Cliffie Stone Family Photos Cliffie Stone Family Photos
Left photo: Rose Maddox and Cliffie singing a duet at Jack’s Sugar Shack in Hollywood circa 1990. Cliffie and Rose kept in contact with each other over the years and whenever Rose and her band performed in Southern California, she would let Cliffie know. So Cliffie and I drove to Jack’s Sugar Shack in Hollywood where she was performing. Rose invited Cliffie to come up on stage to sing a duet with her and I took the above left side photo of them. On the way home, Cliffie told me the well-known story of Mama Maddox going into a Cadillac dealership wherein she told the salesman she wanted to buy some Cadillacs and as she pointed them out to the salesman, he asked her how she was going to pay for it. She said with cash and then she proceeded to take cash out of her huge hand bag; after purchasing them, she and her kids nonchalantly drove off the lot! Right photo: Rose Maddox giving Cliffie a hug after her visit to our Canyon Country home in mid-July 1997. Rose had called Cliffie to tell him that she’d once again be performing at Jack’s Sugar Shack in Hollywood. Since Cliffie was having health issues, we were unable to see her show, so Rose had a friend drive her over to our home so that she could visit with him. Cliffie and Rose talked all afternoon and although they both realistically lived in the “now” of life, it was apparent to me that they both missed the good old days! Because of Cliffie’s help and involvement in MB&R’s career as well as Rose’s solo career, they had a lot to reminisce about! I recall Cliffie talking about the huge role that the Maddox Brothers & Rose played in Southern California wherein their infectious hillbilly/rockabilly style and sound paved the way for up-and-coming acts in the mid-section of California - namely the ‘Bakersfield sound’ that Buck Owens and his buddy, Don Rich, and other future country acts such as Merle Haggard would make famous. They also talked about her biography which had just been published in March 1994 (see the next photo caption). This memory brings tears to my eyes because both of them had health issues and in 1998, the Lord would take both of them home. Highlights of Rose’s solo career.  Although the following highlights are in my own words, I’ll use quotes from Jonny Whiteside’s well documented bio about Rose and also use it as a guide. In 1956, the MB&R family band dissolved and Rose began her long solo career accompanied by Cal and Mama Maddox. Cliff left to play with another group. Fred, Don and Henry (and Henry’s wife, Retta) performed as the Maddox Brothers & Retta for several years. Around 1960, the family band permanently disbanded. Fred became involved in other music areas and also continued to perform whenever he could. Henry and his wife, Retta, moved to Oklahoma to start a business. Don and his wife, Nila, had previously bought a ranch in Ashland, Oregon (which was near the California border) and he returned to focus on raising steers and ranch life in general. Rose and Cal (who remained a bachelor) bought several acres adjoining Don’s property and built a home where Rose lived with Mama Lula and Rose’s son, Donnie. It was during the time frame of the Maddox band’s initial breakup in 1956, that Rose appeared as a solo act (with Cal accompanying her) on the Grand Ole Opry on September 29; she sang her popular single, “Tall Men” and brought the house down and soon after, she was invited to become a regular cast member. Rose, Cal and Mama Maddox rented home in Nashville and for the next six months, she performed every other Saturday on the Opry, while appearing on numerous local TV shows, including Red Foley’s ‘Ozark Jubilee.’ In this time frame, a bitter dispute was occurring among the Opry members, which involved the WSM Artist Service Bureau and their bookings of Opry members. Long story short, in March 1957, Rose, Cal and Mama Maddox moved back to their Hollywood home. Rose and Cal got back into their routine of performing at clubs, etc. such as the BlackBoard Café in Bakersfield and the Palomino Club in North Hollywood. Although Cliffie had his hands full managing Ernie Ford’s meteoric career, he took the time to produce a few songs with Rose in 1958 for Uni Records “(Don’t the World Look Better) Through the Bottom of a Glass” and “Step Right In.” Since Cliffie’s versatile career included being a music executive wherein he was the ears and eyes of country talent for Ken Nelson (head of Capitol’s country music division), he advised her to sign a contract with Capitol Records, which she did (1959 – 1966). Rose and other Capitol artists under Ken Nelson’s guiding hand respected and appreciated Ken’s attitude towards them. As Ken told Jonny when he was interviewed for Rose’s bio: “When I take an artist, I feel responsible for him. His whole life may depend on what I arrange for him. That’s why I never believe in selling the record – I believe in selling the artist.” When Mama Maddox tried to take charge of the recording session, Ken told her that he was the boss; however, she persisted and Ken finally had to ban her from the recording studio. In 1960, Capitol released Rose’s debut album, “The One Rose,” which had many rerecorded songs that MB&R were known for such as “Tramp on the Street,” “Philadelphia Lawyer,” “Whoa, Sailor,” and her brothers, Cal and Henry, played and also sang harmony on them. Meanwhile, up-and-coming Capitol artist, Buck Owens, was starting to see some of his songs climb on the country charts. Under Ken Nelson’s supervision, they recorded a number of duet singles; Capitol strategically waited until Rose’s newly released album ‘Glory Bound Train,’ was established. Then on April 10, 1961, Capitol released “Loose Talk” (peaked at #4) and “Mental Cruelty” (peaked at #8). These duets helped to elevate both of their careers. In 1963, Capitol released their other duets, “We’re the Talk of the Town” (peaked at #15) and “Sweethearts in Heaven” (peaked at #19). As for Rose’s personal life, the inevitable confrontation with her domineering mother came to a head when Rose defiantly married nightclub owner, Jimmy Brogdon. Rose had performed a number of times at Jimmy’s nightclub (the “Wheel Club”), which was located in Oceanside, CA. (Some of artists that Jimmy booked at his Wheel Club were Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, George Jones and newcomer, Loretta Lynn. Rose took such a liking to Loretta that she called numerous clubs where she had performed and encouraged them to book Loretta, which they did.)  Jimmy was very supportive of Rose’s career and helped her in every way that he could. During this time frame, Johnny Cash had become one of country music’s biggest stars and Rose joined his tour, which elevated her career to a new level. Other tours included Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and Bill Monroe (the Father of Bluegrass). It was Bill Monroe who encouraged Rose to sing and record bluegrass albums. Under Bill Monroe’s direction (who did not want to be credited on the album because of his own record contract), Rose recorded “Rose Maddox Sings Bluegrass” in Nashville, which Capitol released in November, which was successful. Her 12th Capitol single, “Sing a Little Song of Heartache” (peaked at #3) and stayed on the charts for a total of 18 weeks. This along with touring with Buck Owens, gave her national exposure. Rose had a laser focus on her successful solo career, but she paid a big price for it. Because of their conflicting careers wherein Rose spent most of her time on the road, Jimmy and Rose decided to end their six year marriage; Jimmy said to the effect that they lived in different worlds and that it wasn’t an easy decision for either one of them. To quote Rose from her bio, “Through the years we were married, I grew to respect Jim very highly and had really fallen in love with him and the divorce hurt me very badly.” There is always a grief process when one’s marriage breaks up or when one loses their job or when a loved one passes on. And so it was in the years to follow in all areas of Rose’s life: Firstly, her second marriage came to an end; secondly, in 1965, Capitol Records decided to release her from her contract and thirdly – the passing away of many of her family members. Her oldest brother, Cliff, passed on in 1949; Cal in July 1968; Mama Maddox in July 1969; and Henry in 1974. However, the most difficult of all occurred in 1982 when Rose unexpectedly lost her only child, Donnie, who had a stroke. Rose and Donnie had developed a close relationship during the years that he played guitar in her band and traveled with her. In Donnie’s memory, she recorded a gospel album with Arhoolie Records called “A Beautiful Bouquet” with the Vern Williams Bluegrass band backing her. Another album that Rose dedicated to her son, Donnie, was “Queen of the West,” which was a collaborative effort with Merle Haggard and his band, the Strangers, at Merle’s California recording studio. Emmylou Harris and Merle’s wife, Leona Williams, sang harmony vocals. It was released in 1983 on the Varrick label. Recording the aforementioned albums in Donnie’s memory helped Rose through her heart-wrenching grief journey because all the foregoing family losses had a cumulative effect on Rose. As she said in her biography: “…in all my tragedies, I had my music to fall back on and if I didn’t have that, I think I would just wither up and die…” A few years later, she had serious health issues of her own such as heart attacks and by-pass surgeries. Obviously, Rose inherited her strong will and fortitude from Mama Lula because she always found the inner strength to move on. In 1976, Rose met Chris Strachwitz when she performed at the Western Regional Folk Life Festival. Chris was the founder of independent record label, Arhoolie Records, and he had been fans of MB&Rs for years. They became good friends and he reissued most of MB&R’s classic hillbilly records as well as recording several albums with Rose, which financially helped her. In 1981 Chris introduced Rose to Gail Waldron, who did a video documentary on MB&R. Although Rose toured in Europe several times, in later years she basically performed on the West Coast where everyone knew her and on numerous occasions, Rose and her brother, Fred, often performed together; and some of the shows they appeared on as guests were Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Loretta Lynn shows. One of their nostalgic performances was for radio station KTRB’s 50th anniversary in Modesto in 1983 (the radio station that Rose, Fred and Cal performed on in 1937 which lead to their first radio show). In 1984, the historic Riverbank Clubhouse located in central valley near Modesto, closed its doors and Rose sang in the final show with the Blue Water Band. On December 5, 1987, Rose, Fred and his wife, Kitty, attended the Maddox Brothers & Rose’s 50th Anniversary tribute (1937 – 1987), which was sponsored by the California Western Swing Society. (Both Don Maddox and Cliffie Stone were unable to attend.) Fred and Rose saw old friends from KTRB and KFBK as well as numerous musicians who were part of their career. A memorable time was had by all as they shared MB&R’s unique stories. The nostalgic climax came when Fred and Rose got up on stage and performed. In 1988, she went on another Glen Glenn tour in Europe. In 1989, she, once again, had some heart and health issues, which she overcame. Around 1990 or 1991, Cliffie and I saw Rose perform at Jack’s Sugar Shack in Hollywood wherein Rose and Cliffie sang a duet. In 1992, Rose and her band performed at the Grass Valley Bluegrass Festival; Vern Williams and his Bluegrass Band followed her act and Rose joined Vern on stage and they sang “Tramp on the Street.” In the mid-1990s, Rose appeared on TNN’s “Nashville Now” variety show and sang “Down, Down, Down” with Emmylou Harris and John Jorgenson singing harmony. (The above two song performances can be viewed on In July 1996, Rose sang “Philadelphia Lawyer” with Johnny Cash at the popular Britt Festivals in Jacksonville, Oregon. In mid-July 1997, Rose had another booking with Jack’s Sugar Shack. Awards and recognition:  In 1965, the Academy of Country Music nominated Rose for “Top Female Vocalist,” which Bonnie Owens won that year; however, Rose felt honored to have been nominated. In 1967, the Country Music Hall of Fame dedicated a square to Rose on their “Walkway of Stars.” In 1987, Maddox Brothers & Rose were inducted into the “California Western Swing Society Hall of Fame.” In 1996, Rose was nominated for a Grammy for “Best Bluegrass Album” for her 1995 Arhoolie album, called “$35 and a Dream.” Although she didn’t receive a Grammy, she was thrilled to have been nominated. One of the recipients of the ACM’s ‘Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award’ for 2011 was Emmylou Harris, who once said to the effect that Rose Maddox has never received the recognition that she deserves for her role in country music; and I agree with Emmylou because MB&R’s eclectic discography and recorded material encompasses hillbilly, rockabilly, folk music, bluegrass and country music genres. CMA Hall of Famers such as Bill Monroe, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Minnie Pearl and Cliffie Stone have praised both Rose’s versatile talent as well as her brothers; their comments can be found in Jonny Whiteside’s well-documented biography, “Ramblin’ Rose: The Life and Career of Rose Maddow.” Another interesting book is “In the Country of Country: A Journey to the Roots of American Music,” written by Nicholas Dawidoff; this book has a series of mini-biographies of traditional country music icons such as Jimmie Rogers, Hank Williams Sr., Johnny Cash, Buck Owens and the Maddox Brothers & Rose. Rose Maddox’s records as a solo artist can be purchased through two independent record labels: The 1st label is “Bear Family Records” (, who reissued Rose Maddox “The One Rose,” which is a 4-CD box set that has over one hundred of Rose’s solo recorded songs during her tenure at Capitol Records (1959 – 1966). The 2nd label is Arhoolie Records ( and their collection includes: (1) Rose Maddox and the Vern Williams Bluegrass Band – “This is Rose Maddox;” (2) Rose Maddox “Rose of the West Coast Country,” with the Vern Williams’ Bluegrass Band. (3) Rose Maddox with the Vern Williams Band, “A Beautiful Bouquet;” and (4) Rose Maddox – “$35 and a Dream” CD album, which has a narrative by Country Music Hall of Famer, Johnny Cash, who says a few heart-felt words about touring and sharing the stage with Rose: “I thought there was and still think that there’ll never be a woman who could outperform Rose Maddox. She’s an American Classic!”

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