Boyd's Solo Band
Cuca Records #1049
This is Boyd Skuldt (1919-2006), one-man band from Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin.
The picture on the record was a mural they had at the photography studio. I went in the studio over in Sauk Center at Cuca. He was in a hurry that day and I wasn’t happy with the record. That guitar wore out. Whetever I would go, they would call up the tavern and book me. Word of mouth. A couple came over to Monroe to pick me up ; they insisted I come out to Jersey. That was a long way to go. Lefty Frizzell played out there and so did Car Smith around the time I did. I’ll tell you I was shakin’ in my knees that night. A six piece band comes walking off the stage and I’m up there all alone. A big crowd, there was a big crowd. They made me feel good. Then I stayed out there for a hundred bucks in 1960 for the fun of it. I pissed off a lot of musicians, too, when I was out there. « you ain’t gonna be cuttin’ prices, » they said. They were probably getting fifty or sixty a night and, well, I could put prices ‘cause I was one man. I pratically got beat up. The mob was in control of the clubs out there, too. I just wish somebody would have copied me. No one copied me ! I heard so many guys say when I was playing « Well, I’l show that Boyd off ! They never did. I think what killed ‘em was that snare drum, that fooled ‘em. That was tricky. Bass drum, the foot, no problem. I made a gizmo that attached to my knee that would hit the snare drums. Why couldn’t anyone copy me I don’t know. There was a guy from over in Jefferson, I tried to help him, but he couldn’t get that rhytm. I said you got to get that rhythm, sing or something. He died a few years ago, nice fellow. There was a one man band from Dodgeville who played the bass drum only. I played lead on the guitar, too, and the mouth organ. It was hard work standing in one spot, but I didn’t mind it. After a while it was just like shifting a car. I started playing the mouth organ when I was fve or six and it took me about twenty-five years to get that thing together. See how I really started out was playing with my neighbor who was an accordion player. He was very young and very good. We started out playing in the night clubs. First thing you know they found out his age and he was out. I already played the mouth organ and I thought that would take care of the accordion. I played nothin’ but country songs. Played at a drive-in over by Madison before the movies would start ; it was the Badger Big Sky Drive In. Played all over down through La Crosse, Bear Valley, Monroe, Dodgeville, New Clarus, Ridgeway, Mt. Vernon, all down through there. Mostly taverns, but hospitals, and wedding dances, too. I did have a good rhythm and made it easy for them to dance. Five piece one man band !
(from Badger Bars & Tavern Tales: An Illustrated History of Wisconsin Saloons, book by Bill Moen and Doug Davis.)