The Cass County Boys
(Courtesy of Minard Coons)
Above are the Cass County Boys: Bert Dodson on bass, Fred Martin on accordian, and Jerry Scoggins on guitar.
The Cass County Boys were lead singer Fred Martin on accordian, tenor Bert Dodson on bass, and baritone Jerry Scoggins on guitar. All three were native Texans and they began singing together in the mid 1930s and wound up as studio musicians on radio station WFAA in Dallas, Texas (a young singer named Dale Evans was also on the WFAA payroll at that time). Dodson had been a member of the Light Crust Doughboys of Fort Worth, Texas. Fred Martin hailed from Linden (Cass County), Texas, and the trio adopted the Cass County moniker purportedly after a WFAA radio announcer called them the "Cass County Kids".
In the early 1940s, Gene Autry had Jimmy Wakely, Eddie Dean and others doing musical support on his MELODY RANCH radio program. And then Autry left for World War II duty in the Air Corps and the half hour MELODY RANCH went on hiatus for about two years, from late Summer, 1943 through late September, 1945. Upon his return to civilian life, Gene invited the Cass County Kids to join him. The three members were in their thirties and no longer "kids" ... and the group became the "Cass County Boys".
They were on MELODY RANCH through the final broadcast in 1956. The trio also did extensive touring and personal appearances with Autry and can be seen in Gene's TV program as well as several of his post World War II Republic and Columbia westerns. They also worked in a few Durango Kid oaters with Charles Starrett.
Most of the western musical groups had various member changes over the years. The Cass County Boys were unique in that the three originals stayed together for the entire lifespan of the trio (which spanned about twenty years - from the mid 1930s through the mid 1950s, soon after Autry ended his films, TV show and radio program).
John Bert Dodson (1915 - 1994) passed away on October 3, 1994 in Clearwater, Florida.
Jerry Scoggins (1911 - 2004) passed away on December 7, 2004 in California. Jim Tipton's Find A Grave website has a photo of the marker for Scoggins at the Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Memorial Park, Westlake Village, California: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=10061868
Fred S. Martin (1916 - 2010) passed away on November 26, 2010 in California.
The Cass County Boys were inducted into the Western Music Association Hall of Fame in 1996 and western music historian O. J. Sikes authored a profile on the group: http://www.westernmusic.org/cass-county-boys
The trio also backed up other singers including Bing Crosby. Western music historian O. J. Sikes wrote the Western Music Association Hall of Fame profile on Crosby and mentions that Bing had the Cass County Boys performing at Crosby home parties: http://www.westernmusic.org/bing-crosby
The Linden (Cass County) Texas Economic Development Corporations has a webpage honoring musicians from that area and Martin is on the list: http://www.lindentexas.org/artistsandmusicians/
YouTube has a video "The Ballad Of Jed Clampett", the opening tune on THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES television program. The deep-voiced singer on the theme song was Jerry Scoggins, who at that time was working as a stockbroker. Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs played guitar and banjo on the tune. Lester Flatt did the singing on the Columbia record release. Go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwzaxUF0k18&feature=player_embedded
YouTube has more video clips of the Cass County Boys: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%22cass+county+boys%22&oq=%22cass+county+boys%22
Although some of the data may be incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on the Cass County Boys: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0183628/
J. David Goldin's RadioGoldIndex website has a listing of the Cass County Boys radio work. Most are MELODY RANCH from 1947 and later, mostly on CBS or AFRS (Armed Forces Radio Service). When you get to the site, click "Start Here", then select "Search By Artist", then select C, and then scroll down for the Cass County Boys radio credits: http://radiogoldindex.com/
(Courtesy of Mary Jane Johnson Dodson and Minard Coons)
Above, Gene Autry's MELODY RANCH radio program ran on CBS from 1940 - 1956. There was a break - the program was off the air for a 2+ year period - from late Summer, 1943 through late September, 1945 - when Gene was in the Army Air Corps doing World War II duty. Celebrating the 12th Anniversary of that show are Autry and his singing group, The Cass County Boys, and from L-to-R are: Bert Dodson, Autry, Fred Martin and Jerry Scoggins.
(From Old Corral image collection)
Above, Gene Autry is assisted by the Cass County Boys in this lobby card and crop/blowup from ROBIN HOOD OF TEXAS (Republic, 1947).
(Courtesy of Hank DeCato)
Above from left to right are Fred Martin, Gene Autry and Jerry Scoggins.
(Courtesy of Hank DeCato)
Above are Jerry Scoggins (left) and Hank DeCato. Below are Hank with Fred Martin (left) and Jerry Scoggins (right). Both photos are circa 2000.
(Courtesy of Hank DeCato)