In an article published here more than one year ago, you heard me mention seeing the Quebe (pronounced KWAY-bee) Sisters Band. This group seems is not very well known but one that I enjoy listening to.
They specialize in the Texas fiddle music and Western swing. Asleep at the Wheel and Bob Wills are and were famous for the style, too. The Quebes include three sisters: Grace, Sophia and Hulda Quebe. They are usually backed by two musicians who vary over time.
Some of you remember Jack Fierz, who I used to take along with me to high school sporting events and other community events. In 2010 Jack told me about a performance called Country Gold starring LeRoy Van Dyke that was playing a free show at the Iowa State Fair for free. I like free.
I was familiar with LeRoy because of his 1956 song, “Auctioneer,” and he also is known for the 1961 hit “Walk on By.”
I decided to take Jack because it was on a Saturday afternoon, and I wanted to see the man who recorded “Auctioneer.” I had a CD of country novelty songs, and this was one of the songs on the CD.
Someone in Perry told me that he helped LeRoy write this song while sitting in a room above a bar in Missouri, but LeRoy says the idea came to him while in a fox hole in Korea.
Dan Haymond also tagged along to this show.
If you are not familiar with Country Gold, it is a two-hour show headed by Van Dyke. It features LeRoy singing his hits and then introducing two or three other performers who had at one time been big in country music and kidding with the band.
LeRoy’s wife, Gladys, manages the show, which travels all over the U.S. and Canada with a rolling troupe of performers. You are never sure who the show will feature. On the Country Gold website is a listing of dozens of possible performers.
Since 2010 I have only missed Country Gold at the Iowa State Fair once. That was in 2011. I make it a point to attend the Country Gold show if at all possible. I have been exposed to several country stars. You can meet them after the performances.
Country Gold is performing at the Wild Rose Casino in Jefferson this coming June. I have to miss this because I am going on a trip to England at that time, but I am sure that they will be at the Iowa State Fair again.
As a sideline, I once had a song in my mind that I used to listen to as a kid. It had a phrase, “My brother Jack sneaks out from the back, / tryin’ to get to sister Sue. / Watch him closin’ on the ground, about turnin’ around. / She knows a little jujitsu.”
I prayed about trying to figure out who sang that song. I tried looking it up on the internet and when I went back home to Vinton, I tried going through the old 45s, and I could not find it. At the Country Gold show in 2013, during the visit time after the show, Lynn Anderson was asked about that song by one of the audience.
I found out that it is “Listen to a Country Song” from 1972. She said that she would have sang it, but there was not enough time. Miracles happen in strange ways in strange places. Always have faith. As the old hymn states, “Prayer is the key to Heaven, but faith unlocks the door.”
Lynn Anderson was famous for other songs, including the 1970 hit “Rose Garden.” Tragically, she died in 2015 at only 67. Her lifestyle did her no favors.
On Thursday, August 16, 2012, Jack and I headed to the Iowa State Fair in my blue 1988 Chevy Caprice Classic in the late afternoon. As soon as we got to the fair, we headed to the Susan Knapp Amphitheater to get a good seat for the show.
During the sound check, a group of three young women came out with violins. They sang part of their song, “All of Me,” for the warm up, and I was hooked.
Also performing on that day was Narvel Felts, who is a tenor and uses a falsetto. He is famous for the 1975 song, “Reconsider Me.” Rex Allen Jr. was also on the bill. He sang a lot of the songs of his father, the late western star Rex Allen Sr.
LeRoy came out and did his 20 minutes. He then introduced the Quebe Sisters Band. For that performance they sang six songs, including “All of Me,” “Across the Alamo,” “Shame on You” and “It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie.” Also playing with them was Joey McKenzie and Gavin Kelso.
After the show, you can meet the performers. I bought both CDs and a picture. Each of the members of the band signed each item.
Jack and I then stayed for the second show. I called Dan, who was running around the fair with his family, to come and see the Quebe Sisters. He was too busy and never saw them.
The Quebe Sisters Band performed some of the same songs for the second show but also included “Once a Day” and some other different songs.
For four years I waited for Country Gold to bring back the Quebe Sisters Band.
I looked on Youtube and saw that the Quebe Sisters Band has played at many venues across the U.S. and has been on some country-themed television programs. They have also performed with some very famous country singers, such as Asleep at the Wheel and Willie Nelson.
This winter I emailed Gladys Van Dyke, who is the manager of Country Gold, about having the Quebe Sisters play during the show during the Iowa State Fair, but I heard no reply. I also emailed the Wild Rose Casino in Jefferson with this idea. No reply either.
At the Iowa State Fair of 2016, I asked LeRoy Van Dyke himself about the Quebe Sisters Band. I think I caught him off guard, but he stated that “the Quebe Sisters were very busy,” and he did not know when they would play with Country Gold again.
I saw that the Quebe Sisters were going to be performing two free shows at the Minnesota State Fair on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1. I never could figure out a way to get to one of these performances. They also performed at the Texas State Fair in October.
On their website I also saw they were performing in Des Moines at the Temple Theater Sept. 22. Finally, after four years, a chance to see the Quebe Sisters Band again was presenting itself.
My old 1985 Oldsmobile has seen better days, and I did not trust it get to Des Moines and back. I told Dan Haymond that if he would drive, I would pay for the tickets. He was agreeable.
Although for four years Dan had heard me talk about the Quebe Sisters Band, I think he had them confused with the Kuhlmann Sisters who played at the second Sentimental Journey celebration a number of years ago.
You have heard the Kuhlmann Sisters on commercials, such as “Hy-Vee. Shop Hy-Vee. Where there’s a helpful smile in every aisle.” They also sing, “Medicap Pharmacy, we’ll always be there for you.” Dan looked up the Quebe Sisters on the internet and was surprised at how young they are.
I figure that they must be 26, 28 and 30 from an article from 2009 that told their ages at that time.
This ends the first part of this story. Stayed tuned next week for the exciting conclusion.