Abridged version of John Schooley’s legend

“Details of the early life of John Schooley are sketchy. Various sources place his birth either in Columbus, Ohio or Vancouver, British Columbia. We do know that his family moved to the rural enclave of Niangua, Missouri when he was still quite young. His parents were sharecroppers, barely scratching out a living from the rocky soil of the Ozark Mountains. The youngest of eight or possibly nine siblings, John Schooley did not take to farming, or, apparently, work of any kind. He could be found, often as not, shirking his chores to hunch over his guitar. He would stomp his foot on a board or on the front porch, frequently scaring the cows.  The family Victrola was stocked with any 78″s that could be found, mostly by Jimmie Rodgers, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Doctor Ross, and Don Van Vliet. Most evenings the family tuned to radio station KWTO out of Springfield, to hear the “Carter Sisters and Mother Maybelle with Chet Atkins and his Famous Guitar” perform as part of the syndicated “RadiOzark” network.

School was never to his liking and Schooley quit after graduating the fifth grade. Chafing at the dreary small town life of Niangua, Schooley left never to return. He rambled north to Columbia, Missouri. First trying to put together a hot-jazz combo along the lines of the then-popular Django Reinhart, but he was unable to find suitable musicians. Then, billing himself as “John Schooley and His One Man Band”, he rigged up a kick drum and hi-hat and began performing at “house frolics” and on the sidewalk in front of local record store Whizz Records. He met with minimal success. He was frequently chased away by the proprietor with a broom shortly after setting up. Being unwilling (or perhaps unable) to learn pop hits of the day, Schooley tried to force his listeners to dance to his own frequently atonal blend of blues and country, again with minimal success.


The musical scene in Columbia was so stagnant that when it was announced that bluegrass stars The Oblivians were coming to town, Schooley was able to secure the opening slot even though he had no band together at the time.” He founded the guitar, drum, and vocal trio The Revelators. Surprising success. “When the record, titled “We Told You Not To Cross Us” was released it caused a sensation in at least three Missouri counties and parts of Arkansas and Illinois. The Revelators were immediately rushed off to a whirlwind tour of Europe, which included performances for the as-yet not-dead Princess Diana and Archduke Ferdinand.”

After the break-up he went to Texas “and took whatever work he could find, from oil roughneck to hotel elevator operator. He eventually started another musical combo, the Hard Feelings” while he continued performing as one man band. He added harmonica, snare drum, and washboard to his kick and hi-hat apparatus and recorded some songs.  “Voodoo Rhythm recently uncovered the tapes of these songs, long presumed lost, in an oil drum outside of Lockhart, Texas.” Album preview

“The Man Who Rode The Mule Around The World” LP, CD
on Voodoo Rhythm Records (CH)

Euro tour with Urban Junior in Sept-Oct.

A missing moment of his legend: toured as an additional guitar player for the blues legend R.L. Burnside.


The Family Fodder is among the funniest British bands ever. Since the mid-70s they have been playing really indie pop music, but literally! It’s independent from everything. So the best. Now here is a vinyl-only collection of 11 love songs, that have never before been released on vinyl. Alig Fodder says about it: “We collected all the love songs together without all the annoying instrumentals, dubs and solos.”

“Just Love Songs” LP on Staubgold Records (France)

You can find some music videos in reference to this album on their site.


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