Salty Holmes

Floyd Holmes (March 6, 1910 – January 1, 1970), better known as Salty Holmes, was an American country musician and Western B-movie actor.

Holmes was born in Glasgow, Kentucky. He became a virtuoso on the harmonica, specializing in the style known as "talking harp" which imitated the human voice (much like Sonny Terry). He also played the jug and guitar. He formed the group The Kentucky Ramblers in 1930, who changed their name to The Prairie Ramblers in 1933 and began broadcasting on Chicago radio station WLS-AM with new vocalist Patsy Montana. They continued performing and recording under this name until 1952, playing country, hillbilly music, gospel, and pop songs. They were the backing group on Montana's platinum hit "I Want to Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart". Group members included Jack Taylor on bass, Chick Hurt on mandolin, and Alan Crocket and, later, Tex Atchison on fiddle. They made over 100 recordings between 1933 and 1940, including as session musicians.

The Prairie Ramblers have been called a "hot string band" and "a hot fiddler band". Both their "aggressive rhythms" and Chick Hurt's mandolin playing inspired Bill Monroe, the "Godfather of bluegrass", and a mandolin virtuoso.

While a member of the Prairie Ramblers, Holmes befriended Gene Autry, who invited him to Hollywood to star in Westerns in 1936 and 1944; among the films Holmes appeared in are Arizona Days and Saddle Leather Law. In a scene of Arizona Days, Holmes played two harmonicas using his mouth and nose. The Prairie Ramblers also backed Autry on some of his recordings in the 1930s.

He collaborated with Jean Chapel as Mattie & Salty, playing regularly on the Grand Ole Opry; the two married in 1947 and divorced in 1956 and had two daughters named Barbara Holmes Hale and Lana (Chapel) who was part of their act as a young child.

Birth and Death Data: Born March 6, 1909, Died January 1, 1970

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1933 - 1954

Roles Represented in DAHR: guitar, vocalist, harmonica, lead vocal

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 40 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BS-77242 10-in. 12/6/1933 I want my mama Salty Holmes ; Prairie Ramblers Harmonica solo, with instrumental trio instrumentalist, harmonica  
Victor BS-77243 10-in. 12/6/1933 Kentucky blues Salty Holmes ; Prairie Ramblers Harmonica solo, with instrumental trio instrumentalist, harmonica  
Columbia C1121 10-in. 10/28/1935 Down by the old mill stream Sweet Violet Boys String band, with male group vocal instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Columbia C1138 10-in. 10/30/1935 Sweet violets Sweet Violet Boys String band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Columbia C1145 10-in. 10/31/1935 Put on your old grey bonnet Sweet Violet Boys String band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Columbia C1295 10-in. 3/23/1936 Sweet violets no.2 Sweet Violet Boys String band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Columbia C1417 10-in. 7/3/1936 Hinky dinky parley voo Sweet Violet Boys String band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, guitar  
Columbia C1438 10-in. 7/17/1936 How beautiful heaven must be Prairie Ramblers String band, with male vocal duet instrumentalist, guitar  
Columbia C1441 10-in. 7/17/1936 Medley of bar-room songs Sweet Violet Boys String band, with male vocal ensemble instrumentalist, guitar  
Columbia C1442 10-in. 7/17/1936 Down on the farm Sweet Violet Boys String band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, guitar  
Columbia C1443 10-in. 7/17/1936 Hinky dinky parley voo Sweet Violet Boys String band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, guitar  
Columbia C1884 10-in. 5/24/1937 Round and round (yas, yas, yas) Sweet Violet Boys String band, with male vocal solo and male vocal ensemble instrumentalist, guitar  
Columbia C1887 10-in. 10/1/1937 Gee but it's great to meet a friend (from your home town) Sweet Violet Boys String band, with male group vocal instrumentalist, guitar  
Columbia C1888 10-in. 10/7/1937 There's a man that comes to our house (every single day) Sweet Violet Boys String band, with male vocal solo and male vocal ensemble instrumentalist, guitar  
Columbia C1889 10-in. 5/24/1937 They're burning down the house i was brung up in Sweet Violet Boys String band, with male vocal solo and male vocal ensemble instrumentalist, guitar  
Columbia C2099 10-in. 2/15/1938 Nobody loves my soul The Prairie Ramblers String band, with male vocal quartet instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist, lead vocal  
Columbia C2100 10-in. 2/16/1938 Does Jesus care? The Prairie Ramblers String band, with male vocal quartet instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Columbia C2320 10-in. 9/14/1938 You oughta see my Fannie dance Sweet Violet Boys String band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, guitar  
Columbia C2322 10-in. 9/14/1938 Back yard stomp Sweet Violet Boys String band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, guitar  
Columbia C2516 10-in. 2/17/1939 The Lord is watching over me The Prairie Ramblers String band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, guitar  
Columbia C2517 10-in. 2/17/1939 Only one step more The Prairie Ramblers String band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, guitar  
Columbia WC2753 10-in. 9/22/1939 Chiselin' mama Sweet Violet Boys String band, with male vocal solo and male group vocal instrumentalist, guitar  
Columbia WC2866 10-in. 1/18/1940 Show me a man that won't Sweet Violet Boys String band, with female vocal solo instrumentalist, guitar  
Columbia WC2867 10-in. 1/18/1940 I give in so easy Sweet Violet Boys String band, with female vocal solo instrumentalist, guitar  
Columbia C3373 10-in. 10/7/1940 Get hot or go home The Prairie Ramblers String band, with male vocal solo instrumentalist, guitar  
(Results 1-25 of 40 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Holmes, Salty," accessed February 21, 2024, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/204647.

Holmes, Salty. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/204647.

"Holmes, Salty." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 21 February 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/204647

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