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Michael S Who knows 'Greasy Medlin?' (27) RE: Who knows 'Greasy Medlin?' 26 Jul 08


Pat Ahrens, a lovely woman active in Columbia, South Carolina bluegrass and old-time music circles, has written two short, self-published "books" (booklets, really) about the careers of Snuffy Jenkins and Pappy Sherrill. As far as I can tell, they're not available presently in any public sales venue. (Perhaps Guest, T'Burg, above, knows her). In the late 1930s, early 40s, the two toured as part of a band called The Hillbillies. Of Greasy Medlin, who was white, Ahrens writes:

"In 1941, a delightful 'clown' with a colorful history in medicine and tent shows joined the Hillbillies. Julian Leonard Medlin, otherwise known as "Greasy," was born in Richland County, Dentsville, South Carolina, on September 18, 1910. He is the son of Leonard Julian and Eliza Parker Medlin. He got his first guitar when he was only eight years old, ad he began playing for local dances until he was thirteen. He then joined Dr. H.E. Foxworth's medicine show. Dr. Foxworth was from Dallas, Texas. This was April on 1931. The show traveled extensively ... Greasy also worked tent shows with Dr. Marshall {and others]. He also performed, accompanying himself with guitar, in vaudeville and with various country bands."

Ahrens says Medlin performed with The Aristocratic Pigs in 1944 and 1945. He later worked again with Jenkins and Sherrill in The Hired Hands. With this band, the trio (plus others) recorded an album for Folk-Lyric Records in 1962 title Carolina Bluegrass.

Medlin died on July 15, 1982. Ahrens' book contains a photo of his gravestone, which gives his first name as "Julin," perhaps an unfortunate spelling error. The inscription reads, "A Man Loved By All Mankind." (My wife says my own inscription will read, "He was crabby only some of the time.")

That's what I know (or, it's what Pat Ahrens writes, actually).

--Michael Scully
--Austin, TX


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