First part of a 2001 conversation with Detroit country guitarist Tommy Odom. During a career spanning 1940s to 1970s, Odom played take off guitar on western swing records in Detroit by Roy Hall and his Cohutta Mountain Boys, among others.
Country-western bandleader Forest Rye entertained in Detroit nightclubs, and on radio from the 1920s through the 1950s. Rye was the first Detroiter (of many) to perform at the "Grand Ole Opry."
One of the best voices associated with country-western music in Detroit, Ricky Riddle was a singer's singer. His records give out flawless vocal performances, and an easygoing style you recognize as soon as Riddle begins to sing.
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.
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.
The torn, yellowed and undated newspaper clipping, still attached to a piece of vintage scrapbook page, shows Detroit’s Silver Sage Buckaroos. During the late 1930s and 1940s, the group performed cowboy music on WEXL radio Royal Oak and cut "Wayne County Blues," a record for the Mellow Record Company on Detroit's east side.