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Billy Harlan


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Billy Harland, real name William Charles Harlan, was born on March 24, 1937 at Martwick Ð Mulhenberg County Ð Kentucky. His folks, Williams Guy and Ida Mae Blades, as well as his uncle Jack and aunt Nina, all musicians, set the musical background for him. His Dad was the choir leader at Cleaton Baptist Church. From Mulhenberg came also the first Everly Brothers (Ike, Charlie and Leonard), Kennedy Jones (The thumb picking father and composer of “Cannon Ball Rag”), Mose Rager and legendary Merle Travis.

Like all the childs around, Billy was clothed with overall and wore them until the upper part was skinny as strings. Soon his was nicknamed “Kraut” and that stuck until now. In 1944, his Daddy, a coal miner and an electrician at the Evansville (In) Shipyard during World War II, passed at 47 years old. Buddy will team with Tommy “Red Top” Payne under the name of “The Green River Valley Boys” et will perform on various amateur shows set at the Central City’s State Theater by the WFMW radio. There they shared often the stage show with Don and Phil Everly, the sons of Ike Everly and himself a great guitarist. From time to time, he will join Dave Rich’s band, The Melody Hands, taking care of the double bass. In 1953, Billy will have his own show on Russellville (Ky) WRUS radio but without wheels, he had to stop. He was not only a musician but also one of the best baseball players at the Drakesboro High School.


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