Cliffie Stone Family Photos Cliffie Stone Family Photos
Left photo: Cliffie and Rose visiting in between sets of her gig at Jack’s Sugar Shack in Hollywood circa 1990 - 1991. Right Photo: Cliffie Stone, Jonny Whiteside (Rose’s biographer) and Fred Maddox at the historic c/w Palomino club in North Hollywood circa 1990 - 1991. Cliffie had gotten up on stage that night with Fred Maddox and the audience really enjoyed these two ‘gift of gab’ showmen trading quips. Cliffie’s quote about MB&R from his talent show book: “Here on the West Coast, there was a wonderful family hillbilly act called The Maddox Brothers and Rose, whom I knew quite well. Fred Maddox and I had a lot in common; we both could play the upright bass using the "slap bass" technique. They were famous not only for their unique hillbilly music, but also for the flashy outfits they wore. They would come driving up to the nightclub in two or three Cadillacs with the neck of the bass sticking out of one of the windows. They were a delightful sight to behold! Real show business stuff! Rose Maddox was a no-nonsense performer. She would get up on stage, start tapping her foot to the tempo she wanted for each song and say, “Play it in the key of G, boys!” As Cliffie said in his above quote, he had a lot in common with Fred – not only the fact that they both played ‘slap bass,’ they also were witty emcees/deejays who loved to sing whenever they had the chance. Cliffie’s favorite song that he enjoyed hearing Fred sing was “I Must Have Drove My Mules Too Hard,” which made him laugh every time he heard it! (Fred, Cliffie and Rose’s love for music would always propel them to perform and be involved in the music business for as long as they lived.) In 1933, Fred was only 14 years old when his parents and siblings started their grueling trip from Alabama to California. About four years later, it was Fred who came up with the idea of starting the Maddox family band (see MB&R mini-bio in ‘Early Years Section,’ Row 6, #5 photo). Fred was not only the bass player in the Maddox Brothers & Rose’s band, he was also the announcer who was a dynamic showman (just like his Uncle Foncy). He cleverly and creatively gave everyone nicknames; he’d introduce Cal as the “Laughing Cowboy,” Don as “Don Juan,” Henry as “Friendly Henry,” Rose as the “Sweetheart of Hillbilly Swing” and their non-family sidemen as the “Hired Help.” Fred also sang harmony and once in a while, he’d sing a duet with Rose (such as “Whoa, Sailor.” Fred was known for his incessant chatter and comedic risqué remarks, which was all part of the act. Around 1956 or 1957, the Maddox family band splintered 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 and they broke up permanently around 1960. Don went back to his Oregon ranch to join his wife, Nila. Henry and his wife, Retta, eventually divorced and Henry remarried and they made their home in San Diego, CA. In the ensuing years, Fred continued to perform whenever he could; at one time, he was a deejay on three radio shows. For a number of years, he owned three nightclubs that were scattered over Southern California – the “Playhouse” in Ontario, the “Mozart Club” in Carpinteria, and the “Copa Club” in Pomona, which he booked himself - just like he always did for MB&R. Some of the future stars that he booked were Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Wynn Stewart and Buck Owens. Buck was always good friends with the Maddox family and he regularly performed at all three of Fred’s clubs before his singles started charting in the country Top Ten. In Rose’s bio, Buck shares some hilarious stories with Jonny about his dealings with Fred. In later years, Fred and Rose often performed together whenever she was in CA. One of their nostalgic performances was for radio station KTRB’s 50th anniversary in Modesto in 1983, which, in 1937, was the first radio station that MB&R had their own show. On February 1, 1986, Fred and Rose performed together at the California Country Club in Ontario CA. On December 5, 1987, Fred and Rose attended and performed at the California Ballroom in Modesto, which was a nostalgic celebration of the “Maddox Brother & Rose’s 50th year in country music: 1937 - 1987.” (Don Maddox was unable to attend; Cliff, Cal, and Henry had passed on years ago.) Fred passed away from chronic heart issues in 1992. Jonny Whiteside wrote the authorized biography, “Ramblin’ Rose: The Life and Career of Rose Maddox” - published by Vanderbilt University Press and the Country Music Foundation Press (March 1997). (Jonny’s resume includes music biography, “Cry: The Johnny Ray Story,” and being a contributor to numerous publications such as ‘Los Angeles Weekly,’ ‘Variety,’ and the ‘Journal of Country Music.’) When the above photo was taken, Jonny was in the process of writing Rose’s biography, which was a 14 year labor of love for him. It started on October 5, 1983 when he interviewed Rose and it ended when it was published in March 1997. Rose also gave Jonny permission to use many of her personal/professional photographs, which are included in this book. What makes this historic book about Rose and the Maddox family so authentically accurate are the interviews (with their date and location) of the key people involved while they were still alive which included: the Maddox family  - Rose, Fred, Don, Alta (Cliff, Cal and Henry had passed on) and their in-laws (Kitty, Retta and Nila); extended family members; musicians/artists such as Chris Strachwitz, Jimmy Winkle, Roy Nichols and CMA Hall of Famers such as Minnie Pearl, Bill Monroe, Cliffie Stone, Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Hank Thompson, Ken Nelson and the list goes on. All the aforementioned people, plus many more who are not listed, all participated during the Maddox family’s historic pioneering journey into hillbilly/rockabilly and country music history. This well documented book is not only filled with facts, it is also written with great sensitivity, because Jonny delves into the personal and emotional aspects of the Maddox family as well. One of the most poignant stories in the book occurred when Rose was in a three month coma after one of her heart attacks. It goes without saying that Fred was very distraught and as Jonny writes in Rose’s bio, Fred constantly played MB&R’s 4-Star recordings on his portable cassette player hoping that it would somehow break through her coma. Fred stayed by her side and incessantly pleaded for her to wake up so that they could go back to work. Finally, Rose responded by lifting her fist and waving it in her trademark circular motion that she always used to signal the end of a song. Soon thereafter she miraculously opened her eyes! It’s no wonder that Jonny’s book received the ARSC “Award for Excellence” in the “Record Country Music” category in 1998 (“Association for Recorded Sound Collections”). Jonny also lists MR&R’s discography in Rose’s bio. MB&R’s historic recording product can be obtained through two independent record labels: Arhoolie Records’ ( collection includes: (1) Maddox Brothers & Rose’s “America’s Most Colorful Hillbilly Band, Volume 1.” This CD covers their earliest 1946 – 1951 Four-Star recordings; (2) Maddox Brothers & Rose’s “America’s Most Colorful Hillbilly Band, Volume 2.” This CD also covers their earliest commercial recordings made from 1946 – 1951, plus six previously unreleased tracks taken from old radio acetates; (3) Maddox Brothers & Rose “Live on the Radio,” which has early Maddox recordings taken from MB&R’s transcriptions for radio stations in Modesto, Stockton and Sacramento (1940s and 1945s). The 2nd company is German-based label, Bear Family Records’ ( collection includes: (1) Maddox Brothers & Rose “The Most Colorful Hillbilly Band in America;” (2) The Maddox Brothers & Rose – “Ugly and Slouch,” which contains songs of Rose Maddox and her brothers in their heyday years. Here is Jonny Whiteside’s heartfelt biographical dedication: “In loving memory of my hero, Fred Maddox.”

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