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About the video
Grandpa Jones & Ramona perform "I Wonder Where My Darlin' Is Tonight"
About the artist
Louis Marshall Jones (October 20, 1913 -- February 19, 1998), known
professionally as Grandpa Jones, was an American banjo player and "old time"
country and gospel music singer. He is a member of the Country Music Hall of
Born in the farming community of Niagara in Henderson County, Kentucky, Jones
spent his teenage years in Akron, Ohio, where he began singing country music
tunes on a radio show on WJW. In 1931, Jones joined the Pine Ridge String
Band, which provided the musical accompaniment for the very popular Lum and
Abner show. By 1935 his pursuit of a musical career took him to WBZ (AM) radio
in Boston, Massachusetts where he met musician/songwriter Bradley Kincaid,
who gave him the nickname "Grandpa" because of his off-stage grumpiness at
early-morning radio shows. Jones liked the name and decided to create a stage
persona based around it.
Performing as Grandpa Jones, he played the guitar, yodeled, and sang mostly
old-time ballads. By 1937, Jones had made his way to West Virginia, where
Cousin Emmy taught Jones the art of the clawhammer style of banjo playing,
which gave a rough backwoods flavor to his performances. In 1942, Jones joined
WLW in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was there that he met fellow Kentuckian Merle Travis.
In 1943, the pair made their recording debuts together for Syd Nathan's upstart
King Records. Jones was making records under his own name for King by 1944
and had his first hit with "It's Raining Here This Morning". His recording career
was briefly put on hold when he enlisted in the Army. Upon his discharge in
1946, he was back recording for King. In March 1946, he moved to Nashville,
Tennessee and started performing on the Grand Ole Opry. He also married
Ramona Riggins on October 14, 1946. Ramona would not only remain his wife
for the rest of his life, but, as an accomplished performer herself, would also be
a part of his performances. Jones' vaudevillian humor was a bridge to television
entertainment. Some of his more famous songs include, "T For Texas", "Are You
From Dixie", "Night Train To Memphis" and "Mountain Dew". He also wrote the
song "Eight More Miles To Louisville".
In 1969, Jones became a charter cast member on the long-running television
show Hee Haw, often responding to the show's skits with his trademark phrase
"Outrageous". He also played banjo, either by himself or with fellow banjo player
David "Stringbean" Akeman. Another musical segment featured in the early
years of Hee Haw had Grandpa and "His lovely wife, Ramona" accompanying a
song while ringing bells held in their hands and on Grandpa's feet. A favorite skit
had off-camera cast members asking "Hey Grandpa, what's for supper?", to
which he would describe either a delicious, country-style meal ("Buttermilk
biscuits smothered in chicken gravy, home-fried potatoes, collard greens and
Grandmother's fresh-baked blueberry pie à la mode!" and the cast would reply,
"Yum, yum!"); or, occasionally, he would tell about something not so good,
("Because you were bad, thawed out TV dinners!" at which the cast would scoff,
"Yuck!"); on one occasion, he said "I ain't got nothing", he was booed. A running
gag was that the window he pretended to polish had no glass, and Jones would
slip his fingers through the empty frame. He also joined cast mates Buck Owens,
Roy Clark and Kenny Price in a gospel segment at the end of some shows.