Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

“Panhandle Rag”: Tip of the East Coast Western Swing

Here’s a great rockin’ arrangement of Leon McAuliffe‘s steel guitar instrumental, “Panhandle Rag” by The Hachey Brothers & Mary Lou:

Panhandle Rag

The Hachey Brothers & Mary Lou (1958)

Thanks to Lonesome Lefty’s Scratchy Attic for the biographical info:

Brothers Curly and Bobby Hachey were natives of Atholville, New Brunswick.  Performing early on as The Sunset Playboys, by the 1950s they were known as The Hachey Brothers and gained a great deal of exposure performing with Willie Lamothe as his backup band.  Bobby Hachey remained with Willie Lamothe for many years and became legendary in Quebec for his virtuosity as a lead guitarist.

Pickin’ Strings Country Style was released in 1958 in Canada (on the Banff label) and in the US (on Rodeo International) and although it contains no personnel listings, it pictures (left to right) Fernand Thibault on tenor banjo (also played violin), Bobby Hachey on mandolin (also played lead electric guitar), Curly Hachey on rhythm guitar and Mary Lou Farrah on upright bass.

Hachey Brothers & Mary Lou

Liner notes from the back cover —

Much can be said about this versatile musical group.  Their repertoire includes everything from modern Jazz to Hoedowns.  However, they are best known for their top flight presentation of country music.

The group is comprised of Curly Hachey on rhythm guitar, Bobby Hachey on electric guitar and mandolin; Mary Lou Farrah on bass and featured fiddle solos; and last but not least, Rusty Grande on steel guitar and featured on banjo solos.

While this instrumental recording establishes the versatility of the group as musicians, on location each and everyone of them handle the vocal chores with professional polish.

The backgrounds of the individual performers are extensive.  Curly and brother Bobby hail from Atholville, a small town on the outskirts of Campbelltown, N.B. and have played in almost every possible location in the States prior to the formation of their own group.  Mary Lou, having enjoyed success in her native city, toured the South and East with a girls’ group prior to joining the Hachey Brothers some 11 years ago.  Rusty Grande played with many of the top names in his native town prior to joining the group in 1956.

This group has travelled extensively in the United States where they are firm favorites wherever located and have been featured stars on radio and television for many years.

Cash Box‘s April 11, 1953 edition would report the following news item in its ‘Canadian Capers‘ column:

Curly Hachey and his Brothers, along with Mary Lou, held over once again at the Diana. This town’s premier rustic bistro will close for remodeling and enlargement later this month and reopen in May with a plush country decor.


LINK to Western Swing on Zero to 180

Categories in this Post

One Response

  1. Awesome research. Just picked up Pickin’ Strings Country Style and was trying to figure out who these guys were. I have some friends who used to frequent a Country bar in Mtl called The Blue Angel. They may have heard of them.
    Thx Mike

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All Categories