From 1948 to 1970, singer Jimmy Franklin made great western swing, country and rockabilly records in Detroit, before disappearing suddenly from the scene. Here is part one of two, wherein Franklin established himself among the best C&W entertainers of his day.
During the 1940s, one of the best-known voices of Detroit radio was the mellow baritone of John “Smilin’ Red” Maxedon. He sang cowboy songs with reassuring ease over WJBK and WJR stations every day. In 1946 he began cutting records for the Detroit-based Arcadia company.
Second part of a 2001 conversation with Detroit country guitarist Tommy Odom. During 1940s to 1970s, Odom played take off guitar on western and swing records in Detroit by Roy Hall and his Cohutta Mountain Boys, among others.
Wayside Records, an independent label in Detroit, produced some of the first bluegrass records made in the city. In late 1957, Frank Wakefield and Buster Turner recorded for Wayside.
In his 1985 book "Bluegrass: A History," Neil Rosenberg suggested Detroit's Wayside Records was the first business to advertise bluegrass as a category of music, with a small ad in "Billboard" magazine in 1957. Part one examines Wayside 105, with Frank Wakefield, Marvin Cobb & Chain Mountain Boys.
Ann Arbor writer and musician Fred Reif recently brought to our attention his friendship with the late Fred Stanley, who settled in Detroit twenty years after cutting a record for Columbia with members of famed string band the Skillet Lickers.
Don Rader sang country and rock ’n’ roll for more than forty years. In 1958 Rader cut his first record, “Rock And Roll Grandpap.” Fifty years later, Rader personified the title of his song as he sang country and vintage rock ’n’ roll with a rock band in Southeast Michigan nightclubs.