I came across a reference to the WWVA Jamboree recently in an obituary for Dr. Benjamin Franklin “Tex” Logan (June 6, 1927-April 24, 2015). The Jamboree was (and still is) a weekly country radio show–the second oldest of its kind next to The Grand Ole Opry. It’s been broadcasting live weekly from my hometown of Wheeling, WV since 1933. Country superstar Brad Paisley got his start there as a junior high school student, and many country legends have performed there, including Tex Logan.
Logan, an electrical engineer and mathematician by day, often went on leave to pursue his other passion, bluegrass fiddling. In the late 1940s, that brought him to Wheeling and the Jamboree, where he met and performed with West Virginia’s Lilly Brothers and Don Stover. Logan convinced the group to move to Boston, and the quartet began to tour together (Logan quit his day job at M.I.T.)
Logan would soon find that the life of a touring musician was not for him, and he returned to the lab. But he never gave up his love of the fiddle and of bluegrass, and throughout his life he continued to perform and record with bluegrass greats, including Bill Monroe, Peter Rowan and even Jerry Garcia.
Logan wrote “Christmas Time’s A-Comin'”, which was originally recorded by Bill Monroe in 1951, but has been covered by Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Sammy Kershaw and Peter Rowan.