Reno and Smiley

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Reno and Smiley
Also known as Chick and His Hot Rods
Origin Wheeling, West Virginia
Genres Bluegrass, Gospel Music
Years active 1951-1964
Labels King
Past members Don Reno
Red Smiley

Reno and Smiley were a musical duo composed of Don Reno and Red Smiley. They were one of the most acclaimed duos in country (now bluegrass) music of the 1950s and early 1960s.

How they met[edit]

They met in 1950 while playing with Tommy Magness and the Tennessee Buddies. During this time period, they played frequently at different venues such as the El-Tenedore Skating Rink in southern Virginia. The first records that Don and Red made together were with Tommy Magness in 1951 for Federal Records, a subsidiary of King Records.

Their career together[edit]

Later in 1951, Don and Red left Magness to play with Toby Stroud in Wheeling, West Virginia on radio station WWVA (AM). Soon after this, Don and Red reformed a band that Don had started some years before: the Tennessee Cut-Ups.

In 1952, Reno and Smiley and the Tennessee Cut-Ups made their first recordings for King Records. Among this session was one of the band's most famous gospel songs, "I'm Using My Bible for a Roadmap" which was written by Don Reno in 1950. The sales of this record reportedly saved King Records from bankruptcy. Don Reno, Red Smiley and the Tennessee Cut-Ups continued recording for King Records but did no live performances until the mid-1950s which is now known to most Reno and Smiley fans as the beginning of their "glory years" which lasted until they disbanded in 1964.

At this time, Don began traveling with Benny Martin and Red formed a band called the Bluegrass Cut-Ups which continued to perform on a television program that Don and Red did together for many years. When Red retired in the late 1960s, Jim Eanes acquired the band renaming it "The Shenandoah Cutups". It was not until 1970 or '71 that Don and Red began performing together again, and that time was short-lived as Red died in 1972 at the age of 46 due to complications with diabetes. Don continued to perform with his sons Don Wayne and Dale along with Bill Harrell until his death in 1984 at the age of 58. In 1992, Don Reno and Red Smiley were inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor.

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

Year Single US Country Label
1952 "I'm Using My Bible for a Roadmap" King
"There's Another Baby Waiting for Me Down the Line"
"I Want to Live Like Christ, My Savior"
"Maybe You Will Change Your Mind"
"Lord's Last Supper"
"I'm Gone, Long Gone"
1953 "Some Beautiful Day"
"Pretty Wreath For Mother's Grave"
"Choking the Strings"
"He's Coming Back to Earth Again"
"Tennessee Breakdown"
1954 "I Can Hear the Angels Singing"
"Please Don't Feel Sorry for Me"
"Tree of Life"
"Tally-Ho"
"Since I've Used My Bible for a Roadmap"
"Your Tears Are Just Interest on the Loan"
"I'm Building a Mansion in Heaven"
1955 "I'm The Biggest Liar in Town"
"It's Grand to Have Someone to Love You"
"Home Sweet Home"
"How I Miss My Darling Mother"
"Barefoot Nellie"
"Trail of Sorrow"
1956 "Family Altar"
"Limehouse Blues"
"Old Home Place"
"Jesus Answers My Prayers"
"Cruel Love"
"If It Takes Me a Lifetime"
"Country Boy Rock 'n' Roll"
1957 "Kneel Down"
"I Know You're Married"
"Sawing on the Strings" Dot
"Never Get to Hold You in My Arms Any More" King
"No Longer a Sweetheart of Mine"
"Where Did Our Young Years Go?" Dot
1958 "Banjo Signal" King
"Howdy Neighbor Howdy" Dot
"Springtime in Dear Old Dixie" King
"Banjo Medley: Silver Bell, Snow Deer, Red Wing" Dot
"One Teardrop and One Step Away"
1959 "Wall Around Your Heart" King
"Keep Me Humble "
"I Wouldn't Change You if I Could"
"New Jerusalem"
"Pretending"
"Banjo Special"
"Jesus Will Save Your Soul"
"Lonesome Wind Blues"
1960 "Money, Marbles and Chalk"
"Mountain Rosa Lee"
"Dark As a Dungeon"
"I'm Blue and I'm Lonesome"
"Bringin' in the Georgia Mail"
1961 "Don't Let Your Sweet Love Die" 14
"Love Oh Love, Oh Please Come Home" 23
"Jimmy Caught the Dickens (Pushing Ernest in the Tub)" 27
"Jesus Answers My Prayers" 27
1962 "When It's Time for the Whip-Poor-Will To Sing"
"Ten Paces"
"Don't Let Temptation Turn You 'round"
1963 "It's a Sin"
"Just About Then"
"I'm Jealous of You"
"Christmas Reunion"
1964 "Things Are Gonna Be Different"
"Black and White Rag"
"I Don't Blame You"
"Amazing Grace"
"I Can See That You're Living a Lie"
1965 "Forever"
"River of Jordan"
"Just a Country Banjo"
"Lonely Road When You're All Alone"
"Little Mountain Road"
1966 "Unwanted Love"
"I Want to Know"
1967 "Sundown and Sorrow"

Albums[edit]

Year Album US Country Label Notes
1957 Sacred Songs King
Instrumentals
1958 Folk Ballads & Instrumentals
1959 Someone Will Love Me in Heaven
Good Old Country Ballads
Variety of Country Songs
Sacred Songs [vol. 2]
1960 Hymns and Sacred Gospel Songs
Country Songs
1961 Wanted: For More Fine Country Music
Folk Songs of the Civil War
1962 Country Singing and Instrumentals
Banjo Special: 12 Songs
Rose Maddox Sings Bluegrass Capitol Reno, Smiley, John Palmer and Mack Magaha played backing instruments on all tracks
1963 Another Day with Reno & Smiley King
Don Reno and Red Smiley
The World's 15 Greatest Hymns
World's Best 5-String Banjo
Hootenanny
Bluegrass Hits Dot
1964 The True Meaning of Christmas King
On the Road
Bluegrass Tribute to Cowboy Copas
1965 Variety Show
1968 Emotions Nashville compilations of tracks from earlier albums
1969 I Know You're Married King
1970 The Best of Reno and Smiley
1971 Fiddling Buck Ryan with Don Reno & Red Smiley Rural Rhythm
1972 Profile Wango
Together Again Rome
1973 Last Time Together Starday

See also[edit]

External links[edit]