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He Dreamed Of A Hillbilly Heaven: Hal Clark

Picture sleeve for Sage 373 45rpm record: "I Dreamed Of A Hillbilly Heaven" 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.

Detroit country-western handbills

1956 handbill for Eddie Jackson, Lucky Lee and Jimmy Franklin gig at Conner Show Bar 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.

Eddie Jackson and Don Rader, early inspirations

Craig Maki, Eddie Jackson, and Marv Weyer 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.

Detroit recording sessions of Jimmy Work

Tennessee Border by Jimmy Work 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.

He Played Country With Dynamite: Skeet Ring

Les Bonine and Skeet Ring 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.

James N. Gregory’s “The Southern Diaspora”

"The Southern Diaspora" by James N. Gregory (2005) 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.

Ford Nix: Detroit bluegrass pioneer

Ford Nix and Bob Mason 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.