ERVIN ROUSE Original Recordings

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The late Ervin Rouse (1917-1981), composer of the enduring classic "Orange Blossom Special" has perhaps one of the most fascinating biographies in the history of country music. In his sixty-four years, he went from playing vaudeville and New York City's "Village Barn" to informally entertaining roughians at dive bars in the depths of the Florida Everglades. Along the way he met and played with greats, refused an offer to join the Grand Ole Opry, drank to excess, spent time in a mental institution, and made a small fortune in royalties which he seemed to barely appreciate.
These six recordings are about the only work in circulation by Ervin Rouse and his brother Gordon. The first four tracks are from a Rouse Brothers session for Bluebird in Manhattan on June 14, 1939. Included is Ervin's original version of "Orange Blossom Special" as well as a variant of "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" titled "The Family Circle".
"Jackson Schottische" was recorded by Bob Miller in October of 1953. Miller traveled twice that year to Ervin's swamp residence in Florida to record some selections for King records. The October trip was his second and yielded this track, which was released on the Deluxe label, number 2007.
The final track here is a home recording from 1973 of Ervin playing "Sweeter Than The Flowers" (the other country standard he composed) with his ex-wife's brother Virgil. Although the song was initially recorded commercially by both Moon Mullican and Roy Acuff, this is believed to be the only recording of Rouse playing and singing it himself. Unfortunately the tape has been rather over-processed.
The above photograph is from 1939, the same year as the Bluebird sessions. It is a stark contrast to the photo below, taken in 1976 at the Gator Hook, a rowdy establishment in Florida's Big Cypress Swamp. The full saga of Ervin's life is too involved to fully disclose here, I strongly recommend the book "Orange Blossom Boys: The Untold Story of Ervin T. Rouse, Chubby Wise and the World's Most Famous Fiddle Tune".

Click here for "Orange Blossom Boys" at

Author Randy Noles tells us he has a new revision called "Fiddler's Curse"!

Click here for "Fiddler's Curse" at

Click here for an interview with Johnny Cash about Rouse at the Folk Archivist


1. My Family Circle
2. Orange Blossom Special
3. Bum Bum Blues
4. (I've Got Those) Craven County Blues
5. Jackson Schottische
6. Sweeter Than The Flowers

*download here*


Unknown said...

Cool post did not you had these , nice to hear them

Randy Noles said...

Thanks for the kind words on my book, "Orange Blossom Boys." If your readers want a more updated version, they should check out "Fiddler's CFurse," which I wrote last year. After the first book came out, I unovered so much new information about Ervin that a second edition seemed called for. "Fiddler's Curse" is also available on Amazon. Thanks for helping keep Rouse's music and memories alive.

Lonesome Lefty said...

Wow, that's great. I'll put a link up for the new book, I can't wait to read it! Thanks!

CKNIGHT said...

I knew Ervin well. My family built and operated Gator ook Lodge. Ervin was a kind and generous man regardless of his mental excess'. He truly loved the Glades and it's inhabitants as we loved him. I'm trying to contact Mr. Noles as I have access to rare recordings of Ervin and my sister Joyce playing his famous songs live at Gator Hook. This involves licensing that I have yet to secure. Ther are a couple of stories about Ervin at

Unknown said...


thanks for these recording given in the present website first.

And second, have you heard again about these rare recordings from the previous comment?

Or maybe if mister Charles Knight passes by this place again, do you think you could make them available?
As a simple music lover, I would be so happy to listen to these songs.
Thanks all anyway.

CKNIGHT said...

Soon gentlemen, soon.

fred_at_work said...

Thank you for these -- I put an "addendum" in my own blog at

It would be nice if you could link to me as well.

Lonesome Lefty said...



orrlab said...

Some nice info on the Gator Hook and Ervin Rouse in Tim Dorsey's latest book The Electric Barracuda.

Ashley Carder said...

Great blog! Do you happen to have copies of the 1953 DeLuxe / Rockin recording of the Rouse Brothers playing Orange Blossom Special / Loan Me a Buck? I'm trying to find a copy of that recording of the OBS to compare it to Ervin's 1939 recording and other early recordings. My late friend, fiddler Homer "Pappy" Sherrill learned the Orange Blossom Special from Ervin around 1937/38, and I'd like to hear other recordings of Ervin playing the tune.

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Unknown said...

Ive been trying to find the Rouse Brothers recording "Some old day" on Blubird. No. B-8197. If you have any leads, please send me a message at Facebook. My name there is Fiddlin Blue....