George Wade & His Cornhuskers

Wade and the Cornhuskers was a highly influential large band, one of the few recorded in Canada by RCA in the decade prior to the onset of World War II. However, very little information exists about the leader or his activities following the end of the recording ban that took place during the war, halting the careers of many a touring and recording artist. The most famous member of Wade's outfit was Quebec fiddler Jean Carignan, whom Wade hired off the streets of Montreal where he used to play during his lunch hour break from a job as a cobbler's apprentice. Carignan toured throughout Canada with the band from 1933-1938, during which time more than a dozen sides were recorded for RCA, all typical of the band's repertoire. These included quadrilles, reels, jigs, and medleys of Scottish and Irish tunes as well as pure country material. It was said that the band was similar in makeup to jazz big bands, yet played for the country crowd. One well-known Canadian artist who was influenced heavily by Wade's band was Don Messer, who fashioned his own concept and his group the Islanders after attending a gig by Wade and the Cornhuskers. Although no company has officially re-released the group's music, Canadian disc jockeys and enthusiasts have kept the name alive by frequent airplay on specialty shows as well as posthumous awards such as membership in various halls of fame for Canadian music. ~ Eugene Chadbourne

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