Monday, May 18, 2009

Whitey Morgan and the 78's

Country music...from Flint?

Cliff England at Saving Country Music writes:

"With the passing of Waylon Jennings, and so many country heroes, fans will be hard pressed to find some true outlaws nowadays, but I’ve come to find Michigan still has a few. Just head up I-75 and you can’t miss them. Once you hear the first track of Honky Tonks and Cheap Motels you’ll understand what I mean. Whitey Morgan and the 78’s hailing from the cold and bitter streets of Flint, Michigan recently released their first full length album. This isn’t your modern day pop-country ensemble. In fact they are far from that.

"Whitey Morgan, lead singer, is backed by an astounding group of musicians: Jeremy 'Leroy' Blitz and Benny James on guitar, as well Jeremy Mackinder on bass and Mike 'Pops' Popovich on the drums. Get these boys together and they are sure to bring out the inner honky-tonker in us all."


  1. Country music from Flint? When I was a deejay at WMRP in the early '50s we had a big auditorium studio on Mary Street, before we moved to the transmitter building on Lapeer Road near Dort Highway. A very young "Sylvia Jo and her boyfriends" did a show from there each week. She made several records, now has a very popular club, Sylvia Jo's Wagon Wheel on Richfied Road. Google it for some photos. Terry Bethel also performed on WMRP. He went on to become a great steel guitar player. Warren Wood's band played at the Palace Gardens on Dort. I think it's still there, I believe at Hemphill. I haven't been back for many years. Jimmy Collins is another Flint country music name that comes to mind. I think we both worked at WTAC at the same time before I got canned. Speaking of old Flint radio, someplace I have a photo of Flint's #1 deejay, Bill Lamb when he was at WBBC. Apparently he took his famous Factory Whistle show to WKMF in the late '50s not longer after I left the evening show, subbing for Jim Rockwell who had to go to the TB sanatorium. And yes, I drove a big old Buick. You just weren't from Flint if you didn't.

  2. Clifton, thanks for the update on Flint's country music heritage. I didn't know. I feel like I know more about Flint now than I did when I lived there. I'll have to check out the Wagon Wheel next time I'm back in Flint.

    So why'd you get canned?

  3. Americån Fåmily InsüranceMay 18, 2009 at 7:09 PM

    I think these guy(s) started as grunge, then turned punk, went straight edge hardcore, segued into emo / punk lite, shifted to 70s arena rock revival, and are now apparently goin' all honky tonk. If this schtick don't work I'll bet they'll latch onto the nu metal / rape rock revival that is bound to happen by 2012. Then again, maybe these are some real rootin' tootin' rednecks after all.

    Pretty sure the guy's name isn't Whitey Morgan though.

  4. For the record - The official band name is Whitey Morgan and the 78's.

    Regarding the "real" name - no, it's not the singers real name but a very true heritage personna. The name is part "nickname" and part "ode to the family" - you see, being one of the only white kids in an all black school will earn you a clever name like "Whitey". As far as Morgan goes - that happens to be the grandfather who taught Whitey how to play. The name, along with the music, are real - at least to us.
    Country music is a state of mind son, not a fashion or signification of where you're from. Live hard and music just comes to ya'.
    Next record begins work in Fall - watch for it.
    Later, MPopovich (The 78's drummer)

  5. God, another horrible copy editing error on my part. My apologies to Whitey...and to Whitney Houston. I have to say this is one of my more comical errors. Thanks for the comment and the correction. I've changed the post title.

  6. keepin' it real, or die tryin'...or something quite dissimilar, eh mon Hommes? got a newbie or two for you-one is looking for the photos and writings on Zimmerman Jr High, can You help her out? been very, very busy-no time for myself kinda busy. runnin' from the keyboard to the workbench. no rest for the weary, as the Irish wannabe said. Her name is Geralyn Brown, former neighbor to me. Hope You're Well. get your new, enhanced driver's license yet? put a piece of copper in Your wallet if You do. Sliante! kc post script-still looks like a world class blog, Baby!

  7. Americån Fåmily InsüranceMay 29, 2009 at 4:53 PM

    Hey Pops- Unless "Whitey" went to Northwestern he wasn't the only white kid at the school. Dude went to SWA I think. If he is tellin' you he was singled out as "whitey" well... he's fibbin' a bit. SWA isn't Grand Blanc, but it isn't Beecher either. Yer boy sounds like he is stretchin' his street cred a little. Rest assured I wasn't called whitey even though I was the only honkie on my yearbook page. Anyway, using your heritage logic I'm gonna start calling myself Viacheslav Antropovich and go all Cossack on ya.

    Fer sure umpteenth generation Hank Williams fetishizin' is a pose. C'mon, goin' country is trendy as hell. Maybe if you went polka or started doing John Phillip Sousa marches I'd buy it. Me? I think country sucks. The whole "live hard" thing is bogus. Every other Tom, Dick, and Harry drinks and goes through misery. Yer boy used to be emo and straight edge. Was that a pose? Are Brooks and Dunn legit? What about Rascal Flatts? Uhhhh, while I'm not a fan this Flint country gal deserves a plug...

  8. American Family Insurance you should try getting your genre's right.. Whitey played in an EMO band? thats laughable..

    What you must not know is that there are a number of excellent Honky Tonk bands or roots music artists for that matter that at one time were in hardcore and punk bands. There are actually a number of similarities between the two genre's but if you're not a fan of roots county you probably can't comprehend that.

    As far as I know Whitey has been doing the honky tonk music long before it bacame a popular bandwagon to jump on as some people may say but you clearly do not know that. So instead of trying to be a badass on a blog and bash a local band that is going back to their roots and keepin' it real why don't you take it for what it is worth.

    And if yopu're going to give any local artist a plug then give it to one worth plugging like Wade Mainer.

  9. Country Music has been a pose ever since the beginning. Read 'Manufacturing Authenticity' to get an idea about that.

    This is good music plain and simple, doesn't matter what type of band these people used to play in. We grow and tastes change.

    And if real honky-tonk music is actually fashionable and trendy now as some claim, I fail to see how that could be a bad thing.

    - Bud


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at