Although he is considered a Bluegrass artist – the end of his career, and his beginnings with Bill Monroe are enough proofs of it – Clyde Moody was a versatile artist who did success in various styles : Western swing, Old-Time, Honky Tonk, even Country pop, but always with a « Country » voice. He had his first hit with « Shenandoah Waltz » (1947, King), the first of a long waltzes serie. Hence his nickname of « Hillbilly Waltz King ». Whatever he sang, he always did it with ease and a sort of tasteful grace.
He was born in 1915 in Cherokee, N.C. et began as professionnal artist during the Twenties, first with Jay Hugh Hall, then with the Happy Go Lucky Boys (a Bluebird session in 1940). He recorded as guitar player in 1936 with J.E. Mainer, one of the most important forerunners to Bluegrass music. He was a member of the burgeoning Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Playboys and cut the classic « Six White Horses » (1940). His soloist carreer didn’t however start before the end of W.W. II, when Columbia Records offered him a contract.
He was already a star of the Grand Ole Opry, and they gave him as backing band Curley Williams & His Georgia Peach Pickers for several Western-swing styled tunes, among them the lowdown « Two-Timin’ Blues ». After Columbia, he pursued in the same vein on Bullet out of Nashville, TN. Then with King of Cincinnati. He’s got with them his biggest hit (3 millions sold records). During the long sessions of late 1947 (before the Petrillo ban which lasted for 1948), he was backed by Boots Woodall’s Radio Rangers, and the Western-swing influence remained in all his King sides.
For Sydney Nathan he cut a little bit of everything. Fast lowdown blues (« Tend To Your Business ») or waltzes (« Carolina Waltz », another hit). More Western swing (two fiddles) for « I Know What It means To Be Lonesome », backed probably by the powerful guitar of Zeke Turner and the no less strong steel-guitar of Bob Foster. He even added to his songs stock some Pop (« Too young »), but again with taste and smartness.
Gone from King and the Grand Ole Opry, he relocated in Carolina. Then on Decca Records in 1951 for two unsuccessful sessions (for a major part unissued).
Disappointed , Moody settled down in Washington, D.C. for the Connie B. Gay TV show, then again in Carolina as a trail seller. He still recorded from time to time (Renown, Little Darlin’, Starday – he even cut a complete album in 1962) until the early Seventies. The Folk revival gained him new audiences, and he joined Old Homestead in Nashville for a couple of albums ; festivals and shows before enthusiastic listeners brought at last himfame throughout the States. He finally retired and died in April 1989 after a long illness. Clyde Moody wrote alone or with others 137 songs, and claimed he had sold 30,000 000 of records !
Recommended listening :
– Clyde Moody : Six White Horses & Other Hits By The « Hillbilly Waltz King »(B.A.C.M. 052)
– Clyde Moody : The Immortal (Bronco Buster CD 9011)
– King Hillbilly Bop’n’Boogie (V.A.) : « Tend To Your Business » (Ace CHD 854)
And of course, the song I consider his best on this site : « The Blues Came Pouring Down » from 1949.
The blues came pouring down
Tend to your business
Six white horses
Biography compiled after BACM and Bronco Cds and my own researches.