This unusual artist has made several striking appearances as a vocalist and guitarist, particularly on tracks where he is the featured lead vocalist on the album 33 Years of Pickin' and Grinnin' by Snuffy Jenkins and Pappy Sherrill. Born Julian Leonard Medlin, the youngster's earliest memories were of banjos being strummed at all hours. Both his father and grandfather were banjo players and this was hardly the end of it all. Mothers, sisters, brothers, and anyone who might have wandered into the house all seemed to be carrying fiddles, guitars, or mandolins. The "greasy" kid started to play the latter, tiniest of stringed instruments, at the age of seven, soon picking up guitar, banjo, and bass.
He began performing on the medicine tent and vaudeville circuits, his music frequently used as part of the enticement to buy all manner of patent medicines. When Greasy performed, he wasn't just playing music, he was also aiding the cure of fallen arches, dandruff, coughs, or insomnia. Gigs were never one-nighters, but the length of stay in one community was generally determined by the golden rule; i.e., the show would stay until they got run out of town by an angry mob. The lively sense of humor that is an essential part of his vocal style was thus possibly developed as a defense mechanism. Although obviously influenced by black music, Greasy's main music teacher was Rusty Lee, a white medicine show performer. In the old days, Greasy would perform in blackface. He later switched to clown makeup. He first joined up with [Snuffy] Jenkins and [Pappy] Sherrill in the early '40s, becoming an essential part of some of the group's stage routines. This band was known as the Hired Hands, and eventually cut its first full-length album in 1962, re-released on Folklyric and once again in the '70s on Rounder, the latter time under Jenkins' name. Greasy also worked as a country & western sideman, performing in the bands of Eddy Arnold and Hank Williams, among others.
This bio was written by Eugene Chadbourne and provided courtesy of the All Music Guide online, www.allmusic.com
Full Name: Julian Leonard "Greasy" Medlin
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