken the thread into sub-pages, so you won’t have to scroll too far.  I have also enabled ‘nesting’, for replies to comments right under them.  We’ll see how that works.

Note that you can always comment on Home Page posts, when relevant.  Just click on the headline, or the Comment link at the bottom of the post. /CL 27Feb15

This page, or series of pages, will be essentially an Open Thread, for Hillbilly at Harvard friends and neighbors.  Here’s a place for you to comment, suggest, request, opine, recollect, or just discuss the show and the music.

Why a new page?  The free WordPress does not allow the user to create posts on any pages except the Home Page (or equivalent).   So an Open Thread on the Home Page will eventually get pushed down by newer posts.  But I can allow comments on a new page (like the Country Calendar page).  With a lot of participation, it could get over-long, but then I can create a new Open Page (as I’ll call them), and keep the old one(s) for archival purposes.

Will this work?  It should, but we’ll see.  Comments will be of course be moderated, and seriously off-topic comments will be snipped, as will insults and vulgarity, though I don’t expect any here.

Have fun!  /CL 13Oct13

517 Responses to Paper and Pen—Open Page

  1. Lanier Smythe says:

    This is my first time writing a comment and I was finally moved to do so by what seems like a continuing squeeze of the time alloted to Hillbilly at Harvard by WHRB. I see from the comments posted that it is a more complex issue than I understood, so I will just write a fan letter. For at least the past forty years I have organized my Saturday morning errands around being near a radio so I could listen to Hillbilly at Harvard. I moved here from Tennessee and was so happy to find some authentic country music, better than the commercial stuff that filled the airways in Tennessee. When good friends who were also fans moved away, I began taping the program for them. They eventually gave those tapes to you, probably because they no longer have a tape player, but I atill have one, and if you stop broadcasting, I might try to get them from you so I can continue to get my weekly fix of your music. Thank you for all the hours you have put in over the years, on air, and even more in preparaton. Your work has been loved and appreciated.

    • Ken Ward says:

      Here here! I too have been a long-time listener, and made the exact opposite move as Lanier: I left Boston and moved to Tennessee 30 years ago, and was delighted when internet made it possible to listen again to Hillbilly at Harvard. The show is known and treasured all over, and it’s very disappointing to me that it’s slot keeps getting cut back.

  2. Gil Anderson says:

    I’m another longtime listener (1985) and really miss the live show. I have Sirius radio in my car but still prefer listening to Hillbllly. Keep playing the old shows.

  3. KC King says:

    I am so happy to have stumbled across the blog. Thank you, Lanier and Gil. Greetings, Cousin Lynn! After graduating from the college in 1978, I reconnected in the mid 80’s and listened by FM every Saturday and still do now by internet.

    My wife burst out laughing two years ago when I wondered aloud where in Vermont Saxonvile was. Laughing, she pointed out that is less than five miles away from where lived for most of those years. I had a mental picture of Cousin Lynn driving four hours south every weekend for the broadcast!

    Last month, my son, now 36, stunned me as he recalled, fondly, driving around every Saturday morning of his childhood with HBH on the radio. Now he does the same with his kids.

    As I listen to the archival recordings, I remember the artists and the country calendar – whether I was in Wellesley, Dover, or now CT. I share Lanier’s and Gil’s sadness at the cutbacks – I’d happily listen to the full rebroadcasts or any new broadcast they allow Cousin Lynn to make.

    Old Sync and Cousin Lynn created a cultural institution for New England and west. Thank you for the joy you bring every weekend and helping to keep this music alive!

    WHRB, keep this jalopy rolling!

  4. jim poage says:

    I enjoy the archival shows; keep them up. Of course live shows are even better. I hope you can have 4-hour shows.

  5. Jo Brooks says:

    I too organize my Saturday mornings around listening to Hillbilly at Harvard. I love Cousin Lynn, and really appreciate hearing the older music. The newer stuff is good too – I like both – but I would be heartbroken if the original program cannot continue to have some significant portion of this time slot. Maybe add a weekday evening too?

  6. sbctest2016 says:

    We are another pair of very long-time listeners for whom Saturday morning is Hillbilly time. It’s wonderful to hear some of these ancient archived shows, full of ghosts of people and places long gone. Keep giving us them, but we really hope you get back to doing live shows, too. Maybe a mix, but just keep broadcasting. Promise! The Clarks

  7. Thanks for all the encouragement, folks! I’m glad you’re enjoying the Archival shows. It would also be good to let WHRB folks know you’re listening. I really do appreciate hearing from you. /CL

  8. Dave O’Rourke ‘82 says:

    I have enjoyed your show for years while running errands, puttering, or just sitting around. Enjoying the rebroadcasts and hoping for some new shows as well. Thanks for all you have done

  9. Ralph B. Seymour says:

    Dear Cousin Lynn,

    I commend you for sticking to your guns about the ridiculous mask mandate at Harvard.

    Ralph Seymour

  10. I’ve got two new hours of HHR for this week.”

    Welcome back!

    Although I’ve enjoyed and learned from the archival programs, it’s great to have you back via recorded new programs from your home studio.
The “kids” following you have provided some good listening, too.

    Please consider adopting a tool they are using, as I found useful on community radio WCUW, that being entering your playlist into Spinitron. The immediate benefit is the playlist displays in the app.
    It’s more effort, but I have a solution, get a station trainee/intern to do the upload. They will gain hillbilly music knowledge, and program listeners will be able to view content.

  11. Steve Bartlett says:


    I enjoyed hearing Molly O’Day again. Strong assured voice.

    Went looking and found a photo that shows a very young and relatively slim Mac Wiseman playing bass (the album cover).

    There was also a mention that Carl Smith had backed on some of her recordings.

    I always like the old Dobro players.

    Looking farther I found this

    And it brought up pages of text (a magnifying glass helps) including a photo of the Dobro player, George “Speedy” Krise. I am familiar with the name but he is not often heard and identified.

    Steve Bartlett

  12. Steve Bartlett says:

    More on Speedy Krise: Youtube documentary at

    If you remember Archie Campbell, one of the Hee Haw comedy acts, who joined the Grand Ole Opry, replacing Rod Brasfield, after the sudden passing of that long time Opry comedian, Archie was also a very good singer.
    See at about 10:00 of the above-referenced Youtube clip.

    • Thanks, Steve, for that little biography of Speedy Krise. I’d never heard of him. They talk refer to him as the father of bluegrass dobro, but he was clearly a country player. That was of course when there was no real distinction between bluegrass and country.

      That cover photo of The Cumberland Mountain Folks has Molly O’Day and Mac Wiseman smiling at each other with great. . . interest.

      Wish Sinc was still around to see this video; he’d have loved it. /CL

  13. Steve Bartlett says:

    Re Poison Love and Elmer Laird:

    The story I heard is that Elmer Laird was a car salesman in Houston, Tex. He was apparently murdered. Occasionally the writer’s credit on a recording of that song will be “Mrs. Elmer Laird,” to assure that she received the royalties from the song.

    I often wonder the same about “Oh, So Many Years,’ credited to Frankie Bailes, Walter Bailes’ wife. I have always wondered if she wrote it or if it was to give the income to her. Either way, it is one of my favorite songs. Singer-songwriter Smokey Stover put a different melody on one of the verses, making it a chorus, “to break up the monotony of the melody,” his words. I agree and that is the way I sang it on HAH years ago.

  14. Sending up carrier pigeons & smoke signals

    “ Rumor has it that the 2nd single release from my upcoming Pinecastle Records album, ‘From The Ground Up’ is getting to radio and there has been at least one ‘spin’! The new single: ‘Weary Old Highway’ is one my favorite songs written by Keith Little.

    More on this later, but call, write, text, and send up carrier pigeons & smoke signals to your favorite DJs to request them play this song so you can hear it, I *think* you’re gonna like it!

    Thank you Keith Little, and Pinecastle Records!”

    From Jim Hurst, via his Facebook page.

  15. Cousin Lyn,
    From my WP account I attempted to list an upcoming live concert on the “Country Calendar” page, but it did not take. Maybe it has been disabled? In any event, in short, Banjo player, singer, songwriter, percussive-dancer, choreographer and square-dance caller, Evie Ladin will be presented Thursday, June 9, 7:30pm at Fivesparks in Harvard (town, now college), Mass. Admission is by free-will offering, adults $20+, teens and seniors $15, well-behaved children $10 suggested. 100% of the donations go to the artist.
    Please make reservations through, questions, call 978-226-8862

    • Howdy Jeff— Nothing is disabled, though I haven’t got a lot of Calendar notices, and I got tired of putting them up myself. I didn’t see a Calendar comment from you for approval recently. but I’ll post it. Sorry for the problem. /CL

  16. Jean says:

    Hi Cousin Lynn! Could you please tell me which track from Vince Gill’s “Bakersfield” album you played today? Many thanks!

  17. Steve Bartlett says:

    Re: Hank Thompson and “Wake Up, Irene.” which as I recall was released around 1953, I heard a story that Hank had received a mono demo tape that was recorded half track, with more on the reverse track, recorded in the other direction. Such a tape was played one direction for the 1 track and then flipped over and played back the other direction to hear the other side. Hank had only a mono, full track recorder, so when they played it they heard both tracks at once, the 2 track in reverse. They played it the other direction and were intrigued by one song that was now buried in the 1 track.

    They obtained a half track recorder and there was “Wake Up, Irene” on the back side.

    • Howdy Steve— Good story, and now that I look at the writers’ credits, likely true (W. Allard, J. Hatchcock)—I had assumed that Hank T. wrote it himself.

      I was way off base attributing it to the ‘folk boom’ of the ’60s, too; as you point out, it was a hit in 1953. Of course ‘Goodnight, Irene’ was well-known in folk circles (first recording Lead Belly, 1933), and (I see from Wikipedia) became a huge hit for The Weavers in 1950, followed by hits for several pop and country artists, so it had a ‘boom’ all its own, and I certainly heard it then, as folkies like Burl Ives and The Weavers were big in our house.

      Thanks for the note. I haven’t heard from many since I began recording at home, so it’s nice to know some are still listening. . . /CL

      • Steve Bartlett says:

        I always loved the “Wildwood Flower” intro and outtro.

        And it a is always a treat to hear Dawn Sears.

  18. Steve Bartlett says:

    Re: Yodeling Slim Clarke,

    I used to hear Slim on WABI from Bangor in the 50’s. The station came in very listenable in Barnstable, across the water. He had a 15 minute program at noon, followed by Mel and Stan Hankinson, “The Kentucky Twins.”

    Slim lived in Petersham in the winter, out by Quabbin reservoir.

    I was in Wheeling in 1956 to see the WWVA jamboree and looked up Marjorie Beane, who ran Slim’s fan club. She said Slim was visiting one time and she played a yodeling record. Slim said, “I didn’t know you had my record of that song.”

    “Well, if I do, you gave it to me. I have never bought any of your records.”

    They looked at the label and it was not Slim Clarke, it was Wilf Carter, “Montana Slim.”

    Even Slim Clarke could not tell the difference.

  19. Steve Bartlett says:

    The opening song on the segment following the Original HAH:

    “Knocking At Your Door” was Hank Locklin’s theme song in the 50’s, one of his well known early recordings.

    Well, today’s 11 AM start is very good.

    Steve Bartlett

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