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.
In late 1951, Detroiter Lou Parker issued recordings by Les Paul and Mary Ford performing as The Humdingers, on his Citation record label.
Perhaps the most popular country singers in Detroit during the 1940s and 1950s, the York Brothers, George and Les, also created the most important (and perhaps first) country music records in Detroit during the early 1940s. Here is a fresh list, along with labels, personnel, and approximate dates.
Barefoot Brownie Reynolds performs on Ernie Lee's TV show in a video from the 1980s. Both Reynolds and Lee worked on WJR radio Detroit many years ago.
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.