[Masthead] Overcast ~ 57°F  
High: 63°F ~ Low: 36°F
Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017

UPDATED Picturing the Past 70: Baker Sisters

Posted Wednesday, July 21, 2010, at 2:59 PM

The Baker Sisters, along with three guys, from 1955 at WHAL radio's studios. At bottom are, from left, the late Jack Finley, the late Ralph Locke and the late Marvin Richardson. Standing, from left, are Ann Locke Potter, Doris Baker Donovan and Wanda Baker Kelley. (Submitted photo)
Regular listeners to Shelbyville's old WHAL-1400 AM radio station in the 1950s were likely familiar with the Baker Sisters.

The Baker Sisters performed on WHAL each Saturday when the station's studios were located above Brantley's Drugs on the east side of the Shelbyville square.

"We were on WHAL at 12 noon Saturday for 30 minutes," group member Wanda Baker Kelley, who called me after my original blog post, remembers. "We sang at everything going on, and played schoolhouses at night."

Marvin Richardson was a comedian as well as musician, Wanda said.

The band performed from roughly 1954-1958 until Wanda's sisters got married. She kept singing a while longer until getting married as well, but went back on stage many years later at the Pickin' Parlor in Wartrace.

Among those fond memories of Wanda's are performances at Dunbar Cave near Clarksville, known for its great acoustics, and on Ernest Tubb's Midnight Jamboree on WSM radio following the Grand Ole Opry.

It would be great if anyone had audio of this, or any other, local group, or maybe other types of sounds from earlier days of Shelbyville radio. There are ways we could post or link to audio.

CAN YOU HELP? Jane Townes, a PhD candidate at MTSU, needs for her dissertation new or old images of buildings, furniture, cemeteries -- anything that existed on the landscape -- during the period 1860-1865. We're not talking Civil War military items, but what residents normally used in daily life. Current photos of period items/places would work well, she says. She can be reached at jtown@cafes.net. (Note that it's 'town', not 'townes' in the address.)

Picturing the Past is featured each Tuesday in this blog. Reader submissions are welcome.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

I do not know how I missed this group because the time frame was during the height of my teen-age years. Maybe I just was not a Saturday morning listener of WHAL. By the instruments pictured I am guessing Country music. However, I did know Jackie Finley and Ralph Locke well. Jackie was a great lead guitar player.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Jul 20, 2010, at 3:15 PM

Hi David,

I worked with Wanda Kelly at pencil printing in 1960, the fall. I had seen them in Hoot-Nannys, and lots of ameture shows. Most times they won. Wanda was the lead singer and they were really good. They were a country group and last I heard, Wanda was learning to play Bluegrass music over at Wartrace on Sat. nights.

-- Posted by Wilderness 68 on Tue, Jul 20, 2010, at 6:37 PM

I fondly remember listening to the radio on Saturdays during this time period. I remember a show called "A Date With Judy." Judy was Judy Lassiter who had a wonderful voice and won almost all the amateur contests held at the Princess Theater and schools. A few of us school girls would go to the WMAL studio after school when they played all the latest records.

-- Posted by caligal on Tue, Jul 20, 2010, at 9:18 PM

my dad came to eat lunch with me one day i worked above dancys on the square beside popes cafe he told me the office right beside mine used to be the radio station was this the same one whal he also told me he sang there in the sixties if anyone has audio or information his name is horace carpenter thank you

-- Posted by jenny1973 on Wed, Jul 21, 2010, at 10:48 PM

I did a video recording around the square with my daughter & stepdaughter, we picked up what we thought was a EVP in that same area beside Popes cafe. It was at the window of W.R.L. Market and Deli. We thought it said "Hotdogs from Watkins", but not sure. I got other strange voices we thought were EVP's, and weird looking things I snapped for photo. I had to delete alot out, the video was long but I put some of it on Youtube:


-- Posted by Momof3&3step&1gran on Thu, Jul 22, 2010, at 6:49 PM

I apologize in advance to those who may be offended by my comment. Please believe me when I say it is intended only to show one of the potential pitfalls of nervous local performers on those Saturday morning shows during the early days of WHAL.

Some of those performers were more comfortable singing or playing than just talking into the microphone.

This incident involved a male country music wannabe who didn't help his career plans by a comment he made just as his show was coming to a close.

He meant to say it was time to get on out of there. Unfortunately what came out was (and I'm not quoting for obvious reasons), Well neighbors, that old clock on the wall says it's time for us to get out butts on out of here.

The word he used wasn't butts, but another anatomical description!!!

How long do you suppose it took for him to get, uhh, himself, on out of the studio after that incident?

-- Posted by bomelson on Fri, Jul 23, 2010, at 3:33 PM

Respond to this blog

Posting a comment requires free registration:

David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.