Crockett Family Mountaineers
The family group was led by John Harvey "Dad" Crockett, born in Wayne County, W.Va., who moved to Bath County, Ky., as a young man. "Dad" played the fiddle and banjo, and was accompanied by five of his children; George (fiddle), Johnny (banjo, guitar, vocals), Alan (fiddle, bones), Clarence (guitar), and Albert (tenor guitar). The Crocketts shrewdly moved to Fowler, California (near Fresno) in the late 1920's where they took advantage of the nascent entertainment industry and became one of the most widely known "hillbilly" groups of the 78 RPM era. They recorded prolifically (for the time) for three years (1928-1931) in both Los Angeles and New York, and their songs were issued on songbooks; Johnny Crockett was groomed as the star of the group. Alan Crockett continued to have a musical career after the family band broke up. In 1938 he replaced Tex Achison as fiddler for the group The Prairie Ramblers, featuring vocalist Patsy Montana. He also did studio work, backing Lulu Belle and Scotty Wiseman on some recordings. After she left the group in 1941, the Prairie Ramblers continued to record and back up cowboy singers in movies and on recordings. Tragically, he committed suicide in 1947, and the Prairie Ramblers made their last records for Mercury later that year and broke up. The Sullivan Daily Times (Volume 49, Number 33, Feb. 14, 1947), Sullivan, Indiana, gave the notice:
WLS MUSICIAN IS TAKEN BY DEATH Alan Crockett, famous fiddler of the WLS Prairie Ramblers, is dead according to a report received here recently. Crockett, 39-year-old father of two small boys, was reputed to be the nation's champion fiddler and teamed with "Rusty" Gill to form the famous comedy duo of "Nep" and "Lige" Clouse, hill billy. cro6ners of popular songs. No details of the death were available.