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The Whites
Formed 1971. A part of country music for three decades, the Whites started out in bluegrass, adopted a contemporary country sound and later evolved into a gospel group. Buck White and his daughters Sharon and Cheryl comprise the core of the group, though other members have included Ricky Skaggs and Tim Crouch. Buck White formed his first band in 1947 and played piano and mandolin with the Blue Sage Boys in the '50s. White married Pat Goza in 1951; in 1962, they formed the Down Home Folks with Arnold and Peggy Johnston. Sharon and Cheryl White teamed up with Teddie and Eddie Johnston to form the Down Home Kids in the mid-'60s. In 1971, the Whites moved to Nashville, and the Down Home Folks comprised the entire White family. Pat retired from the group in 1973, but Buck and his daughters continued with the band. Buck White and His Down Home Folks didn't really get their big break until 1979, when they worked with Emmylou Harris on Blue Kentucky Girl and later toured with her.
        By the early '80s, Buck decided to focus on mandolin playing; after changing their name to the Whites, the group moved away from bluegrass music. In 1982, they made the country Top Ten with "Holding My Baby Tonight" and "Give Me Back That Old Familiar Feeling." The Whites joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1984 and had a Top 30 single "It Should Have Been Easy," from their 1986 album Whole New World. They moved towards gospel music in 1989 with Doing It by the Book, and their '90s releases continued this trend. - Sandra Brennan [Patty White passed away, June 16, 2002.]



 

Flatt & Scruggs
Formed 1948. Disbanded 1969. Probably the most famous bluegrass band of all time was Flatt And Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys. They made the genre famous in ways that not even Bill Monroe, who pretty much invented the sound, ever could. Because of a guitar player and vocalist from Tennessee named Lester Flatt and an extraordinary banjo player from North Carolina named Earl Scruggs, bluegrass music has become popular the world over and has entered the mainstream in the world of music.

        Like so many other bluegrass legends, Flatt And Scruggs were graduates of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys. Because of the unique sound they added ("overdrive," one critic called it), Monroe felt let down after Flatt's quality vocals and Scruggs's banjo leads left in 1948. Quickly the two assembled a band that in the opinion of many was among the best ever, with Chubby Wise on fiddle and Jody Rainwater on bass; a later band, with Paul Warren on fiddle and Josh Graves on dobro, was equally superb. With so many extraordinary musicians and the solid, controlled vocals of Flatt, it's no wonder The Foggy Mountain Boys was the band that brought bluegrass to international prominence. From 1948 until 1969, when Flatt And Scruggs split up to pursue different musical directions, they were the bluegrass band, due to their Martha White Flour segment at the Opry and, especially, their tremendous exposure from TV and movies.
        Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs were originally brought together by Bill Monroe in 1945, when they joined a band that also featured fiddler Chubby Wise and bassist Cedric Rainwater. This quintet created the sound of bluegrass and helped bring it to national recognition through radio shows, records, and concerts. After three years with Monroe, Flatt left the mandolinist behind in 1948 and Scruggs followed his lead shortly afterward. The duo formed their own band, the Foggy Mountain Boys. Within a few months, they recruited ex-Blue Grass Boy Rainwater, fiddler Jim Shumate, and guitarist/vocalist Mac Wiseman. Initially, the band played on radio stations across the South, landing a record contract with Mercury Records in late 1948. Over the next two years, they toured the U.S. constantly, played many radio shows, and recorded several sessions on Mercury. One of the sessions produced the original version of "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," which would become a bluegrass standard.
        In 1951, Flatt & Scruggs switched record labels, signing with Columbia Records. By this point, the band now featured mandolinst/vocalist Curly Seckler, fiddler Paul Warren, and bassist Jake Tullock. Where the careers of other bluegrass and hard country acts stalled in the early and mid-'50s, the Foggy Mountain Boys flourished. One of their first singles for Columbia, "'Tis Sweet to Be Remembered," reached the Top 10 in 1952 and in 1953, the Martha White Flour company sponsored a regular radio show for the group on WSM in Nashville. In 1955, the band joined the Grand Ole Opry. The following year, they added a dobro player called Buck Graves to the lineup. Flatt & Scruggs reached a new audience in the late '50s, when the folk music revival sparked the interest of a younger generation of listeners. The duo played a number of festivals targeted at the new breed of bluegrass and folk fans. At the same time, country music television programs went into syndication and the duo became regulars on these shows. In the summer of 1959, Flatt & Scruggs began a streak of Top 40 country singles that run into 1968 - their chart performance was directly tied to their incrased exposure. The duo's popularity peaked in 1962, when they recorded the theme song to the television sitcom The Beverly Hillbilles. The theme, called "The Ballad of Jed Clampett," became the first number one bluegrass single in early 1963 and the duo made a number of cameos on the show.
        The Beverly Hillbilles began a streak of cameo appearances and soundtrack work for Flatt & Scruggs in television and film, most notably with the appearance of "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" in Arthur Penn's 1968 film Bonnie and Clyde. With all of their TV, film, and festival appearances, Flatt & Scruggs popularlized bluegrass music more than any artist, even Bill Monroe. Ironically, that popularity helped drive the duo apart. Scruggs wanted to expand their sound and pushed Flatt to cover Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone" in 1968, as well as landing concert appearances in venues that normally booked rock & roll acts. Flatt wanted to continue in a traditional bluegrass vein. Inevitably, the opposing forces came to a head in 1969 and the duo parted ways. Appropriately, Flatt formed a traditional bluegrass band, the Nashville Grass, while Scruggs assembled a more progressive outfit, the Earl Scruggs Revue.
        Throughout the '70s, both Flatt and Scruggs enjoyed successful solo careers. In 1979, the duo began ironing out the details of a proposed reunion album, but they were scrapped upon Flatt's death on May 11, 1979. Scruggs retired in the '80s. In 1985, Flatt & Scruggs were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. - Stephen Thomas Erlewine & David Vinopal



 

Doug Stone
Born Jun 19, 1956 in Newnan, GA. Doug Stone's sensitive Deep South baritone has made him one of country's premier romantic balladeers. This Georgian can sing hard traditional country and easy country with equal ease. For years diesel mechanics was his day job, and he hated it. This dissatisfaction carries over into his music and his stage presence, which presents him as distant and alone; he knows what he's singing about. With the release of his first album, his record company announced the dawning of a new "Stone Age." They weren't far off, as acceptance from country's female-dominated audience was almost immediate; his second album, 1991's I Thought It Was You, overdid the self-pity but yielded a couple of hits, including the title cut. "I'd Be Better Off (In a Pine Box)" was his breakthrough song. Shortly before the release of his third album, From the Heart, in 1992, 35 years of Southern-fried food sent Stone under the surgeon's knife for quadruple bypass surgery. He returned a year later with More Love, but after 1995's Faith in Me, Faith in You he largely disappeared from sight, finally resurfacing in 1999 with Make Up in Love. -Brian Mansfield & David Vinopal



 

Bobby Helms
Born Aug 15, 1933 in Bloomington, IN. Died 1997. Though his name is unfamiliar to most, Bobby Helms rules the airwaves every year around December 25th. His single "Jingle Bell Rock" first became a hit in 1957, and it re-appeared on the charts four of the following five years to become an all-time Christmas classic. Before he was pigeonholed, though, Helms had a successful country career with two number one hits to his credit.
        Born on August 15, 1933 in Bloomington, Indiana, Helms first performed on his father Fred's Monroe County Jamboree, singing while brother Freddie played guitar. The Helms Brothers, as they were billed, became a regional attraction. Bobby later cut a single called "Tennessee Rock and Roll," but then returned to Bloomington to appear on the Hayloft Frolic radio show. While on the program, he was encouraged to go to Nashville to sing background vocals on an Ernest Tubb session. Tubb recommended him to Decca Records, and the label signed him in 1956. His debut single "Fraulein" initially flopped in January 1957, but then hit number one on the Country chart in April. (The song also hit the Pop Top 40 in July of 1957.) In October, Helms released another number one, "My Special Angel," which stayed four weeks at the top and c
        Bobby Helms' next recording was "Jingle Bell Rock"; though Decca released it only two days before Christmas 1957, the single still peaked at number six on the Pop chart. Two 1958 singles - "Just a Little Lonesome" and "Jacqueline" - hit the Country Top Ten but flopped elsewhere, though a reissue of "Jingle Bell Rock" made the Pop Top 40. The country single "Lonely River Rhine" hit the Top 20 in 1960, but subsequent new material from Helms had little success. (Decca reissued his Christmas hit each year from 1960 to 1962 with diminishing returns.)
        Bobby Helms toured throughout the '60s, and recorded two albums for Kapp in 1966, I'm the Man and Sorry My Name Isn't Fred - a nod either to brother Freddie or father Fred. Two years later, he released All for You on the Little Darlin' label. Several singles placed modestly on the Country charts during 1967-68, including "He Thought He'd Die Laughing" and "So Long." The 1970 Certron single "Mary Goes 'Round" was his last hit, but Helms recorded Pop-A-Billy for MCA as late as 1983. -John Bushz



 

Anne Murray
Born Jun 20, 1945 in Springhill, Nova Scotia, Canada. Nova Scotia-born Anne Murray built her musical influences from the pop sounds that her parents listened to (Rosemary Clooney, Perry Como) and the Top 40 sounds that AM New York radio stations piped into Canada (Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, Brenda Lee). Originally she intended to work as a physical-education instructor, but she continued to pursue an interest in music. After she was turned down for a spot on a national TV show called Singalong Jubilee, she received a call from the show's producer two years later. He offered her a chance to make records, and when she agreed, she found herself with a million-selling crossover single in 1970, "Snowbird." Murray was frequently at odds with the trappings of success - she even performed barefoot in Las Vegas - and when she got married in 1975, she seemingly dropped out of the business. With her family established, she started working in 1978 with a new producer, Jim Ed Norman, who returned her to prominence with "Walk Right Back" and the million-selling follow-up "You Needed Me." Throughout the late '70s and early '80s, Murray successfully walked the line between country and pop with a rich alto voice and a knack for romantic material.
        As a child in Nova Scotia, music was always one of Anne Murray's hobbies. While she was enrolled at the University of New Brunswick studying physical eduation, she auditioned for a spot on the Halifax-based weekly CBC television series, Singalong Jubilee, but she wasn't hired because they already had an alto singer. Following the rejection, Murray graduated from college and began teaching physical education at the high school level. Two years after the initial Singalong Jubilee audition, the show's producer Bill Langstroth called her with the information that a new television show, Let's Go, needed an altoist. After some persuasion, Murray agreed to join the program, although she did not give up her teaching job. For the next four years, she sang on Let's Go, eventually striking up a professional releationship with the program's musical director, Brian Ahern.
        Anne Murray began her career as a recording artist in 1968. Early that year, she was still teaching when she received a call from Ahern, asking her to record for the independent label, Arc. Accepting the offer, Murray recorded and released her debut album, What About Me, that year. The record was well-received and popular for an independent album, thereby earning the attnetion of Capitol Records, whose Canadian division signed her to a long-term contract in 1969. The following year, her debut single for the label, "Songbird," became an international hit, reaching the Top Ten on both the country and pop charts in America, while reaching the British Top 40. Following the success of "Songbird," Murray moved to Los Angeles, where she began to regularly appear on Glen Campbell's syndicated television show. However, she didn't like the Californian lifestyle, and she quickly returned to Canada.
        Over the course of 1971, it looked like "Snowbird" would be Anne Murray's only big hit, since none of her followup singles gained much attention; only "A Stranger in My Place" cracked the Top 40. A cover of Gordon Lightfoot's "Cotton Jenny" in early 1972 returned her to the higher regions of the country Top 40, peaking at number 11, while its follow-up "Danny's Song" became a Top Ten hit on both the pop and country charts in early 1973. Following two minor country hits, she returned to the Top Ten early in 1974 with "Love Song." The single was followed by two Top Ten country hits - the number one "He Thinks I Still Care" and "Son of a Rotten Gambler." Following those two success, Murray spent a number of years struggling to crack either the pop or country Top 40; during this time, she concentrated on raising a family (she married Bill Langstroth and had a son) more than her musical career.
        Murray entered her period of greatest commercial success in 1978, as a cover of "Walk Right Back" climbed to number four on the country charts, followed shortly afterward by "You Need Me," her biggest hit since "Songbird; " the single reached number four on the country charts and topped the pop charts, going gold by the end of the year. For the next eight years, she had a virtually uninterrupted string of Top Ten country hits, highlighted by nine number one hits: "I Just Fall in Love Again" (1979), "Shadows in the Moonlight" (1979), "Broken Hearted Me" (1979), "Could I Have This Dance" (1980), "Blessed Are the Believers" (1981), "A Little Good News" (1983), "Just Another Woman in Love" (1984), "Nobody Loves Me like You Do" (1984) and "Now and Forever (You and Me)" (1986). Murray prospered during the era of Urban Cowboy, since her music drew as much pop and easy listening as it did from country.
        Murray's sales began to decline in the latter half of the '80s, primarily due to the shifting tastes of the country audience, who were beginning to seek out harder-edged, new traditionalist performers. Nevertheless, she maintained a dedicated following during the late '80s and '90s through her occasional recordings ("Feed This Fire" became a surprise Top Ten hit in the summer of 1990) and her concerts. -Tom Roland



 

Chet Atkins
(Chester Burton Atkins). Born Jun 20, 1924 in Luttrell, TN. Died Jun 30, 2001 in Nashville, TN. Without Chet Atkins, country music may never have crossed over into the pop charts in the '50s and '60s. Although he has recorded hundreds of solo records, Chet Atkins' largest influence came as a session musician and a record producer. During the '50s and '60s, he helped create the Nashville sound, a style of country music that owed nearly as much to pop as it did to honky tonks.
        And as a guitarist, he is without parallel. Atkins' style grew out of his admiration for Merle Travis, expanding Travis' signature syncopated thumb and fingers roll into new territory. Interestingly, Chet Atkins didn't begin him musical career by playing guitar. On the recommendation of his older brother, Lowell, he began playing the fiddle at a child. However, Chet was still attracted to the guitar and at the age of nine, he traded a pistol for a guitar. Atkins learned his instrument rapidly, becoming an accomplished player by the time he left high school in 1941. Using a variety of contacts, he wound up performing on the Bill Carlisle Show on WNOX in Knoxville, TN, as well as becoming part of the Dixie Swingers. Atkins worked with Homer and Jethro while he was at the radio station. After three years, he moved to a radio station in Cincinnati.
        Supporting Red Foley, Atkins made his first appearance at the Grand Ole Opry in 1946. That same year, he made his first records, recording for Bullet. Atkins also began making regular performances on the WRVA radio station in Richmond, VA, but he was repeatedly fired because his musical arrangements differed from the expectations of the station's executives. He eventually moved to Springfield, MO, working for the KWTO station. A tape of one of Atkins' performances was sent to RCA Victor's office in Chicago. Eventually, it worked its way to Steve Sholes, the head of country music at RCA. Sholes had heard Atkins previously and had been trying to find him for several years. By the time Sholes heard the tape, Atkins had moved to Denver, CO and was playing with Shorty Thompson and His Rangers. Upon receiving the call from RCA, he moved to Nashville to record.
        Once he arrived in Nashville, Chet recorded eight tracks for the label, five of which featured the guitarist singing. Impressed by his playing, Sholes made Atkins the studio guitarist for all of RCA studio's Nashville sessions in 1949. The following year, Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters hired him as a regular on the Grand Ole Opry, making his place in Nashville's musical community secure. While he worked for RCA, he played on many hit records and helped fashion the Nashville sound. RCA appreciated his work and made him a consultant to the company's Nashville division in 1953. That year, the label began to issue a number of instrumental albums that showcased Atkins' considerable talents. Two years later, he scored his first hit with a version of "Mr. Sandman; " it was followed by "Silver Bell," a duet with Hank Snow. By the late '50s, Chet Atkins was known throughout the music industry as a first-rate player. Not only did his records sell well, he designed guitars for Gibson and Gretsch; models of these instruments continued to sell in the '90s.
        Steve Sholes left for New York in 1957 to act as head of pop A&R, leaving Atkins as the manager of RCA's Nashville division. However, the guitarist didn't abandon performing, and throughout the early '60s his star continued to rise. He played the Newport Jazz Festival in 1960; in 1961, he performed at the White House. Atkins had his first Top 5 hit in 1965 with a reworking of Boots Randolph's "Yakety Sax," retitled "Yakety Axe; " in addition to being a sizable country hit, the song crossed over to the pop charts. Atkins' role behind the scene was thriving as well. He produced hits for the majority of RCA's Nashville acts, including Elvis Presley and Eddy Arnold, and discovered a wealth of talent, including Don Gibson, Waylon Jennings, Floyd Cramer, Charley Pride, Bobby Bare, and Connie Smith. Because of his consistent track record, Atkins was promoted to vice-president of RCA's country division when Steve Sholes died in 1968.
        The following year, Atkins had his last major hit single, "Country Gentleman." In the late '60s and early '70s, several minor hits followed, but only one song, "Prissy" (1968), made it into the Top 40. Instead, the guitarist's major musical contribution in the early part of the '70s was with Homer and Jethro. Under the name the Nashville String Band, the trio released five albums between 1970 and 1972. Following Homer's death, Atkins continued to work with Jethro.
        Atkins continued to record for RCA throughout the '70s, although he was creatively stifled by the label by the end of the decade. The guitarist wanted to record a jazz album, but he was met with resistance by the label. In 1982, he left the label and signed with Columbia, releasing his first album for the label, Work It Out With Chet Atkins, in 1983. During his time at Columbia, Atkins departed from his traditional country roots, demonstrating that he was a bold and tasteful jazz guitarist as well. He did return to country on occasion, particularly on duet albums with Mark Knopfler and Jerry Reed, but by and large, Atkins' Columbia records demonstrated a more adventurous guitarist than was previously captured on his RCA albums.
        Sadly, Atkins was diagnosed with cancer, and in 1997 doctors removed a tumor from his brain. In his last months, the cancer had made Atkins inactive, and he finally lost the battle on June 30, 2001 at his home in Nashville. Throughout his career, Chet Atkins earned numerous awards, including 11 Grammy awards and nine CMA "Instrumentalist of the Year" honors, as well as "Lifetime Achievement Award" from NARAS. Although his award list is impressive, they only begin to convey his contribution to country music. -Stephen Thomas Erlewine



 

Jimmy Driftwood
(also known as Jimmie Driftwood and James Morris)June 20, 1907 - July 12, 1998
We fired our guns and the British kept a coming
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnning
Down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico!
Chorus from "The Battle of New Orleans" by Jimmy Driftwood, voted during the 1980s one of the 10 most popular American songs of all time.
OBITUARY:
Jimmy Driftwood, the legendary award-winning folk musician, songwriter, teacher, folklorist, and original Grand Ole Opry member from Timbo, Arkansas, passed away on July 12, 1998, at the age of 91, in a hospital in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He had been hospitalized for several weeks after an extended illness. He is survived by his loving wife, Cleda Driftwood and a brother and two sisters.
        Jimmy was a prolific songwriter who composed over 6000 songs during his career, and over 300 of those were recorded and/or published. His best known songs included "The Battle of New Orleans" (made famous in 1959 by Johnny Horton and voted during the 1980s as one of America's best loved songs of all time), "The Tennessee Stud" (made famous by Eddy Arnold, Doc Watson and others), "Down in the Arkansas", and "He Had a Long Chain On" (made famous by Odetta). He was the winner of two Grammy Awards for his music, and in the early 1960s, Jimmy was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Folklore from Peabody University in Nashville.
        Jimmy was known and loved by thousands around the world. He and his wife Cleda welcomed and entertained literally hundreds of visitors each year in their ranch home in Timbo, Arkansas (12 miles west of Mountain View, Arkansas). Jimmy got his start as a high school teacher, and used his songs to help teach his classes. The song, "The Battle of New Orleans", was written 18 years before it became famous, in order to help Jimmy explain to his high school history students that the Battle of New Orleans was fought during the War of 1812 instead of during the Revolutionary War. After he achieved fame as a noted songwriter and performer, Jimmy used his influence to help the rest of America and the world discover the wonder and beauty of Arkansas Folk Culture, particularly in the areas of folk music and folk story telling, and to help preserve the environment. During the 1950s and 1960s, he helped preserve the Buffalo River in northern Arkansas from damming, and helped have it declared a National River, to be preserved for its natural beauty. In the 1970s, Jimmy founded the Rackensack Folklore Society in Mountain View and then was instrumental in getting the funds appropriated to build the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Arkansas, and later in the early 1980s, Jimmy and his friends built the Jimmy Driftwood Barn and Folklore Hall of Fame also in Mountain View. Semi-weekly folk music performances are held at the Barn (Fridays and Sundays), where many of Jimmy's songs are still joyfully performed by his friends and fans on stage there.
        Jimmy was loved and respected by friends, fans, and fellow musicians from around the world, and he will be sorely missed. The funeral was Wednesday, July 15, 1998 at the Ozark Folk Center. A near-capacity crowd came to say their farewells to the "Bard of the Ozarks". The family requested that in lieu of flowers, that donations be given to charities which support research for the control and eventual eradication of Alzheimer's Disease. Contact the Jimmy Driftwood Barn (870-269-8042) or Glenn and Nellie Branscum (870-269-4578) for additional information.



 

T.Texas Tyler
AKA David Luke Myrick. Born Jun 20, 1916 in Mena, AR, Died Jan 28, 1972 in Springfield, MO. Charismatic singer/songwriter T. Texas Tyler was a successful figure from the late '40s through the mid-'50s, credited with popularizing the "country narrative record." He was born David Luke Myrick in Mena, Arkansas, and from childhood aspired to become a country performer. As a young man, Tyler moved to Rhode Island to live with his brother, who was stationed there while serving in the Navy. He got his start working on a local radio station during the early '30s and then spent much of the decade touring and singing on other stations, creating his stage name by combining the names of movie cowboy crooners Tex Ritter and Tom Tyler. While performing in Charleston, West Virginia in 1939, Tyler teamed up with fiddler Clarence Clere to become Slim and Tex. They remained together playing radio stations in West Virginia until 1942, when Tyler enlisted. Following his discharge, Tyler went to southern California and began appearing daily on the radio in Long Beach and Los Angeles. In 1946, he made the Top Five with "Filipino Boy," followed by "Remember Me" and "Oklahoma Hills."
        Tyler had his biggest single in 1948 with the enormously popular "talking song" "Deck of Cards," which peaked in the Top Three. He followed it with a recitation of Mary Jean Shurtz's "Daddy Gave My Dog Away." In 1949, he sang a song in the Western Horsemen of the Sierras; later that year, he had a Top Five hit with "My Bucket's Got a Hole in It." Tyler had two more major hits in 1953, including "Courtin' in the Rain," and then went into a personal and professional slump with the advent of rock & roll. In 1957, he joined the Grand Ole Opry and signed with Hank Snow Promotions. The following year, he became a gospel singer and Assembly of God minister. Tyler spent the bulk of the 1960s touring and preaching; he also recorded a gospel album for Capitol, a regular country album for Starday, and three independently-produced gospel albums which he sold at his revivals. Following the death of his first wife Claudia in 1968, Tyler remarried and settled down in Springfield, Missouri, where he preached to a local congregation and also performed occasionally. T. Texas Tyler died in early 1972 of stomach cancer. -Sandra Brennan



 

Ira Louvin
AKA Lonnie Ira Loudermilk. Born Apr 21, 1924 in Rainesville, AL. Died Jun 20, 1965 in Jefferson City, MO. One of the top country musicians of the 40s and 50s, Ira Louvin teamed up with his brother Charlie Louvin to form The Louvin Brothers. The duo's hits included "When I Stop Dreaming," "Cash On the Barrel Head" and "If I Could Only Win Your Love," also recorded by Emmylou Harris. The Louvin Brothers were famous for their ability to sing many styles of music. During their musical career, the two recorded gospel, folk, hillbilly and 50s pop songs.
        Born in the Appalachian Mountains of Alabama, Ira Louvin was born Lonnie Ira Loudermilk. Together with his brother Charlie, Ira Louvin began his musical career singing gospel songs in church. Despite the family's poverty, the two were encouraged to pursue their musical interests. Ira Louvin began playing the mandolin and his brother played the guitar. The two began playing together and eventually brought their sound to the airwaves on a small Chattanooga morning radio show. They were influenced by such recording artists as the Blue Sky Boys, the Delmore Brothers, the Monroe Brothers and the Callahan Brothers.
        When Charlie Louvin entered the Army in the early 40s, Ira Louvin played with Charlie Monroe. After the army stint, the brothers moved their career to Knoxville, Tennessee where they played the radio circuit; first on WROL, then on WNOX. It was in Knoxville that the two changed their last name of Loudermilk to their stage name of Louvin.
        In 1951 the Louvin Brothers signed a contract with MGM Records and recorded 12 songs, all of which were only moderate hits. After the contract expired with MGM, the two headed back to Memphis where they played concerts and radio shows. Capitol Records eventually signed The Louvin Brothers and they became famous for their gospel standard "The Family Who Prays." Charlie Louvin was once again called to the army to serve in the Korean War so the group's career again came to a halt. When Charlie returned, the brothers went to Birmingham and sang for the Grand Ol Opry. Labeled as a gospel artist, The Louvin Brothers broadened their style to include pop and hillbilly music. Their song, "When I Stop Dreaming," became a Top Ten hit as well as "I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby." In 1956 the two released the albums Tragic Songs of Life and Nearer My God to Thee. The two stayed together until 1963 and produced such favorites as "My Baby's Gone," "Don't Laugh" and "Plenty of Everything But You."
        After the breakup, Ira Louvin pursued a solo music career signing with Capitol Records. An alcoholic, Ira Louvin was almost killed in an argument with his third wife Faye. He performed with his fourth wife Anne Young until 1965 when he died in a car accident in Williamsburg, Missouri. Despite The Louvin Brothers breakup, their influence lived on decades later. Their reputation of versatility and their combination of harmonies influence rock, gospel and country musicians including Gram Parsons, the Byrds and The Everly Brothers. -Kim Summers



 

Leon Everette
Born Jun 21, 1948 in Aiken, SC. Singer/songwriter Leon Everette achieved his greatest popularity from the late '70s to the mid-'80s. Born Leon Everette Baughman in South Carolina, he was raised in Queens, New York. Following his high school graduation, he joined the Navy and served on an aircraft carrier in the South Pacific. While on leave at the Philippines, Everette bought a guitar and taught himself to play; soon he found himself winning a Navy talent contest. After his discharge, he married and returned to South Carolina, issuing a series of singles which went nowhere. Eventually, he got a job in True Records' Nashville mail room. He then signed with the label and in 1977, True assigned Everette to do a tribute to Elvis, Goodbye King of Rock and Roll. He was less than thrilled at the prospect and ripped up his contract. Later that year, True released his single "I Love That Woman (Like the Devil Loves Sin)" and had a minor hit.
        Meanwhile, Everette continued to play in Augusta, Georgia, where he was seen by Orlando Records founder Carroll Fulmer. Fulmer signed Everette to his label and hired Jerry Foster and Bill Rice to write songs for him. In 1979, Orlando released four of his singles, including "Don't Feel Like the Lone Ranger," and all became minor hits. His success allowed him to sign with RCA the following year, where he had several major hits, among them the label's reissue of the single "Giving Up Easy." His string of Top 20 hits continued with "Just Give Me What You Think is Fair" and "Soul Searching," both from 1982. In 1984, Everette became unhappy with RCA's promotion of his work and switched to Mercury Records, where he had three minor hits in 1985, including "Till a Tear Becomes a Rose." By the end of the year, he had moved back to Orlando and in 1986 hit the charts with three singles, including "Still in the Picture." In 1988, he left country music to open an imported wicker shop in Ward, South Carolina. -Sandra Brennan



 

Eddie Adcock
Born Jun 21, 1938 in Scottsville, VA. Among the major-league talent that emerged from the folk music boom of the late '50s were the Country Gentlemen, a DC-based quartet that introduced bluegrass to a generation of city folks and college students, people who had never heard of Flatt & Scruggs or Bill Monroe or the Stanley Brothers. The Gentlemen, in playing the old bluegrass standards but playing them "different," were in a sense the first newgrass group. Eddie Adcock was the band's banjo player and he was a player of distinction - his style was as innovative as Don Reno's. Adcock's considerable talent spread to other stringed instruments when he left the Gentlemen in 1970 and began exploring new musical genres. For the next three decades, Eddie Adcock remained one of the most popular musicians in bluegrass.
        Adcock was born and raised in Scottsville, Virginia. He bought his first banjo as child and began performing with his brother Frank shortly afterward. The duo would sing in local churches and radio stations based in the nearby Charlottesville. In his teens, he played in a band called the James River Playboys and worked at a theater in his hometwon, where he had the opportunity to see major country artists of the day, including Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper. At the age of 14, he left home after a family crisis and supported himself through semi-professional boxing. For the next seven years, he boxed and played music at nights. A few years later, he began racing cars. As a racer, Adcock racked up 34 straight wins with his car, which he named Mr. Banjo; he also had set two track records at Manassas, Virginia. Not only did he box and race, he also performed various blue-collar jobs to pay the rent. All the time, he played music at night.
        Eddie Adcock didn't begin his professional musical career until 1953, when he joined Smokey Graves and his Blue Star Boys, who had a regular show at a radio station in Crewe, VA. His exposure with Graves led to jobs with other musicians, including Mac Wiseman, Bill Harrell, and Buzz Busby. Between 1953 and 1957, he floated between different bands. Bill Monroe offered a job to Adcock in 1957, and he played with the Blue Grass Boys for a short time - Monroe had to let him go because the band simply wasn't earning enough money to employ him. Adcock returned to working day jobs but that was short-lived. After he started working in a sheet metal factory, Jim Cox, John Duffery, and Charlie Waller asked him to join their new band, the Country Gentlemen.
        The Country Gentlemen became one of the most popular and respected bluegrass bands of the late '50s and '60s, as well as one of the most progressive. They expanded the repertoire of bluegrass bands to include contemporary country, folk, and rock songwriters, most notably Bob Dylan; usually they added this material at the urging of Adcock. The Country Gentlemen rode to popularity in the late '50s as part of the folk boom and continued to be one of the most popular bluegrass/folk bands in the country throughout the '60s.
        At the end of the '60s, Adcock began to feel constrained by the Country Gentlemen. He wanted to experiment with different musical genres, which he felt the band wasn't willing to do. Consequently, he quit the Gentlemen and moved to California where he formed a country-rock band called the Clinton Special. While he performed with the group he used the pseudonym Clinton Codack. The band recorded only one single, "Just As You Are I Love You" / "Blackberry Fence," which was released on MGM Records; the A-side of the single was featured in the 1971 film, The Horsemen.
        After the Clinton Special fell apart, Adock headed back east, where he formed another group, II Generation with Bob White, A.L. Wood, Wendy Thatcher, and Jimmy Gaudreau, who used to play with the Country Gentlemen. II Generation's lineup changed frequently during the '70s but it gelled around 1974 when Martha Hearon joined the group. Hearon played guitar for the band and wrote a good share of its material; she also married Adcock soon after she joined. II Generation was active throughout the '70, releasing a handful of albums on the Rome, Rebel, and CMH labels.
        Adcock and Hearon disbanded the group in 1980 and moved to Tennessee, where they formed a trio called Talk of the Town with bassist Missy Raines. In the mid-'80s, Adcock launched a solo career, releasing a series of cassette-only collections on CMH. In the '90s, he began releasing albums on compact disc, as well as performing with an all-star bluegrass outfit called the Masters. After nearly 40 years in the music business, Eddie Adcock remained as popular as he ever was, touring all around the world. -Stephen Thomas Erlewine & David Vinopal



 

Kris Kristofferson
Born Jun 22, 1936 in Brownsville, TX. After a lengthy period of struggle, Kris Kristofferson achieved remarkable success as a country songwriter at the start of the 1970s. His songs "Me and Bobby McGee," "Help Me Make It Through the Night," "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down," and "For the Good Times," all chart-topping hits, helped redefine country songwriting, making it more personal and serious, much in the way that Bob Dylan's songs had transformed pop music songwriting in the mid-'60s. By 1987, it was estimated that Kristofferson's compositions had been recorded by more than 450 artists. His renown as a songwriter enabled him to launch a moderately successful career as a musical performer and that, in turn, brought him to the attention of Hollywood, leading to a lengthy career as a film actor.
        The eldest of three children of an Air Force major general who retired from the military to head up air operations for the Saudi Arabian company Aramco, Kristofferson spent most of his childhood in Brownsville, TX, though his family moved around, finally settling in San Mateo, CA, by his junior high school years. He graduated from San Mateo High School in 1954 and entered Pomona College in Claremont, CA. There he studied creative writing and he won first prize and three other placements in a collegiate short-story contest sponsored by Atlantic Monthly magazine. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1958, having secured a prestigious Rhodes scholarship to continue his studies at Oxford University in England. While at Oxford, he wrote and performed his own songs, which brought him to the attention of manager Larry Parnes (who handled Tommy Steele and other British pop stars). Signing with Parnes, he made recordings for Top Rank Records produced by Tony Hatch (apparently never released) and performed under the name Kris Carson, but he was not successful.
        After earning a master's degree in English literature from Oxford in 1960, Kristofferson intended to continue his studies there. But during a Christmas break back home in California, he resumed his relationship with an old girlfriend, Fran Beir, and they married. Instead of returning to Oxford, he joined the Army. Like his father, he became a pilot, learning to fly helicopters. He was assigned to West Germany and went there with his wife and their daughter. During the early '60s, while rising to the rank of captain, he eventually returned to writing and performing, organizing a soldiers' band to play at service clubs. Hearing his songs, a friend suggested sending them to a relative of his, the Nashville songwriter Marijohn Wilkin. Kristofferson did so and he received encouragement from Wilkin, who had become a music publisher by founding Bighorn Music. In 1965, Kristofferson was re-assigned to the West Point military academy, where he was to become an English instructor. He spent a two-week leave in June 1965 in Nashville, where he looked up Wilkin and decided to try to become a country songwriter instead. He resigned his commission and moved his family to Nashville, signing to Bighorn, which gave him a small weekly stipend that he augmented with a variety of jobs including janitorial work, bartending, and flying helicopters to and from offshore oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. He and his wife had a son who was born with a defective esophagus, resulting in thousands of dollars in medical bills. Eventually, the couple divorced.
        Kristofferson scored his first success as a songwriter with "Viet Nam Blues," which was recorded by Dave Dudley and peaked in the country Top 20 in April 1966. As a recording artist, Kristofferson was signed to Epic Records and released a lone single, "Golden Idol"/"Killing Time" in 1967, but it missed the charts. (He later re-recorded both songs for his Surreal Thing album.) Roy Drusky recorded Kristofferson's "Jody and the Kid" and took it into the country Top 40 in the summer of 1968 and Billy Walker and the Tennessee Walkers' version of his "From the Bottle to the Bottom" peaked in the Top 20 of the country charts in April 1969. But by that spring, those three chart placings and his failed single were all Kristofferson had to show for almost four years of effort in Nashville. He had moved to Fred Foster's Columbine Music and begun to collaborate occasionally with Foster and he got a break when Roger Miller decided to record one of their songs, "Me and Bobby McGee," a ballad about hoboing that recalled earlier Miller hits like "King of the Road," but with more of a hippie slant. Miller ended up recording not only "Me and Bobby McGee," but also two other Kristofferson compositions, "Best of All Possible Worlds" and "Darby's Castle," for his August 1969 album, Roger Miller. "Me and Bobby McGee" was released as a single in advance of the album and it peaked in the country Top 20. Meanwhile, Kristofferson had begun to gain recognition as a performer, thanks to Johnny Cash, who introduced him at the Newport Folk Festival that summer and featured him on his network television show.
        In September 1969, Kristofferson earned another important cover when Ray Stevens released a version of his reflection on a hangover, "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down," as a single. It entered both the pop and country charts. The following month, Faron Young released "Your Time's Comin'," co-written by Kristofferson and Shel Silverstein. It gave the songwriter his biggest hit so far when it peaked in the country Top Five in December 1969. Jerry Lee Lewis' recording of Kristofferson and Silverstein's "Once More with Feeling" did even better, just missing the top of the country charts in March 1970.
        In addition to Columbine Music, Fred Foster also ran Monument Records, an independent label, and he signed Kristofferson to it as a recording artist. Kristofferson went into the studio and cut his own versions of some of the songs others had already done - "Me and Bobby McGee," "Best of All Possible Worlds," "Darby's Castle," "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down" - as well as some new songs, notably "Help Me Make It Through the Night" and "For the Good Times," both romantic ballads with a decidedly erotic tone. His debut album, titled Kristofferson, was released in April 1970 and he promoted it with his first major concert tour, debuting at the Troubadour in Los Angeles on June 23, appearing at the giant Isle of Wight Festival on July 26, and playing the Bitter End in New York in August. But even at a time when standards for singers had fallen noticeably, the album was criticized for Kristofferson's rough vocals; it sold poorly and quickly went out of print.
        The demand for his songs, however, only increased. The same month that Kristofferson was released, Ray Price reached the country charts with "For the Good Times," though it had been intended as the B-side of the single. It hit number one in September and crossed over to the pop charts, where it reached the Top 20; as a result, "For the Good Times" was named Song of the Year for 1970 by the Academy of Country Music. In August, Waylon Jennings reached the country charts with Kristofferson and Silverstein's "The Taker," which peaked in the Top Five in October and crossed over to the pop charts. By then, Johnny Cash had entered the country charts with his version of "Sunday Morning Coming Down" (as he called it, restoring the dropped "g"s). It hit number one in October and crossed over to the pop charts and the same month it won the Country Music Association's Song of the Year Award for 1970, putting Kristofferson in the unusual position of winning the same award from country's two rival organizations for the same year with different songs.
        But the string of hits was far from over. In December, Sammi Smith entered the country charts with "Help Me Make It Through the Night," giving the song a surprising twist by having the woman ask the man to sleep with her instead of the other way around. The single crossed over to the pop charts, eventually reaching the Top Ten and going gold and it gave Kristofferson his third country chart-topper in February 1971. Meanwhile, Bobby Bare's recording of Kristofferson's "Come Sundown" also had reached the country charts in December and it peaked in the Top Ten in February 1971. Up to this point, Kristofferson had been getting most of his recognition in country music, but that changed in January 1971 when Janis Joplin's posthumous album Pearl was released. Joplin had covered "Me and Bobby McGee" and it was released as a single, shooting up the pop charts to number one in March. That same month, Ray Price followed "For the Good Times" with another Kristofferson song, "I Won't Mention It Again," which crossed over to the pop charts and in May gave the songwriter his fourth country number one hit within eight months. Meanwhile, Joe Simon got into the pop charts with his version of "Help Me Make It Through the Night" in April, Bobby Bare charted country in May with Kristofferson's "Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends," which peaked in the Top Ten in July and Peggy Little reached the country charts with his "I've Got to Have You."
        Despite all this sudden success as a songwriter, Kristofferson had not yet achieved any great notice as a performer. Monument had been purchased by CBS Records and turned into a subsidiary of the Columbia label, giving its artists the benefit of major-label distribution and promotion. Kristofferson released his second album, The Silver Tongued Devil and I, in July 1971. Again, it combined the songwriter's own versions of songs that had scored for others - "Jody and the Kid," "The Taker" - with important new work, notably the ballad "Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)," which Roger Miller quickly covered for a Top 40 country hit. The album finally broke Kristofferson as a recording artist, rising into the Top Five of the country charts and the Top 20 of the pop charts and going gold, with the songwriter's own version of "Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)" becoming a Top 40 pop and top five Easy Listening hit. In August, Monument re-released Kristofferson's first album, renaming it Me and Bobby McGee. This time, the LP reached the country Top Ten and the pop Top 100 and went gold. Meanwhile, Ray Price released his third consecutive single of a Kristofferson song, "I'd Rather Be Sorry," and it just missed topping the country charts in October while crossing over to the pop charts. Patti Page also made the country charts with her version of the song. Jerry Lee Lewis put "Me and Bobby McGee" into the charts for a third time in November; it was given some country airplay as the B-side of his number one country single "Would You Take Another Chance on Me," while pop radio flipped the disc over and made it a Top 40 pop hit. The same month, O.C. Smith got into the pop charts with his version of "Help Me Make It Through the Night."
        Kristofferson himself, meanwhile, had traveled to Peru at the behest of director Dennis Hopper and he made his film debut in a bit part in The Last Movie, released in September, to which he also contributed songs. The same month, part of his performance from the Isle of Wight Festival was in the charts on the triple-record set First Great Rock Festivals of the Seventies: Isle of Wight/Atlanta Pop Festival. (In 1997, the film and CD Message to Love: the Isle of Wight also featured his appearance.) He had a more substantial film role in Cisco Pike, released early in 1972, also getting to sing several more of his songs. In February, he released his third album, Border Lord. It was his first collection to consist of all-new material and proved to be a slight commercial disappointment, reaching only the Top 100 of the pop charts and the Top Ten of the country charts, its single "Josie" becoming a pop and country chart entry but not a big hit. In March, however, three of his songs, "For the Good Times," "Help Me Make It Through the Night," and "Me and Bobby McGee," were among the five nominees for the 1971 Grammy Award for Best Country Song, while "Help Me Make It Through the Night" and "Me and Bobby McGee" were also up for the Song of the Year Grammy. Competing against himself, he managed to win his first Grammy for Best Country Song for "Help Me Make It Through the Night." The same month, Gladys Knight and the Pips brought the song back into the pop Top 40 and also made the R&B Top 20 with their rendition. In April, Kristofferson was in the charts with another live recording, appearing on the various artists collection Big Sur Festival/One Hand Clapping. In June, Sammi Smith made the country charts with her version of "I've Got to Have You," which peaked in the Top 20 in September and also crossed over to the pop charts.
        Having taken only seven months between his second and third albums, Kristofferson waited only nine more months before delivering his fourth album, Jesus Was a Capricorn, in November 1972. Initially, the LP did not do as well as Border Lord, itself a step down from The Silver Tongued Devil and I, as the title song barely made the pop singles charts and a second single, "Jesse Younger," missed the charts entirely. But in March 1973, Monument released a third single, the slow, pious "Why Me," which topped the country charts in July and went gold, also crossing over to the pop Top 20. With that, sales of Jesus Was a Capricorn rebounded and the album hit number one in the country charts a year after it was released. (Meanwhile, Brenda Lee had covered "Nobody Wins" from the album for a Top Five country hit and a pop chart entry.)
        Kristofferson, meanwhile, had returned to acting, getting more substantial film roles and working with important directors. In 1973, he appeared in Paul Mazursky's Blume in Love, also contributing a couple of songs, and in Sam Peckinpah's Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, co-starring as Billy the Kid in the latter. His notices tended to be better than those for the films themselves and indicated that he had a future in films.
        On August 19, 1973, Kristofferson married singer Rita Coolidge (who soon bore him a second daughter) and the following month the couple released a duo album, Full Moon. It was a big hit, topping the country charts, reaching the Top 40 of the pop charts, and going gold. Its first single, Kristofferson's composition "A Song I'd Like to Sing" was a Top 20 easy listening hit, a Top 40 pop hit, and a country chart entry. "Loving Arms," a second single, made the easy listening Top 40 and also reached the pop and country charts. The couple's version of "From the Bottle to the Bottom" won the 1973 Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. (Due to the peculiarities of the Grammy eligibility rules, "Loving Arms" was nominated in the same category the following year.) Kristofferson also earned 1973 Grammy nominations for Best Country Song and Best Country Vocal Performance, Male, for "Why Me."
        In April 1974, "One Day at a Time," written by Kristofferson and Marijohn Wilkin, reached the country charts in a recording by Marilyn Sellars that went on to peak in the Top 20. Later in the year, it reached the pop Top 40. Kristofferson's fifth album, Spooky Lady's Sideshow, was released in May. Compared to earlier releases, it was a commercial disappointment, reaching the Top Ten of the country charts but only the Top 100 of the pop charts, with no charting single. From this point on, Kristofferson's albums would be only modest sellers at best. But he remained a potent country songwriter. In July, Ronnie Milsap entered the country charts with a revival of "Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends"; by September it had topped the country charts and crossed over to the pop charts. Kristofferson continued to pursue his film career, taking a small part in Sam Peckinpah's Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, released in the summer and a co-starring role in Martin Scorsese's Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, which appeared in December. Also that month, Kristofferson and Coolidge released their second duo album, Breakaway. Though less successful than their first one, it reached the Top 100 of the pop charts and the Top Five of the country charts. The single "Rain" made the country and Easy Listening charts. "Lover Please" also got into the Easy Listening charts and it went on to win the duo a second Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.
        Kristofferson took a break from moviemaking to concentrate on his musical career and his sixth album, Who's to Bless ... and Who's to Blame, released in November 1975. But the extra effort did not translate into increased sales. The LP reached the country Top 40, but it missed the Top 100 of the pop charts. Johnny Duncan's recording of the Kristofferson song "Stranger" from the album became a country hit, however, reaching the Top Five. Kristofferson returned to the movies and in the spring of 1976 was seen in Vigilante Force and The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea, also contributing a song to the latter. His seventh album, Surreal Thing, followed his sixth by only eight months. It was another commercial disappointment, reaching the country Top Ten while barely registering in the pop charts. But in December 1976, he enjoyed both a hit movie and a hit record with the release of A Star Is Born, in which he co-starred with Barbra Streisand. Critics howled, but the film was a box office smash, second only to Rocky among motion pictures released in 1976 as the top grossing hit, while the soundtrack album, which featured several contributions from Kristofferson (among them the pop chart entry "Watch Closely Now"), topped the pop charts and sold several million copies. Of course, Streisand had more to do with all that than Kristofferson did, but he was awarded a Golden Globe for Best Actor.
        Monument Records seized upon the occasion of his increased profile to release a compilation, Songs of Kristofferson, in April 1977. It did considerably better than his recent releases of new material, making the country Top Ten and the pop Top 100 and earning a gold record. Making only one film in 1977, Semi-Tough, released in the fall, he worked on his eighth album for more than a year and a half, not releasing Easter Island until March 1978. It marked a slight commercial uptick, charting higher in the pop and country charts than his previous effort, but did not restore his commercial fortunes as a recording artist. Returning to the movies, Kristofferson starred in Convoy, a film extrapolation of the 1976 song hit by C.W. McCall, which opened in the summer. In January 1979, he and Rita Coolidge released their third duo album, Natural Act, which was another modest seller.
        Kristofferson's personal life and professional career were both at low points in the late '70s and early '80s. His ninth album, Shake Hands with the Devil, was released in September 1979 and did not sell well enough to reach the charts, though the single "Prove It to You One More Time Again" was a country singles chart entry. His next film, Freedom Road, was not given a theatrical release in the U.S., instead being broadcast on television in October. And on December 2, he and Rita Coolidge were divorced. At the same time, however, his song catalog continued to prosper. Lena Martell's cover of "One Day at a Time" hit number one in the U.K. in October, then in the U.S. Cristy Lane revived the song, taking it to number one in the country charts in June 1980. Willie Nelson Sings Kris Kristofferson was released in October 1979 and made the country Top Five, as did Nelson's single release of "Help Me Make It Through the Night." Kristofferson toured with Nelson during the winter of 1979-1980. During this period, he also was working on what should have been his greatest cinematic triumph yet, though it turned into a debacle. This was Heaven's Gate, director Michael Cimino's follow-up to his Academy Award-winning film The Deer Hunter. The lengthy, expensive film debuted to negative reviews in November 1980 and was such a financial catastrophe that it bankrupted the movie studio that made it. Kristofferson had already been contracted to make another film, Rollover, released in 1981, but his association with Heaven's Gate may have scared off casting directors, since he didn't appear in another film until 1984. Meanwhile, he released his tenth album, To the Bone, in January 1981, and it became his second straight LP to miss the pop charts, though it made the country charts briefly, as did the single "Nobody Loves Anybody Anymore." But the old songs continued to sell; in July, Tompall and the Glaser Brothers just missed topping the country charts with their revival of "Lovin' Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)."
        Except for a non-charting single, "Here Comes That Rainbow Again"/"The Bandits of Beverly Hills," Kristofferson was not heard from for the rest of 1981 or most of 1982, resurfacing in November 1982 with the release of the double-album The Winning Hand, a group effort credited to "Kris [Kristofferson], Willie [Nelson], Dolly [Parton], & Brenda [Lee]". The album reached the country Top Five, though it failed to cross the 100 mark on the pop charts. On February 19, 1983, Kristofferson married for the third time, wedding attorney Lisa Meyers, with whom he eventually had five more children, for a total of eight. He returned to filmmaking in January 1984 with the television broadcast of The Lost Honor of Kathryn Beck, and made it back into movie theaters later that year with Flashpoint, a mystery, and Songwriter. In the latter, he co-starred with Willie Nelson in a story about the Nashville music industry. He wrote a number of songs for the film, resulting in his first Academy Award nomination for original song score. Columbia Records released Music from Songwriter, a duo album by Nelson and Kristofferson on which the two sang separately and shared a couple of duets. The album reached the pop charts and the Top 20 of the country charts, and one of the duets, Kristofferson's "How Do You Feel About Foolin' Around," made the country singles charts.
        Kristofferson and Nelson expanded their partnership into a supergroup quartet with the addition of Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings to create the album Highwayman, released in April 1985. The title track, a song about reincarnation written by Jimmy Webb, with each group member taking a verse, topped the country charts in August and the LP was also a number one country hit, going gold. A second single, Guy Clark's "Desperados Waiting for a Train," made the country Top 20. The recordings were billed to the four participants by name, but the group came to be known informally as "the Highwaymen," though a settlement had to be made with the 1960s folk group the Highwaymen for the name to be used legally.
        In December 1985, Kristofferson starred in Alan Rudolph's film Trouble in Mind, also contributing the theme song, "El Gavilan" ("The Hawk," after the name of his character), sung by Marianne Faithfull. He put the song on Repossessed, his first solo album in six years, which was released on Mercury Records in February 1987. Reflecting his left-wing views particularly on American military involvement in Central America, Repossessed spent six months in the country charts and "They Killed Him," a tribute to Christ, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr., placed in the country singles charts. Simultaneous with the release of the LP, Kristofferson appeared in Amerika, a controversial weeklong television mini-series that fantasized a U.S. under Communist domination. It was one of many TV movie projects the actor had done in the mid-'80s, a time when his feature film work remained sparse.
        Highwayman 2 appeared in February 1990, preceded by a single, "Silver Stallion," that made the country Top 40. The album reached the country Top Five and it earned a Grammy nomination for Best Country Vocal Collaboration. Kristofferson followed Repossessed with a second Mercury album, Third World Warrior, in March 1990. Another work of agitprop, it failed to reach the charts. In 1991, Columbia/Legacy released the compilation Singer/Songwriter, a double-CD set containing both Kristofferson's versions of his best-known songs and the best-known covers of them by people like Janis Joplin and Ray Price. The archival label followed in 1992 with the previously unreleased concert set Live at the Philharmonic, recorded in 1972. Kristofferson worked steadily in TV movies and independent features during the late '80s and early '90s; he wrote the score for the 1993 film Cheatin' Hearts, in which he also appeared. The Highwaymen's third album, The Road Goes on Forever, appeared in April 1995 and made the country charts. As a solo artist, Kristofferson had teamed with producer Don Was to record a new album, A Moment of Forever, for Was' Karambolage imprint in 1993, but an initial distribution deal fell through and the album was not released until August 1995, when it appeared on the Texan independent label Justice Records. Four years later, Kristofferson released The Austin Sessions, an album of remakes of his most popular songs. (In the mid-'90s, One Way Records reissued many of Kristofferson's Monument albums on CD.)
        Kristofferson's appearance in director John Sayles' film Lone Star (1996) marked a turning point in his film career. Taking a supporting role as a corrupt sheriff, the 60-year-old actor displayed a flair for character parts and villains that vastly increased his offers from Hollywood in the late '90s and led to his appearances in such major-studio action features as Fire Down Below, Blade, and Payback. He also earned admiring critical notices as a James Jones-like novelist in A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries and in another Sayles film, Limbo. By the turn of the century, complaining that he hadn't had time to tour as a singer in years, Kristofferson was looking forward to additional film work. -William Ruhlmann



 

Roy Drusky
Born Jun 22, 1930 in Atlanta, GA. A singer/songwriter often called "the Perry Como of country music," Roy Drusky enjoyed success throughout the 1960s as a performer in the Nashville sound vein. Born June 22, 1930, in Atlanta, GA, Drusky's mother, a church organist, tried for years to interest her son in music, but throughout his childhood he focused the majority of his energies on sports. It was not until during a two-year stint in the U.S. Navy that he bought his first guitar, and soon after began performing for his fellow crew members.
        After leaving the Navy, Drusky returned to college, and unsuccessfully tried out for baseball's Cleveland Indians. In 1951, he started his first band, the Southern Ranch Boys; the group's success on a Decatur, GA-radio talent show landed Drusky work as a DJ, where he attracted a substantial following among listeners. He also continued to perform in local clubs after the Southern Ranch Boys called it quits, and on the strength of a 1953 single, "Such a Fool," he was signed to Columbia Records in 1955.
        After moving to Minneapolis to continue his work in radio, Drusky began headlining at the Twin Cities' prestigious Flame Club, where word of his talents began spreading to Nashville. As a result, Faron Young recorded Drusky's "Alone With You" in 1958; the single was the biggest of Young's career, topping the charts for 13 weeks. Soon after, Drusky moved to Nashville, and in 1960 released back-to-back Top Five hits, the honky tonk ballads "Another" and "Anymore," which led to an invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry. In the same year, he also released a hit duet with Kitty Wells, "I Can't Tell My Heart That."
        In 1961, Drusky released the double-sided hit "I'd Rather Loan You Out"/"Three Hearts in a Tangle," and also issued his first LP, Anymore With Roy Drusky. The next year, he reached the Top Ten again with "Second Hand Rose," from the album It's My Way. Throughout the first half of the decade, he continued to release chart hits, peaking in 1965 with his lone number one, "Yes, Mr. Peters." He also issued two separate albums in 1964, Songs of the Cities and Yesterday's Gone. In 1965, Drusky appeared in his first film, White Lightnin' Express, and also sang the feature's title song; he later appeared in two other films, The Golden Guitar and Forty Acre Feud. In the middle of the decade, he also began recording with singer Priscilla Mitchell, and with her released two albums of duets, 1965's Love's Eternal Triangle and Together Again in 1966. In addition, Drusky began a career as a producer for acts like Pete Sayers and Brenda Byers.
        As a recording artist, Drusky's success tapered off after 1965; although he released 11 chart hits between 1966 and 1969, only two, "Where the Blue and Lonely Go" and "Such a Fool," reached the Top Ten. However, in the early years of the next decade he made a comeback: 1970's "Long Long Texas Road," from the album All My Hard Times, was his first Top Five hit in six years. It was also his last, however, and as Drusky's brand of country fell victim to changing tastes, his singles and albums were less and less successful; after releasing two LPs in 1976, This Life of Mine and Night Flying, he returned to writing and producing. After remaining silent throughout the 1980s, he began a new sideline as a country-influenced gospel balladeer in the early 1990s. -Jason Ankeny



 

Pake McEntire
Born Jun 23, 1953 in Chockie, OK. Singer/guitarist Pake McEntire was the older brother of mega-star Reba McEntire. He was born Dale Stanley McEntire in Chockie, Oklahoma, the second of four children; his distinctive nickname was a short form of "Pecos." He spent much of his childhood traveling the rodeo circuit with his father; while out riding, the McEntire kids sang songs like "Jesus Loves Me" and "Hound Dog" for tips in hotel lobbies. Later, Pake, Reba, and little sister Suzie teamed up to form the Singing McEntires and, thanks to their mother, got themselves booked to sing at rodeos and other community events. Reba later left the group to start her own career by signing with Mercury. After the McEntires disbanded, Pake formed his own band, Limestone Gap, which played weekly at the famous Corral Club in Sulphur, Texas.
        McEntire remained with the band for two years and then founded his own label, Old Cross, on which he released two albums and a few singles. He sometimes sang backup on Reba's songs, and it was her manager Bill Carter who helped him sign to RCA. In 1986, McEntire released his major-label debut Too Old to Grow Up Now, which was both a critical and commercial success. His debut single, "Every Night," made the Top Ten, while his second single "Savin' My Love for You" hit number three and "Bad Love" climbed to the Top 15. Although his career got off to a great start, it soon began to fizzle; his first single of 1987, "Heart vs. Heart," featuring backing vocals from Reba, made the Top Five, but his next single barely reached the Top 50. The cuts from his second album, My Whole World, didn't do nearly as well, and as a result McEntire left the music industry to return to the rodeo and his ranch. -Sandra Brennan



 

Diana Trask
Born Jun 23, 1940 in Melbourne, Australia. Australian singer Diana Trask was a popular performer in the U.S. during the '60s and '70s. She was born in Warburton, a small logging town near Melbourne, to a musically talented family. She first gained attention in Australia at age 16 after winning a nationwide talent contest, and began playing on television. Later, she was a part of a pop group which opened for such American stars as Sammy Davis, Jr., who liked her music and suggested she come to the U.S. In 1959, Trask did, but didn't find much success until she spent a week guesting on Don McNeil's Breakfast Club, which led to a contract with Columbia and a regular spot on the TV show Sing Along with Mitch. Both of her initial albums were pop-oriented.
        After marrying in the early '60s, Trask returned to Australia, but by 1966, she and her family were living in New York, where she continued trying to further her pop career. After visiting the CMA DJ Convention in Nashville, she decided to focus on country music instead. She debuted on the country charts in 1968 with the low-ranked "Lock, Stock and Teardrops," but later that year she reached the Top 60 with "Hold What You've Got." In 1969, Trask released her debut album Miss Country Soul and toured with Hank Williams, Jr. Although she continued to have modest hits, her popularity didn't take off until 1972, when she had a Top 30 hit with "We've Got to Work It Out Between Us." In 1973, she made the Top 20 twice with "Say When" and "It's a Man's World (If You Had a Man Like Mine)." The following year, she had a Top 15 crossover hit with "Lean on Me." She returned to Australia during the mid-'70s and earned a few gold records there. Trask returned to the U.S. in 1981 to record a pair of singles, but then retired for the remainder of the decade. During the 1990s she again resumed performing. -Sandra Brennan



 

Elton Britt
Born Jun 27, 1917 in Marshall, AR. Died Jun 23, 1972. Elton Britt parlayed his Jimmie Rodgers imitation - with a yodeling ability and range that surpassed Rodgers' - into country's biggest hit of the World War II era, "There's a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere," which sold four million copies in the early '40s. He was born James Britt Baker in Marshall, AK, on June 27, 1913, and began playing guitar and singing around his hometown while in his mid-teens. Baker's career was made in 1930 when the Beverly Hill Billies returned from California to their Arkansas home to recruit a new vocalist. He won the talent search, and after being re-named Elton Britt, spent three years performing and recording with the Hill Billies. Britt moved to New York in 1933, initially playing in a quartet named Pappy, Zeke, Ezra and Elton. He recorded later in the '30s, as a solo act and also with the Wenatchee Mountaineers, Zeke Manners' Gang and the Rustic Rhythm Trio.
        Britt began his period of fame in 1939, thanks to two circumstances: his signature on a contract for the discount label RCA Bluebird and - most importantly - his friendship with songwriter/producer Bob Miller. Miller wrote all of Elton Britt's greatest early hits, including "Chime Bells," "Rocky Mountain Lullaby," "Buddy Boy," "Driftwood on the River," and in 1942, "There's a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere." The latter was adopted as a symbol of the war effort by patriotic audiences - much as "Over There" had served World War I sympathizers. President Franklin Roosevelt even invited Britt - billed as "the World's Highest Yodeler" - to the White House in 1942 to perform the hit.
        By the time the charts came into existence in 1944, though, Britt had peaked. He did hit the Country Top Ten 11 times during the last half of the '40s, but never topped the charts. "Someday" reached number two in 1946, and six other songs peaked in the Top Five, including the double-sided "Wave to Me, My Lady"/"Blueberry Lane," "Detour," "Gotta Get Together with My Gal," "Candy Kisses" and "Quicksilver." A re-recording of his early hit "Chime Bells" hit number six. Britt continued recording with RCA, eventually releasing over 50 albums until 1957, when he moved to ABC/Paramount. He made a brief bid for the presidency in 1960, and recorded the number 26 "Jimmie Rodgers Blues" eight years later, but retired soon after. -John Bush



 

Ted Lundy
Born Jan 26, 1937 in Galax, VA. Died Jun 23, 1980. Guitarist/banjo picker Ted Lundy was born in Galax, Virginia into one of the Blue Ridge Mountains' biggest musical clans. He began playing guitar when he was eight; at age 14 he learned the banjo by imitating the new style of Earl Scruggs rather than the traditional clawhammer technique used by his father. At age 15, Lundy appeared on a local radio show. He moved to a bigger station in Bluefield, West Virginia two years later and was soon playing banjo with Jimmy Williams and the Shady Valley Boys. The group later moved to Bristol, Tennessee, where Lundy spent a year. When not working, he played with such acts as Roma Jackson and the Tennessee Pals, Alex Campbell and Ole Belle and the New River Boys. In the early '60s, he founded the Southern Mountain Boys with mandolin player Fred Hannah, guitarist Bob Paisley, and fiddler Jerry Lundy, Ted's second cousin and the son of illustrious old-time fiddler Emmett Lundy. The Southern Mountain Boys played in both Delaware and Galax before making their recording debut in 1962 on Alex Campbell's New River label. Their second album didn't come out until the early '70s and was recorded for a German label; it was followed by three albums on Rounder. The band continued to perform and play until 1980, when Lundy committed suicide. -Sandra Brennan



 

The Bailes Brothers
Formed 1944. From the mid-'40s through the '50s the Bailes Brothers were among the most popular close-harmony duets. There were actually four brothers - Kyle, Johnnie, Walter and Homer - but they seldom worked together as an entire group, instead pairing off for performances. The Bailes were born and raised in West Virginia, near Charleston. Their father, a minister, died when they were young and their impoverished mother had to struggle to keep them together. (Years later, Walter paid tribute to her trials with his song "Give Mother My Crown.") While working a variety of odd jobs during the Depression, the brothers were inspired to pursue music by the songs of such performers as Billy Cox and Buddy Starcher. They started out on a variety of radio programs, but didn't earn much recognition until 1942, when Johnnie and Walter began working as a duo at WSAZ Huntington. All four brothers played string instruments; after they became popular, they added other members to their group, among them Fiddlin' Arthur Smith.
        It was Roy Acuff who got the Bailes their big break when he suggested to WSM Nashville executives that the brothers appear on the Grand Ole Opry. They made their debut on the show in 1944 and stayed in Nashville for two years. They made their recording debut in early 1945 for Columbia; among their first singles were their original songs "Dust on the Bible" and "The Drunkard's Grave." As they continued recording the brothers added more and more original songs, such as "Broken Marriage Vows." In 1947, Walter left to become a minister and Homer became the singing partner of their friend Dean Upson. They made their last recordings for Columbia at the end of the year, later becoming co-founders of the famous Louisiana Hayride show.
        The original Bailes Brothers went their separate ways in 1949. Over the next decade, different combinations of Bailes Brothers appeared. In the early '50s Homer and Kyle teamed up to work at a Little Rock, Arkansas station. They also recorded a single. Later Johnnie and Walter reunited and began singing gospel in Texas. In 1953, they recorded three singles for King; Johnnie also cut a few solo records. During the 1960s, they continued the pattern, with Walter teaming up with Kyle and Homer at different times. Johnnie and Homer reunited during the early '70s, and from the mid-'70s through the '80s Walter, Kyle, and former band member Ernest Ferguson frequently played at churches and sometimes at festivals. Homer was busy working as a pastor while Johnnie ran three radio stations. Walter was also an evangelical preacher. In 1976 Walter and Kyle made an album; in 1977, all four reunited for a record, joined by their sister Minnie on a few cuts. After, Walter recorded on his Starlit and White Dove labels, while Homer also recorded solo. Much of the Bailes Brothers' early works are available on anthologies, and some of their records have been re-issued. -Sandra Brennan



 

Connie Hall
Born Jun 24, 1929 in Walden, KY. Singer/songwriter Connie Hall had a brief country music career during the 1960s. She was born in Kentucky, but raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, and began performing in her teens. After high school she worked at the Jimmie Skinner Music Center in Ohio and then became a regular singer on radio WZIP in Covington, Kentucky. In 1954, Skinner hired her to sing on his radio show at WNOP Newport, Kentucky. She appeared on his show and others for several years and even worked as a weather girl on an area television station.
        Hall's recording debut was a 1957 duet with Skinner, "We've Got Things in Common." She released her first solo effort in 1958, "I'm the Girl in the USA," and had her first hit the following year with "The Bottle or Me," which peaked near the Top 20. She moved to Decca in 1960 where producer Harry Silverstein helped her make it to the Top 25 with "Poison in Your Hand" and the Top 20 with its B-side "It's Not Wrong," a response to Warner Mack's 1958 hit "Is It Wrong (for Loving You)." She remained with Decca for three years and produced seven more respectable hits including "Sleep, Baby, Sleep" and "Fool Me Once." She also appeared on the Grand Ole Opry, Louisiana Hayride, and Midwestern Hayride. -Sandra Brennan



 

Boudleaux Bryant
Born Feb 13, 1920 in Shellman, GA. Died Jun 1987 in Knoxville, TN. He became one of the greatest songwriters in country music history, but Boudleaux Bryant (b. Feb. 13, 1920, Shellman, GA) studied classical violin from the age of five and played with the Atlanta Philharmonic during its 1938 season. He joined a country band that same year when a friend needed help and toured with Hank Penny's Radio Cowboys in the early '40s, but had switched his allegiance to jazz music when in 1945 he met Felice Scaduto (b. Aug. 7, 1925, Milwaukee, WI), his future wife and songwriting companion.
        They began writing songs together and sent "Country Boy" to Fred Rose, who bought the song and began Acuff-Rose Publishing's long association with the Bryants. Little Jimmy Dickens hit the Country Top Ten with the song in June 1949. Carl Smith recorded the Bryants' "Hey Joe" in 1953 and it also became a hit; Frankie Laine's pop version the same year sold over a million copies. Later in the '50s, Felice and Boudleaux began to move into rock & roll as well, writing a song for Buddy Holly plus most of the Everly Brothers' big hits: "Bye Bye Love," "Problems," "All I Have to Do Is Dream," "Wake Up Little Susie" and "Bird Dog."
        Though they had never completely deserted country, the Bryants in the '60s resumed their focus, writing hits for Jim Reeves and Sonny James, among others. In 1967, they left Acuff-Rose and formed their own House of Bryant publishing company. The classics continued to come during the '70s, and in 1979, Boudleaux produced the Bryants' first album as performers, All I Have to Do Is Dream - known in the U.S. as A Touch of Bryant.
        By the late '80s, it was estimated that Boudleaux and Felice's warehouse of 3000 songs had sold over 300 million copies worldwide; the fact made them a shoo-in for the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and even the Country Music Hall of Fame - a rare honor for strict songwriters. Though Boudleaux died in June 1987, Felice Bryant continues to write occasionally. -John Bush



 

Connie Hall
Born Jun 24, 1929 in Walden, KY. Singer/songwriter Connie Hall had a brief country music career during the 1960s. She was born in Kentucky, but raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, and began performing in her teens. After high school she worked at the Jimmie Skinner Music Center in Ohio and then became a regular singer on radio WZIP in Covington, Kentucky. In 1954, Skinner hired her to sing on his radio show at WNOP Newport, Kentucky. She appeared on his show and others for several years and even worked as a weather girl on an area television station.
        Hall's recording debut was a 1957 duet with Skinner, "We've Got Things in Common." She released her first solo effort in 1958, "I'm the Girl in the USA," and had her first hit the following year with "The Bottle or Me," which peaked near the Top 20. She moved to Decca in 1960 where producer Harry Silverstein helped her make it to the Top 25 with "Poison in Your Hand" and the Top 20 with its B-side "It's Not Wrong," a response to Warner Mack's 1958 hit "Is It Wrong (for Loving You)." She remained with Decca for three years and produced seven more respectable hits including "Sleep, Baby, Sleep" and "Fool Me Once." She also appeared on the Grand Ole Opry, Louisiana Hayride, and Midwestern Hayride. -Sandra Brennan



 

Ava Barber
Born Jun 28, 1954 in Knoxville, TN. Ava Barber became a professional singer at age ten and joined the cast of the Bonnie Lou and Buster syndicated TV show at age 15. She proved popular and began appearing at local clubs and barn dances, and also released her first single, "Atlanta." At her mother's urging, Barber wrote to Lawrence Welk and wound up auditioning several months later in a tent with a piano at a golf tournament the bandleader was playing in. She appeared regularly on his show from 1974 to 1982, also touring with him. Barber signed to Ranwood Records in 1976 and scored seven country hits between 1977 and 1981, the most successful of which was "Bucket to the South" (#14) in 1978. She also toured extensively on the U.S. and Canada county fair and concert circuit. After Welk's show ended, she sometimes toured with former colleague Dick Dale. In 1990, Barber and Dale opened the Rainbow Music Theater in Pigeon Forge. -Sandra Brennan


 

George Morgan
Born Jun 28, 1925 in Waverly, TN. Died Jul 7, 1975. The Candy Kid - as George Morgan was known after his first hit "Candy Kisses" spent three weeks at the top of the country chart - was a grand country crooner in the tradition of Eddy Arnold, whom he replaced on the Grand Old Opry in 1948. Born in Waverly, TN, on June 28, 1924, Morgan and his family moved to Ohio not long after. He grew up listening to the Opry and formed his first band in the mid-'40s. Occasional spots on local radio did little for Morgan's career, but after he wrote "Candy Kisses," WWVA-Wheeling (WV) hired him for the Wheelin Jamboree. The Grand Old Opry called soon after, and Columbia Records contracted Morgan in 1948.
        "Candy Kisses" was finally released early the following year and it hit number one in April; though it proved George Morgan's only chart-topper, he placed six of his next seven singles in the Country Top Ten. "Please Don't Let Me Love You," the B-side of "Candy Kisses," reached the Top Five soon after, and another double-sided hit, "Rainbow in My Heart"/"All I Need Is Some More Lovin'" continued the success. Three Top Ten singles (plus the near-miss "All I Need") in the span of a month was simply astonishing for a debut artist, and Morgan proved he was no fluke by closing out 1949 with three more Top Five hits: "Room Full of Roses," "Cry-Baby Heart," and "I Love Everything About You."
        It was almost inevitable that Morgan's chart success would taper somewhat, though the three-year gap between hits from late 1949 to 1952 was surprising. "Almost" reached number two in April 1952, however, and Morgan's performances on the Grand Old Opry sustained his reputation. He left the show in 1956 to host a TV program in Nashville, but returned to the Opry three years later. He christened his return in 1959 with "I'm in Love Again," which hit number three. Early the following year, "You're the Only Good Thing (That's Happened to Me)" hit number four, but it was Morgan's last Top 20 entry.
        From 1965 to 1975, George Morgan remained with the Opry and recorded frequently, hitting the nether reaches of the Country charts consistently. Morgan witnessed his daughter Lorrie's debut on the Opry, but didn't live to see her musical success in the late '80s: he passed away in July 1975 after a heart attack. His posthumous father-daughter duet, "I'm Completely Satisfied with You," hit the charts in 1979. -John Bush



 

Rosalie Allen
Born: Julie Marliene Bedra, Jun 27, 1924 in Old Forge, PA. One of the first wave of female country stars, Rosalie Allen recorded several hits during the late '40s as a singing cowgirl and yodeler in the Patsy Montana tradition. Born Julie Marlene Bedra on June 27, 1924, she grew up in a large, poor Pennsylvania family. Inspired by the singing cowboys of the '30s, she taught herself to sing and play guitar, and began working on the radio in Wilkes-Barre, PA. She moved to New York in the early '40s, and sang with the Swing Billies and also with Zeke Manners, where she met her future duet partner Elton Britt. Allen's first hit came in 1946 with RCA Victor; the update of Patsy Montana's "I Want to Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart" hit number five and was later trumped on the Country charts by its B-side "Guitar Polka (Old Monterey)," which reached number three.
        During the late '40s, Rosalie Allen became quite famous in New York as a major promoter of country music. She hosted a TV show in New York as well as the WOV radio program Prairie Stars, and her writing appeared in columns for National Jamboree and Country Sound Roundup. Her Rosalie Allen Hillbilly Music Center in New York was the first specifically country record store in the nation.
        Allen's final two chart hits paired her with Elton Britt, the yodeler famous in the mid-'40s for "There's a Star-Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere." Their first single, "Beyond the Sunset," hit number seven in 1950; it was followed closely by the number-three "Quicksilver." The duo also recorded an album for Waldorf Records in the mid-'50s - now released as Starring Elton Britt and Rosalie Allen on the Grand Award label. Also, two albums of Allen's solo recordings are available as German imports. -John Bush



 

Joe Maphis
AKA: Otis Wilson Maphis. Born May 12, 1921 in Suffolk, VA. Died Jun 27, 1986. Joe and Rose Maphis were a popular husband-and-wife act in the late '40s and early '50s, singing traditional material backed by the amazing instrumental talent of Joe, who played everything with strings on it, especially the twin-neck guitar. The honky-tonk anthem "Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (And Loud, Loud Music)" was their big hit. Until his death in 1986, Joe was a sessions instrumentalist, backing such stars as Rick Nelson, Tex Ritter, and Wanda Jackson. -David Vinopal





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