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the Crusiers

McDonald County, WV, late 1950s

The Cruisers recorded a great rock-n-roll record for the Coda label, part of the Karl label family operated by Clay Eager.

The band came from McDonald Country, and the small community of Jolo, far down in southeast West Virginia. The band included brothers Von Thornsbury and Estel Thornsbury. That's all we know about the band members. 

Von had worked with another local resident who was not in the band, Jasper Bowles Jr. Jasper contributed the song "You Made A Fool Of Me" for the Cruisers to record. Jasper's sister Lois Ann suggested a song idea "Betty Ann" incorporating her name and another sister's name (Betty). Jasper presented the song to Von to record along with "You..." but when the record was released Von had sole credit. 

It's not clear how the band recorded for Eager and Karl. It appears the Thornsburys had some family, either direct or by marriage, in the Dayton area. Later in the 1970s Estel moved to the Dayton area but that was well after the record. Von was a lifelong resident of McDonald County.

The 45 was released and altered the spelling of Thornsbury and Bowles. vexing collectors trying to find the band for years. The vocals are credited to Estel (on Betty Ann) and J. Thornsberry (sic) on "You made....". Estel had the nickname Jerry so that is probably the reason. 

Later on, Von and Jasper played together in the same band.

Von passed away in 2018.

Betty Ann / You Made A Fool Of Me - Coda 3005, 1958