Who is Bill Emerson?

I have spent the last couple of months looking at this then putting it back on the shelf. I feel I need to take action on this issue. Not knowing the best way to start out I felt droping this on the form and maybe getting feedback was the best way to start fixing the "wrong facts" in Discogs, secondhand songs, BMI, 45cat, and others . This is truly a case of circular links satisfying each other partly due to the lack of information on "Wild Bill Emerson".

Please feel free to add comments or suggestions of any kind, or ask for more information. Sorry for the bad formatting, I do not post much or anything this complex.

There at least three Bill Emerson musician singer/songwriters, with the first two in the list below being combined together as the banjo player Bill Emerson. The third, Billy “The Kid” Emerson looks fine except for 3 ISWCnet entries giving songs to banjo player Bill Emerson that are his, and allmusic album entries.

William Hundley Emerson (Bill Emerson) (banjo), the well known bluegrass banjo player born in Washington D.C.

William M. Emerson (Wild Bill Emerson), country guitar player born in Marion County, Alabama

William R. Emerson (Billy “The Kid” Emerson), R&B/Rock’n’Roll best known for “Move, Baby Move”

William Hundley Emerson

William Hundley Emerson known as Bill Emerson spent most of his time in Virginia, and has always been bluegrass.

Born: 1938-01-22 in Washington, D.C., wife Lola, hair black

In the US Navy from 1973-1993, where he formed the Navy Band Country Current which is the Navy’s premier country-bluegrass ensemble.

Bill Emerson’s late son John was president of Webco Records of Virginia, Acoustigrass Music Publishing and Acoustigrass Entertainment LTD, labels Bill Emerson appears on.

William M. Emerson known as Wild Bill Emerson

William M. Emerson known as Wild Bill Emerson lived in Alabama, Arkansas, Michigan, …, he played with Mack Vickery (and others) in the greater Detroit area.

Discogs wrongly points "Wild Bill Emerson" to "Bill Emerson"


Born: 1938-05-04 in Marion County, Alabama, wife "Martha JO" (Jody, Jodie), hair brown

What have I found that’s wrong?


They have Jody Emerson as Bill Emerson (banjo) wife because there is no Wild Bill Emerson.

They have Wild Bill Emerson as an alias on Bill Emerson (banjo).

They have the "Wild Bill Emerson" works assigned to Bill Emerson (banjo).


Has albums Bull Mountain Lad and Harlen County assigned to Bill Emerson (banjo), the 9 singles listed are all Nashville produced and belong to Wild Bill Emerson. Harlen County was released in 1982 and Bull Mountain Lad was released in 1976, Bill Emerson (banjo) was in the Navy at this time and only released bluegrass albums.


Has Billy “The Kid” Emerson albums Little Healthy Thing and Crazy 'bout Automobiles in with Bill Emerson (banjo), but does not put Wild Bill Emerson in with Bill Emerson (banjo).

RateYourMusic.com appears to have both artists separated.

www.45cat.com has both artists combined.

Amazon appears to have both artists separated, but you can never tell with them.

http://www.ibiblio.org appears to have both artists separated, but on album Harland County says “Instruments:‘Wild’ Bill Emerson-bj; other personnel not known”, Wild Bill Emerson did not play banjo, he was a fantastic guitar player.


Has 4 songs co-written by Wild Bill Emerson & Jody Emerson assigned to Bill Emerson (banjo), Jody never wrote with Bill Emerson (banjo).

Has 7 songs that were written or co-written by Wild Bill Emerson assigned to Bill Emerson (banjo).


Has 3 songs that belong to Billy “The Kid” Emerson assigned to Bill Emerson (banjo) but these do not appear in any other rights databases so maybe no harm.

A News article that combines facts from both artists, just bad journalism, first 2 paragraphs are about Wild Bill Emerson and the last paragraph is about Bill Emerson (banjo).


I am sure there is much more wrong out there.

What I have done so far.

I created artist Wild Bill Emerson and added his last two albums, none of in any database except allmusic and they have it correct. I add Jody as his wife. I added a ticket to second hand songs telling them Jody was not Bill Emerson (banjo) wife, I gave them supporting data.

Two days ago I talked on the phone with Tom Ghent https://musicbrainz.org/artist/a34ce2af-bdf0-43e4-8437-d15911805738 about Wild Bill playing on his album “Yankee’s Rebel Son” and Ghent confirmed who Wild Bill was. I also talked that night to John Kuschell, of the Lenawee County Historical Museum in Adrian, Michigan, who is writing a book on the artists from that area which include Wild Bill Emerson, Mack Vickery, and others. Part of the book is about the migration of Marion County, Alabama people to Adrian and other places around Detroit in the 1950’s for jobs in the auto plants. He is in constant contact with Jody Emerson (Martha Jo Emerson). He gave me Wild Bill’s full name and birthday which I added to his profile.

I created a Discogs account and plan to paste this material there in order to get help with getting things fixed.

A week ago I submitted a notice of error on secondhandsongs to get Jody removed from Bill Emerson (banjo) as his wife, I feel I supplied enough data for that change, nothing has happened so far.

I want to start adding the correct Wild Bill albums and singles to the database even with the other databases assigning them to Bill Emerson (banjo).

This is a big mess which will take time getting rid of the circular links. Luckily none of the Wild Bill Emerson albums or singles are in musicbrainz except for later ones I just added. There are still a couple of works attributed to Bill Emerson (banjo) that belong to Wild Bill Emerson.

What information do I have to support what I have said.

Article pointing out 3 different Bill Emerson’s

http://tomarmstrongmusic.com/?p=245 <<— 3 different emerson’s


Bio’s and articles on Bill Emerson (banjo), always support bluegrass of some kind.



Mentions Bill Emerson (janjo)






Good discography page


Jody Emerson as wife of Wild Bill Emerson not Bill Emerson (banjo).

Wild Bill Emerson born in Alabama, Wife "Martha Jo"(Jody), see https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/wbill

Bill Emerson Born in Washington D.C, Wife "Lola", see last line in banjonews https://banjonews.com/2018-03/happy_birthday_bill_emerson!_.html

Also see back art at the bottom of the "Tennessee 1949" album, second to last line, "Lola Emerson". https://coverartarchive.org/release/76267896-63ff-4c4c-83cd-e59ae3f4e91c/20741839448.jpg

See obituary/tribute to Bill Emerson’s son “John Scott Emerson” which mentions his mother Lola.


THE OAK RIDGE BOYS - DIDN’T IT RAIN (video) written by Wild Bill and Jody Emerson

See last song, written by both Wild Bill and Jody, these two wrote many songs together.


Article about Wild Bill show him in the Chicago/Detroit area.

Mack Vickery article with Wild Bill in it. Will Bill was a guitarist for Vickery.

Mentions "Sheba" being written by Wild Bill


Songs written or co-written by Earl Montgomery, includes Wild Bill and Jody.


Wild Bill being a mentor to Paul Thorn

John Anderson song/article mentions Wild Bill.

Playing with John Anderson


Blog with Bob Wilson mentions Wild Bill.


YouTube of Wild Bill doing Harland County, not the voice of Bill Emerson (banjo), and definitely not bluegrass, just pure country.

YouTube of a older Wild Bill singing and playing live, and playing left handed. Not the picture of Bill Emerson (banjo).

Article on Dick Wagner mentions Wild Bill


Like MB, Discogs is editable. So that is an “easy” fix. In fact, “fixing” was the only reason I recently joined Discogs.
But AllMusic is a dreadful site. Which is why I may post the link if it belongs to only one artist, but I try not to use it as a reference for anything.

Me, personally, if something is messed up that badly at multiple places, I would not even attempt to fix the old.
I would start all over. Creating a entry for each artist. And then, one by one, I would send the old data to the correct entry.
Yeah, sometimes it is easier to just start new than trying to fix the old.

Then, do the same at Discogs. Create new pages. Put the MB link on Discogs, put the Discogs link on MB.

And maybe leave a note on each page “not to be confused with”.
I have no idea about the other sites.

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Usually we try to preserve MBIDs, so the preferred, but probably much more complicated way would be to check which actual artist each of the MB entities have been created for and try to use them for that.
Maybe a catch-all artist for temporarily moving unknown credits and relationships to would be helpful.


But outside of the rules, since there are so many bad/circular links…

I would think that “breaking the cycle” is better.
If someone is on 24kt records, and they click the MB link, the bogus info is given credibility if the correct info is posted on the MB link. It also makes MB look incomplete.

Whereas, if they click a broken link and then decide to search MB and end up finding 3 or 4 different guys with the same name, with notes saying “not to be confused with”. That makes 24kt records look bad.
Especially when it is followed up with 3 or 4 links new links at Discogs.

It’s different when it is like the Carl Burnett cleanup I recently did. In that instance, they weren’t really mixed anywhere except here.

The main reason for my making this post was to lay out the issues and not have a lot of edit discussions. For Musicbrainz it was easy because the artist did not exist (except for B. Emerson) which took me a while to decide on who that was and will at some point merge that into Wild Bill Emerson. The Bill Emerson work at this point was all bluegrass and no one put anything other than works on him.

I think for Discogs its a matter of just creating a artist and move/link the correct things to the new artist, and hope there is no fight over it. I too created an account but do not want to learn another “edit system”. I have a rateyourmusic account specifically to fix things but there “profile” based system is a pain, still they applied the changes I asked for.

For BMI I sent a PDF of offending works to someone who is working with the writer to see if they want to do anything about them, also I hope for a verification of my findings from the writer.

Allmusic is a beast within itself and like you I do everything I can to avoid linking to them or using them for verification.

The real interesting one is the really bad news article which will forever be out there with bad information.

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Thanks for your commitment to a more accurate Internet. :slight_smile:

I wonder if the Seldom Scene recording a Wild Bill song has contributed to the confusion, since banjo Bill is closely associated with the DC area bluegrass community.

He Is My Great Uncle Jody Emerson is My Grandmas Sister What Kind Of Information Do You Want


I think I correctly documented and fixed all things Wild Bill and Jody, feel free to look at both of them and welcome to Musicbrainz.
Wild Bill https://musicbrainz.org/artist/a0a96e90-7843-4be2-915f-0a6203cfbf80
Jody https://musicbrainz.org/artist/bda7601e-fa3f-4d6b-8eee-2809a8e1ab1a/works

Thx so much for your help on this. There’s one more Hank Jr song on “The Pressure is On” called “Ramblin’ in My Shoes” that’s credited to Bill Emerson/Vince Emerson and I’m assuming it should be assigned to “Wild” Bill Emerson as well. I didn’t see that one on the list.

Also, can you help me with his wife’s name. I know her name is Martha Jo and I see her often credited as “Jody” but other times as “Jodie” (e.g. a bunch of the George Jones songs on his “Alone Again” album. I know Wild Bill has a song called “A Walk in Jodie’s Garden” (so I assumed she went by Jodie), but he has another one called “Jody’s Garden” too.

“Wild Bill Emerson” is correct for “Ramblin’ in My Shoes” which is in ASCAP under “William M Emerson”, look at his aliases https://musicbrainz.org/artist/a0a96e90-7843-4be2-915f-0a6203cfbf80/aliases
Vince only has 3 songs and I am not sure who he is but I will ask my contact that talks with Jody.

Jody goes by several names, look at her aliases


I have gone on the wiki pages where there are albums detailed for George Jones, Hank Jr, John Anderson, Tammy Wynette…and changed the songwriting credits from Bill Emerson to “Wild” Bill Emerson and I went onto bluegrass Bill Emerson’s wiki page and put a big note on there explaining this controversy (appears from what you cited they were born in the same year too). Also, his wife Jody Emerson is often credited as either Jody or Jodie (or sometimes Martha Jo) so I have revised all the “Jodie”'s that I can to “Jody” for consistency (she uses “Jody” on her Facebook page). Discogs doesn’t even have “Jody” linked with “Jodie” so her stuff is just as messed up as Wild Bill’s.

Unfortunately Wild Bill and/or Jody don’t have their dedicated Wiki pages just bluegrass Bill Emerson. Discogs is such a mess I don’t know where to being and I’m not proficient a coder enough to fix it.

The problem with the internet is once someone incorrectly attributes something all the other sites use it as the std. and pass it along.

Here’s a definitive article on bluegrass Bill Emerson.


Thank you for all your work. It would be nice to have a joint wiki page for Wild Bill and Jody (as a writing team) which could contain other information about them. I am not sure that is possible since there is almost no authoritative references for them. My contact has not been able to connect with Jody for some time so I do not know if any more information is forthcoming. I did add Jody’s Facebook page to the database, but like Wild Bill’s it has not been updated since 2012.


Hi! first off; wow so much work you’ve done!

Ok so I added a wikidata item: https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q67517529 you can use this on the Wild Bill artist.
(WD’s criteria for inclusion is different and more inclusive than that of WP alone)
eventually if there are any wiki-pages created they’ll be linked to this WD item too.

I hope this helps a little bit atleast :D


Thanks, I just added the wikidata page to Wild Bill.


An update and thank you to @mduval32323 for the hours of work spent on fixing all the “Bill Emerson’s” in the world outside Musicbrainz. He had already fixed the wrongly attributed wiki pages then got editor accounts on discogs and secondhandsongs and fixed the issues there. So many things wrong have finally been fixed.