- Ronnie Pugh
Country-music group. Its principal members were four brothers: Kyle (Otis) Bailes (b Enoch, WV, 7 May 1915; d 3 March 1996), Johnnie (John Jacob) Bailes (b St. Albans, WV, 24 June 1918; d 21 Dec 1989), Walter (Butler) Bailes (b North Charleston, WV, 17 Jan 1920; d Sevierville, TN, 27 Nov 2000), and Homer (Vernon) Bailes (b North Charleston, WV, 8 May 1922); at different times various combinations of the brothers and other musicians made up the group. Brought up by a widowed mother during the Depression, the brothers formed a group called the Hymn Singers to earn their living. Among the performers who influenced their style were Hank and Slim Newman and the Holden Brothers. The Bailes Brothers worked on various West Virginia radio stations, where their colleagues included Molly O’Day (then known as Dixie Lee) and Little Jimmy Dickens, billed by Johnnie as the Singing Midget. During World War II, while Homer was in military service, Johnnie and Walter performed as a duo on the “Grand Ole Opry,” having secured the booking through their friendship with Roy Acuff. In the mid- 1940s the group made its most successful recordings, mostly of songs written by Walter, for Columbia; at that time it was known as the West Virginia Home Folks. In ...