Music

Harold Reid Designed Stage Outfits For The Statler Brothers and Johnny Cash

AP Photo/Charles Harrity and AP Photo/File

Harold Reid, the wise-cracking bass singer of the Statler Brothers, had a less ballyhooed talent: he designed stage outfits for not just the Statlers but also a certain co-star of ABC's The Johnny Cash Show.

"I was selling clothes for a made-to-measure tailoring outfit out of Chicago, and I designed all of our clothes and sold to some other folks," he said during a 2008 program at the Country Music Hall of Fame. "I had done some for the Tennessee Three, and when Johnny Cash started his TV show in '69, he was just wearing the black pants and the black shirt. I designed and built his first frock coat that he wore... That trail rider coat or whatever it was. Circuit rider coat, undertaker or whatever mood he was in. One day he was a circuit rider, and one day he was an undertaker."

Harold and his younger brother Don Reid (lead vocals) formed The Statler Brothers in the '50s with Phil Balsley (baritone) and Lew DeWitt (tenor). The Staunton, Virginia-born ensemble started out in gospel music as The Four Star Quartet and was briefly billed as The Kingsmen.

Two huge breaks happened in 1965: the vocal group became the opening act for Cash's touring show, and its crossover single "Flowers on the Wall" won a Grammy award. "Flowers on the Wall" got another popularity boost from its inclusion on the Pulp Fiction (1994) soundtrack.

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Harold's talent as a vocalist was matched only by his sense of humor, as heard on his album as Lester "Roadhog" Moran, 1974's Alive at the Johnny Mack Brown High School.

The '70s and '80s brought commercial and critical success for the group through such hits as the Harold-penned "Bed of Rose's," sentimental checklist "Do You Remember These" and No. 1 hits "Do You Know You Are My Sunshine," "Elizabeth," "My Only Love" and "Too Much On My Heart."

During that run of success, DeWitt stepped down because of health concerns and was replaced by Jimmy Fortune.

Harold died on April 24, 2020 from kidney failure. He was survived by his wife of 59 years, Brenda.

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Harold Reid Designed Stage Outfits For The Statler Brothers and Johnny Cash