Final Notes, Morris Wayne “Sleepy” Marlin

Fiddler Morris Wayne “Sleepy” Marlin passed away on January 20, at the age of 95. Born in Southern Illinois, he started fiddling when he was twelve years old, and while still in his teens started winning what would become a very long list of fiddle contest titles. He took first place multiple times in national contests in the United States and Canada. He also had a long broadcasting career, which began as a member of the Drifting Pioneers on WGBF in Evansville, Indiana, and later WLW in Cincinnati. During World War II he served in the Air Force, and was a flight instructor at Wright-Patterson Air Base.

After the War, he resumed his musical career, broadcasting for twelve years on WHAS-Louisville, and on the Hayloft Hoedown TV show. He also made appearances on The Arthur Godfrey Show, Renfro Valley Barndance, WLS National Barndance, and even To Tell the Truth. Later he formed a band, the Marlinaires, with seven of his eight children, and performed widely with them. Over the course of his career, Marlin played with many luminaries of early country music, including Merle Travis, Clayton McMichen, Lily May Ledford and the Coon Creek Girls, Cowboy Copas, and Arthur Smith. He was the subject of a feature article in the April-May 2010 issue of the Old-Time Herald.


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