CNN logo

Infoseek/Big Yellow

Pathfinder/Warner Bros

Barnes and Noble

Main banner

Hackberry Ramblers: making music since 1933

Wide shot November 11, 1997
Web posted at: 11:33 a.m. EST (1633 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Many baby boomers are impressed that Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones are still performing now that they're in their 50s. But those grizzled veterans have nothing on the Hackberry Ramblers.

The Ramblers describe themselves as a Cajun/country/rockabilly band. If you haven't heard of them, it can't be because they're too new to have caught your attention. After all, some of their members were making music before Jagger was even born.

"The Hackberry Ramblers were founded in 1933 by Mr. Luderin Darbone, this gentlemen over here," said band member Ben Sandmel. "They were living in the small oilfield town of Hackberry, Louisiana. That's where the band gets its name."


Since the band started nearly 65 years ago, they have played everything from local dance halls and nursing homes to music festivals around the United States. A few years shy of 50, Ben, the drummer, is the baby of the band. The other Ramblers range in age from their 60s to their 80s, including the two founding members.

Darbone, one of the founding members, is 84 years old. But as his bandmates and audiences agree, he doesn't play like an old man. Neither do any of the other musicians in the band.

See a performance of The Hackberry Ramblers
video icon 2.8M/40 sec./320x240
1.4M/40 sec./160x120
QuickTime movie
CNN's Michael Okwu profiles the Hackberry Ramblers
The Hackberry Ramblers on stage

They say that what keeps them going is the same thing that keeps audiences coming -- the music.

"They enjoy it, and we enjoy playing for them," said Johnny Faulk.

Bandmate Glen Croker agreed. "We're a band that's versatile enough that we can give different people different songs, and we can probably satisfy the entire crowd," Croker said.


"If we play out in the country for an older crowd," Sandmel said, "they might be line-dancing. We play a place in New Orleans where everybody's got dyed hair and body-piercing and tattoos, then we do a lot of rockabilly stuff."

"Deep Water," the Ramblers' most recent release, is on compact disc. While formats have changed over the years, the band recorded their first release on a disk as well, back in 1935.

"At that time, we'd record with one microphone, and we'd surround the microphone -- four players. And they used a wax disk," Darbone said.

The Ramblers' Croker says they will continue recording and touring, "As long as God lets us."


Related sites:

Note: Pages will open in a new browser window

External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

Infoseek search  

Message Boards Sound off on our
message boards

You said it...

To the top

© 1997 Cable News Network, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.

Terms under which this service is provided to you.