With an assured and absorbing sound, Hoyt Ming and His Pep Steppers must surely stand out as one of the most unique folk and country groups to have existed in the last century.
The group – made of three family members and led by “Floyd” Hoyt Ming – engaged in the sort of foot-tapping, driving sound that portrays the sound of life’s great chase.
Having recorded four songs for Victor in February 1928 with producer Ralph Peer – the most well known being the stomp, “Indian War Whoop” – the group carved out a pair of 45’s that are of relatively good quality for their time.
A throbbing mandolin, wailing violin, Autoharp, swooning yodels and a severe case of foot stomping from Hoyt’s wife Rozelle gave the foursome an unnatural quality, steeped in energy.
If anything, Hoyt Ming and His Pep Steppers are the sound of witch doctors at work on the potato fields (they family were actually potato farmers), celebrating the joyous pace of life just prior to the Great Depression.
For a time in the middle part of the last century, the group disappeared; however an appearance on the “Anthology of American Folk Music” in 1963 boosted their reputation once again, encouraging the family to return to performing.
Indeed, following their rediscovery, the group – with the addition of Hoyt’s son Hoyt Jr on guitar – performed at the National Folk Festival in 1973, eventually cutting an album a year later.
They continued to make guest appearances at country fairs, folk festivals and small shows until the late-1970’s; at which point they finally called it a day. There was even an appearance in the 1976 film Ode to Billy Joe.
Floyd passed away in 1985, at the age of 82, but the legacy that Hoyt Ming and His Pep Steppers crafted will live for a long time to come yet.