Bradley Kincaid (1895-1989)
(2009 INDUCTEE) A GUITARIST, FOLK SINGER AND BALLARD COLLECTOR, BRADLEY KINCAID WAS THE FIRST BIG COUNTRY STAR IN RADIO. HE MADE HIS FIRST RECORDINGS AT GENNETT’S CHICAGO STUDIO IN 1927.
IN LOVING MEMORY OF BILL AND JUNE LINGLE BY PAUL AND PAT LINGLE
Bradley Kincaid, “The Kentucky Mountain Boy With His Hound Dog Guitar” was the first big country star in radio. The Point Leavell, Kentucky, native was fortunate enough to receive an education at Berea College; then he set out for Chicago to join the world of commerce. While in Chicago the young Bradley became a member of the YMCA Quartet which was invited to broadcast on Sears & Roebuck’s new radio station, WLS (“World’s Largest Store”). At WLS word got to the station brass that the young Kentuckian was quite capable of singing the native ballads found in his Kentucky hills, and he was asked to appear on the new “WLS Barn Dance.” Kincaid was a quick hit on the show, and while there he soon discovered the power of radio. In fact, he developed marketing innovations that are still used by broadcast entertainers today. He started his post-WLS career at WLW, the broadcast blockbuster in Cincinnati. Later he worked at a half-dozen stations throughout the Northeast and for the NBC network from WEAF in New York City. In 1944, after another stint on WLW, Bradley became a member of the Grand Ole Opry but left in 1950 feeling that his authentic mountain ballads and pure Appalachian singing style were no longer being accepted by contemporary audiences. Bradley’s career with Gennett Records was impressive. In the Gennett Chicago studio the Kentucky Mountain Boy made his first recordings on Dec. 19, 1927: “Sweet Kitty Wells” and “The Fatal Wedding.” He recorded his signature song, “Barbara Allen,” for Gennett in Chicago on Feb. 27, 1928. In Richmond, Bradley had three sessions in 1929, on Jan 28th, June 7th, and Oct 4th. Many of his greatest hits were cut during these sessions including “Liza up in the ’Simmon Tree,” “Give My Love to Nell,” “When the Work’s All Done this Fall,” “Billy Boy,” “The Little Old Log Cabin in the Lane,” “Cindy,” “Pretty Little Pink,” and “I’ll Be All Smiles Tonight.” His Gennett releases totaled 39 songs and ballads.
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