History of Cincinnati Music: Midwestern Hayrides – The Sons of the Hayloft Gang

When we think of historic live country music and entertainment in the mass media, what immediately comes to mind is the National Barn Dance at WLS in Chicago, the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and, in a later context, the syndicated television program “Hee Haw.” But from the 1930s to the 1960s there were dozens of broadcasts of this kind across the nation, with a heavy concentration of them in states bordering the Ohio River: Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. Among them was WLW’s “Midwestern Hayride,” the Renfro Valley Barn Dance in Kentucky, and the WWVA Jamboree in Wheeling, West Virginia. Uncle Dave Lewis will provide a broad, regional survey of these types of programs in addition to the local history and will include some short thumbnail sketches devoted to artists involved in these programs.

The_Daily_Courier_Fri__May_24__1946_ (1)   Wilmington_News_Journal_Tue__Jan_11__1938_

Program will be held in the Reading Garden Lounge located near the lobby on the first floor of Main Library’s south building.

Midwestern Hayride hay

The_Piqua_Daily_Call_Mon__Feb_13__1939_ (1) Wilmington_News_Journal_Mon__Jul_31__1939_ Freeport_Journal_Standard_Sat__Feb_18__1933_


Saturday, June 27, 2015

 3:00pm – 5:00pm




Found at Last: The Orloff Trio

Uncle Dave Lewis

The Orlaff Trio played on this side and three other Rainbows, but were never credited on the label. Author's collection, The Orloff Trio played on this side and three other Rainbows, but were never credited on the label. Author’s collection.

It has been more than ten years since I went through the Rainbow Records catalogs of the 1920s, looking for a way to reconcile the confusing number series that Homer Rodeheaver employed, a mystery to that time that no one seemed able to unravel. One important clue to the answer was the listed accompaniments; Rainbow catalogs were quite careful in connoting the specific kinds of accompaniments on records, if not the people playing them. In the 7 or 800 Rainbow records that I have handled since that project, I found only one instance where the catalog listings were in error in regard to accompaniment. I deduced that if the accompaniment had changed, then the record had been remade, and this has helped to open the door to understanding the Rainbow…

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Genuine Georgia Gal

Featuring an additional composition by Robert S. Roberts: “My Genuine Georgia Gal.”


Artie Hall, pictured above and in the previous post, had a hit singing “I’m Certainly Living a Ragtime Life” by Robert S. Roberts.

artie hall - Edited

She is also reported to have had a hit as early as 1900 with another Robert S. Roberts composition, “My Genuine Georgia Gal.” Afterwards, she was consistently billed as “the Genuine Georgia Girl.”


It was widely reported that she was crushed to death in the collapse of the Orpheum Theater during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. This was even reported in her Wikipedia article (citing  a New York Times report.)


However, there are many reports of her performing on stage after this date. She survived the earthquake.

As Wikipedia tells you, she performed in blackface, and I need to state here that I do not condone racial stereotyping.

Artie Hall married Robert Fulgora. Here is another song she sang in 1899:

Here she is described as  a “Georgia Coon Shouter.” After performing the Roberts song, she seems always to have been “The Genuine Georgia Girl.”

More songs composed by Robert S. “Ragtime Bob” Roberts

At the time of our recent presentation, we knew of three published musical compositions by Bob Roberts, son of Nick Roberts.They are:

The Pride Of Bucktown,  1897

A Bundle of Rags, 1897

These two pieces are historically significant not only because they add to our understanding of Bob Roberts as an artist, but also because they are among some of the very earliest ragtime pieces published. Moreover, they help us to make a bit more sense of how Roberts came to be known as “Ragtime Bob.”

The other piece of which we knew, probably the best-known, is:

I’m Certainly Living a Ragtime Life, 1900


An article in the March 12, 1900 edition of The Brooklyn Daily Eagle describes this song’s success. However, the article also describes Roberts as the composer of “a number of songs which have gained wide circulation.” The term “a number” seemed to indicate to me more than the two other songs that we knew, so I went searching. I found a few things.

Two songs are listed in the Catalogue of Title Entries of Books and Other Articles Entered in the Office of the Register of Copyrights, Library of Congress, at Washington: Volume 34, both published by Howley, Haviland and Dresser of New York in 1903. The first is “The College Girl” with words by Joseph C Farrell.

college girl 

The second is “One Thing That Money Cannot Buy” with words by Thomas C. MacDonald.

Another song that turned up is “The Absent-Minded Beggar” published in 1900 by Sol Bloom of Chicago.


This came out at around the same time as the song of the same name with words by Rudyard Kipling and music by Sir Arthur Sullivan.  Is there any connection? We hope to find out!

We also hope to find more songs by Roberts. I have a feeling they are out there.