Band names are created for a variety of reasons and with a variety of techniques. Sometimes a name is an accurate description of a group's music, while in other circumstances the music a group plays has evolved to fit a name that was chosen at random out of a dictionary. In the case of this North Carolina string band of the '20s and '30s, a simple suggestion from a bandmember provided a name when the as-yet-untagged group was in a studio ready to cut tracks for the Okeh label. "Well, we're all from Hickory, and we're a bunch of nuts," said one member, and so the Hickory Nuts were born. The Nuts were, more specifically, Julius Plato "Nish" McClured on banjo and vocal, Horace Propst on guitar and vocal, and Perry Probst on fiddle. The banjoist, whose extended name looks like the beginning of a crib sheet for a classics exam, was working in a textile mill in Newton, NC, when the band was formed. The Nuts held forth at various square dances and fiddle conventions and also were one of the rare old-time string bands to get involved in supplying background music for silent films. In 1927, the group traveled down the road to Winston Salem to record six sides for Okeh, two of which were never released. The most well-known of these tracks was the song "Louisville Burglar," which was reissued on the County album Old Time Ballads From the Southern Mountains. McClured learned to play the three-finger style on the banjo as a young boy growing up in Cleveland County, but fell far short of achieving the sort of success another banjoist from this same area achieved. That would be none other than Earl Scruggs, who popularized the banjo style around the world through film and television soundtrack appearances. There would be no Beverly Hillbillies or "Theme for Bonnie and Clyde" for McClured, but he did continue playing with this band until the '30s. Guitarist Probst died in 1929 and was replaced by Gurney Thomas. In the early '70s, the son of McClured was tracked down by a journalist from Old Time Music Magazine and recalled that the band had cut more sides in the '30s, but, unfortunately, this material has never been found. The Nuts finally called it quits in 1935 following the death of Perry Probst. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, Rovi