Lily May Ledford: lead and harmony vocal, fiddle, banjo; Rosie Ledford: lead and harmony vocal, acoustic guitar; Esther “Violet” Koehler: mandolin, harmony vocal; Evelyn “Daisy” Lange: string bass, fiddle, harmony vocal.
The sole recording session of the original Coon Creek Girls, in Chicago on 30 May 1938 (unknown as to where, but most likely at the former Brunswick studio on the 21st floor of the Furniture Mart at 666 Lake Shore Drive), produced four 78 RPM singles for Vocalion/OKeh, released in 1938 and possibly 1939. Some were reissued a few years later on Conqueror, a Sears Roebuck in-house label.
Sowing on the Mountain/ Old Uncle Dudy (Keep Fiddling On), Vocalion/OKeh 04278.
Banjo Pickin’ Girl/ Little Birdie, Vocalion/OKeh 04413.
The Soldier and the Lady/ Lulu Lee, Vocalion 04504.
Pretty Polly/ Flowers Blooming in the Wildwood, Vocalion/OKeh 04659.
Give Me the Roses While I Live, unreleased.
The Girls cut another four tracks with “An’t Idy Harper” (vocal) on the same date.
The Old Apple Tree/ Lulu Wall, Vocalion 04203.
Poor Naomi Wise/ Sweet Fern, Vocalion 04354.
These were (barring “Roses”) much later compiled on Early Radio Favorites, Old Homestead Records 142, 1982. A note on this album. Nearly forty years old, it sounds like a bootleg, and it still is the only compilation of these records—it’s what you can download or stream today. The Coon Creek Girls deserve better.
Early Radio contained three additional tracks, taken from radio transcriptions and a TV broadcast:
Medley For the President (presumably recorded sometime in summer 1939, but possibly later).
Bite That Cabbage Down (from a Renfro Valley TV performance in the mid-Fifties.)
How Many Biscuits Can You Eat (from the same broadcast as the preceding track).
-Koehler, Lange + Minnie “Black Eyed Susie” Ledford: vocals, guitar, string bass. (Various other musicians play as Coon Creek Girls in various performances; Koehler returned on occasion.)
The Coon Creek Girls as a trio released more sides in the Renfro Valley years, including:
What Do I Do With the Baby-O/ Jim Along Josie, Renfro Valley Records RV 2002, ca. 1952.
It Is No Secret What God Can Do [with Jerry Behrens], RV 2004, ca. 1952.
Saith the Lord/ Don’t Blame the Children [with Ferlin Huskey], Capitol F3183, 1955.
To Heck With the Good Old Days/ I’ll Not Worry Over You, Capitol F3264, 1955.
In 1968, the three Ledford sisters recorded an album for County, Coon Creek Girls (County 712). It was never released on CD though it can be streamed at present. Its brutal stereo separation (Lily May in one speaker, her banjo confined to the other) cries out for a remixing.
Take Your Time Miss Lucy/ White Oak Mountain/ Red Rocking Chair/ Hawk Caught the Chicken and Gone/ Pretty Polly/ I Have No Mother Now/ How Many Biscuits Can You Eat // Little Birdie/ Darling Six Months Ain’t Long/ Wild Bill Jones/ Black Eyed Susie/ East Virginia Blues/ Going Down the Valley/ Banjo Pickin’ Girl.