Bill Browning / the Echo Valley Boys
Bill Browning followed the path of many West Virginians after World War II and moved to Cleveland for the good paying jobs. He was already a well known musician back home in the Ashland, Ky area and once established, quickly found other Cleveland area musicians of similar backgrounds and musical taste.
The band Bill formed were the Echo Valley Boys which included a handful of different members. Rudy Thacker was supposedly one of them. While working at his truck driving job he met Frank Videmsek, and together they started Island Records.
The Echo Valley Boys and Island started out with a big winner "Wash Machine Boogie", a pure country rockabilly song that sound like a blueprint for the style. Bill wrote the song and sang lead.
The group recorded 7 of Island's 8 45s and had one song on a 7 inch EP record for the label. For the band's fourth record, they recorded Bill's composition "Dark Hollow". Although the Echo Valley Boys' version was not a hit, the song has become a country classic, recorded by several artists and played by many more.
Bill and the band played all over Ohio, often with other local acts.
Bill moved back to West Virginia around 1959 and that was the end of Island records. Bill jouned the WWVA Jamboree out of Wheeling, WV. The radio show, and the touring act, grew his popularity, and he made a few recordings for Starday.
In the mid 1960s he got involved with the recording business, running a recording studio and two record labels (Marbone and Alta) from his home in Hurricane, WV.
He passed away in 1977.
Frank Videmsek's house, home of Island records, was demolished in the late 1960s for Interstate 90.
(Echo Valley Boys) Ramblin' Man / Wash Machine Boogie - Island 1/2, 1957
One Day A Month / Don't Wait Too Late - Island 3, 1957
(Bill Browning) Hula-Rock / Makes You Feel-A So Good - Island 5/4, 1957
(Bill Browning and His Echo Valley Boys) Borned WIth The Blues / Dark Hollow - Island 7,1958
First Prayer / Let The Bible Be Your Guide - Island 8, 1958
(Bill Browning) Gonna Be A Fire ; Down In The Holler Where Sally Lives (both songs on side 1) - Island no # (RCA master J8OH-7543/4)
(Bill Browning and His Echo Valley Boys) Breaking Hearts / Lay Me Low - Island 10, 1958
(Bill Browning and His Echo Valley Boys) Just Because You Say Your Sorry / Sinful Woman - Island 11, 1959