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A Tribute To Old Time Country Music

Established 1998 (As Gary Sez)

Little Enis

Carlos Toadvine
1936 - 1976
(LP Cover Photo by John Alexander)

Back in the 1950s, When I was growing up in my hometown of Danville, Kentucky, I would often go to the Saturday night amateur contest and country music show at the old State theater there. There would be many local performers who would come to show of their talents. There was one who would often win the contest, and that was Carlos Toadvine.

Carlos was a left handed guitar player. Now I know left handed guitar players are pretty common. But there was nothing common about the way Carlos played the guitar. Instead of reversing the strings on the guitar as most left handed pickers do, Carlos left them as they were, and played the instrument upside down and backwards. He chorded over the top of the neck with his right hand, and strummed or picked upwards from the bottom with his left hand. But that was only one small part of this teenís talents. He could sing you a song that would make you jump up, clap your hands and dance a jig, or he could sing a tearjerker that would have you reaching for your hankie.

I moved away from Kentucky in 1962, and donít know too much about Carlosís career after that. I do know that he took on the stage name of Little Enis, with his band being ďThe Table Toppers. He worked the clubs in the Lexington Kentucky area, and toured for a while with Jerry Lee Lewis.

Little Enis is remembered by many as a rockabilly artist, and is listed in the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame. He is also remembered as a rocker and Elvis impersonator who could tear the house down. But I know down deep his true roots were in traditional country music, which will come out on the songs listed on this page.

Carlos died in 1976 at only 40 years old. He was never a big star, but he did have his fans. More than 1000 people showed up for his memorial service.

There are many of us who will never forget the little left handed boy who played his guitar backwards and upside down. And to this day, I believe heís a folk hero in Kentucky. Especially to the folks of Hogue Hollow, Danville, Lexington, and many other Kentucky counties.

I would like to extend a personal thanks to Virgina Hammons of Kentucky and Pamela Manning of Florida for making this music available to me, so I could make it available to you. And a great big thanks to Michael Cassidy of Canada for sending me the tape of Little Enis songs. And also to Ed McClanahan for sending Michael the tape in the first place. Now I ask you, ain't this internet somthing?

After much seaching, yours truly finally found an Enis LP, and I ain't lettin' go!

Now why not rare back and listen to Little Enis!

Left click on song title to play song in MP3 format

Swinging Doors

When The Grass Grows Over Me

Sidewalks Of Chicago

Life's Turned Her That Way

So Plain To See (You Never Did Love Me)

Photo slide show "So Plain To See" (you never did love me)

Cold Cold Heart

I Kept The Wine (And Threw Away The Rose

Long Black Limousine

Six Days On The Road

I'm A Fool

Another Place Another Time

Here's a 45 RPM record from Enis that I found on eBay, which I considered a great find, as the record was unplayed. One side's rockabllly, the other Doo Wop.
Click on records to listen to the MP3 files

Another 45 RPM from Enis that I've been in search of for years, and finally found a copy!. This is the Enis version of Good Old Mountain Dew, or as Enis and the Table Toppers called it "Rockin Mountain Dew! I first heard this on WAKY radio in Louisville, I believe in about 1958.

Comments about Little Enis from my discussion group.

Little Enis' work was something....I especially enjoyed "I'll Get Over You When Grass Grows Over Me". I'm glad that I learned about Toadvine and his music.

Gary.....man! this man gives me cold chills...I listened to " When the Grass Grows Over Me and Life Turned her That Way. This man could sing a country song!

Little Enis does have a very distinctive voice. I like it, I like it.

Ireally enjoyed Little Enis' music. They really had some good singers come out of Ky back then.

Comments From My Guestbook & E Mail

Hi Gary,
I happened onto your web-site by accident, it is great. In 1976 when Carlos Toadvine died I was a Junior in high school in Lexington. My days of going to Boot's Bar to listen to country music had not arrived, but I had heard him around town a few times. Many of the men I knew were big fans. I am fairly certain that the brick building on the album cover was on South Limestone Street and once housed a small grocery and a restaurant called Alfalfa's there were apartments upstairs, it was only a few blocks from Boot's and Comer's. Last time I ate at Alfalfa's they still had photo's of Carlos on the wall nicely framed, so I suspect the connection. Alfalfa's is now on Main Street. The building may have been torn down, I seldom get back home anymore.

Buzz Lail

I knew Little Enis, Bucky, Frank and Johnny, mostly at Brocks also at Comer's and The Palms. I loved dancing to the Table Toppers back in the 60's. I live in Florida now, but I will never forget them.

Nancy Hamilton Reynolds

Thank you for the wonderful tribute to our dear friend Carlos "Little Enis" Toadvine. He was one of a kind, and we miss him.

Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan


I really enjoyed reading this page. So many nice things you said about him and we still miss him to this day. I'm his youngest daughter and he has one grandadaughter. Her name is Hannah Toadvine. I have some old pitures that I would like to share with you if you're interested let me know. Take care and thanks again for the many compliments you made about my Father.

Cynthia L. Toadvine Studer


hi gary--my name is ed mcclanahan, and i wrote the article about little enis for Playboy, back in 1974--the piece also appears, in slightly different form, in my book Famous People I Have Known--

--i'm aware that some members of the toadvine family disapprove of my essay, in the belief that it casts carlos in a bad light--but my motives were deeply affectionate, and i believe the essay contributed much to the longevity and durability of the enis legend, especially here in kentucky, where it continues, more than 30 years after its original publication, to be read with pleasure by a great many people--

--Famous People I Have Known has never been out of print--the current edition was published by the University Press of Kentucky in 2003, and is available from UPK ($20), or from amazon.com--

--a friend discovered your website, and directed me to it--i enjoyed it very much--

by the way, i think you're absolutely right that enis's roots were in country music; his album, I Kept the Wine and Threw Away the Roses, proves that, indisputably--

--Little Enis Lives!--

--all best, ed mcc--

Ed McClanahan


Thanks for the memories. I remember Little Enis mostly from Comer's Restaurant and Bar. Best Hot Brown Sandwich ever! My Mother was a teacher at Cassidy Elementary School, and had both of Carlos' daughters in 5th or 6th grade; one in each, I think. When Donna arrived, Mom expected trouble, due primarily to the "Little Enis" reputation. She was astounded at the little girl's manners. It was always, "Yes, Ma'am", "No, Ma'am", "Please" and "Thank you". She was an excellent student, too. Mom was better prepared when Hannah started in her class!


I worked the band scene in Lexington for a few years when I was young. I played with Little Enis, Bucky Sallee, Frank Tremble, and Jerry Musselman on drums (the TableToppers). Frank's brother had drummed but left for Louisville and better pay. We worked primarily at The Palms (belonged to Linville Puckett). I worked mostly with other bands but sat in with them quite a bit playing bass guitar. We were extremely loud for those days; Frank's Hammond organ had twin Leslie speaker cabinets. Mostly top forty and rock and roll with some country thrown in. It was a grand time for sure.

Wylie Merrill

I played with Little carlos, at the Zebra Lounge in Lexington,Ky. when he was to weak to carry his box in, I would carry it for him. He is missed.

Sonny Page

Finally, a tribute site to a very fasinating character! Great work!

Michael Cassidy

This is the best page I've seen on Daddy in some time. I wanted to thank Ed for making Dad part of his book and his life...Getting his article into Playboy along with adding Daddy into his own book & life was just the nicest and most poignant thing I could ever think of. That's a big deal considering it was about a wonderful, short, multitalented, caring, father along with being a young boy that came out of the stix to make a difference in many lives. Including my own and my family.

Thank you all for this. It is a wonderful page and I have it saved in my favorite places as well as in my heart. I can't thank you all enough.

Always, Cynthia Toadvine (Always Daddy's little girl)

Cynthia Toadvine

Mick Jeffries of Lexington Kentucky recently interviewed Ed McClanahan and Guy Mendes on a weekly college radio show that he does called TRIVIAL THURSDAYS. There's some great talk here about Enis, as well as other Lexington personalities. You don't want to miss this, and you don't have to. Click HERE to listen to or download this interview. Thanks, Mick, for contacting me about this outstanding show.

If anyone has any pictures of little Enis, or more music that they would like to share for this tribute page, please send them to the e mail listed below. It would be much appreciated. Also, if you knew Carlos, and have any info you would like to share, just e mail me or sign the guestbook below. Of course, I would like for you to sign the guestbook anyway!

Thanks a million,

Click HERE to read a wonderful story about Enis and Shirley. " My First Love" written by, and sent to me by Shirley Carman Hines. Thanks Shirley!

Click HERE for an excellent story about Little Enis from Lexington writer, Don King

Click HERE for some great Little Enis photos.

Right here's the guestbook! Awe, just go ahead and sign it!

View Guest Book / Sign Guest Book

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Please note: I in no way profit from the music on these pages. All songs are from my personal collection and are placed here for your private enjoyment and educational purposes only. Enjoy!

Little Enis (Carlos Toadvine) page created by Gary Carico using Yahoo's advanced HTML editor. Batcha really wanted to know that!

Little Enis background art (c) by Gary Carico