Barefoot Brownie and Ernie Lee on TV

Barefoot Brownie Reynolds performs on Ernie Lee’s TV show in a video from the 1980s. Both Reynolds and Lee worked on WJR radio Detroit many years ago.

I found this video from the 1980s over on YouTube. Ernie Lee, wearing glasses at right, started his career in 1940 at John Lair’s Renfro Valley barn dance. Bronson “Barefoot Brownie” Reynolds, playing bass and singing in this clip, followed Lee up to Detroit in 1944 (as did steel guitarist Jerry Byrd), where they formed the WJR radio “Goodwill-Billies.” With fiddle player Casey Clark, and vocalist John “Smilin’ Red” Maxedon, they performed daily over the Goodwill Station through 1946.

After hosting the WLW radio Cincinnati “Midwestern Hayride,” Lee landed a TV gig in Florida where he spent the rest of his life. Reynolds eventually returned to Detroit with Casey Clark, where their band, the Lazy Ranch Boys, entertained all over the region during the 1950s. In 1959 Reynolds joined Lee in St. Petersburg, Florida, working with him until the end. (During the 1980s, Casey Clark joined them for a brief time.)

The story of the Goodwill-Billies, Reynolds, and Clark appear in the book “Detroit Country Music – Mountaineers, Cowboys, and Rockabillies.”

3 Comments. Leave new

  • this video brings back a lot of memories. could hardly go to work without seeing Ernie first thing in the morning,especially “I like my coffee good and brown…a little browner than you get downtown…oh me oh my…i got the coffee blues. ….Thanks, it was appreciated very much……k.c. johnson.


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