Bobby Rutledge and the Cimarrons / Cimarron Rangers / Eddie Osborne
Akron, late 1940s - 1980s
The Cimarrons started just after World War II and played - in various lineups - for over 40 years. Bobby Rutledge was the one constant member, together with Eddie Osborne for most of those years.
The two started playing together around 1947, with Eddie on standup bass and Bobby on fiddle. Rutledge was tagged "Fiddlin' Bob" or "Fiddlin' Bobby". The first lineup of Cimarron Rangers included Bob Etheridge, "Texas Bob", on guitar.
Novemeber 1949 story
The group became an integral part of Akron's postwar country scene and played clubs around town and concerts. They were often paired with Cliff Rodgers and his various bands. They also had shows on radio stations WADC and WHKK.
3 ads for the Cimarron Rangers in 1950, with Akron's booming postwar nightclub scene
In the early 1950s Harry Smith replaced Texas Bob as the group's guitarist. In NE Ohio, the working man's dance bands often played polkas and country music - "square, round, and polka dancing" was the usual bill of fare - so to expland their sound, the Cimarrons added an accordionist. A 1953 ad lists Milan Uverity, but by 1954 Johnny Rozman had the gig. This group of four seems to be the main Cimarrons lineup for a few years.
1952 show with Bobby without the Cimarrons
Eddie Osborne was listed as the leader during the first few years but by 1953/4 Bobby Rutledge was usually listed as the leader, and the group name shortened from Cimarron Rangers to Cimarrons. The change was possibly related to the addition of the accordion and polka repetoire.
1953 and 1954 ads
The original Cimarrons recorded three 45s over the period of a year or so, all released by their peer Cliff Rodgers and his Zipp label. All three are excellent representations of the urban country sound for NE Ohio. A couple of their songs could be considered rockabilly as they likely embraced the new style. "Go Slow Fatso", "Waitin' In Line", and "Southern Fried Chicken" were standouts from the three releases. . There is no accordion on the recordings, a steel guitar is prominent which suggests they had swapped instruments. Later promo pics show the band with a steel player. "Put A Saddle On Daddy" also has a piano sound in the mix.
The songwriting credits include Jack Aberth, a local songwriter who also composed pop songs that were recorded by other artists. Clyde Stempert was the songwriter for "Waitin' In Line". An internet search shows no trace of anyone with that name, but he is listed in US copyrights for the song.
1956 ad, in the middle of the Cimarrons' recording run
The three 45s were the last recordings released by Bobby and the Cimarrons. The group continued to play locally with Bobby and Eddie incorporating new members. In the 1960s, Bobby (playing fiddle and guitar) and the Cimarrons were an integral part of the many shows staged by Jaybird Drennan, the very popular WSLR radio personality who was the king of country DJs in the area. The Cimarrons played with other local stars such as Hulen Wilson, Happy Hank, and Bashful Harmonica Joe.
1961 ad, 4 years removed from the recordings, and sporting a new lineup with drum kit
Bobby and the Cimarrons were active into the 1980s, playing country, and at least on a few occasions went back to the polka sounds. Bobby bought a farm for raising Morgan horses and did well. He moved to Kentucky in his later life. He passed away in 2006.
1964 ad with the Akron area's new country stars Ethel Delaney and Hulen Wilson
1977 article, Bobby playing with Ernie Benedict, another NE Ohioan who played country and polka
Homesick Heart / Southern Fried Chicken (And Hot Biscuits) - Zipp no # (RCA master G8OW-0586/7), 1956
Put A Saddle On Daddy / Waitin' In Line - Zipp 11207/8, 1956
Borrowed Love / Go Slow Fatso - Zipp11215/6, 1957