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.
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.
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.
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.
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.