The Willis Brothers

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The Willis Brothers
Also known as Oklahoma Wranglers
Origin Oklahoma, USA
Labels Starday
Past members James Willis
Charles Willis
John Willis
Joe Willis

The Willis Brothers were a country music ensemble from Oklahoma, consisting of several brothers.

Three of the Willis brothers (James, Charles, and Joe) played together as teenagers from the early 1930s under the name Oklahoma Wranglers. They were regulars on Shawnee, Oklahoma station KGEF through the decade, but in 1939, Joe married and exited the group. John (Vic) joined, and soon after the group moved to Kansas City, where they appeared on the Brush Street Follies through 1942. All three members fought in World War II separately, preventing them from continuing as a group until war's end, but in 1946 they reunited and played the Grand Ole Opry. They became members of the Opry in the 1940s.[1] Signing with Sterling Records, they began recording both as the Oklahoma Wranglers and as a backing band for Hank Williams.[2]

In 1949 the group left the Opry and toured nationally with Eddy Arnold through 1957. They also performed in the films Feuding Rhythm and Hoe Down. Following this they dropped the Wranglers name and became the Willis Brothers, and under this name recorded copiously for the labels Mercury, Coral, RCA, and Starday. In 1964 they released the single "Give Me Forty Acres (To Turn This Rig Around)", which became a Top Ten country hit in the United States.

The group remained a fixture on the Opry until 1995, when Vic died in a car crash at age 73.[2]

Members[edit]

  • James "Guy" Willis - vocals, guitar
  • Charles "Skeeter" Willis - fiddle, vocals
  • John "Vic" Willis - accordion, piano, vocals
  • Joe Willis - guitar

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Year Album Label
1962 In Action Starday
1963 Code of the West
1965 Give Me Forty Acres
Road Stop
1966 Wild Side of Life
Goin' to Town
1967 Bob
1968 Hey Mr. Truck Driver
1969 Bummin' Around
1970 The Best
1971 For the Good Times

Singles[edit]

Year Single Chart Positions Album
US Country CAN Country
1964 "Give Me Forty Acres (To Turn This Rig Around)" 9 1 Give Me Forty Acres
1965 "A Six Foot Two by Four" 41 Road Stop
1967 "Bob" 14 Bob
"Somebody Knows My Dog" 62 single only


References[edit]

  1. ^ "Opry Timeline -1940s". Retrieved July 10, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "The Willis Brothers". Rovi Corp. 2012. Retrieved July 11, 2012.