Back in the late 20s and early 30s, four Moultry brothers, four Kennedy brothers and two Shields
brothers had the first 10-piece jazz band in this vicinity.
They called it the Moultry Brothers Orchestra.
Edgar “Buddy” Moultry played saxophone, Johnnie Moultry clarinet, James “Jim” Moultry trombone and
Julius “Bose” Moultry trumpet.
Jessie Shields played the piano and Johnnie Shields was the drummer.
It’s not known what instruments the Kennedy brothers played.
“Frog” Dillard of Taylor and “The Grey Ghost” of Austin were also pianists for the group
at one time or another.
The Moultry Brothers Orchestra were constantly in demand for fairs, especially in
Georgetown and Rockdale.
They were also headliners for the annual Juneteenth celebrations in Rockdale.
SINGERS - Popular dances during this era were the Charleston, Two-Step, Buck Step, One-
step and Black Bottom.
Well known jazz singers were Willie James Cooper, Mattie Mae Prater and Hattie Beth
The legend is that Hattie Beth could sing so well, until she sung her way out of
Huntsville Prison for Women.
The most popular songs of the era included “Should I?” ,“Tiger Rag”, “St. Louis Blues”,
“Let Me Call You Sweetheart”, “Love, Oh Love, Loveless Love” and many more.
Men wore single-breasted and double-breasted suits, while ladies wore frilly satin
dresses, usually with a pleated skirt, long beads and matching headbands.
The “California rush” and lure to the big cities soon caused the disintegration of the
Some other well-known jazz and popular entertainers in the music world during this time
Pee Wee Crayton were George Richards and Bubba Curry on the piano and Lon L. Williams Sr.
CRAYTONS - The Crayton brothers and Bogus Miller Sr. featured a popular string band.
Percy Crayton, a former Wiley College student and photographer, played violin.
Tommy Cray ton Sr. played guitar, Quincy Crayton mandolin and Bogus Miller guitar.
Many of these musicians played for the popular Saturday night country suppers and private
white parties and entertainments.
Willie James Cooper was a well-known blues and pop singer, while Sugarfoot Green was a
widely-traveled and well-known minstrel man.
Pee Wee Crayton, well-known blues singer and guitarist, was born in the Liberty Hill
community, became an Austin resident and later resided in California.
Although self-made and self-taught musicians, they gave joy and love through their music
and left many pleasant memories of the jazz age.
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TRACKS, SERIES 4, PART 2
Musicians ‘jazzed up’ 20s and 30s
by Susie Sansom-Piper
Rockdale Reporter - February 10. 2011