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Research Guides

Bob Nelson Collection of Folk Music: Bill Higley

A guide to the artists and recordings represented in the Bob Nelson Collection of Folk Music.

About Bill Higley

Bill Higley had roots to San Francisco in the early 1920's. When commercial radio, back in the days of the "RED NETWORK" and the "BLUE NETWORK", first began broadcasting, the home radios were crystal sets. That's when Bill became the on air, live radio broadcast partner of Harry I. McKlintock, aka "Haywire Mac". Bill learned to play guitar from Harry, and together they would broadcast their cornball humore and goofy songs.
I met Bill in 1950 when he moved from Anchorage to Seattle with his new bride Verna. He soon took me under his wing and began teaching me how to play guitar and sing songs. In 1951, he became a disc jockey on KVI radio in Seattle. I used to go with him to the station on weekends, at four in the morning, where he did a live show. It was there that he fostered my interest in radio and folk music.
He moved to Westport, Washington in 1953 and became a charter boat captain. I followed him there for the next two summers.
What to listen for: Bill had a simple, clear voice. His diction was impeccable, which reflected his many years of radio broadcasting. He was an excellent story teller who could entertain any audience. Most of all, for me, he was a very strict teacher, grounding me in the basic skills of diction, elocution and memory work. He was one of a kind.
He passed away in 1963.

(Bob Nelson, September 2012)

Bill Higley | "You Ask Me Why I'm a Hobo" (UW Nelson NRR030)

Bill Higley | "Froggie Went A'Courting" (UW Nelson NRR030)

Bill Higley | "Life Gets Tedious" (UW Nelson NRR030)

Bill Higley | "Ye Olde Ballad of Something or Other" (UW Nelson NRR030)