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.
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."
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.
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.
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.