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Joe Maphis, Country Music Star of 'Town Hall Party'

July 05, 1986|From Times Wire Services

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Funeral services were held this week for veteran country musician Joe Maphis, who died June 27 at age 65 of cancer at his home near here.

Maphis and his wife, Rose Lee, starred on the long-running TV show "Town Hall Party." He also discovered country star Barbara Mandrell and arranged for her recording debut.

"I was about 11 years old when he gave me my first job, in his Las Vegas show," Mandrell said after his death.

"Then he got me a part as a regular on 'Town Hall Party.' In 1964 he took me to Hawaii to perform for the first time."

Maphis was credited with developing a "flash guitar" by trying to play violin leads on that instrument.

He began appearing with his father's Railsplitters band when he was 11 years old and as a teen-ager gained fame with the Lazy K Ranch Boys by playing each instrument in the band at concerts.

In the early 1940s, Maphis joined Sunshine Sue & Her Rangers, a popular radio act, and worked during that period with Grandpa Jones, Merle Travis, Hank Penny and other country music stars.

With his wife he wrote and popularized the country classic "Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (and Loud, Loud Music)," a staple in the honky-tonk repertoire.

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