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  Steel Pioneer Marian Hall has died

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Author Topic:   Steel Pioneer Marian Hall has died
Andy Volk

From: Boston, MA

posted 19 April 2006 02:47 PM     profile     
I'm sad to report that Forumite and pioneering steeler Marian Hall died last week due to complications from surgery. Marian's health had been compromised for some time in addition to the crippling arthritis that ended her playing career.

Marian deserves to be better known for her many accomplishments as a live television pioneer, resourceful and innovative steel guitar soloist, vocalist and songwriter. Marian became a familiar face on live TV in Los Angeles in the 1950s as part of the Town Hall Party cast along with “superpickers”, Joe Maphis and Merle Travis. Marian spent time gigging with Tex Ritter's Ranch Party, Tex Williams band, and even Spade Cooley's all-girl orchestra.

She was a neighbor and close friend of Paul Bigsby and was one of the few for whom PA would gladly do the chore of changing strings. Marian played while seated on a high stool with her Bigsby pedal steel raised up on its leg extensions giving the illusion that she was playing while standing. She had a wonderful, self-deprecating sense of humor and roared with laughter when she told me how the stool once collapsed on live television yet she somehow finished her solo while lying on her side on the stage. And play she could: red-hot, yet always tasteful steel runs and bell-like harmonics tumbled out of her amp while she flashed that girl-next-door-smile to the camera. That she was respected by musicians of the caliber of Travis and Maphis speaks volumes of her abilities.

I'll remember her as a whip-smart, gracious lady who was modest about her abilities yet quietly proud of her accomplishments and her rightful place in the history of California Country and Western Swing music. No doubt feeling the same way, last year, the Seattle Western Swing Society inducted Marian into its Hall of Fame. Not bad for a career that began on live TV at age twelve as one half of the sister duo, The Saddle Sweethearts. I join Cindy Cashdollar and all who knew her in remembering a great lady. R.I.P. Marian.

Thanks to Dave Van Allen for the image of Marian.

[This message was edited by Andy Volk on 19 April 2006 at 05:38 PM.]

Alvin Blaine

From: Sandy Valley, Nevada, USA

posted 19 April 2006 03:35 PM     profile     
I have hours of video with her playing on the Ranch Party shows.
If I get a chance I'll try to upload some on the net.

She was a great player, nice touch, terrific tone and kept up with Joe Maphis note for note.


Perry Hansen

From: Bismarck, N.D.

posted 19 April 2006 03:54 PM     profile     
How sad. I had the pleasure of meeting her at the Town Hall Party in the 50s. Not sure what year but she left a definate impression on me. She was definatly a beautiful and gracious lady.
Michael Johnstone

From: Sylmar,Ca. USA

posted 19 April 2006 06:23 PM     profile     
I spent time in her home in Laguna Beach over the last couple years listening to records,looking at old pictures and talking about Murph and the good old days.I lobbied hard to get her into the HOF while she was alive but now that is not to be. I am very saddened. She was a great player,a great gal and very young at heart. -MJ-
Bill McRoberts

From: Janesville, WIisconsin USA

posted 19 April 2006 07:33 PM     profile     
A Great Steel guitarist that used four picks. Thanks for the photo. She will be missed.
Al Marcus

From: Cedar Springs,MI USA

posted 19 April 2006 09:10 PM     profile     
I am sorry to hear about Marion, I remeber her fine playing in the 50's on the west

My Website.....

Jon Zimmerman

From: California, USA

posted 20 April 2006 01:19 AM     profile     
Sad to hear about Marian. I wondered why she became MIA here for a few weeks. An array of talent and an interesting history goes dark with her passing. JZ
CrowBear Schmitt

From: Ariege, - PairO'knees, - France

posted 20 April 2006 02:01 AM     profile     
i'm saddenned to hear of Marian's passing.
May the Lord keep her close to him & let her play in the great orchestra in Heaven.
my sincere condoleances to her family

From: Hendersonville TN USA

posted 20 April 2006 08:14 AM     profile     
Another horrifying loss. Marion and I have been emailing each other a lot over the past few months. I used to own her first bigsby D-8, picture on my web-site when I was 19 with it. This guitar is now owned by JR. Brown.
Formally also owned by Billy Braddy and Stevie Ray Vaughn.
This is a serious loss in my heart as she has been a friend for a lifetime. A wonderful person.
Thank you my fellow steel players for honoring her wonderful memory.
Andy Volk, special thanks to you, you are the greatest!

Bobbe Seymour

Mark Durante

From: Illinois

posted 20 April 2006 08:38 PM     profile     
She left behind lots of great music we will continue to enjoy....
Rick Alexander

From: Florida, USA

posted 21 April 2006 10:56 AM     profile     
This is very sad news. Marian Hall was one of the all time greats of steel guitar.
Joe Savage

From: St. Paul, MN

posted 21 April 2006 05:23 PM     profile     
I was saddened by this news. My condolences.
Joe Savage
Jim Cohen

From: Philadelphia, PA

posted 22 April 2006 09:04 AM     profile     
Does anyone have a clip of her playing they could post here? I'm embarassed to say that I've never heard her but not too proud to start now!

[This message was edited by Jim Cohen on 22 April 2006 at 09:05 AM.]

Russ Wever

From: San Diego, California

posted 22 April 2006 01:07 PM     profile     


AFAIK there aren't any Marian Hall albums - all of her work was as a 'side(wo)man' - though I'd like to find out I'm wrong about that!



David L. Donald

From: Koh Samui Island, Thailand

posted 23 April 2006 06:04 AM     profile     
Yes a sad loss for sure.
I had heard of her decades ago,
but also am not sure if I have heard her play on record.
Though I have something from most of the people she played with.

What a happy smile too.

[This message was edited by David L. Donald on 23 April 2006 at 06:04 AM.]

Mike Gross

From: Fairfield, Connecticut, USA

posted 23 April 2006 06:26 AM     profile     
It is really so very sad that we lost Marian. She was both a great steel player and such a nice person.

It is correct, as far as I know also, that Marian never did do an album of her own. However, I have been featuring for years on my "Swingin' West" show some of her wonderful playing on recordings and radio and TV shots with The Frontiersmen, Johnny Bond, Joe Maphis, Tex Ritter, Tex Williams, Tommy Duncan and so many others.

Mike Gross

Michael Johnstone

From: Sylmar,Ca. USA

posted 23 April 2006 09:25 AM     profile     
She played with Don McGinnis in the 60s here in L.A. and I am in possession of some studio tapes of that band. She had a real sassy,bluesy,in your face type style and played a 10 string E6 on an S-10 Bigsby with 6 pedals.
Drew Howard

From: Mason, MI, U.S.A.

posted 23 April 2006 03:07 PM     profile     

Thanks for the link to the YouTube clip.



Drew Howard - website - Fessenden guitars, 70's Fender Twin, etc.

David L. Donald

From: Koh Samui Island, Thailand

posted 24 April 2006 01:54 AM     profile     
Yeah thanks fro the GJ Ranch Party clip.
Nice guitar and steel work.
Oh yeah George was fun too.
More bluegrassy than I used to think of him.

Funny I like these living legends much more
in their early days than best know days.

I like Marian's little looks at the camera at
both the begining and the end of her solo.

[This message was edited by David L. Donald on 24 April 2006 at 06:32 AM.]

Bobby Caldwell

From: St. Louis, Missouri, USA

posted 24 April 2006 07:17 AM     profile     
What a loss indeed. Marian played with great taste and touch. She could back singers, who in her day had a style, and she nailed it everytime. I am sorry to say I never met her. I know that was my loss. She will go down in history as "Lady Marian" of the pedal steel guitar. My she rest in peace with the greats who have gone before. Bobby

[This message was edited by Bobby Caldwell on 24 April 2006 at 06:46 PM.]

Ron Whitfield

From: Kaaawa, Hawaii, USA

posted 31 May 2006 05:00 PM     profile     
A beautiful day has gone dark for me learning this rotten news (but thanx for letting us know).

I've been wishing to have more SGF contact with her as she had the answers to many more questions I'd not gotten to yet.
But at least she became an member recently and touched our lives a bit more and I'm eternally grateful for that. Thanx SGF!

I grew up in the same area of So. Cal. (Downey) that she, Bigsby and Noel Boggs lived and missed meeting them all but had the connection to relate to all I've ever heard about them.

Great to see the pic posted above of Marian and her Bigsby again.
I'm happy to say I found it and bunch more on Ebay (3D! ViewMaster) a year ago and posted the info to allow the forum to see these incredible and extremely rare shots. An SGF archive search for these may still provide a cool trip back in time that will never be matched.
*just checked and the pix are not viewable anymore.

Marian Hall, good taste personified!
Rest with the best.

[This message was edited by Ron Whitfield on 31 May 2006 at 05:34 PM.]

Randy Reeves

From: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

posted 02 June 2006 10:30 AM     profile     
I missed this post, but was alerted by the moderator after I posted Marian's notice.

I thought I would add here that Shirley, her daughter has contacted me. she sent a nice pic of the both of them from 2005.
go to the other post..Marian Hall RIP and see it.
Shirley read this thread. she would enjoy hearing from you.

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