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Bo Ratliff

West Virginia/Indiana, 1950s-1970s


January 1962 ad with three Karl artists, including the mangled name of Louie Schertzinger

Bo Ratliff - real name James Richard Ratliff - started out in West Virginia, than moved to the Indianapolis area. He released a number of 45s on small labels, a couple being self-released. We have him on Buckeye Beat because his first 45 was recorded in Ohio (on the Karl label) using Ohio musicians (the Country Kinfolk), and he played in Ohio a handful of times around when the record was cut.

He must have either contacted Clay Eager or played a show with Clay and/or some of the Karl label artists. His home was listed as Logan County, WV, next to the WV/KY border and only a few miles south of the Ohio River. Bo had a soingwriting partner, Jim Ward, who lived in Louisa, KY across the state line from Bo. Togther they wrote "Hey Hey Don't Tease Me", the uptempo rocker side.

A year later, in collaboration with Jim Hatfield, he released another 45, "The Politician" on their private O. Bo label.

Bo was playing locally until 1962. It's possible he may have lived in southern Ohio for a short time, but arosun 1963 he moved to the Indianopolis area where he stayed the rest of his life. He recorded six more 45s from 1965 until 1970, three of them on the local CLW label.

He continued to perform locally and made two albums, in 1998 and 2006. He had moved into the gospel country sound. 

There was another singer named Bozo Ratliff who also recorded a rockabilly record. There is no connection between Bo and Bozo.

Just A Piece Of Paper / Hey, Hey, Don't Tease Me - Karl 3009, 1959