Molly O'DayMarch 06, 2012
(Singer, Guitar, Old-Time Banjo)
Given Name: Lois LaVerne WilliamsonDate of Birth: July 9, 1923 Place of Birth: McVeigh, Pike County, Kentucky Married: Leonard "Lynn" Davis Date of Death: December 5, 1987Molly O’Day pioneered the position of solo female Country vocalist although her career in Country music lasted little more than a decade. She possessed a powerful and sincere voice that projected conviction and every one of the 36 solo and duet numbers recorded for Columbia is now considered a classic.
Molly was from Appalachian eastern Kentucky, where she and her two brothers listened to local musicians and recordings of traditional musicians. Later, Molly was influenced by hillbilly radio females. She started out in a string band playing guitar and singing, with her brothers "Skeets" on fiddle and "Duke" on banjo. Skeets went to SCHS radio in Charleston to play music in 1939 and Molly soon followed, taking the name "Mountain Fern." They came back to WBTH Williamson, West Virginia in the fall, where Duke joined them. In the spring of 1940, they went to WJLS Beckley and then moved to WHIS Bluefield, where Molly met Leonard "Lynn" Davis, and announcer, lead guitar picker and leader of the Forty-Niners band. By then, she had changed her name again to "Dixie Lee Williamson," and in 1941 she married Lynn Davis.
The Davis group played at various Radio stations including a WNOX Knoxville over the next five years, attracting a large following of fans. When they went to WHAS Louisvillel, the name Molly O’Day came into use. Lynn and Molly had a good duet, but her solo numbers had the biggest impact, moving her listeners particularly deeply by her rendition of numbers with religious content.
Writer-publisher Fred Rose, an old friend of Lynn’s, heard Molly and wanted her on Columbia Records to record material composed by Alabama songwriter Hank Williams. Molly cut eight songs for Columbia, which helped increase her popularity but unfortunately intensified her nervousness and stress.
For a time, Molly and Lynn got out of radio and off the road, although she still recorded for Columbia. Later they went back to radio; however, by 1950 Molly and Lynn decided to be with the Lord and give up show business. Thereafter, she sang only in churches and Lynn entered the ministry. After her conversion, Molly did two more sessions with Columbia in 1950 and 1951. In 1961 and 1968, she recorded albums for REM and GBS and beginning in 1973, she and Lynn had a daily Gospel record program at WMMN-FM Huntington, which Lynn continued after Molly’s death from cancer on December 5, 1987.
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