A sometime member of the Roy Hall, Eddie Jackson, and Chief Redbird bands in Detroit, Hal Clark made a name for himself – literally and historically – as Hal Southern, author of the song “I Dreamed Of A Hillbilly Heaven” after moving to Southern California in 1951.
Handbills, circulars, or fliers have been around for a long time. Here we survey several rare examples of handbills advertising Detroit-based country music entertainers from the 1930s to 1950s.
It took a community to help write the forthcoming book. I've always been crazy about records, and record collectors got me started on this project by sharing vintage Detroit music. Some of my earliest boosters who played music (not records) included the gentlemen in these photos.
In 1993 Bear Family Records assembled all of Jimmy Work's records in a double compact disc package, including his sessions in Detroit. Here are my updates to Rich Kienzle's and Richard Weize's guesses at the personnel for these sessions.
1949 was a banner year for the three-year-old Fortune Records company in Detroit. Billboard magazine reviewed several country platters that Fortune issued by Detroit artists, including the only one ever made by Skeet Ring. Ring’s disk was also the last commercial record made by a country music pioneer.
One of my favorite resources for this project is James N. Gregory's "The Southern Diaspora," published by University of North Carolina Press (2005). If you'd like to dig deep into some of the major changes that transformed American society in the last century, I recommend it.
On Sunday, October 14, before dawn, musician Ford Nix passed away in his sleep. A popular, yet humble man, Nix played an important role in Detroit's 20th century country music scene.