Cowgirl singer Patsy Montana (real name: Ruby Blevins) rose to
prominence during the 1930s as a cast member of Chicago's WLS National
Barn Dance. She worked there and on records with a famous stringband,
the Prairie Ramblers. With the Ramblers she recorded "I Want to Be a
Cowboy's Sweetheart," a 1935 hit believed to be the first million-seller by
a female country artist. Her role as star of stage and radio -- she made extensive tours and played
many radio engagements during the 1940s and beyond ... was doubly
important because of her status as a female star. As with later cowgirl
singers, one of her trademarks was her intricate yodel, which inspired many other female singers
through the years. Montana was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1996, the year she died.
Rubye Rebecca Blevins, born near Hot Springs, Arkansas on October 30, 1908, was one of the first role
models for female country singers.
Raised in Hope, Arkansas, she taught herself guitar and took violin lessons before studying at the
University of the West (now UCLA). There she joined two other women to form the Montana Cowgirls.
After the trio broke up, she visited Arkansas and a booking on Shreveport's KWKH led to her first
recordings in 1932, playing fiddle for Jimmie Davis, then with the Prairie Ramblers at WLS Chicago and
as a solo star. Patsy's yodeling, western
songs and image of being an independent female became trademarks.
A national radio show on the ABC network in 1946 and her appearances on the Louisiana Hayride, carried
nationally on CBS radio, continued to popularize "The Girl With The Million-Dollar Personality."
Moving to California in 1952, she resumed touring and recording in the 1960s, continuing into the 1990s.
The singing cowgirl died at home in San Jacinto, California on May 3, 1996, and was elected to the
Country Music Hall of Fame later that same year.
She Was Every Cowboy's Sweetheart.
THE PATSY MONTANA MUSEUM>
Pineville, MO 64856
Phone (417) 223-7290
E-mail at email@example.com
Patsy Montana came into this life as the only girl in the Blevins family near Hot Springs, Arkansas.
She was named Ruby and little did her parents and brothers know how fitting this name would become as she truly
has become a "jewel" over the years.
As she was growing up she learned to play the guitar on her own and took some violin
lessons. Her musical ability was shown to the extent that she got her first musical
employment when she was only fourteen. After two years of honing her musical talents Ruby
added an "e" to the end of her first name and headed for the bright lights of Hollywood.
She had a great appreciation for cowboy and western music and got a job on KMTR Hollywood as "Rubye
Blevins, the Yodeling Cowgirl from San Antone."
While there she became involved with a group of entertainers that Stuart Hamblen put
together for a regular radio show on KMIC Inglewood. Two other girls were members of the group
and one of them was named Ruthy. Hamblen thought radio listeners might have trouble distinguishing between
Rubye and Ruthy so Rubye changed her name to Patsy and later added Montana. The three girls were billed as
the Montana Cowgirls. In 1933 Patsy went home to Arkansas for a visit and found that two of her brothers were
planning to enter what they hoped was "the world's biggest watermelon" in the Chicago World's Fair.
Patsy went to Chicago with them and while there heard that the Kentucky Ramblers of the WLS National
Barn Dance were looking for a female singer. She made the necessary contacts and was hired.
Inasmuch as she had developed a western image and because of the popularity of cowboy songs the
group was renamed the Prairie Ramblers. The first song that Patsy sang on WLS was Montana Plains
which Patsy had adapted from Stuart Hamblen's Texas Plains by changing the title and a few words.
Stuart was not happy with this change and Patsy decided to write her own theme song in a similar
structure and rhythm. During the week between National Barn Dance broadcasts Patsy was a part of
a road show called the "Roundup of WLS Radio Stars."
While with the touring group she met, fell in love with and married Paul Rose who managed
another act in the group. In 1934 during performances in Illinois, Rose was away visiting his
sick mother in Knoxville, Tennessee. In her loneliness, during hisabsence, one evening
in her hotel room she wrote the song that was to become her "trademark."
She gave it the title "Want To Be A Cowboy's Sweetheart" that had been suggested earlier
by music promoter, J. L. Frank. She introduced it on the National Barn Dance and
the rest is history. Although it was written in 1934 it was not published until 1935 and
it has been recorded by many artists over the years. None, however, have measured up to Patsy's
recording which was the first million selling record by a female artist.