It’s All Left Up To You

Today’s post was written by Paul.

For many years, Pap told me about one of his favorite duets, the Webster Brothers. I could never find anything by them for the longest time, though I searched online and through record suppliers like County Sales.

Finally, in 2006, a CD was released called “Carl Butler and the Webster Brothers.” I found it online and bought it. It made sense that the Websters sang some with Butler because he was one of the key figures of the Cas Walker Radio Show, which is where Pap used to hear the brothers sing.

When I first heard them, I could not believe how good the Websters were. This CD featured some duets of them and several trio numbers with Butler (see links below). At the time those Butler recordings were made, the tenor singer was only 19 years old and the lead singer only 20, making their singing even more impressive. The great Don Helms played steel guitar for them; there was an exceptionally good fiddle player; and one of the brothers was an excellent mandolin player.

This song in this video was one of the duets on that Butler CD.

Though Pap and I loved everything they recorded, we never made any serious attempts to sing any of their songs (other than “Thank God for the USA,” which can be found on our channel). However, Pap taught the Pressley Girls (my nieces) one of the Websters’ gospel songs called “Glory Mountain.” You can see an old version that goes back before either of the girls could play an instrument or sing harmony (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJG9W…). Today, they really do this song justice with harmony and fiddle. I’ll have to get them to film an updated version.

Anyway, with the song in this video, you can tell we were just fooling around with it (I didn’t really know the words). Although this is a country song, I think it may have given Pap the idea for the title for one of his gospel songs (“It’s All Up to You”), which appeared on the CD Shepherd of My Soul.

Perhaps around 2012 or so, 10+ other Webster songs became available through iTunes. The Websters can now be found on Spotify and other music sources. In searching tonight, I discovered that even more of their music has surfaced, including another album/collection on a label called Stomper Records. I’m excited to listen to some of these tunes that I’ve never heard before, like gifts from the past. I wish Pap were here to listen to them too, but there’s a good chance, he may have heard them back in the day before the Webster music became lost.

If you love close harmony duets, like the Louvins, you’ve got to check out the Websters. When their music resurfaced, music critics were blown away by their version of “Seven Year Blues,” which some say surpasses the original Louvin cut–and they were amazed by their version of “Angel Band,” which it turns out preceded the Stanleys’ recording by a couple of years. They also were the first to cut some Flatt and Scruggs standards like “Till the End of the World Rolls Round.”

Pap also used to tell me about his fondness for the Wooster Brothers, but I still haven’t found any trace of their music. Adding to the confusion is that there was also a set of brothers called the Brewster Brothers, and believe it or not, the Webster Brothers sang with them in a quartet, providing the tenor and bass, along with some lead. This quartet stuff can now be heard on YouTube.

This video of “It’s All Left Up to You” isn’t that great, but maybe it can turn some folks on to the lost music of two brothers who should have been super famous (in my opinion). 🙂

There’s plenty of the Websters to be found now on YouTube. Here are some links to get you started:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsOLl…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QO6lR…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06Gsc… (with Butler)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtsZ5… (with Butler)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwSjG…

I hope you enjoyed the video and Paul’s post. I don’t care what he says-I think they did a super job on the song even though he didn’t get all the words in!

Tipper

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18 Comments

  • Reply
    Robert Wasmer
    April 30, 2018 at 10:27 pm

    I love that as a family you are keeping the old music alive. Thanks for posting this. Now, I am going to Spotify to find some Webster Brothers songs!

  • Reply
    Charline
    April 30, 2018 at 10:49 am

    In Oak Ridge, we also only got channels 6 and 10. “Cas Walker, stores in Midtown, Morristown, and Pennington Gap, Virginia,”

  • Reply
    Dan
    April 29, 2018 at 8:50 pm

    Don’t forget the “Mull’s Singing Convention,” hosted by the Reverend J Basil Mull. Many times during the show he would make a statement, any statement, and follow it with “Ain’t that right, Miz Mull?” “Thaz right” was her response, and in many shows over many years, I never heard her say anything else. What I never knew until a year ago, she was truly a critical part of the team. Mr. Mull was totally blind! I’m sure she had to cue him throughout the show.

  • Reply
    Dan
    April 29, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    “Shop and save at the sign of the shears, and the name Cas Walker, in Knoxville, Bristol, …and Pennington Gap, Virginia!” Some stores had animated neon signs of scissors cutting a $ in two. Cas, it was said, got his start by selling to coal miners, and accepting company “scrip”, which would only spend at the mining company’s store. He was once elected mayor of Knoxville, but thereby hangs another tale.

    • Reply
      Dan
      April 29, 2018 at 5:44 pm

      The first time I saw Dolly Parton was on Cas Walker’s show, maybe “Startime”, probably Saturday evening, with Porter Wagoner! Probably Flat and Scruggs as well.

  • Reply
    Ken
    April 29, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    Tipper,
    Donna Lynn played a song by Chitter and Chatter when I called to request some songs. “Where the Soul of Man Never Dies” is another of my Favorites.

    I was wrong when I said Carl and Pearl Butler! It should have been Pastor Buck Ledford and Wife
    singing Gospel Songs. She makes most of the songs they sing, and I love her voice. Sometimes her girls help. You can’t beat that “old timey Gospel Sound.” …Ken

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    April 29, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    Pap would have loved this post…knowing that you and Tipper are trying to keep the old time musicians not to be forgotten with their sound. Nothing compares to the sound of the old instruments and voices in harmony of the old days. New renditions, newer instruments with all their electronics are wonderful but listening to the oldies pulls at your heartstrings…Pap is definitely one of the best with his playing, writing and harmony…He would be smiling with that twinkle in his eye…becoming evermore famous as our musical ancestor…

  • Reply
    betty stephenson
    April 29, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    absolutely great post also found heaps of webster brothers stuff on you tube particularly song called forgive me god i loved it will definatly be listening to more of their stuff just sorry its taken so long to find them thanks for the heads up on them have a great week everyone

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    April 29, 2018 at 2:34 pm

    Tipper,
    Oh my goodness, did this post ever bring back memories. Picture this…three kids sitting in the back seat of an old Packard while Dad turned the knob of the radio, clearing out the static and trying to keep us quite. He would get it tuned in just in time to hear announced, “This is “WNOX bringing you the “Mid-Day-Merry-Go-Round”! The show from Knoxville that featured all good country, gospel and bluegrass. Usually a peppy tune would start the show…with the likes of the Webster Brothers, Carl Butler, Brewster brothers and others starting careers from that radio show…One of the most famous musicians later on was the little girl from Sevierville Dolly Parton! Intermingled of course was commercials from Cas Walker advertising his stores. This was just before she made appearances later on his Cas Walker television show…Cas Walker loved his country music and bluegrass and sponsored some of the great old time musicians…
    Thanks for letting me tune in today Paul. Sure did bring back memories reading your story and listening to the links…some gave me the shivers…thinking of the old time radio shows back then…
    Thanks Tipper

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    April 29, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    Sorry I cannot comment sensibly on the music part, but ole Cas is so familiar. Growing up we only got channels 6 and 10 out of Knoxville (even though we lived in southeastern KY). The Cas Walker show was a weekday morning staple. In later years I was in Pennington Gap, VA where there was one of his stores, I think maybe the furthest east one.

  • Reply
    Ken
    April 29, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    Tipper,
    And Paul: My family use to sit around and watch Cas Walker when he came on. He loved Country and Bluegrass Music as well as Gospel Songs of that Day. Donna Lynn still plays Carl and Perl Butler Songs on our Christian Radio Station at Murphy.

    I remember our long time Radio Announcer for about 50 years, (I may be related to him) and he said one time that Jerry Wilson (Pap) was probably the Greatest Tenor he ever heard. Bill Yonce still advertises some, and has Guest Appearences often. (He had a Band too, but I’ve never heard it.)

    Thanks for the History Lesson today, it is a Blessing. …Ken

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 29, 2018 at 10:24 am

    Beautiful, thanks Paul. It’s so nice to see and hear Pap…I miss him!

  • Reply
    libby rouse
    April 29, 2018 at 9:00 am

    Oh I just love this song, I have never heard before!

  • Reply
    paulwilson
    April 29, 2018 at 8:57 am

    BTW, the picture you see on the Stomper Records cover (when you follow the links to YouTube) I believe actually shows the Brewster Brothers, not the Webster Brothers. As I said, this stuff is so obscure that there’s a lot of confusion surrounding it today. I don’t think either Webster Brother played the banjo (but I could definitely be wrong), and I’ve seen several other photos of the Websters, and this does not appear to be them on the Stomper cover. Thanks.

  • Reply
    Jackie
    April 29, 2018 at 7:48 am

    I watched Cas Walker as a kid too. “Eight of our ten stores never close.” He was also well known as a fox and coon hunter.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    April 29, 2018 at 6:43 am

    Thanks, Paul! You mentioned Cas Walker, who I have not thought about in many years. He was a character on Knoxville television with a large string of supermarkets. There is no telling how much money he was worth, but you would never know it if you met him on the street! I will finish listening to the YouTube links today. Unfortunately, music groups come and go and it is a shame that they are sometimes forgotten. I discovered a group called The New Tradition years ago and bought their CDs. The next thing I know, they are gone, although occasionally, I hear a familiar voice on SiriusXM Bluegrass Junction and find that a musician from the group is performing with another group.

    • Reply
      paulwilson
      April 29, 2018 at 8:56 am

      Thanks, Mike. I’ve heard New Tradition. Very solid band. Too bad they’ve disbanded, but at least they’re still making music with other groups. The Butler CD that I mentioned cane with extensive liner notes. According to it, Cas Walker’s finances basically saved Butler from financial ruin throughout his life and kept him going. Walker must have been a great music lover, and he probably supported many careers.

  • Reply
    Kimberly Rodriguez
    April 29, 2018 at 6:27 am

    ️️ Beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

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