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A Birth of Country 3

A YouTube History of Music

Country Western Music

Group & Last Name Index to Full History:


Tracks are listed in chronological order by year, then alphabetically.

Listings do not reflect proper order by month or day: later oft precedes earlier.

Not on this page? See history tree below.



Rex Allen    Bill Anderson    Eddy Arnold    Ernest Ashworth    Gene Autry

Bobby Bare    Milton Brown    Bill Boyd    Elton Britt    Cecil Brower
Glen Campbell    Wilf Carter    Tommy Cash    Roy Clark    Slim Clark    Patsy Cline    Hank Cochran    Tommy Collins    Spade Cooley    Cowboy Copas    Floyd Cramer    Simon Crum
Vernon Dalhart    Charlie Daniels    Jimmie Davis    Skeeter Davis    Al Dexter    Jimmy Dickens    Roy Drusky
Barbara Fairchild    Donna Fargo    Red Foley    Lefty Frizzell
Hank Garland    Don Gibson    Mickey Gilley    Claude Gray    Jack Greene           
Merle Haggard    George Hamilton IV    Emmylou Harris    Goldie Hill    Homer & Jethro    Jan Howard    Ferlin Husky
Wanda Jackson    Sonny James    Norma Jean    Waylon Jennings    Johnnie & Jack    George Jones
Light Crust Doughboys    Hank Locklin    Bobby Lord    Frank Luther    Loretta Lynn
Grady Martin    Charlie McCoy    Ronnie Milsap    Patsy Montana    George Morgan    Moon Mullican
Willie Nelson
Buck Owens
Gram Parsons    Dolly Parton    Johnny Paycheck    Minnie Pearl    Webb Pierce    Ray Price    Charley Pride
Eddie Rabbitt    Marvin Rainwater    Jerry Reed    Jim Reeves    Charlie Rich    Jeannie C. Riley    Tex Ritter    Marty Robbins    Carson Robison    Kenny Rogers    Roy Rogers
Jeannie Seely    Jean Shepard    Montana Slim    Arthur Guitar Boogie Smith    Cal Smith    Carl Smith    Connie Smith    Hank Snow    Red Sovine    Billie Jo Spears    Carl Sprague    Statler Brothers    Wynn Stewart
Tennessee Ramblers    Hank Thompson    Mel Tillis    Floyd Tillman    Merle Travis    Ernest Tubb    Conway Twitty
Porter Wagoner    Jimmy Wakely    Billy Walker    Charlie Walker    Kitty Wells    Dottie West    Slim Whitman     Don Williams    Hank Williams Jr.    Hank Williams Sr.    Tex Williams     Bob Wills    Del Wood    Smokey Wood    Tammy Wynette
Faron Young

I'm an Old Cowhand



Featured on this page loosely in order of first recording if not record release (as possible).

Names are alphabetical, not chronological, per year:



Vernon Dalhart

1924 Carson Robison
1925 Carl Sprague
1927 Frank Luther
1928 Jimmie Davis
1929 Gene Autry    Bob Wills
1932 Milton Brown    Bill Boyd    Wilf Carter (Montana Slim)    Light Crust Doughboys
1933 Elton Britt    Red Foley    Tex Ritter
1934 Cecil Brower    Roy Rogers
1935 Patsy Montana    Tennessee Ramblers
1936 Al Dexter    Moon Mullican    Hank Snow    Ernest Tubb
1937 Smokey Wood
1938 Arthur Guitar Boogie Smith    Floyd Tillman
1939 Jimmy Wakely
1941 Spade Cooley
1943 Merle Travis
1944 Eddy Arnold   
1946 Rex Allen    Slim Clark    Cowboy Copas    Homer & Jethro    Hank Thompson    Hank Williams Sr.    Tex Williams
1947 Johnnie & Jack    Minnie Pearl
1948 Hank Garland    Slim Whitman
1949 Jimmy Dickens    Don Gibson    Hank Locklin    George Morgan    Webb Pierce    Jim Reeves    Red Sovine    Billy Walker    Kitty Wells
1950 Lefty Frizzell    Grady Martin    Ray Price
1951 Tommy Collins    Marty Robbins    Carl Smith    Del Wood    Faron Young
1952 Goldie Hill    Sonny James    Jean Shepard    Charlie Walker
1953 Floyd Cramer    Skeeter Davis    Roy Drusky    Ferlin Husky    Billie Jo Spears
1954 Roy Clark    Wanda Jackson    Wynn Stewart    Porter Wagoner
1955 Patsy Cline    Hank Cochran    Simon Crum    George Jones    Bobby Lord    Marvin Rainwater    Jerry Reed
1956 George Hamilton IV    Willie Nelson    Buck Owens    Conway Twitty
1957 Bill Anderson    Jan Howard    Kenny Rogers    Mel Tillis
1958 Glen Campbell    Mickey Gilley    Claude Gray    Charley Pride
1959 Bobby Bare    Norma Jean    Waylon Jennings    Dolly Parton
1960 Ernest Ashworth    Loretta Lynn    Johnny Paycheck    Charlie Rich    Dottie West
1961 Charlie Daniels    Charlie McCoy
1962 Merle Haggard
1963 Ronnie Milsap    Don Williams
1964 Jack Greene    Eddie Rabbitt    Connie Smith    Statler Brothers    Hank Williams Jr.
1965 Tommy Cash    Jeannie Seely
1966 Jeannie C. Riley    Cal Smith    Tammy Wynnette
1967 Donna Fargo
1968 Barbara Fairchild    Gram Parsons
1969 Emmylou Harris

1936   I'm an Old Cowhand


  The three incipient branches of country western are bluegrass (not called that at its first), folk music, and early jazz, out of which its fourth major vein developed, that of "cowboy" swing, with which country western has been identified, notwithstanding later rock influence, ever since. This page is intended to list musicians releasing their first recordings before 1970.



Born in Jefferson, Texas, in 1883, some believe it was Vernon Dalhart who first recorded country music. Which aligns the origins of country western music with early jazz (demonstrated on a couple tracks below). Born Marion Try Slaughter, Dalhart worked as a cattle puncher until moving to New York to study opera at night while working in a piano warehouse by day. He changed his name to Dalhart upon appearing in Puccini's 'The Girl of the Golden West' about 1911. It was 1911 when Dalhart made his first known attempt to record for Edison. Dalhart first recorded for Columbia in 1916, 'Just a Word of Sympathy', below. He signed on to Edison Records in 1917, first issuing 'Can't You Hear Me Calling Caroline?' (unfound). In 1925 Dalhart released 'The Prisoner's Song', which popularity convinced him to continue recording country songs. He soon began working with Carson Robison, and later, Adelyne Hood. Dalhart died in 1948 of heart attack.

Vernon Dalhart   1916

   Just a Word of Sympathy

Vernon Dalhart   1918

   Alice I'm In Wonderland

Vernon Dalhart   1919

   Til We Meet Again

Vernon Dalhart   1921

   Tuck Me to Sleep in My Old Tucky Home

Vernon Dalhart   1924

   Wreck of the Old 97

Vernon Dalhart   1925

   Ballad of Jesse James

   Death of Floyd Collins

   The Prisoner's Song

   Wreck of the Shenandoah

Vernon Dalhart   1928

   The Pardon That Came Too Late

   When The Sun Goes Down Again

   Little Green Valley

Vernon Dalhart   1929

   Calamity Jane

   With Adelyne Hood


Birth of Country Western: Vernon Dalhart

Vernon Dalhart

Source: Don't Stay Up Too Late

Birth of Country Western: Carson Robison

Carson Robison

Source: Pittsburg State University

Born in 1890 in Oswego, Kansas, it was 1924 when Carson Robison went to New York City and made his first recordings with Victor Records. (One is reminded of the funny Pace Picante commercials: "This stuff's made in New York City?!") He worked for a time with Vernon Dalhart, his first unissued recording with Dalhart on June 25, 1924: 'Hey! Hey! and Hee! Hee!'. That was with the International Novelty Orchestra with which Robison would first issue for Victor from a session on August 8: 'It Ain't Gonna Rain No Mo'', 'Go Long, Mule' and 'Boll Weevil Blues'. 'Hey! Hey! and Hee! Hee!' would be recorded again to issue on August 22. Robison formed his Buckaroos in 1932 (Buck Owens, below, in 1963). He later went on to form the Pleasant Valley Boys. Alike Dalhart above, tracks below demonstrate the origins of country western music arising out of a relationship between early jazz and folk music. (Something in the spirit of a country-jazz fusion, 76 years of 'I'm an Old Cowhand' is featured toward the bottom of this page.) Robison died in New York in 1957.

Carson Robison   1925

   Way Down Home

      With Gene Austin

Carson Robison   1927

   Shine On Harvest Moon

      With Vernon Dalhart

Carson Robison   1928

   Moonlight On Colorado

      With Bud Billings

   Oh Dem Golden Slippers

      With Vernon Dalhart

   Steamboat (Keep Rockin')

Carson Robison   1930

   By the Old Oak Tree

Carson Robison   1932

   Prairie Town

Carson Robison   1933

   Settin' By the River

Carson Robison   1936?

   I'm An Old Cowhand

      Original composition: Johnny Mercer 1936

Carson Robison   1942

   Turkey In the Straw



Carl Sprague is among country western's first cowboys. After World War I, during which he served in France, he acquired a degree in animal husbandry in 1922 from Texas A&M. While working as an athletic trainer at A&M he formed a band called the Campus Cats. His first recording, 'When the Work's All Done This Fall' ('Bad Companions' flip side), was among nine others that he recorded for Victor in 1925, selling 900,000 copies and establishing his fame as "the singing cowboy." Howsoever, Sprague's pursuit of music was more a hobby than profession. After leaving employment at Texas A&M he operated a gas station and grocery store, joined the Army a second time during World War II (later achieving the rank of major), then became an insurance salesman before resurrecting his career during the folk revival of the sixties. Sprague died in Bryan, Texas, in 1979.

Carl Sprague   1925  

   When the Work's All Done This Fall

Carl Sprague   1926

   O Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie

Carl Sprague   1927  

   The Cowboy


Birth of Country Western: Carl Sprague

Carl Sprague

Source: Find a Grave


  Born Francis Luther Crow, on a farm in Kansas in 1899, Frank Luther (aka Bud Billings) was a pianist better known as both a country and jazz vocalist. Luther began his professional career at age 16 as a tenor in a traveling quartet called the Meistersingers. In 1926 he joined a group called the DeReszke Singers, changing his name from Crow to Luther and touring with Will Rogers. In 1927 he joined the Revelers, then made his debut recordings on September 30, 1927 with Cass Hagan for Columbia: 'Broadway' and 'Manhattan Mary'. More jazz recordings would follow, leading to country sessions in 1928 with Carson Robison ('Steamboat' and 'There's a Whipporwhill a Calling'). Luther had a thing about putting nursery rhymes to music, one example, 'Little Red Hen', below. Luther died in NYC in 1980. More about Luther in Early Jazz 2.

Frank Luther   1928

   Barbara Allen

      With the Pards

   The Bum Song

      With Carson Robison


      With Carson Robison

   The Wreck Of Number 9

      With Carson Robison

Frank Luther   1929

   Old Dan Tucker

      With the Pards

Frank Luther   1930

   By the Old Oak Tree

      With Carson Robison

   Moonlight On The Colorado

      With Carson Robison

   When Your Hair Has Turned To Silver

      With Carson Robison

Frank Luther   1933

   When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain

      Original composition: Kate Smith   With Carson Robison

Frank Luther   1934

   Little Red Hen


Birth of Country Western: Frank Luther

Frank Luther

Source: Hillybilly Hearthrobs

Birth of Country Western: Jimmie Davis

Jimmie Davis

Source: Time Goes By

Born in 1899 in Louisiana, Jimmie Davis' master thesis in 1927 at Louisiana State University was 'Comparative Intelligence of Whites, Blacks and Mulattoes'. The next year he began teaching college while also working radio, also making his first recordings in 1928 (unfound). Davis was the "singing governor" of Louisiana, performing on campaigns and during his career as a politician. His solitary No. 1 song was 'There's a New Moon Over My Shoulder' in 1945. Releasing more than 40 albums during his career, a number of them were gospel, Davis a Baptist. He began appearing in films in 1942. His first term as governor of Louisiana commenced in 1944, his second in 1960. As a politician Davis was a segregationist. During his first term he established a state retirement system, funded more than $100,000,000 in public improvements and left a surplus of 35 million upon leaving office. During his second term he built the Sunshine Bridge, a new governor's mansion and the Toledo Bend Reservoir. He was inducted into the Country Western Music Hall of Fame in 1971. Davis is the 2nd longest living state governor in history, living to 101 years of age, plus 55 days, dying in 2000 in Baton Rouge. (The longest living governor to date is Albert Rosellini of Washington, who added 56 days upon his demise in 2011.) Davis' last recording was in 2000, a rendition of 'You Are My Sunshine', below.

Jimmie Davis   1930

   She's A Hum Dum Dinger

   A Woman's Blues

Jimmie Davis   1931

   The Davis Limited

Jimmie Davis   1932

   Red Nightgown Blues

   Tom Cat and Pussy Blues

Jimmie Davis   1940

   You Are My Sunshine

Jimmie Davis   1951

   Mansion Over The Hilltop

Jimmie Davis   2000

   You Are My Sunshine



Birth of Country Western: Gene Autry

Gene Autry

Source: Online Sheet Music


Country became "country western" due largely to Gene Autry in Hollywood. Born Orvon Grover Autry in 1907, Autry started working as a telegrapher for the railroad at age sixteen. He often sang and played guitar in the wee hours, which is said to have got him fired. But not before humorist Will Rogers heard him play and advised him to try breaking into radio. Whence he secured his first radio spot as "Oklahoma's Yodeling Cowboy" at a station in Tulsa in 1927. In 1929 he left for New York City and auditioned for Victor Records. His film debut occurred in 1935 with 'The Phantom Empire'. His first western followed the same year: 'Tumbling Tumbleweeds'. From 1942 onward Autry got involved in the rodeo business, supplying rodeo stock, which would later become the World Championship Rodeo Company. During World War II Autry served in the Air Force as a fighter pilot. In 1950 he began producing his own television broadcast, 'The Gene Autry Show', which ran six seasons. He retired as an entertainer in 1964 to become an investor in real estate, the entertainment industry and baseball. Autry died in 1998 of blood cancer.

Gene Autry   1929

   Waiting For a Train

Gene Autry   1939

   Back In the Saddle Again

   South of the Border

Gene Autry   1940

   El Rancho Grande

Gene Autry   1941

   Be Honest With Me

   Blueberry Hill

   You Are My Sunshine

Gene Autry   1942

   Deep In the Heart Of Texas

Gene Autry   1950

   Frosty the Snowman

   Pretty Mary

   Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

   Strawberry Roan

   There's Nothing Like a Good Old-Fashioned Hoedown



Born in 1905 near Kosse, Texas, fiddler Bob Wills ("King of Western Swing") is said to have first recorded a Bessie Smith (Blues 2) song in 1929 (unfound). He next recorded in 1932 with the Light Crust Doughboys (below, as the Fort Worth Doughboys). It was 1933 that he left the Doughboys to form the Texas Playboys. He released his first single with the Playboys in 1935 (one of those sides, 'Spanish Two Step', below). Wills' film debut occurred in 1940, costarring with Tex Ritter in 'Take Me Back To Oklahoma'. During World War II Wills joined the Army, then revived the Playboys upon medical discharge in 1943. He first appeared at the Grand Ole Opry in November of 1944 and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1968. He died in 1975 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Bob Wills   1935

   Spanish Two Step

Bob Wills   1938

   Ida Red

      Later Hollywood version

   Silver Bells

Bob Wills   1945

   Hang Your Head in Shame

   Texas Playboy Rag

Bob Wills   1946

   Roly Poly


Birth of Country Western: Bob Wills

Bob Wills

Source: News Channel 10

Birth of Country Western: Milton Brown

Milton Brown

Source: Discogs

Vocalist Milton Brown was an original member of the Light Crust Doughboys (below), first recording in 1932 as the Fort Worth Doughboys. He left that band the same year to form the Musical Brownies which played the Crystal Springs Dance Hall in Fort Worth from 1933 to 1936. Steel guitarist Robert Dunn joined the band in 1934. The Brownies released their first recordings for Decca in 1934. In the battle of the country swing bands it was Brown's Brownies that gave Bob Will's Texas Playboys the run for the money. Unfortunately, Brown was killed in April of 1936 when the car he was driving smashed into a telephone pole. 'Right or Wrong', below, was recorded six days before his death and released the following year.

Milton Brown   1934

   Where You Been So Long, Corrina ?

Milton Brown   1935

   Darktown Strutters Ball

   Going Up Brushy

Milton Brown   1936

   Keep a Knockin'

   Somebody's Been Using That Thing

Milton Brown   1937

   Right or Wrong


  Born one of thirteen children in Texas, guitarist and vocalist Bill Boyd first recorded in 1932, playing guitar with yodeler Jimmie Rodgers, two among those tracks below. Boyd formed the Cowboy Ramblers the same year. Between 1934 and 1951 he made more than 225 recordings with his band, the Cowboy Ramblers (none of the eight sides produced in 1934 found).

Bill Boyd   1932

   Hobo's Meditation

      With Jimmie Rodgers

   Roll Along, Kentucky Moon

      With Jimmie Rodgers

Bill Boyd   1935

   Under the Double Eagle

Bill Boyd   1936

   Wah Hoo!

Bill Boyd   1938


   New Spanish Two Step

Bill Boyd   1947

   I'm Writing a Letter to Heaven

   Monterrey Polka

   Palace in Dallas

   Pull Down the Shades and Lock the Door

   Southern Steel Guitar


Birth of Country Western: Bill Boyd

Bill Boyd

Source: Discogs



Born one of nine children in Nova Scotia in 1904, Canadian, Wilf Carter (Montana Slim), began his career performing for radio in 1930. Among his first 78 releases in 1932 were those below. Carter recorded his last album in 1988: 'What Ever Happened to All Those Years'. Loss of hearing prompted his retirement from the music business in 1992. He died in 1996 in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Wilf Carter   1932

   The Capture of Albert Johnson

   My Swiss Moonlight Lullaby

Wilf Carter   1934

   Cowboy Blues

   Hobos Song of the Mounties

Wilf Carter   1938

   Everybody's Been Some Mothers Darling


Birth of Country Western: Wilf Carter

Wilf Carter

Source: Steven Kovacik



  The Light Crust Doughboys were originally formed to advertise Light Crust Flour over the radio waves in 1931, which was the idea of its three original members needing employment: Bob Wills (fiddle), Milton Brown (vocal) and Herman Arnspiger (guitar). Vocalist Tommy Duncan replaced Milton Brown in 1932, then left in 1933 with Bob Wills to form the Texas Playboys. The band experienced a lot personnel changes, one of its more notable members being banjo player Marvin Montgomery who joined in 1935. The Light Crust Doughboys made their first recordings in 1932 as the Fort Worth Doughboys.

Light Crust Doughboys   1932

   Nancy Jane

      As the Fort Worth Doughboys

   Sunbonnet Sue

      As the Fort Worth Doughboys

Light Crust Doughboys   1933

   Roll Up The Carpet

Light Crust Doughboys   1936

   Five Foot Two

   Limehouse Blues

   Tiger Rag

Light Crust Doughboys   1938

   Baby, Give Me Some of That

Light Crust Doughboys   1939

   Beer Drinkin' Mama



Birth of Country Western: Elton Britt

Elton Britt

Source: Discogs

Born in Marshall, Arkansas, in 1913, the first documented recording by yodeler Elton Britt was for the Conqueror label in 1933. 'Swiss Yodel', below, was among them. Britt played the White House for the Roosevelts in 1942. He died in 1972 after recording more than 600 tracks and 60 albums.

Elton Britt   1933

   Swiss Yodel

Elton Britt   1942

   There's A Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere

Elton Britt   1946

   Rogue River Valley

   Someday (You'll Want Me To Want You)

Elton Britt   1955

   Uranium Fever

Elton Britt   1959

   Chime Bells



Born Clyde Julian Foley in Kentucky in 1910,  balladeer Red Foley released his first single, 'Life is Good Enough for Me' with 'Lonesome Cowboy' B side, in 1933 ('Life Is Good Enough For Me' unfound). In 1941 he appeared with Tex Ritter in the film, 'The Pioneers'. His second and final appearance in film was in 1966: 'Sing a Song, for Heaven's Sake'. Foley was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1967, the year before his death in '68. Selling more than 25 million records during his career, due to Foley's great skill country western gained stride as a musical genre that could be taken seriously.

Red Foley   1933

   The Lone Cowboy

Red Foley   1944

   Smoke On the Water

Red Foley   1947

   Never Trust a Woman

Red Foley   1950

   Cincinnati Dancing Pig

   Just a Closer Walk With Thee

   Steal Away

   Sugarfoot Rag

      With Hank Garland   Composition: Hank Garland

Red Foley   1951

   Peace In the Valley

Red Foley   1954

   One By One

      With Kitty Wells


Birth of Country Western: Red Foley

Red Foley

Source: Heavens Gates


Tex Ritter, another country musician strongly associated with Hollywood, first recorded in 1933 with 'Goodbye Ole Paint'. Born Woodward Maurice Ritter in Murvaul, Texas, in 1905, Ritter began his professional career in 1928, singing for KPRC radio in Houston. He moved to New York City the same year and landed a chorus role in the Broadway production of 'The New Moon'. In 1936 he moved to Los Angeles to appear in his first film, 'Song of the Gringo'. In 1952 he made his first tour of Europe. Ritter ran for office as a Republican Tennessee senator in 1970 but was defeated. His last recording was in 1974, a rendition of Gordon Sinclair's radio editorial, 'The Americans', shortly before his death the same year.

Tex Ritter   1933

   Goodbye Old Paint

Tex Ritter   1935

   Get Along Little Dogies

   Rye Whiskey

Tex Ritter   1936

   Rye Whiskey

      Film: 'Song of the Gringo'

Tex Ritter   1942

   Jingle, Jangle, Jingle

Tex Ritter   1944

   I´m Wastin´ My Tears On You

   There´s A New Moon Over My Shoulder

Tex Ritter   1945

   Jealous Heart

Tex Ritter   1948

   Deck of Cards

Tex Ritter   1952

   Do Not Forsake Me (The Ballad of High Noon)

      Film: 'High Noon'

Tex Ritter   1970

   Do Not Forsake Me (The Ballad of High Noon)

      'Dick Cavett Show'

Tex Ritter   1973

   Froggy Went A-Courtin'

Tex Ritter   1974

   The Americans


Birth of Country Western: Tex Ritter

Tex Ritter

Source: Berkman Blog


Birth of Country Western: Cecil Brower

Cecil Brower

Source: Wikipedia

Born in 1914 in Belleview, Texas, classically trained violinist Cecil Brower began his professional career in radio with the Southern Melody Boys, playing for WBAP and KTAT in Fort Worth. He majored in music at Texas Christian University and played for a brief time with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra before joining Milton Brown and his Musical Brownies in 1933. Upon Brown's death in 1936 Brower worked for WRR radio in Dallas, then began backing various musicians such as Bill Boyd, Bill Dunn and Bob Wills. He played in the jazz band of Ted Fio Rito before joining the Light Crust Doughboys in 1939. Brower served in the Coast Guard during World War II, after which he played with the Hi-Flyers. In 1947 he formed the Cowboy Band, which became the Kilocycle Cowboys the next year. Brower then continued a career of backing other musicians such as Leon McAuliffe, Al Dexter, Patsy Montana and Jimmy Dean. Brower died in 1965 of a perforated ulcer, only age fifty.

Cecil Brower   1934

   Where You Been So Long, Corrina ?

      With Milton Brown

Cecil Brower   1948

   Be Sure There's No Mistake

   Beer Barrel Polka

   Bill Cheatham/Draggin' the Bow

   Draggin' the Bow/Dill Pickle Rag

   I'll Step Aside

   Talk of the Town

      Piano: Frank Reneau



Birth of Country Western: Roy Rogers & Dale Evans

Roy Rogers & Dale Evans

Source: Jay Dean

Similar to Gene Autry, Roy Rogers enjoyed a huge Hollywood career. Like many of the country musicians on this page he got his start in radio. The Sons of the Pioneers, of which Rogers was a founding member for about four years, began to form in 1933. Among the first songs Rogers recorded with them was 'Tumbling Tumbleweeds' in 1934, after which he shot to the stars, appearing on film for the first time the next year. Rogers was rewarded with three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and was twice inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, first in 1980 for his work with the Sons of the Pioneers, next in 1988 for his solo contributions. He died in 1998 of heart failure. Included below is the famous theme song to the 'Roy Rogers Show', first going on air in 1951, written (also sung) by Rogers' second wife Dale Evans (Frances Octavia Smith).

Roy Rogers   1934

   Ridin' Home

   Swiss Yodel

   Tumbling Tumbleweeds

Roy Rogers   1935

   Over The Sante Fe Trail

   Westward Ho

   When I Leave This World Behind

   Ride, Ranger, Ride

Roy Rogers   1936

   When It's Night Time In Nevada

Roy Rogers   1937

   My Madonna of the Trail

Roy Rogers   1938

   Colorado Sunset

   That Pioneer Mother Of Mine

Roy Rogers   1939

   I Hope I'm Not Dreaming Again

   The Man In the Moon Is a Cowhand

   She's All Wet Now

Roy Rogers   1940

   Git Along Little Doggies

Roy Rogers   1947

   Cool Water

Roy Rogers   1951

   Happy Trails To You



Born Ruby Rose Blevins in Arkansas in 1908, Patsy Montana (Ruby Blevins) joined the Prairie Ramblers in 1933 to sing and yodel for radio. Her first recordings were likely in 1935 with the same group. Montana died in 1996 in, not Montana, but California.

Patsy Montana   1935

   I Wanna Be A Cowboy's Sweetheart

Patsy Montana   1936

   Give Me A Home In Montana

   Going Back to Old Montana

   The Wheel Of The Wagon Is Broken

Patsy Montana   1937

   I Only Want A Buddy Not A Sweetheart

Patsy Montana   1938

   Cowboy Rhythm

   Rodeo Sweetheart

   Shine On Rocky Mountain Moonlight

Patsy Montana   1939

   Back on Montana Plains


   The Moon Hangs Low (On The Ohio)

   That's Where The West Begins

Patsy Montana   1945

   A Soldier's Last Letter

Patsy Montana   1947

   If I Could Only Learn To Yodel

   Slap 'Er Down Agin Paw


Birth of Country Western: Patsy Montana

Patsy Montana

Source: Find a Grave


The Tennessee Ramblers, based in North Carolina, had little to do with Tennessee. (That was the bluegrass band by the same name, to be found in A Birth of Bluegrass Music.) Among the first of the country swing bands, they were formed in 1928 by mandolinist, Dick Hartman (b 1898). Original members of the group unidentified, they performed at radio stations like Pittsburg's KDKA. It's thought that Hartman had recruited Cecil Campbell (banjo/steel guitar), Kenneth Pappy Wolfe (fiddle) and Harry Blair (guitar/vocals) in 1932-33. Per Tony Russell's 'Country Music Records' (CMR) the Ramblers first recorded on January 3, 1935, in New York City, putting down twenty titles like 'When I Take My Vacation in Heaven'/'Silver Threads' (Bluebird 5796) and 'From the Palms of Hawaii'/'March of the Roses' (Bluebird 5962). CMR also has Jack Gillette in that session as likely on fiddle/vocals. A couple sessions worth 22 titles followed in August, adding Fred Happy Morris (guitar/vocals) to the roster: 'Mountain Dew Blues'/'Back to Old Smoky Mountain' (Bluebird 6105) and 'Rambler's Rag'/'Leechburg Polka' (Bluebird 6274), et al. Along with numerous titles in '36, some including fiddler, Elmer Warren, the Ramblers appeared in the film, 'Ride Ranger Ride', with Gene Autry. They were with Autry again in '37 in 'The Yodelin' Kid from Pine Ridge'. Hartman left the band in 1938. The group's next recordings on February 2 of 1939 consisted of Jack Gillette (leader), Cecil Campbell, Harry Blair and Tex Martin (Martin Shope - guitar/vocals). That session yielded four titles: 'Sugar Blues' (Bluebird 8062), 'Trumpet Talking Blues' (Bluebird 8081) and 'There's a Beautiful Home/'The Hills of Home' (Bluebird 8176). A session ensued in August, a few more in 1940 to yield such as 'I Love Hawaii'/'Oh Mary, Don't You Weep' (Bluebird 8941). The Ramblers then performed with Tex Ritter in the film, 'The Pioneers' in 1941. Gillette is thought to have led the band to 1946, Campbell then to take over lead. Praguefrank's shows the Ramblers recording to as late as 1970: 'Steel Guitar Blues'/'Mt. Dew Blues' (Winston 1006). Various compilations of the Tennessee Ramblers have been issued, such as 'Tennessee Ramblers Vol 2 The Jack Gillette Years 1939-46' and 'Steel Guitar Classics' (Country Classics 701) on an unidentified dates. Campbell, whose steel guitar was largely the main feature throughout the Ramblers' existence, continued performing until his death at age 78 (b March 22, 1911) on June 18, 1989, in Charlotte, North Carolina. Among Campbell's numerous compositions were 'Beaty Steel Blues' ('45), 'Steel Guitar Swing' ('50), 'Catawba River Blues' ('50), 'Steel Guitar Wiggle' ('51), 'Tennessee Steel Guitar' ('51), 'Money Can't Bring Happiness' ('63) and 'Campbell Steel March' ('63). Songwriting credits to some of the Ramblers' issues on 78 RPM. See also All Music. See also A Birth of Rock & Roll 7.

Tennessee Ramblers   1935

   Mountain Dew Blues

      From the film 'Ridin' the Cherokee Trail'

Tennessee Ramblers   1941


      From the film 'Ridin' the Cherokee Trail'

   Ol' Arkansas For Me/Arkansas Rag

      From the film 'Ridin' the Cherokee Trail'

      With Slim Andrews and Tex Ritter

Tennessee Ramblers   1950

   Spookie Boogie

      Composition: Dale Parker


Birth of Country Western: Tennessee Ramblers

Tennessee Ramblers

Source: Hillbilly Music

  Born in 1905 in Jacksonville, Texas, honky tonk musician Al Dexter cut his first grooved for ARC in 1936 with 'Honky Tonk Blues'. Dexter is usually ascribed to be the first musician to use the term "honky tonk." (The word appears in print as early as 1880 in the Dallas 'Morning News' and has meant a "dive" of poor quality since that period, where alcohol is served, whether with entertainment, food or prostitution.) Dexter was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1971. He died in 1984 in Lewisville, Texas.

Al Dexter   1936

   Honky Tonk Blues

Al Dexter   1942

   So Long Pal

   Too Late To Worry, Too Blue To Cry

Al Dexter   1943

   Pistol Packin' Mama

Al Dexter   1944


Al Dexter   1950

   Diddy Wah Boogie


Birth of Country Western: Al Dexter

Al Dexter

Birth of Country Western: Moon Mullican

Moon Mullican

Source: Joe's Beat

Pianist Moon Mullican worked in a variety of musical genres including blues, jazz and rock n roll. He began working clubs as a teenager in 1926 but didn't record until 1936 (that first release unfound). He came to national attention in 1939 upon recording 'Truck Driver's Blues' with the Texas Wanderers. ('Truck Driver Blues' is considered to be the first recorded trucking tune. Unfortunately it's been removed from YouTube.) Mullican later formed his own band, the Showboys, in 1945. Dying in 1967 in Beaumont, Texas, Mullican was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame posthumously in 1976. More Moon Mullican will be found in A Birth of Rock n Roll 2.

Moon Mullican   1940

   Pipeliner's Blues

Moon Mullican   1946

   New Jole Blon   (New Pretty Blonde)

Moon Mullican   1949

   I'll Sail My Ship Alone/Moon's Tune

Moon Mullican   1950

   Well, Oh Well



Born in Nova Scotia in 1914, Canadian Hank Snow made his first recordings in 1936, upon a brief period in radio. Snow left home at the age of twelve to work on a fishing schooner. Returning home four years later, he purchased his first guitar out of an Eaton catalogue for thirteen dollars. His first professional gig was in 1933 for CHNS radio in Nova Scotia, a Saturday radio program that he performed for free, but which led to further gigs in clubs and theatres. Snow left Canada for Nashville in in 1945, his first performance at the Grand Ole Opry occurring in 1950. His autobiography, 'The Hank Snow Story', was published in 1994. Snow sold more than eighty million albums during his career. He died in 1999 of heart failure. (More about the Grand Ole Opry under DeFord Bailey in Blues 2.)

Hank Snow   1936

   Lonesome Blue Yodel

   Prisoned Cowboy

Hank Snow   1950

   I'm Movin' On

Hank Snow   1962

   I've Been Everywhere

      Television performance


Birth of Country Western: Hank Snow

Hank Snow

Source: Bluegrass Cafe


Birth of Country Western: Ernest Tubb

Ernest Tubb

Source: Find a Grave

Originally a folk musician, Ernest Tubb first recorded as a result of visiting Jimmie Rodgers' widow, Carrie, for an autographed photo. (Rodgers had died of tuberculosis in 1933 at but age 35.) A friendship developed and Carrie helped Tubb acquire a contract with RCA to record a couple tributes to Jimmie in 1936 ('The Passing Of Jimmie Rodgers', below, and 'The Last Thoughts of Jimmie Rodgers', unfound). Neither song was popular, so Tubb and RCA parted ways. Tubb next landed a contract with Decca, which record label was more patient, as not until Tubb's sixth recording with Decca did he strike oil, exceeding 400,000 copies of 'Walking the Floor Over You'. He would perform at the Grand Ole Opry two years later (1943), the same year he put together his famous band, the Texas Troubadours. (One of the finest guitarists in the country music business, Leon Rhodes, also a Troubadours member, can be heard in selections of Tubb below.) Tubb died in Nashville in 1984.

Ernest Tubb   1936

   The Passing Of Jimmie Rodgers

Ernest Tubb   1940

   Blue-Eyed Elaine

Ernest Tubb   1946

   Drivin' Nails in my Coffin

   Filipino Baby

Ernest Tubb   1954

   Two Glasses, Joe

Ernest Tubb   1956

   Try Me One More Time

      Television performance

   Walking the Floor Over You

      Television performance

Ernest Tubb   1957

   So Doggone Lonesome

      Television performance

Ernest Tubb   1958

   Half a Mind

Ernest Tubb   1960

   Who Will Buy the Wine?

Ernest Tubb   1961

   Drivin' Nails in my Coffin

      Television performance

   I'm Walking The Floor Over You

      Television performance


  Vocalist Smokey Wood produced 16 recordings in 1937, half with his band called the Modern Mountaineers, the other with his band called the Wood Chips. They were not his last recordings but his music career thereafter was largely sporadic beyond touring the carnival circuit for twenty years, among other pursuits such as radio announcing, roaming, painting, running a flea market and cock fighting until his death in 1975. The top four tracks below are with the Mountaineers, the bottom with the Wood Chips.

Smokey Wood   1937

   Everybody's Truckin'

   Loud Mouth

   Who Calls You Sweet Mama Now?

   You Gotta Know How To Truck And Swing

   Keep On Truckin'


Birth of Country Western: Smokey Wood

Smokey Wood

Source: Keep Swinging


Birth of Country Western: Arthur Smith

Arthur Guitar Boogie Smith

Source: Discogs

Born in 1921 in Clinton, South Carolina, Arthur Guitar Boogie Smith [1, 2, 3, 4] is easy to confuse with the bluegrass musician, Fiddlin' Arthur Smith. This Arthur Smith planted his feet both in boogie boogie and country western, also recording popular music (which Fiddlin' Arthur didn't). Boogie woogie was the southern equivalent of ragtime, important at the roots of R&B and rock (thus Smith is listed in Fifties Rock as a precursor). Smith played cornet as a youth, forming a Dixieland combo with his brothers, Ralph and Sonny, which eventually shifted over to country music as Smith picked up other instruments like guitar. In 1938 when Smith was seventeen the Carolina Crackerjacks took a trip to Rock Hill to record four tracks at the Andrew Jackson Hotel. Praguefrank's dates those per September 26, 1938: 'I'm Going Back to Old Carolina' (Bluebird 8304), 'Old Santa Claus Is Leavin' Just Because' (Bluebird 8104), 'There Are No Disappointments in Heaven' (Bluebird 8376) and 'Your Soul Never Dies' (Bluebird 8376). Smith played mandolin and fiddle on those, accompanied by Sonny (guitar), Ralph (banjo) and Luke Tucker (bass). Smith otherwise began his career in radio, hiring onto WSPA in Spartanburg, South Carolina, in 1941. 1943 found Smith moving to Charlotte, NC, to work for WBT radio in its Briarhoppers band for the 'Carolina Barndance' program, likely with his Crackerjacks as well. He and his brothers joined the military per World War II, after which they returned to WBT where Smith hosted the 'Carolina Calling' program. Smith recorded his fist version of 'Guitar Boogie' (Super Disc 1004) circa September 1944 possibly in Washington DC. 45Worlds has that issued in September of '45 credited to the Rambler Trio featuring Arthur Smith. He also appeared on the flip, 'Beaty Steel Blues', by Cecil Campbell's Tennessee Ramblers. Also recorded by the Ramblers on that date were 'Each Night at Nine'/'Please Come Back to Me Daddy' (Super Disc 1005). Smith alighted at #9 on Billboard's Country chart in 1948 with 'Banjo Boogie'. That was followed in 1949 by 'Boomerang' and another version of 'Guitar Boogie' both reaching #8 [musicvf]. In 1951 WBT radio became WBTV television, the year Smith released his first LP on 10": 'Fingers on Fire'. In 1955 Smith partnered with banjo player, Don Reno, to record 'Feudin' Banjos', which tune was later used in the 1972 film, 'Deliverance'. Smith is otherwise best known as television host of 'The Arthur Smith Show' which ran for about thirty years. He also built a recording studio in Charlotte where he produced radio programs. Discogs has him leading or co-leading above twenty albums to 'Jumpin' Guitar' in 1985, several with the Cracker Jacks. Smith died in Charlotte on April 3, 2014, 2 days after his 93rd birthday. By which time he had copyrighted about 500 tunes. Among them were 'Mandolin Boogie' ('51), 'In Memory of Hank Williams' ('53), 'Guitar Boogie Twist' ('62), 'Philadelphia Guitar' ('63), 'Back to His Hole He Went' ('63), 'The Stuttering Song' ('63), 'I Like Lasses' ('64) and 'Flat Top Hari Kari' ('64). Smith wrote all titles below except as noted (* = undetermined).

Arthur Smith   1948


   Guitar Boogie

Arthur Smith   1951

   Fence Jumper

   Who Shot Willie

Arthur Smith   1953

   Be Bop Rag

Arthur Smith   1955

   Feudin' Banjos

      With Don Reno

Arthur Smith   1959

   Banjo Boogie

Arthur Smith   1961

   Travelin' Blues

Arthur Smith   1962

   Hospitality Blues

      Composition: Cecil Campbell

Arthur Smith   1963

   Tie My Hunting Dog Down

      Composition: Rolf Harris

Arthur Smith   1968




Birth of Country Western: Floyd Tillman

Floyd Tillman

Source: Alchetron

Born in Ryan, Oklahoma, in 1914, Floyd Tillman began his career in 1938 upon moving to San Antonio to play in various country swing and pop bands. He first recorded with a band called the Blue Ridge Playboys the same year. His final album, 'The Influence', was issued in 2003, the same year of his death in August.

Floyd Tillman   1938

   Gimme My Dime Back

Floyd Tillman   1939

   Don't Be Blue

Floyd Tillman   1941

   They Took The Stars Out Of Heaven

Floyd Tillman   1948

   I Love You So Much, It Hurts

Floyd Tillman   1952

   Just One More Time

Floyd Tillman   1957

   Floyd's Song

Floyd Tillman   1967

   All I've Got To Lose Is Everything

   I Reap What I Sow

Floyd Tillman   1981

   Half a House

      With Merle Haggard

   I Am Music

      With Merle Haggard



Born in 1914 in Arkansas, guitarist Jimmy Wakely formed a trio in 1937 with Johnny Bond and Scotty Harrell. His first recording, 'Cimarron Roll On', occurred two years later, as well as his first film role ('Saga Of Death Valley' starring Roy Rogers). Wakely died in 1982 of heart failure.

Jimmy Wakely   1939

   Cimarron Roll On

Jimmy Wakely   1940

   You Are My Sunshine

Jimmy Wakely   1948

   I'll Hold You In My Arms

   When It's Nighttime In Nevada

Jimmy Wakely   1949

   Slipping Around

      With Margaret Whiting

Jimmy Wakely   1951

   Beautiful Brown Eyes

   My Heart Cries For You


Birth of Country Western: Jimmy Wakely

Jimmy Wakely

Source: Find a Grave

Birth of Country Western: Spade Cooley

Spade Cooley

Source: Planet Barberella

Donnell Clyde Cooley in 1910 in Oklahoma, swing fiddler Spade Cooley could well hold his own, until something went unthinkably wrong. Cooley released his first recording, 'Tell Me Why', in 1941 (unfound). But, with a career that was nothing to despise behind him, Cooley murdered his wife in an exceedingly violent manner two decades later in 1961. He would die eight years later of heart attack after giving a concert on prison furlough, with one year left of prison time.

Spade Cooley   1945

   Shame On You

      Vocal: Tex Williams

Spade Cooley   1946

   Oklahoma Stomp

   Steel Guitar Rag

Spade Cooley   1947

   Three Way Boogie



Born in 1917 in Kentucky, Merle Travis, among the big dogs of guitar, could be listed in A Birth of Folk as well. He first recorded with Grandpa Jones in 1943, calling themselves the Sheppard Brothers (unfound). Not much later Travis joined the Marines for a brief period, after which he appeared in his first soundie in 1944 with Jimmy Wakely: 'Night Train to Memphis'. (Soundies were the forties version of the music video made so popular since the launch of MTV in August of 1981. 'Too Much Sugar for a Dime', below, is a soundie.) In 1974 Travis released the album, 'The Atkins - Travis Traveling Show', featuring duets with another of country's most esteemed guitarists, Chet Atkins. He died in 1983.

Merle Travis   1944

   It's Raining Here This Morning

      With Grandpa Jones

Merle Travis   1946

   Cincinnati Lou

   No Vacancy

Merle Travis   1947

   Dark As a Dungeon

   Divorce Me C.O.D.

   Nine Pound Hammer

Merle Travis   1951

   Lost John

   Too Much Sugar For a Dime


Merle Travis   1953

   Bayou Baby

Merle Travis   1956

   Blue Smoke

      Recorded 1955

Merle Travis   1958

   Goodbye My Bluebell

Merle Travis   1959

   Re-Enlistment Blues

Merle Travis   1968

   I'll See You In My Dreams


Birth of Country Western: Merle Travis

Merle Travis

Source: Unique Guitar

Birth of Country Western: Eddie Arnold

Eddy Arnold

Source: VK

Born in Henderson, Tennessee, in 1918, Eddy Arnold broadened the appeal of country western music, taking it into the popular genre. His mother gave him his first guitar when he was ten. His first recording in 1944, 'Mommy Please Stay Home With Me' went nowhere, but he released a number of chart makers during his career of sixty years. Arnold began playing professionally in 1934 at age 16, playing for WTJS radio in Jackson, Tennessee. His first performance with the Grand Ole Opry occurred in 1943. His first recordings were for RCA Victor in 1944. In 1952 he began hosting 'The Eddy Arnold Show'. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1966. By 1992 Arnold had sold more than 85 million records, and accumulated 145 weeks at the No. 1 spot on the charts. Arnold died in 2008 in a nursing home in Nashville.

Eddy Arnold   1944

   Mommy Please Stay Home With Me

Eddy Arnold   1946

   That's How Much I Love You

Eddy Arnold   1966

  Make the World Go Away

Eddy Arnold   1967

   Please Release Me and Let Me Go

Eddy Arnold   1971

   Welcome to My World


  Born on a ranch in 1920 near Wilcox, Arizona, Rex Allen first performed professionally with his father who played fiddle. Upon graduating from high school he toured as a rodeo rider while landing his first solo employment as a singer with a Phoenix radio station. In 1945 he headed for Chicago to join the National Barn Dance crew at WLS radio in Chicago. Landing his first recording contract in 1946, he debuted in his first film, 'Arizona Cowboy', in 1950. Allen died in 1999 in Tuscon, collapsing of a coronary on his driveway, after which his caretaker accidentally drove over him.

Rex Allen   1946

   Queen Of the Rodeo

Rex Allen   1949


Rex Allen   1951


   Sparrow In the Treetop

Rex Allen   1953

   Crying In the Chapel

Rex Allen   1961

   Marines, Let's Go

Rex Allen   1963

   Don't Go Near the Indians

Rex Allen   1964

   Tear After Tear

Rex Allen   1968

   Tiny Bubbles


Birth of Country Western: Rex Allen

Rex Allen

Source: Owens Valley History


Born Raymond LeRoy Clark in 1917, like many country western musicians yodeler Slim Clark began his career singing for radio, in 1936, at which he continued for a decade before releasing his first 78 records in 1946. By the time of his death in 2000, he had recorded above 50 78s, 40 45s and 50 albums. He was posthumously inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame the same year.

Slim Clark   1946

   Ding Dong Polka

   Little Old Sod Shanty

Slim Clark   1950

   You're My Darling

Slim Clark   1951


Slim Clark   1953

   My Sweet Little Bluebird Girl

Slim Clark   1959

   My Little Lady

Slim Clark   1962

   Sweet Betsy From Pike

Slim Clark   1965

   Yodelin' Cowboy


Birth of Country Western: Slim Clark

Slim Clark


Birth of Country Western: Lloyd Cowboy Copas

Lloyd Cowboy Copas

Source: The Pogues


Born in 1913 in Blue Creek, Ohio, (Lloyd) Cowboy Copas was performing on radio at the age of fourteen (about 1927). He got his big break at the Grand Ole Opry in 1943, then made his first recording, 'Filipino Baby', in 1946. Copas' career was cut short when in 1953 he died in a plane crash during severe weather over Tennessee. (More Cowboy Copas in A Birth of Rock & Roll.)

Cowboy Copas   1946

   Filipino Baby

Cowboy Copas   1947

   Three Strikes and You're Out

Cowboy Copas   1955

   Tragic Romance

Cowboy Copas   1961



  Henry Haynes and Kenneth Burns first met in 1936 at an audition for WMOX radio in Knoxville. They were both sixteen and began calling themselves Junior & Dude. They became known as Homer & Jethro when program director Lowell Blanchard forgot their names and quickly had make one up. In 1939 they began performing regular gigs for the Renfro Valley Barn Dance radio program in Kentucky. Each drafted during World War II, they got together again in 1945 to work for WLW radio in Cincinatti. They made their first recordings in 1946 for King Records. Fired WLW by new management in 1948, they then shifted to KWTO in Springfield, Missouri, which move was propitious, as they then met and performed with Chet Atkins as well as the Carter Family. Performing at KWTO also led to a contract with a major record label, RCA, in 1949, which was the thrust that made their name nation wide. As they were largely a comedy duo, their recordings that year with June Carter were apt, she the comedian of the Carter Sisters. But Homer & Jethro weren't a comedy act only: they were jazz musicians as well (see 'Take the 'A' Train', 1967, below). After Homer died of heart attack in 1971 Jethro attempted another duo with guitarist Ken Eidson but was unsuccessful. He then performed solo and with folk singer Steve Goodman until his death in 1989 of prostate cancer. Homer and Jethro were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001.

Homer & Jethro   1946

   Five Minutes More

   Rye Whiskey

Homer & Jethro   1947

   Ground Hog

   I'll Close My Eyes

   Over the Rainbow

Homer & Jethro   1949

   Baby It's Cold Outside

      With June Carter

   I Feel That Old Age Creeping On

   Tennessee Border No. 2

   The Wedding of Hillbilly Lilli

      With June Carter

Homer & Jethro   1953

   I'm Missing My Wifes Cooking

Homer & Jethro   1956

   I'm My Own Grandpaw

Homer & Jethro   1960

   The Battle of Kookamonga

   That's Good, That's Bad

Homer & Jethro   1967

   Take the 'A' Train

Homer & Jethro   1968

   I Taught Her Everything She Knows

Homer & Jethro   1971

   Nashville Cats

      'Johnny Cash Show'


Birth of Country Western: Homer & Jethro

Homer & Jethro

Photo: Jim Hilmar

Source: Public Library of Cincinnati

Birth of Country Western: Hank Thompson

Hank Thompson

Source: Dave's Diary

Born in Waco, Texas, in 1925, Hank Thompson was discharged from the navy in 1946. He didn't skip a beat with the successful release of his first recording the same year ('Whoa Sailor'). Selling more than 60 million records during his career, Thompson was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1989 and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1997. Thompson died in 2007 of lung cancer, about three weeks after his last performance in Waco, Texas.

Hank Thompson   1946

  California Women

   Whoa Sailor

Hank Thompson   1947

   My Starry-Eyed Texas Gal

Hank Thompson   1948

   Humpty Dumpty Heart

   I Find You Cheatin' On Me

   Second Hand Gal

   Yesterday's Mail

Hank Thompson   1949

   A Cat Has Nine Lives

   All That Goes Up Must Come Down

   Soft Lips

   Swing Wide Your Gate of Love

Hank Thompson   1950

   A Broken Heart and a Glass of Beer

   Daddy Blues

Hank Thompson   1951

   I Ain't Cryin' Over You

   I'll Be Your Sweetheart

Hank Thompson   1952

   Glow Worm

   Waiting in the Lobby of Your Heart

Hank Thompson   1953

   Breakin' The Rules

   A Fooler a Faker

   At the Rainbow's End

   Go Cry Your Heart Out

   I'll Sign My Heart Away

   No Help Wanted!

   Where My Sweet Baby Used to Walk

   Wake Up Irene

   When You're Lovin' You're Livin'

Hank Thompson   1954

   It Don't Hurt Anymore

   The New Green Light

Hank Thompson   1960

   A Six Pack to Go

   Those Oklahoma Hills

Hank Thompson   1964

   Wild Side of Life



Born in Alabama in 1923, honky tonk guitarist Hank Williams Sr. began working professionally in 1937, singing on WSFA radio in Montgomery for 15 dollars a week. While there he formed the earliest incarnations of his Drifting Cowboys in the latter thirties. Williams' first recordings were at Griffin's Radio Shop in Montgomery, AL. Mike Taylor begins his discography with 'Happy Roving Cowboy' possibly as early as 1939, that and other early nonissues eventually released in 1998 on 'The Complete Hank Williams'. Other sources put his first nonissues in the spring of '42 ('Hank Williams: The Biography' in 2009 and 'I Saw the Light' in 2015 by Colin Escott/George Merritt/William MacEwen; 'Family Tradition' by Sue Masino in 2011.) Other titles recorded the same day as 'Happy Roving Cowboy' were 'Rockin' Alone in an Old Rockin' Chair', 'Old Shep', 'Beneath That Lonely Mound of Clay', 'I Ain't Gonna Love You Anymore', 'Jesus Walked That Lonely Valley' and 'The Last Letter'. Williams' whole band was drafted into the Army in '42, his next band didn't shake and Williams began drinking to the point of being fired from WFSA in 1942. That put him in Mobile, helping build ships for the war effort, until he was rehired in 1945. In 1946 he landed a six-song contract with Fred Rose and made his first issued recordings on December 11, 1946 with a crew called the Country Boys: 'Calling You'/'Never Again (Will I Knock at Your Door)' (Sterling 201)and 'Wealth Won't Save Your Soul'/'When God Comes and Gathers His Jewels' (Sterling 204). Other titles issued in '47 included 'I Don't Care (If Tomorrow Never Comes)'/'My Love For You (Has Turned To Hate)' (Sterling 208), 'Honky Tonkin''/'Pan American' (Sterling 210) and 'Move It on Over'/'(Last Night). I Heard You Crying in Your Sleep'. The latter plate was his initial release for MGM with 'Move It On Over' alighting to Billboard's #4 spot in Country. Musicvf has Williams placing no less than 36 titles in the Country Top Ten to as late as 'Please Don't Let Me Love You' in 1955. Eleven of those visited the #1 tier:

   Lovesick Blues   1949
   Long Gone Lonesome Blues   1950
   Moanin' the Blues   1950
   Why Don't You Love Me   1950
   Cold, Cold Heart   1951
   Hey Good Lookin'   1951
   I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive   1952
   Jambalaya (On the Bayou)   1952
   Kaw-Liga   1953
   Take These Chains from My Heart   1953
   Your Cheatin' Heart   1953

Wiiliams' debut at the Grand Ole Opry in 1949 got him six encores. Joining WSM radio in Nashville, he became host of a show for Mother's Best Flour, acetates of which were made from January 10 of 1951 into spring of 1952 which surfaced in 2010 on Time Life's 'The Complete Mother's Best Recordings Plus!'. But stardom for Williams would pass in a flash. Taylor [discography above] has William's second to last session on September 23 of 1952, including such as 'Kaw-Liga', 'Your Cheatin' Heart' and 'Take These Chains from My Heart'. December 3 of 1952 witnessed 'The Log Train' gone unissued until 1981 on 'Country Western Classics' per Time Life TLCW-01/3. Later overdubbings of Williams' recordings were extensive, including by such as Chet Atkins as well as the Drifting Cowboys. William's brief adventure on Earth ceased upon his sudden death of heart failure in the back seat of his powder blue Cadillac on the way to give a concert in Virginia on January 1, 1953, he only 29 years of age. Williams was a composer and wrote most of his own material from such as 'Calling You' ('47) to 'I Ain't Got Nothin' But Time' ('54). He wrote all titles below. Other titles he composed. Other composers he covered.

Hank Williams Sr.   1947

   Calling You

   Honky Tonkin

   Wealth Won't Save Your Soul

Hank Williams Sr.   1947

   Move It On Over

Hank Williams Sr.   1952

   Honky Tonk Blues

   I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive

     Composition: Williams/Fred Rose

   Take These Chains from My Heart

   Your Cheatin' Heart


Birth of Country Western: Hank Williams

Hank Williams Sr.

Photo: The Tennessean

Source: MP3 XL


Birth of Country Western: Tex Williams

Tex Williams

Photo: Jim Halsey Artist Management Agency


Born in 1917 in Illinois, Sol Williams, to become Tex Williams, began his career on local radio by age thirteen. Upon graduating from high school he moved to Los Angeles to become an actor, securing his first role at age 23 (1940) in the film, 'Rollin' Home to Texas', starring Tex Ritter. Five years later Williams made his first recording, singing 'Shame On You' in Spade Cooley's band. The next year (1946) he formed his twelve-piece band, Western Caravan, 'California Polka' and 'Texas In My Soul' among his first name recordings. Williams died of pancreatic cancer in 1985.

Tex Williams   1945

   Shame On You

      With Spade Cooley

Tex Williams   1946

   Texas In My Soul

Tex Williams   1947

   Milkman Polka

   Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)

Tex Williams   1948

   Talking Boogie

Tex Williams   1954

   River of No Return

Tex Williams   1958

   Talking Boogie

      Television performance

Tex Williams   1966

   Between Today And Tomorrow

Tex Williams   1967

   Black Jack County

Tex Williams   1970

   It Ain't No Big Thing

Tex Williams   1972

   Everywhere I Go (He's Already Been There)


  Jack Anglin and Johnnie Wright began playing together in 1938, forming a band they would call the Tennessee Hillbillies (which included Wright's new wife, Kitty Wells, below) and largely touring radio stations until Anglin was drafted into the army in 1942. After the War and Anglin's release from active duty the pair formed another group successful enough to fill spots for Roy Acuff, as the Tennessee Mountain Boys, at the Grand Ole Opry in 1947. They also made their first recordings, as Johnnie & Jack, for Apollo Records in March of that year, 'Lord Watch O'er My Daddy' and 'There's No Housing Shortage in Heaven' among ten of them. Later that year (August) they would record six more tunes as the King's Sacred Quartette. It would take several more years for Johnnie & Jack to make a big splash as recording artists, but once they did they enjoyed more than a decade as a popular duo (backed by various ensembles which would  include young Chet Atkins) until Anglin's death in an auto accident in 1963.

Johnnie & Jack   1947

   I'll Be Listening

      As The King's Sacred Quartette

   Jole Blon

   The Old Country Church

      As The King's Sacred Quartette

   Sing Tom Kitty

   This World Can't Stand Long

      As The King's Sacred Quartette

   Turn Your Radio On

      As The King's Sacred Quartette

Johnnie & Jack   1951

   Ashes of Love

   Poison Love

Johnnie & Jack   1954

   I Get So Lonely

Johnnie & Jack   1956

   Tom Cat's Kitten

Johnnie & Jack   1957

   Baby I Need You


   Oh Boy, I Love Her

   Sweet Lies


   That's Why I'm Leavin'

Johnnie & Jack   1958

   Camel Walk Stroll/Stop the World and Let Me Off

      Recorded December 1957

   I Never Can Come Back to You

      Recorded December 1957

Johnnie Wright   1965

   Hello Vietnam

      With Kitty Wells


Birth of Country Western: Johnnie & Jack

Johnnie & Jack

Source: Flickr/78 RPM

Birth of Country Western: Minnie Pearl

Minnie Pearl

Source: Famous Fix

Born Sarah Ophelia Colley in Tennessee in 1912, comedian Minnie Pearl recorded her first single in 1947: 'In The Shadow Of The Pine' A side, 'On Top Of Old Smokey' B side. Pearl was a graduate of Ward-Belmont College (now Belmont University), having studied theater and dance. Her first profesional job in the music industry was as a producer and director for a traveling theater outfit, the Wayne P. Sewell Production Company. She first performed her hillbilly act on stage as Minnie Pearl, in her famous hat with dangling price tag of $1.98, in 1939 in Alken, South Carolina. Her first performance at the Grand Ole Opry followed in November the next year. Between 1953 and 1999 Pearl published six books. She was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1975. She was a mainstay at the Grand Ole Opry for five decades before a stroke in 1991 put her in a nursing home in Nashville, where she died five years later on March 4, 1996.

Minnie Pearl   1947

   In The Shadow Of The Pine

   On Top Of Old Smokey

Minnie Pearl   1954

   Papa Loves Mambo

      With Grandpa Jones

Minnie Pearl   1966

   Mother's Old Steel Thimble



Phenomenal jazz guitarist Hank Garland got his start in country music at age fourteen, joining Paul Howard's Georgia Cotton Pickers with whom he played at the Grand Ole Opry. Garland first recorded at age eighteen (1948: 'This Cold War With You' and 'I'll Never Slip Around Again', neither found). At age nineteen Garland's career got a major boost upon composing 'Sugarfoot Rag' and recording it with Red Foley for release in 1950 (under Red Foley above; an instrumental version by Garland below). Garland was a popular session guitarist, perhaps most notably with Elvis Presley. In 1961 he released a couple of jazz albums: 'Jazz Winds From a New Direction' and 'Velvet Guitar'. Among Garland's more important musical associations was Chet Atkins who, as one who would know, regarded Garland as the best guitarist ever to arrive at Nashville. In 1961 Garland's car left the highway near Springfield, Tennessee. The result was brain damage and inability to play his instrument. Though he spent years in the endeavor he wasn't able to attain to his former ability. He dropped away from the music industry, eventually settling in Orange Park, Florida. He died in 2004 of a staph infection. See A Birth of Modern Jazz 7 for more Hank Garland.

Hank Garland   1950

   I'm Movin' On

   Sugarfoot Rag

      With Red Foley


Birth of Country Western: Hank Garland

Hank Garland

Source: Jazz Wax


Birth of Country Western: Slim Whitman

Slim Whitman

Source: Oz Hitztory Blog

Born in Tampa, Florida, in 1923, yodeling guitarist Slim Whitman first recorded in 1948 with 'I'm Casting My Lasso Toward the Sky'. But it would take four more years for Whitman to release material that would put him on the charts. Whitman had served in the Navy in the South Pacific during World War II. Upon discharge he found employment at a Tampa shipyard while playing with a group called the Variety Rhythm Boys. It was impresario, Colonel Thomas Parker, who got Whitman signed with RCA upon hearing him on the radio. Whitman issued his last album, 'Twilight On the Trail', in 2010, three years before his death of heart failure in 2013.

Slim Whitman   1948

   I'm Casting My Lasso Toward the Sky

Slim Whitman   1952

   Indian Love Call

   Love Song Of the Waterfall

Slim Whitman   1953

   Secret Love

Slim Whitman   1956

   Tumbling Tumbleweeds

   You're The Only One

Slim Whitman   1958

   Too Tired to Care

Slim Whitman   1964

   Only You

Slim Whitman   1966

   I Remember You



Born in Bolt, West Virginia, in 1920, guitarist Little Jimmy Dickens began his career in radio in the thirties while a student at West Virginia University. Such worked out well enough to quit school and tour radio stations as Jimmy the Kid. More than a decade would pass before he landed his first recording contract in 1949. At the date of this writing (2012) Dickens yet performs at the Grand Ole Opry, and is its oldest living member since the death of Hank Locklin in 2009.

Little Jimmy Dickens   1949

   Asleepin' At the Foot Of the Bed

   Take an Old Cold Tater and Wait

Little Jimmy Dickens   1950

   Hillbilly Fever

Little Jimmy Dickens   1954

   Out Behind the Barn

Little Jimmy Dickens   1965

   May the Bird Of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose


Birth of Country Western: Little Jimmy Dickens

Little Jimmy Dickens

Source: Unique Guitar

Birth of Country Western: Don Gibson

Don Gibson

Source: Photo Features International

Born in Shelby, North Carolina, in 1928, among Don Gibson's first recordings in 1949 are 'Automatic Mama' and 'Cloudy Skies', below. Born to a poor sharecropping family, Gibson had quit school during second grade. It's said that he was both terribly shy and hated farming. He must have disliked farming more, as he began playing professionally for WOHS radio in Shelby at age sixteen, as part of duo with Curly Sisk. More band members were added, which group was called the Hi-Lighters, shortly before signing with Mercury Records, with which his first four recordings were 'Automatic Mama', 'I Love My Love', 'Cloudy Skies' and 'Why Am I So Lonely'. (All, unfortunately, been removed from YouTube.) In 1950 he formed the band, the King Cotton Kinfolks. Record sales weren't the best with that new ensemble, but working The Tennessee Barn Dance radio show kept his name in circulation until the recording of 'Sweet Dreams' in 1956 proved a major success and the carpet to numerous top singles over the years. Gibson was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1973, and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001. He passed away of natural causes on November 17, 2003.

Don Gibson   1949

   I Lost My Love/Cloudy Skies

Don Gibson   1951

   I Love No One But You/Carolina Breakdown

Don Gibson   1952

   We're Steppin' Out Tonite

Don Gibson   1953

   I Just Love the Way You Tell a Lie

Don Gibson   1954

   Ice Cold Heart/Selfish With Your Kisses

Don Gibson   1955

   The Road Of Life Alone

Don Gibson   1956


   I Ain't A-Studying You, Baby

   I Ain't Gonna Waste My Time

   Sweet Dreams

Don Gibson   1957

   Oh, Lonesome Me

Don Gibson   1958

   Blue Blue Day

   I Can't Stop Loving You

   Look Who's Blue/Give Myself A Party


   Too Soon

Don Gibson   1959

   Don't Tell Me Your Troubles

Don Gibson   1960

   A Legend In My Time

Don Gibson   1961

   Lonesome Number One

   Sea Of Heartbreak

Don Gibson   1963

   I Can't Stop Loving You

      Live with the Jordanaires

Don Gibson   1967

   Faded Love

Don Gibson   1973

   Touch the Morning

Don Gibson   1979

   I Can't Stop Loving You

      Live in Rotterdam



Birth of Country Western: Hank Locklin

Hank Locklin

Photo: RCA

Source: Discogs

Born in McLelland, Florida, in 1918, Hank Locklin was a honky tonk guitarist who released his first recordings in 1949. His first album, 'Foreign Love', was released in 1958. Enormously popular throughout the world, Locklin sold more than fifteen million records during his career. Locklin died March 8, 2009.

Hank Locklin   1949

   The Answer

   I Worship You

   Send Me the Pillow That You Dream On

Hank Locklin   1957

   Geisha Girl

Hank Locklin   1958

   Foreign Love


   It's a Little More Like Heaven

Hank Locklin   1960

   Please Help Me I'm Falling

Hank Locklin   1961

   From Here To There To You

   Happy Birthday to Me

Hank Locklin   1962

   Happy Journey

   Maple On the Hill

   Please Help Me I'm Falling

      Live performance

   Welcome Home Mr Blues

Hank Locklin   2007

   Please Help Me I'm Falling

      Live performance


  Born in 1924 in Waverly, Tennessee, crooner George Morgan worked local radio stations until his big break arrived in 1948 upon being hired for the Wheelin Jamboree show by WWVA in Wheeling, West Virginia, that leading to his first performance at the Grand Ole Opry the same year. Morgan released his first record in 1948, 'Candy Kisses'. Morgan died in 1975 of heart attack.

George Morgan   1949

   All I Need Is Some More Lovin'

   A Room Full of Roses

   Candy Kisses

George Morgan   1952


George Morgan   1957

   Can I Be Dreaming

George Morgan   1961

   Candy Kisses

      Live performance


Birth of Country Western: George Morgan

George Morgan

Source: Hillbilly Music



Born in West Monroe, Louisiana, in 1921, honky tonk guitarist Webb Pierce got his professional start in radio in 1947 with his wife Betty. They each pursued separate recording contracts in 1949 with 4 Star Records ('I Heard Her Call My Name', among their first recordings below), then got divorced in 1950. (More Webb Pierce to be found at A Birth of Rock and Roll 2.)

Webb Pierce   1949

   I Heard Her Call My Name

      Duet with Betty Pierce

Webb Pierce   1955

   I Don't Care

   If You Were Me

   In the Jailhouse Now

Webb Pierce   1956

   'Cause I Love You

Webb Pierce   1957

   Missing You

Webb Pierce   1958

   Lying Lips

   A New Love Affair

   Holiday For Love

   Poison Love

   True Love Never Dies

Webb Pierce   1961

   Sweet Lips

Webb Pierce   1963

   Love Love Love

Webb Pierce   1964

   My Love For You

Webb Pierce   1965

   I Don't Love you Anymore

Webb Pierce   1970

   Miss You

Webb Pierce   1971

   Tell Him That You Love Him


Birth of Country Western: Webb Pierce

Webb Pierce

Source: Martin Vintage Guitars

Birth of Country Western: Jim Reeves

Jim Reeves

Photo: Abbott Record Company

Source: Daiji World

Born in Galloway, Texas, in 1923, Jim Reeves expanded his country beginnings toward the popular genre much like Eddy Arnold. Reeves got his start in radio and was briefly a frontman in Moon Mullican's band before first recording in 1949 with 'My Heart Is Like a Welcome Mat'. Popular in Africa, in the early sixties Reeves released several albums in Afrikaans (spoken largely in Namibia and South Africa). His last recording, 'I'm a Hit Again', was in July 1964 a few days before his death. Recorded in the basement of his home, it wasn't issued. It is available now, however, on a double CD titled 'I'm a Hit Again'. Reeves died in July 1964 when the plane he was flying during a thunderstorm took a nosedive into the woods near Brentwood, Tennessee. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1967.

Jim Reeves   1949

   My Heart's Like a Welcome Mat

Jim Reeves   1961

   Tall Tales Short Tempers

Jim Reeves   1962

   Adios Amigos

   He'll Have to Go

   Welcome to My World

Jim Reeves   1965

   Have I Told You Lately That I Love You


  Born Woodrow Wilson Sovine in Charleston, West Virginia, in 1918, Red Sovine was noted for his songs about trucking. (The first country trucking tune is generally credited to Moon Mullican for 'Truck Driver's Blues' in 1939, removed from YouTube). Sovine's first professional engagement was for WWVA radio in Wheeling, West Virginia. He next joined a group called the Bailes Brothers before forming his own band, the Echo Valley Boys. Sovine's first recordings were issued in 1949. That same year he replaced Hank Williams Sr. on the Louisiana Hayride radio show (Williams moving to the Grand Ole Opry). Sovine died in 1980 when he crashed the van he was driving upon a heart attack.

Red Sovine   1949

   I'll Worry You Out Of My Mind

Red Sovine   1951

   Billy Goat Boogie

Red Sovine   1955

   Are You Mine?

      With Goldie Hill

Red Sovine   1965

   Giddy Up Go

Red Sovine   1966

   Bringing Mary Home

Red Sovine   1967

   Big Joe and Phantom 309

Red Sovine   1976

   Teddy Bear


Birth of Country Western: Red Sovine

Red Sovine

Source: Elvis - Original Artists

  Born in Ralls, Texas, in 1949, Billy Walker began his professional career at age 18 upon joining the Big D Jamboree radio show in Dallas. That same year he landed a recording contract with Capitol, issuing four records with that label, two in 1949 ('Headin' For Heartaches'/'You're Gonna Pay With a Broken Heart' followed by 'I'm Gonna Take My Heart'/'You Didn't Try and I Didn't Care') and two in 1950 ('Too Many Times'/'Dirt 'Neath Your Feet' followed by 'Alcohol Love'/'Last Kiss Is Sweetest'). Walker switched to Columbia in 1951. Though he recorded prolifically little of his early career in the fifties is to found at YouTube. Walker joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1960. He died in 2006 when a van he was driving veered off I-65 in Alabama.

Billy Walker   1951

   Beautiful Brown Eyes

Billy Walker   1952

   Anything Your Heart Desires

Billy Walker   1956


Billy Walker   1963

   Funny (How Time Slips Away)

Billy Walker   1965

   Cross the Brazos at Waco

      Television performance

Billy Walker   1966

   How Do You Ask

   It's Beginning to Hurt

Billy Walker   1967

   I Gotta Get Me Feeling Better

Billy Walker   1975

   Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song

Billy Walker   1976

   (Here I Am) Alone Again

Billy Walker   1989

   Charlie's Shoes/Tumblin' Tumbleweeds

      Live performance


Birth of Country Western: Billy Walker

Billy Walker

Source: Nash Country Weekly


Born in 1919 in Nashville, Ellen Deason married Johnnie Wright at age eighteen (1937) and became one of the trio, Johnnie Wright and the Harmony Girls, together with Wright's sister, Louise. In 1938 Wright met Jack Anglin (who married Louise) and the Tennessee Hillbillies were formed, about which time Deason assumed the stage name, Kitty Wells upon her husband's suggestion (from a folk song titled 'Sweet Kitty Wells'). Wells toured with the Hillbillies, most notably performing duets with Wright, for the next several years. Wells and Wright would remain married until Wright's death in 2011. Come the latter forties Wright and Anglin formed the duet, Johnnie & Jack, as Wells pursued a solo career. Wells is thought to have put down her first unissued tracks in latter 1948 at KWKH radio in Shreveport, Louisiana, with Anglin at guitar and Wright at bass with Ray Atkins (Dobro) and Paul Warren (fiddle). Numerous titles like 'White Dove' and 'Jesus Remembered Me' saw later issue variously by Bear Family ('94) and Golden Country ('78). Wells spread her first issued tracks on January 31 of 1949 in Atlanta with backing by Anglin and Wright (now guitar) and the rest of her Tennessee Mountain Boys consisting of Shot Jackson (steel), Clyde Beaum (mandolin), Charles Grean (bass) and Dorris Warren (fiddle) for 'Death at the Bar'/'Gathering Flowers for the Master's Bouquet' (RCA Victor 21 0032 '49) and 'Love or Hate'/'Don't Wait for the Last Minute to Pray' (RCA Victor 21 0085 '49). Her next crew on March 27, 1950, in Nashville remained the same excepting Ray Atkins (steel), Emory Martin (banjo) and Ernie Newton (bass) for 'How Far Is Heaven'/'My Mother' (RCA Victor 48 0384) and 'Make Up Your Mind'/'All Smiles Tonight' (RCA Victor 48 0333). That same date she supported Johnnie & Jack on such as 'Shout'/'Too Far from God' (RCA Victor 48 0323). Come May 3 of 1952 Wells spread along four songs including 'It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels'. Being banned by numerous radio stations likely helped that rise to #1 on Billboard's Country and sell more than 800,000 copies. Wells dominated the charts with 28 Top Ten titles to as late as 'You Don't Hear' in 1965. One of these was 'Heartbreak USA' finding #1 in 1961. 45cat has Wells' first issue with Red Foley in 1954 per 'One By One'/'I'm a Stranger in My Home' (Decca 9 29065). Foley and Wells would record several duets together in the fifties. In 1956 Wells became the first female country singer to release an LP: 'Kitty Wells' Country Hit Parade', a compilation of previously released material. Her first studio album followed the next year with 'Winner of Your Heart'. 1967 saw the issue of 'Together Again', a string of duets with Foley. Her last Top 40 was in 1968 with 'My Big Truck Drivin' Man' reaching #35. Upon announcing their retirement, she and husband, Johnnie Wright, gave their last performance in 2000 at the Nashville Nightlife Theater. Johnnie died on September 27, 2011. Wells followed on July 16 of 2012 by stroke in Madison, Tennessee. Songwriting credits for titles recorded by Wells.

Kitty Wells   1949

   Death at the Bar

   Don't Wait the Last Minute to Pray

Kitty Wells   1952

   It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels

     Composition: J.D. Miller

Kitty Wells   1955

   Make Believe

      With Red Foley

     Composition: Billy Walker/Jerry Hamilton

Kitty Wells   1966

   Meanwhile, Down At Joe's

     Composition: Harlan Howard

Kitty Wells   1968

   My Big Truck Drivin' Man

     Composition: Hank Mills

Kitty Wells   1992

   How Far Is Heaven

     Composition: Jimmie Davis/Tillman Franks


Birth of Country Western: Kitty Wells

Kitty Wells

Source: NPR


Birth of Country Western: Lefty Frizzell

Lefty Frizzell

Source: repeaTube

Born William Orville Frizzell in 1928 in Texas, it was 1950 when Lefty Frizzell released his first single ('If You've Got the Money I've Got the Time' with 'I Love You In a Thousand Ways' B side). It was the same year he first took the stage at the Grand Ole Opry. Like his father, Frizzell worked the oilfields, but not for long: at the age of nineteen he was playing nightclubs and had a half-hour radio show when Don Law saw him perform at a club in Big Spring and signed him to Columbia Records. In 1951 Frizzell had four songs on the country top ten at once. (Only the Beatles have repeated such, placing five in the top ten in 1964.) Frizzell was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972. He died in 1975 of stroke and was posthumously inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1982.

Lefty Frizzell   1950

   If You've Got the Money I've Got the Time

Lefty Frizzell   1951

   Always Late With Your Kisses

   Blue Yodel No. 6

   Brakeman's Blues

   Mom and Dad's Waltz

Lefty Frizzell   1952

   Don't Stay Away

   I Love You (Though You're No Good)

   I'm an Old Man

Lefty Frizzell   1953

   I'll Try

   The Darkest Moments

   Then I'll Come Back to You

   Two Friends of Mine

Lefty Frizzell   1954

   Run 'Em Off

Lefty Frizzell   1955

   Today Is That Tomorrow (I Dreamed Of Yesterday)

Lefty Frizzell   1956

   Sweet Lies

Lefty Frizzell   1957

   Time Out For the Blues

Lefty Frizzell   1958

   And Gone She's Gonna Be from Now On

   If You're Ever Lonely Darling

Lefty Frizzell   1959

   I Love You In a Thousand Ways

   Long Black Veil

Lefty Frizzell   1963

   Saginaw, Michigan

Lefty Frizzell   1984

   My Baby's Just Like Money

      Recorded 1951



Birth of Country Western: Grady Martin

Grady Martin

Source: Country Shack


Born in 1929 in Chapel Hill, Tennessee, phenomenal jazz guitarist Thomas Grady Martin was also a country western musician who liked to work in both genres. Martin got his professional break early, performing regularly for WLAC radio in Nashville at age fifteen. Several years later in '49 he joined Red Foley on 'Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy' for release in January of 1950. In 1951 Martin put together a band called the Slew Foot Five and made his first recordings as a leader that year ('Bully Of the Town', below, among them). The early fifties saw sessions with such as Bing Crosby and Burl Ives, as well as recordings with his band now called the Winging Strings. During the latter fifties Martin became a Nashville A-Team session guitarist, thereat to participate in titles by such as Marty Robbins and Johnny Horton. In 1964 he contributed to jazz trombonist, Kai Winding's 'Modern Country'. Others employing his talents in '64 were Roy Orbison and Lefty Frizzell. 1966 found him on clarinetist, Pete Fountain's, 'Mood Indigo'. He appeared on Joan Baez' 'Any Day Now' in '68 and 'David's Album' in '69. In the seventies he worked with such as J J Cale, Sammi Smith, Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty and Kris Kristofferson. In 1978 Martin traded session work for the road to tour with Jerry Reed. He's also said to have joined Willie Nelson's band that year, with which he worked until retirement in 1994 for health reasons. In the meantime he'd supported the jazz group, the Four Freshmen, on 'Graduation Day' in 1982, then shifted back to country the next year on Merle Haggard's 'That's the Way Love Goes'. Martin died of heart attack in 2001 in Lewisburg, Tennessee, leaving a legacy of nearly 400 sessions. Most of the tenor sax on the recordings below is by Dutch McMillin. (See also Grady Martin Jazz and Grady Martin Rock.)

Grady Martin   1950

   Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy

      With Red Foley

Grady Martin   1951

   San Antonio Rose

Grady Martin   1952

   You Belong To Me

Grady Martin   1959

   El Paso

      Original composition: Marty Robbins



Born in Perryville, Texas, in 1926, guitarist Ray Price was yet another country musician who got his start performing on radio (KRBC in Abilene, Texas). Price's first recording in 1950 was 'Jealous Lies'. Price had served as a Marine in the Pacific during World War II. Upon discharge from service he returned to college with aspiration to become a veterinarian, but also sang at various gigs in Abilene. His first spots on radio were in 1948, singing for 'Hillbilly Circus', broadcast from KRBC in Abilene. Upon the death of Hank Williams Sr. in January 1953 Price took over management of William's honky tonk band, the Drifting Cowboys, then formed his own group, the Cherokee Cowboys, later that year. Price died of pancreatic cancer in 2013. His last recording sessions were released posthumously on an album titled, 'Beauty Is… The Final Sessions', issued in 2014.

Ray Price   1950

   Jealous Lies

Ray Price   1951

   Heart Over Mind

   I Saw My Castles Fall Today

Ray Price   1954

   Release Me

Ray Price   1956

   Crazy Arms

      Live at the Grand Ole Oprey

Ray Price   1963

   Make the World Go Away

      Original composition: 1960 by Hank Cochran


Birth of Country Western: Ray Price

Ray Price

Source: Way to Famous


  Along with Wynn Stewart, Tommy Collins became known in West Coast country for the Bakersfield sound. Born Leonard Sipes near Oklahoma City in 1930, Tommy Collins first recorded with his band, the Rhythm Okies, in 1951 for the Morgan label: 'Campus Boogie', 'Too Beautiful To Cry', 'Smooth Sailin'' and 'Fool's Gold'. He then left Oklahoma City for Bakersfield, where he met Ferlin Husky who was a Bakersfield dj and helped him gain a contract with Capitol Records. It was at Capitol where Sipes changed his name to Tommy Collins (after the cocktail). His first sessions at Capitol in June 1953 resulted in 'You Gotta Have a License', 'Let Me Love You', 'There will Be No Other' and 'I Love You More and More Each Day'. His second session in September came to 'Boob-I-Lak', 'You Better Not Do That', 'I Always Get a Souvenir' and 'High On a Hill Top'. In 1960 Collins retired from the music industry to study theology and become a pastor. But in 1963 he was back in the business, switching to Columbia in 1965. Collins died March 14, 2000.

Tommy Collins   1951

   Campus Boogie

   Too Beautiful To Cry

   Fool's Gold

   There'll Be No Other

Tommy Collins   1955


   I Always Get A Souvenir

   Let Me Love You

Tommy Collins   1957

   Smooth Sailin'

Tommy Collins   1959

   This Is Tommy Collins


Tommy Collins   1966

   If You Can't Bite, Don't Growl

   You Better Not Do That

      Live on the 'Buck Owens Ranch Show'

Tommy Collins   1967

   Don't Wipe the Tears That You Cry


Birth of Country Western: Tommy Collins

Tommy Collins

Source: Rockin' Country Style


Birth of Country Western: Marty Robbins

Marty Robbins

Source: VK

Born in Glendale, Arizona, in 1925, Marty Robbins, who played both guitar and piano, began his musical career in Phoenix. He had taught himself guitar while in the Navy in the Solomon Islands during World War II. Upon discharge he played gigs in Phoenix, quickly acquiring his own radio show on KTYL. He then just as quickly acquired his own television show on KPHO. It was Little Jimmy Dickens, making a guest appearance on the latter, who gained Robbins his debut recording contract in 1951, releasing 'Love Me Or Leave Me Alone' (removed from YouTube). But Robbins didn't strike ore until 1959 with 'El Paso'. Robins' third and last song to top the charts at No. 1 was 'Don't Worry' in 1961. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1982. Robbins was also a race car driver, competing in 35 NASCAR races, finishing in the top ten six times. His last race was in 1982, a month before his death upon heart attack in December that year. More Marty Robbins in A Birth of Rock & Roll 2.

Marty Robbins   1952

   Crying 'Cause I Love You

   I'll Go On Alone

   I Wish Somebody Loved Me

   Love Me Or Leave Me Alone

   You're Breaking My Heart

Marty Robbins   1953

   It's A Long, Long Ride

Marty Robbins   1954

   Time Goes By/It's a Pity What Money Can Do

Marty Robbins   1955

   I Can't Quit (I've Gone Too Far)

   Time Goes By

      Television performance

Marty Robbins   1956

   At The End Of A Long Lonely Day

      Television performance

   A Castle In the Sky

      Television performance

   Don't Let Me Hang Around



      Television performance

   I Couldn't Keep From Crying

      Television performance

   Knee Deep In the Blues

   Lucky Lucky Someone Else

   Moanin' the Blues

   Mr. Teardrop

   Pretty Mama

      Television performance

   Pretty Words

      Television performance

   The Same Two Lips

   Singing the Blues

   Singing the Blues

      Television performance

   Time Goes By

      Television performance

Marty Robbins   1957

   Grown-Up Tears

   Please Don't Blame Me

   The Story of My Life

   A White Sport Coat and a Pink Carnation

Marty Robbins   1958

   Just Married

   Sittin' In a Treehouse

      With Ray Coniff

Marty Robbins   1959

   Battle of the Alamo

   Big Iron

   Cool Water

   El Paso

   Little Green Valley

   Running Gun

Marty Robbins   1960

   My Love

   Is There Any Chance

Marty Robbins   1961

   Don't Worry



Born in Tennessee in 1927, Carl Smith played in his first band at age fifteen, then landed a spot playing string bass on WROL radio a couple years later. Serving in the Navy between '44 and '47, Smith returned to WROL upon discharge from military duty, then moved to WSM in 1950. His first record releases were in 1951: 'Let's Live a Little' b/w 'Mr. Moon' and 'If Teardrops Were Pennies' b/w 'Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way'. In 1952 Smith married country singer June Carter. They divorced in 1957, the same year he married country singer Goldie Hill, with whom he remained until her death in 2005. Smith's fifth and final song to chart at No. 1 was 'Loose Talk' in 1955. Beyond music, Smith's second love was raising cutting horses for ranch and rodeo. He died in 2010 of natural causes.

Carl Smith   1951

   If Teardrops Were Pennies

   Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way

   Mr. Moon

Carl Smith   1955

   Loose Talk

Carl Smith   1958

   If Teardrops Were Pennies

Carl Smith   1975

   Deep Water

      Live Performance

Carl Smith   1995

   Loose Talk

      Live performance with Carlene Carter


Birth of Country Western: Carl Smith

Carl Smith

Source: Dave's Diary


Born Polly Adelaide Hendricks Hazelwood in 1920 in Nashville, pianist Del Wood first recorded with 'Down Yonder' in 1951, selling more than a million copies. She first performed at the Grand Ole Opry the next year. in 1968 she entertained troops in Vietnam via the Grand Ole Opry. Something of an anomaly in country western, Wood revived ragtime, out of which jazz developed some four decades earlier, in a country western context. Wood died of stroke in 1989.

Del Wood   1951

   Down Yonder

   Dreamy Eyes

Del Wood   1952

   Ragtime Melody


Del Wood   1961

   Lazy River

Del Wood   1962

   Blue Eagle Home

Del Wood   1986

   Are You From Dixie

      Live at the Grand Ole Opry

   Piano Roll Blues

      Live at the Grand Ole Opry


Birth of Country Western: Del Wood

Del Wood

Source: From the Vaults

  Born in Shreveport in 1932, Faron Young first recorded in 1951, six sides for the Pacemaker label which were then leased to Gotham Records. Gotham, however, botched the first release ('Hi-Tone Poppa' b/w 'Hot Rod Shotgun No. 2'), crediting it to Tillman Franks and his Rainbow Boys although it is Young who sang lead. Young moved to Capitol Records in 1952, but got drafted into the Army after recording 'Goin' Steady', resuming his career in 1954. His first film appearance occurred the following year: 'Hidden Guns'. His last tune to top the charts at No. 1 was in 1971 with 'It's Four In The Morning'. Young had a remarkable career, including the fiasco of spanking of a six-year old girl for spitting on him at a concert in Clarksville, West Virginia, in 1972. He toured widely in the United States and Europe until he came down with emphysema in the nineties. Depression from poor health is given as one of the factors for shooting himself in 1996, only 64 years of age.

Faron Young   1951

   Hi-Tone Poppa

      Erroneously labeled Tillman Franks

   Hot Rod Shotgun Boogie No. 2

      Erroneously labeled Tillman Franks

Faron Young   1952

   Goin' Steady

   I'm a Free Man Now

Faron Young   1956

   Sweet Dreams

      Television performance

Faron Young   1957

   Mansion Over The Hilltop

Faron Young   1961

   Hello Walls

      Television performance

Faron Young   1971

   It's Four In The Morning

Faron Young   1973

   Eleven Roses

Faron Young   1982

   He Stopped Loving Her Today


Birth of Country Western: Faron Young

Faron Young

Source: Jukka Joutsi

Birth of Country Western: Goldie Hill

Goldie Hill

Source: Saving Country Music

Born in Karnes City, Texas, in 1933, Goldie Hill's incentive as a child came from picking cotton. By the time she was a teenager she was ready to escape to country singing with her two brothers, Ken and Tommy, who had had the same idea and were now backing such as Johnny Horton, Hank Williams Sr. and Webb Pierce. Thus at age nineteen Hill's first professional employment as a musician arrived as a member of Tommy's band at the Louisiana Hayride radio show. She soon acquired a contract with Decca Records and released her first record in 1952: 'Why To Talk to My Heart' (unfound). Upon issuing the album, 'Country Gentleman's Lady', in 1968 Hill retired from the music industry. Having married Carl Smith in 1957, the two worked a horse ranch until her death in 2005 of cancer.

Goldie Hill   1952

   I Let the Stars Get In My Eyes

Goldie Hill   1954

   Looking Back To See

      With Ernest Tubb

   Make Love to Me

   Young at Heart

Goldie Hill   1955

   Ko Ko Mo

      With Red Sovine

Goldie Hill   1962

   According to My Heart

Goldie Hill   1968

   I'll Be There (If You Ever Want Me)

   There's Gotta Be More To Life (Than Lovin' A Man)

Goldie Hill   1969

   Sorry About That



Birth of Country Western: Sonny James

Sonny James

Source: Mental Itch

Born in Muscle Shoals, Alabama in 1929 as James Hugh Loden, guitarist and fiddler Sonny James began playing mandolin and singing on the radio at age four with his family (WMSD-AM). Though his family continued with radio not a few years, James was in high school when his parents decided to settle and run a clothing store. But James still had music in his head so he left for Memphis in 1950 and found employment with WHBQ radio. Yet not for long, as his National Guard unit was soon called to serve in Korea. Upon honorable discharge a year later James made his way to Nashville where Chet Atkins helped him obtain a contract with Capital Records, whence he changed his name from James Loden to Sonny James and released his first recordings the next year (1952). Of a total of 23 No. 1 songs, James' last was released in 1974: 'Is It Wrong (For Loving You)'.

Sonny James   1952

   Short Cut

   That's Me Without You

Sonny James   1956

   Young Love

Sonny James   1961


Sonny James   1965

   Young Love

      'Grand Ole Oprey'

Sonny James   1967

   It's the Little Things

   I'll Never Find Another You

Sonny James   1968

   Born to Be With You

Sonny James   1969

   Running Bear

   Since I Met You Baby

Sonny James   1971


      'Johnny Cash Show'

Sonny James   1972

   When the Snow Is On the Rose

Sonny James   1974

   Is It Wrong (For Loving You)



Birth of Country Western: Jean Shepard

Jean Shepard

Source: Bytes

Born Ollie Imogene Shepard in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, in 1933, Jean Shepard recorded her first single, 'Crying Steel Guitar Waltz', in 1952. Her debut album, 'Songs of a Love Affair', was recorded in 1955 for release in 1956. Shepard was inducted in to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2011.

Jean Shepard   1952

   Crying Steel Guitar Waltz

Jean Shepard   1953

   A Dear John Letter/(The Answer) Forgive Me John

      With Ferlin Husky

Jean Shepard   1954

   Two Whoops and a Holler

   Why Did You Wait

   You'll Come Crawlin'

Jean Shepard   1955

   Beautiful Lies

   I Thought Of You

   You're Calling Me Sweetheart Again

   You Sent Her an Orchid

Jean Shepard   1956

   I Married You For Love

   The Mysteries Of Life

   Over and Over

Jean Shepard   1958

   Have Heart, Will Love

   He's My Baby

   I'll Hold You In My Heart

   I Love You Because

   Jealous Heart



   You Can't Break The Chain Of Love

   You're Telling Me Sweet Lies Again

   You Win Again

   Mockin' Bird Hill

Jean Shepard   1960

   Lonely Little World

   Waltz Of the Angels

Jean Shepard   1966

   Heart We Did All We Could

   Many Happy Hangovers To You

Jean Shepard   1973

   Slippin' Away


  Born in 1926 in Copeville, Texas, Charlie Walker is thought to have made his first commercial recordings in 1952. It was 1943 when Walker joined Bill Boyd and the Cowboy Ramblers. The next year he joined the Army and took his first position as a disc jockey, in Tokyo for the American Forces Radio Network. Upon discharge from service he headed for San Antonio and became a disc jockey for KMAC radio, with which he remained for a decade. He cut his first grooves with Imperial in 1952, moved to Decca in 1954, then Columbia in 1958. He also recorded for Epic and Capitol. In the sixties Walker held an engagement at the Gold Nugget casino in Las Vegas for several years. He joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1967. Largely on the strength of his popularity at KMAC Walker was inducted into the Country Music DJ Hall of Fame in 1981. In 1985 he played the role of Cowboy Copas in the film, 'Sweet Dreams'. Walker died September 12, 2008.

Charlie Walker   1952

   Flaming Jewels

   I'm Looking for Another You

   Out Of My Arms

Charlie Walker   1956

   Only You, Only You

Charlie Walker   1958

   Pick Me Up On Your Way Down

Charlie Walker   1959

   Tell Her Lies and Feed Her Candy

Charlie Walker   1960

   I'd Go Anywhere

   Who Will Buy the Wine?

Charlie Walker   1965

   Wild As a Wildcat

Charlie Walker   1967

   Don't Squeeze My Sharmon

   I Wouldn't Take Her to a Dog Fight


Birth of Country Western: Charlie Walker

Charlie Walker

Source: Geezer Music


Born in 1933 in Shreveport, Louisiana, Floyd Cramer, pianist, released his first single in 1953 ('Dancin' Diane' A side with 'Little Brown Jug' B side). He released his first album, 'That Honky Tonk Piano' in 1957, one track from that below. The following year he released 'Hello Blues', tracks from which will be found at A Birth of Rock and Roll. His third album, 'Last Date', released in 1961, included the song, 'Last Date' released in 1960. Cramer was inducted into both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003. He was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2008. East Tennessee State University offers a Floyd Cramer Scholarship. Cramer died in 1997 of lung cancer.

Floyd Cramer   1953

   Dancin' Diane

   Little Brown Jug

Floyd Cramer   1957

   Tennessee Waltz

Floyd Cramer   1960

   Last Date


Birth of Country Western: Floyd Cramer

Floyd Cramer

Source: CMT

Birth of Country Western: Skeeter Davis

Skeeter Davis

Source: Peoples

Born Mary Frances Penick in Dry Ridge, Kentucky, in 1932, Skeeter Davis formed a trio in high school with Betty Jack Davis and Wanda Rose Rader called the Davis Sisters, which started performing professionally for WJR radio in Detroit. Wanda, unable to travel, was thus forced out, so the Davis Sisters continued as a duo. Their first recording session in Detroit in late 1952 resulted in eight unissued songs. But their second resulted in their first record releases in 1953, in session order: ' Jealous Love', 'Sorrow and Pain', 'Kaw-Liga' and 'Heartbreak Ahead'. Killed in an auto accident in 1953, Davis was replaced by her sister, Georgia. But that duo fared so poorly that Davis retired from the music business in 1956. (All tracks below through 1956 are the Davis Sisters.) Two years later, however, she revived her career, touring with Ernest Tubb and recording with Chet Atkins. She joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1959 (from which she was suspended for a year in 1973 upon criticizing the Nashville police for arresting a group of evangelists at a local mall). Davis published her autobiography, 'Bus Fare to Kentucky', in 1993 and toured internationally through the nineties. Her last appearance at the Grand Ole Opry was in 2002. She died in 2004 in Nashville of breast cancer.

Skeeter Davis   1953

   Heartbreak Ahead

   I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know

   I've Closed the Door

   Jealous Love


   Rag Mop

   Rock-A-Bye Boogie

   Sorrow and Pain

   You're Gone

   Come Back to Me

   Foggy Mountain Top

   Blues For Company

Skeeter Davis   1959

   Set Him Free

Skeeter Davis   1960

   Your Cheating Heart

Skeeter Davis   1961

   I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know

Skeeter Davis   1962

   The End of the World

   (I Can't Help You) I'm Falling Too

Skeeter Davis   1963

   The End of the World

   I'm Saving My Love

Skeeter Davis   1965

   The End of the World

   Lost to a Geisha Girl

Skeeter Davis   1966


Skeeter Davis   1967

   Do You Know My Jesus?

   It's Different Now

Skeeter Davis   1969

   I'm a Lover (Not a Fighter)

Skeeter Davis   1971

   Amazing Grace



Birth of Country Western: Roy Drusky

Roy Drusky

Source: Rocky 52


Born in Atlanta in 1930, crooner Roy Drusky first stepped on stage at the Grand Ole Opry in 1953, the same year he released his first recording, 'Such a Fool'. Drusky's last song to reach the Top 40 was 'A Satisfied Mind' in 1973. Drusky died in 2004 of lung cancer.

Roy Drusky   1953

   Such a Fool

Roy Drusky   1960

   Another (Just Like Me)

Roy Drusky   1965

   Second Hand Rose

   Yes, Mr. Peters

      With Priscilla Mitchell

Roy Drusky   1973

   A Satisfied Mind


  Born in Missouri in 1925, Ferlin Husky was supposed to be Furland Husky, but his name was misspelled on his birth certificate. Husky dropped out of eighth grade to go to St. Louis where he performed in honky tonks while driving trucks and working in a steel mill. World War II brought him five years in the Merchant Marine, after which he worked as a disc jockey in Missouri, then Bakersfield, California. Husky signed his first recording contract in 1953 with Capitol Records. One career wasn't enough, nor being both Furland and Ferlin, so he began recording in 1955 as comedian Simon Crum, which role he assumed, alongside his own, until 1963. Husky died of heart failure in 2011.

Ferlin Husky   1953

   A Dear John Letter/(The Answer) Forgive Me John

      With Jean Shepard

   Hank's Song

   Minni Ha Cha

Ferlin Husky   1954

   The Drunken Driver

   Eli the Camel

Ferlin Husky   1955

   Cuzz You're So Sweet

      As Simon Crum

   I Feel Better All Over

   I'll Baby Sit With You

Ferlin Husky   1956

   Bop Cat Bop

      As Simon Crum

Ferlin Husky   1957


Ferlin Husky   1958

   Stand Up, Sit Down, Shut Your Mouth

      As Simon Crum

Ferlin Husky   1959

   Country Music Is Here to Stay

      As Simon Crum

   My Reason For Living

Ferlin Husky   1960

   Enormity In Motion

      As Simon Crum

   Wings Of a Dove

Ferlin Husky   1965

   For a Minute There

Ferlin Husky   1967

   Once/Every Step of the Way

Ferlin Husky   1971

   Statue Of a Fool


Birth of Country Western: Ferlin Husky

Ferlin Husky

Source: Taste of Country

  Born in Beaumont, Texas, in 1937, Billie Jo Spears appeared on the Louisiana Hayride show at age thirteen, resulting in the recording of her first singles at age thirteen ('Too Old for Toys, Too Young for Boys' among them) as Billie Jo Moore. They aren't found at YouTube because they weren't released. She moved to Nashville in 1964 where she recorded for United Artists. But no information is found on the internet earlier than the 1966 issue of 'If That's What It Takes' b/w 'Not Enough of You to Go Around'. Spears released her last album in 2005, 'I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry', six years before her death in 2011 of cancer.

Billy Jo Spears   1966

   Not Enough of You to Go Around

Billy Jo Spears   1968

   Get Behind Me Satan and Push

Billy Jo Spears   1970

   Daddy, I Love You

Billy Jo Spears   1975

   Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song

   Blanket On the Ground

      Live performance

   What I've Got In Mind

Billy Jo Spears   1979


Billy Jo Spears   1986

   Blanket On the Ground

Billy Jo Spears   2009

   Blanket On the Ground

      Live with Philomena Begley


Birth of Country Western: Billie Jo Spears

Billy Jo Spears

Source: maniadb

Birth of Country Western: Roy Clark

Roy Clark

Source: Ranch Party Round Up

Born in 1933 in Virginia, guitarist Roy Clark made his first appearance at the Grand Ole Opry at age seventeen. He is thought to have first recorded as a session guitarist in 1953 (age 20). One session that year found him with Marvin Rainwater, backing Rainwater's promo recording of 'Heart's Hall Of Fame'. Clarke began releasing singles in 1954, 'Mysteries Of Life'/'Sugar Coated' his first. In 1955 he released 'Stepping Stones'/'The Day That I Found You' with his Western Wranglers for the Coral label. Clark released his first album, 'The Lightning Fingers Of Roy Clark', in 1962 (a televised version below). Clarke and Buck Owens would become hosts of the television show, 'Hee Haw', in 1969. He became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1987. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009. Clark continues to perform as of this writing, living in Tulsa, Oklahoma. More Roy Clark in A Birth of Rock & Roll 2.

Roy Clark   1962

   Texas Twist

      Live performance

   The Lightning Fingers Of Roy Clark

Roy Clark   1963

   The Tip Of My Fingers

Roy Clark   1966

   The Great Pretender

      Live performance

Roy Clark   1970

   Thank God and Greyhound

Roy Clark   1973

   Ghost Riders In The Sky

      Live on 'Hee Haw'

Roy Clark   1975

   Dueling Banjos

      Live with Buck Trent


      Live with Chet Atkins

Roy Clark   1987

   Orange Blossom Special

    Live performance

    Composition: Ervin Rouse

Roy Clark   1993

   Cold, Cold Heart

      Filmed live with Joe Pass


      Filmed live with Joe Pass

  Why Don't You Love Me

      Filmed live with Joe Pass

Roy Clark   2007

   Yesterday When I Was Young

      Live performance

Roy Clark   2011

   Ghost Riders In the Sky

      Live performance


  Born in 1937 in Maud, Oklahoma, Wanda Jackson ("Queen of Rockabilly") was eleven when she won a contest resulting in her own radio show for KPLR. Hank Thompson happened to hear her sing on her show and invited her to perform with his band, the Brazos Valley Boys, which led to her first recordings the same year. Upon graduating from high school she met Elvis Presley while touring, who advised her to focus on rockabilly. In 1965 Jackson began recording records in German until 1970. As of this writing Jackson's latest LP release was 'Unfinished Business' in 2012. More rockabilly by Wanda Jackson in A Birth of Rock & Roll 4.

Wanda Jackson   1954

   You Can't Have My Love

      With Billy Gray

Wanda Jackson   1956

   I Gotta Know

Wanda Jackson   1958

   I Gotta Know

     Live on the 'Western Ranch Party'


   Right Or Wrong

Wanda Jackson   1961

   Funnel Of Love

Wanda Jackson   1963

   Funny How Time Slips Away

Wanda Jackson   1966

   Jambalaya (On The Bayou)

   The Soldier's Last Letter

Wanda Jackson   1967

   Tears Will Be the Chaser For Your Wine

      Live at the Grand Ole Opry

Wanda Jackson   1969


      Live performance

Wanda Jackson   2011

   I Gotta Know

      Live performance


Birth of Country Western: Wanda Jackson

Wanda Jackson

Source: (Mes) Aventures


Birth of Country Western: Wynn Stewart

Wynn Stewart

Source: Discogs

Born in 1934 in Morrisville, Missouri, Wynn Stewart signed his first recording contract in 1954 with Intro Records, resulting in 'I've Waited a Lifetime' and 'Strolling'. He moved to Capitol in 1956. In the early sixties he played the Nashville Nevada casino in Las Vegas and hosted his own television show. During this time Merle Haggard was in his band. Along with Tommy Collins, Stewart became known for what would be called the Bakersfield sound of West Coast country. He died of heart attack in 1985.

Wynn Stewart   1954

   I've Waited a Lifetime

Wynn Stewart   1957

   Hold Back Tomorrow

Wynn Stewart   1958

   Long Black Cadillac

Wynn Stewart   1959

   Wishful Thinking

Wynn Stewart   1962

   Another Day Another Dollar



Wynn Stewart   1965


Wynn Stewart   1967

   Angels Don't Lie

   'Cause I Have You

Wynn Stewart   1968

   One More Memory

   Thousand Wonders

   Wishful Thinking

      Live on the 'Buck Owens Ranch Show'

Wynn Stewart   1970

   Wonder Could I Live There Anymore

Wynn Stewart   1976

   After the Storm



Born in West Plains, Missouri, in 1927, Porter Wagoner, guitarist, was a butcher in Springfield, Missouri, when he and his first band, the Blue Ridge Boys, began doing radio spots. He released his first single, 'Company's Coming' in 1954. Wagoner hosted his own television broadcast, 'The Porter Wagoner Show' from 1960 to 1981, with an average audience of three million at its height. He released his last album, 'Wagonmaster' in June 2007, several months before his death in October that year of lung cancer.

Porter Wagoner   1954

   Company's Coming

Porter Wagoner   1956

   Satisfied Mind

Porter Wagoner   1961

   Misery Loves Company

Porter Wagoner   1966

   Green, Green Grass Of Home

Porter Wagoner   1970

   Carroll County Accident

Porter Wagoner   1972

   Before I Met You

      Television performance with Dolly Parton


Birth of Country Western: Porter Wagoner

Porter Wagoner

Source: Found a Grave

Birth of Country Western: Patsy Cline

Patsy Cline

Source: Who Talking

Born in 1932 in Winchester, Virginia, Patsy Cline first recorded in 1955 with 'A Church, A Courtroom & Then Good-Bye'. She would become a huge country western star with melodies like 'Crazy'. Cline's first professional gig arrived in 1947, singing for WINC radio in Winchester, leading to nightclub engagements. What brought her to national attention was a 1956 appearance on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts. She joined the Grand Old Opry in 1960. Sadly, Cline's stellar career was sliced short in 1963 when she was killed in a plane crash in Tennessee, only thirty years of age. Among her last recordings that year was 'He Called Me Baby', released posthumously in 1964 on the album, 'That's How a Heartache Begins'. Cline was the first woman to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1973.

Patsy Cline   1955

   A Church, A Courtroom & Then Good-Bye

Patsy Cline   1957

   Too Many Secrets

   Walking After Midnight

Patsy Cline   1961


      Original composition: Willie Nelson

   I Fall to Pieces

      Original composition: Hank Cochran & Harlan Howard

Patsy Cline   1963

   If You've Got Leavin' On Your Mind

Patsy Cline   1964

   He Called Me Baby


  Songwriter Hank Cochran had a difficult time remaining stationary. Born in Isola, Mississippi, in 1935, upon his parents divorcing when he was nine years old Cochran followed his father to Memphis, Tennessee. He was soon placed in an orphanage, from which he ran away twice, so was sent to live with his grandparents in Greenville. He later hitchhiked to New Mexico with his uncle, Otis Cochran (who had taught him to play guitar), to work in the oil fields. While yet a teenager Cochran then returned to Mississippi, only to hitchhike to California to pick olives. It was in California where he met young Eddie Cochran. The pair formed a duo called the Cochran Brothers, despite that there was no familial connection between them, sharing the same last name by coincidence. 'Two Blue Singin' Stars' backed with 'Mr. Fiddle' are thought to be both Hank and Eddie's first record release in 1955. At age twenty-four Cochran stuck out his thumb again, heading for Hollywood, but ended up in Nashville where he began his stellar career as a songwriter. But one example is 'I Fall to Pieces' which he composed with Harlan Howard, made a gigantic success in 1960 by Patsy Cline. Cochran wrote 'Make the World Go Away' the same year, which Ray Price would release in 1963. All tracks below for years 1955 and 1956 are Hank and Eddie as the Cochran Brothers. (For more of rockabilly musician Eddie Cochran see Rock 4.)

Hank Cochran   1955

   Guilty Conscience

      Second Cochran Brothers release Side B

   Mr. Fiddle

      First Cochran Brothers release Side B

   Rockin' and Flyin'

   Your Tomorrows Never Come

      Second Cochran Brothers release Side A

   Two Blue Singin' Stars

      First Cochran Brothers release Side A

   Walkin' Stick Boogie

      With Jerry Capehart

Hank Cochran   1956

   Latch On

      With Jerry Capehart

   Slow Down

      With Jerry Capehart

   Tired & Sleepy/Fool's Paradise

Hank Cochran   1962

   Sally Was a Good Old Girl

Hank Cochran   1963

   A Good Country Song

Hank Cochran   1965

   Jeannie's Waiting

Hank Cochran   1980

   I'm Behind the Bottle

   Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground

      Original composition:  Willie Nelson

   He's Got You

   I Don't Do Windows

   Little Bitty Tear

      With Willie Nelson

   Make the World Go Away

      Original composition 1960


Birth of Country Western: Hank Cochran

Hank Cochran

Photo: Getty Images/Redferns

Source: The Guardian


Born in Aratoga, Texas, in 1931, guitarist George Jones had been, for a time, country western's bad boy with a lean for alcohol-inspired misbehavior. On the other hand, briefly after serving one tour with the Marine Corps he released 'Why Baby Why' (1955), and never worried how he'd pay the rent again. Jones was given his first guitar by hi father at the age of nine. He left home at age sixteen to begin singing for KTXJ radio in Jasper, Texas. His first record release was in 1954 with Starday Records: 'No Money In This Deal' b/w 'You're In My Heart'. Beginning with 'White Lightning' in 1959, Jones accumulated fourteen top spots on the charts through 1983, his last, 'I Always Get Lucky With You'. He died in April 2003 of respiratory failure.

George Jones   1954

   Don't Do This to Me

   Flame In My Heart

   For Sale Or Lease

   If You Were Mine

   I'm With the Wrong One

   Let Him Know

   You All Good Night

   You're Back Again

   You're In My Heart

George Jones   1955

   Just One More

   Why Baby Why

George Jones   1962

   She Thinks I Still Care

      Live performance

   White Lightning

      Live performance

George Jones   1980

   He Stopped Loving Her Today

      Live performance


Birth of Country Western: George Jones

George Jones

Photo: Webster & Associates

Source: Grace & Violence

Birth of Country Western: Bobby Lord

Bobby Lord

Source: Bagging Area

Born in Florida in 1934, Bobby Lord played concerts at dance halls in Tampa as a teenager. Upon graduation from high school Lord was invited host his own television show, 'The Bobby Lord Homefolks Show', while a freshman at the University of Tampa. He would also early appear on Paul Whiteman's 'TV Teen Club'. Lord's television connection would continue in 1956 with the 'Ozark Jubilee' television program, upon which last broadcast in 1960 Lord migrated to Nashville and joined the Grand Ole Opry, with which he would stay well over a decade. It was 1954 when Lord signed his first recording contract (Columbia), making his first release in 1955 with 'No More, No More, No More'. Much of Lord's music is a good example of country western with a sometimes honky tonk, sometimes rockabilly, lean. In 1969 he published the book, 'Hit the Glory Road'. Lord died in February of 2008 in Stuart, Florida.

Bobby Lord   1955

   I'm The Devil Who Made Her That Way

   No More, No More, No More

      Lord's first vinyl recording

   Sittin' Home Prayin' For Rain

Bobby Lord   1956

   Beautiful Baby

Bobby Lord   1961

   A Rose And a Thorn

Bobby Lord   1962

   (Remember Me) I'm the One That Loves You

      Live with Patsy Cline

Bobby Lord   1963

   Shopping Center


      Live with Patsy Cline

Bobby Lord   1970

   Wake Me Up Early In The Morning

   You and Me Against the World


Birth of Country Western: Marvin Rainwater

Marvin Rainwater

Source: Deep Roots
Born in Wichita, Kansas, in 1925, songwriter Marvin Rainwater pursued a blend of country and rockabilly. He studied classical piano as a child, not taking up guitar until he was in the Navy. His first promo singles are thought to have been recorded in 1953: 'I Gotta Go Get My Baby', 'Heart's Hall Of Fame' and 'Albino Stallion'. In 1955 he appeared on the Coral label with 'I Gotta Go Get My Baby'/'Daddy's Glad You Came Home'. ('I Gotta Go Get My Baby' was first covered by jazz singer, Teresa Brewer, earlier that year, who had considerably more success with it.) Rainwater began getting national exposure that year per numerous appearances on 'Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts' and 'Ozark Jubilee'. His initial release with MGM in 1955, his major label in the fifties, was 'Sticks And Stones'/'Albino (Pink-Eyed) Stallion'. By 1960 Rainwater had scored several gold records, his career thereafter troubled by stress to his vocal cords and throat cancer. He continued recording through the eighties, though with little of his former success. Rainwater died of heart failure in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 2013. Marvin Rainwater Rockabilly.

Marvin Rainwater   1955

  Daddy's Glad You Came Home

  I Gotta Go Get My Baby

  Tennessee Hound Dog Blues

Marvin Rainwater   1956

   Get Off The Stool

Marvin Rainwater   1957

   Gonna Find Me A Bluebird

  So You Think You've Got Troubles

Marvin Rainwater   1959

   The Pale Faced Indian

  Valley of the Moon



Birth of Country Western: Jerry Reed

Jerry Reed Hubbard

Source: Bluegrass Special

Born in Atlanta in 1937, phenomenal guitar picker Jerry Reed (Hubbard) recorded his first song, 'If the Good Lord's Willing and the Creek Don't Rise' in 1955 at age eighteen (unfound). He recorded another in 1955, unissued at the time, but below. Reed's marriage to Priscilla Mitchell in 1959 lasted to his death in 2008.

Jerry Reed   1955

   If the Good Lord's Willing and the Creek Don't Rise

   I'm Tired Of Playing Cupid

 Jerry Reed   1959

   Soldier's Joy

Jerry Reed   1969

   Another Puff

   Wayfaring Stranger

Jerry Reed   1970

   Ugly Woman

Jerry Reed   1973

   Lord, Mr. Ford

Jerry Reed   1975

   Jerry's Breakdown

      Live duet with Chet Atkins

Jerry Reed   1977

   Guitar Man

      Live performance

Jerry Reed   1982

   East Bound and Down

      Live performance



Birth of Country Western: George Hamilton IV

George Hamilton IV

Source: Metro Lyrics

Born in 1937 in North Carolina, George Hamilton IV was a student at the University of North Carolina when he released his first record in 1956: 'A Rose and a Baby Ruth' b/w 'If You Don't Know' Hamilton's early music was rock n roll oriented. But he became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1960. His most recently released album was in 2011: 'In The Heart Of Texas'. Find more of Hamilton's initial career as a rocker at A Birth of Rock n Roll 2.

George Hamilton IV   1956

   A Rose and a Baby Ruth

George Hamilton IV   1958

   I Know Where I'm Going

   Your Cheatin' Heart

George Hamilton IV   1960

   Before This Day Ends

George Hamilton IV   1963


George Hamilton IV   1966

   Early Morning Rain

George Hamilton IV   1970

   She's a Little Bit Country

George Hamilton IV   1979

   Wabash Cannonball

      With Lloyd Green & Billie Jo Spears

George Hamilton IV   1989

   Break My Mind



Birth of Country Western: Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson & worn axe, Trigger

Source: Eric Keyes

Notwithstanding several arrests for marijuana possession, the most trouble with the law Willie Nelson ever saw was an IRS matter, due as likely to complicated tax code as anything else, and though he is loved for his heart-moving melodies (such as 'Crazy' recorded by Patsy Cline), Nelson is another of country's "bad boys" associated with outlaw country music. Born in 1933, in Abbott, Texas, Nelson began performing professionally in honky tonks and taverns at age thirteen. Nelson made his first demo in 1953: ''When I've Sang My Last Hillbilly Song'/'The Storm Has Just Begun'. (Nelson's earliest recordings can be found on a CD titled 'It's Been Rough and Rocky Travelin'', issued in 2003.) He released his first recordings in 1956 while working for KVAN radio in Vancouver. In 1958, now with family, he moved to Houston and began selling songs. But he yet had to work day jobs, largely as a salesman, so he left for Nashville in 1960. Up to that point Nelson's life had been a war to make a career for himself in music. Incredibly, this enormous talent couldn't get anywhere but shifting from one place to next, seeming indefinitely. 'I've Been Everywhere' might have been written for Nelson only to step out the gate. But his tenacious move to Nashville resulted in the release of his debut album, with Liberty Records, 'And Then I Wrote', in 1962, followed the next year by 'Here's Willie Nelson'. He moved to his first major label, RCA Victor, in 1964, signed by Chet Atkins (vice president in charge of RCA's country division). Among Nelson's more notable collaborations was his partnership with Waylon Jennings, they releasing the album, 'Wanted! The Outlaws', in 1976. The two would later form the group, the Highwaymen, with Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson in 1985. Nelson appeared in his first film, 'The Electric Horseman', in 1979. In 1985 he helped rockers John Mellencamp and Neil Young put together Farm Aid, a series of concerts to benefit small farmers losing to corporate competition. (He presently co-chairs NORML [National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws] and has involved himself with a number of issues from animal welfare to gay rights.) Nelson published his first book, 'Willie: An Autobiography', in 1988. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1993.

Willie Nelson   1956

   Lumber Jack/No Place For Me

Willie Nelson   1962

   Touch Me


      With Shirley Collie

Willie Nelson   1973

   Whiskey River

Willie Nelson   1980

   Angel Flying Too Close To the Ground

   My Heros Have Always Been Cowboys

   On the Road Again

Willie Nelson   1982

   A Whiter Shade Of Pale

   You Were Always On My Mind

Willie Nelson   1984

   City of New Orleans

      Original composition: Steve Goodman

Willie Nelson   2002

   Let It Be Me

      Live with Sheryl Crow

Willie Nelson   2011

   On The Sunny Side Of The Street

      Duet with Tony Bennett



Born Alvis Edgar Owens Jr. in 1929 in Sherman, Texas, Buck Owens began his recording career in 1951 as a session guitarist for Capital Records in Hollywood. He released his first single in 1956 ('Down On the Corner of Love' with 'Right After the Dance' B side). The next year he experimented with the release of a rockabilly record ('Hot Dog') under the pseudonym Corky Jones before returning to country western and a stellar musical career. It was 1963 when Owens formed his group, the Buckaroos. (The original Buckaroos were the band of Carson Robison, above, put together in 1932). Owens died of heart attack in his sleep in 2006. His autobiography, 'Buck 'Em!', was published posthumously in 1913. Guitarist Don Rich plays fiddle on 'Orange Blossom Special' below.

Buck Owens   1956

   Down On the Corner of Love

   Right After the Dance

Buck Owens   1957

   Hot Dog

Buck Owens   1961

   Excuse Me (I Think I've Got a Heartache)

Buck Owens   1966

   I've Got a Tiger By the Tail

   Love's Gonna Live Here

   My Heart Skips a Beat

   Orange Blossom Special

      Fiddle: Don Rich

      Composition: Ervin Rouse

Buck Owens   1969

   A Happening In London Town

Buck Owens   1988

   Put a Quarter In the Jukebox

      Live performance

Buck Owens   1989

   Put a Quarter In the Jukebox


Birth of Country Western: Buck Owens

Buck Owens

Source: Start


Born in 1933 in Mississippi, Conway Twitty first recorded in 1956. He released his first album, 'Conway Twitty Sings' in 1958. Twitty pursued rock and roll for the first decade of his career. In 1965 he began releasing country songs, such as 'Truck Driving Man' (removed from YouTube, though a later version can be found). Twitty died in 1993. (Several of Twitty's earlier rock recordings, including his first, 'Just In Time', can be found at A Birth Of Rock n Roll 4.)

Conway Twitty   1966

   Guess My Eyes Were Bigger Than My Heart

   If You Were Mine to Lose

   Together Forever

   I Told My World To Go Away (And She Did)

Conway Twitty   1969

   Games People Play

Conway Twitty   1971

   Hello Darlin'

      Live performance

Conway Twitty   1973

   Baby's Gone

      Live performance

Conway Twitty   1974

   Country Bumpkin

      With Loretta Lynn

Conway Twitty   1975

   Don't Cry Joni

      With daughter Joni Lee Jenkins

Conway Twitty   1976

   She Gives It All To Me


Birth of Country Western: Conway Twitty

Conway Twitty

Source: Tunnel

Birth of Country Western: Bill Anderson

Bill Anderson

Source: KBOE

Born in 1937 in Columbia, North Carolina, Bill Anderson issued his first record, 'Take Me' b/w 'Empty Room', in 1957. He first appeared on the Grand Ole Opry in 1959, after which he moved to Nashville permanently in 1960 to join the Opry in 1961. In 1965 Anderson began his own television broadcast, 'The Bill Anderson Show', which ran nine seasons. Anderson's last song to reach the Top 10 was 'I Can't Wait Any Longer' in 1978. He published 'Whisperin' Bill - An Autobiography' in 1989. In 2001 Anderson was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. As of this writing Anderson yet hosts 'Bill Anderson Visits with the Legends', a radio show on Sirius XM begun in 2006.

Bill Anderson   1957

   Take Me

Bill Anderson   1959

   It's Not the End of Everything

Bill Anderson   1960

   No Man's Land

   Tip of My Fingers

Bill Anderson   1961

   Goodbye Cruel World

   Walk Out Backwards

Bill Anderson   1965

   From This Pen


Bill Anderson   1966

   I Love You Drops

      Live performance

Bill Anderson   1967

   For Loving You

      Live with Jan Howard at the Grand Ole Opry

Bill Anderson   1969

   My Life

Bill Anderson   1970

   Love Is a Sometimes Thing

Bill Anderson   1978

   I Can't Wait Any Longer

Bill Anderson   1982

   Laid Off

Bill Anderson   1987

   I Wonder If God Likes Country Music

      Live with Roy Acuff

Bill Anderson   2013

   Old Army Hat


  Born Lula Grace Johnson in 1932 in West Plains, Missouri, Jan Howard released her first record in 1957 with Wynn Stewart: 'Yankee Go Home'. Which was upon moving to Los Angeles and marrying songwriter Harlan Howard. Her debut television appearance was in 1960 on The Prince Albert Show, then Jubilee USA. (She didn't appear in films until 2002, 'Changing Hearts', with Faye Dunaway.) Among Howard's most important associations during her career were with Patsy Cline, Bill Anderson, Johnny Cash and Tammy Wynette.

Jan Howard   1957

   Yankee Go Home

      With Wynn Stewart

Jan Howard   1959

   The One You Slip Around With

Jan Howard   1960

   Many Dreams Ago

Jan Howard   1966

   Everone Loves a Lover

   Funny How Time Slips Away

   Bad Seed

   Tippy Toeing


Birth of Country Western: Jan Howard

Jan Howard

Source: Angry Country

Birth of Country Western: Kenny Rogers

Kenny Rogers

Source: Bill DeYoung

Born in 1938 in Houston, Kenny Rogers was more a popular singer strongly associated with country than a country singer. His debut recordings were in 1956 when he was first tenor of the Scholars, an R&B group led by Al Eisman. His first solo effort was 'That Crazy Feeling' in 1957. Rogers then joined the Bobby Doyle Trio. In 1966 he recorded 'Here's That Rainy Day' (unfound), then joined the New Christy Minstrels, which he reshaped into the First Edition in1967. Rogers went solo again upon the disbanding of the First Edition in 1976, releasing the album, 'Love Lifted Me', followed by 'Kenny Rogers'. Some of the bigger names with whom Rogers worked over the years were Dottie West, Kim Carnes, the Bee Gees and Dolly Parton. As of 2011, Rogers has issued 65 albums and sold over 165 million records. His memoir, 'Luck Or Something Like It', was published in 2012.

Kenny Rogers   1956

   Spin the Wheel/Rocky Road

      With the Scholars

Kenny Rogers   1957

   Eternally Yours/Kan-Gu-Wa

      With the Scholars

   I Didn't Want to Do It/Beloved

      With the Scholars

   That Crazy Feeling

      First release Side A

   We'll Always Have Each Other

      First release Side B

Kenny Rogers   1978

   We Love Each Other

       With Dottie West

Kenny Rogers   1979

   Let It Be Me

      With Dottie West

Kenny Rogers   1983

   I Will Always Love You

Kenny Rogers   1985

   We Got Tonight

      Live performance with Dolly Parton



Born in Dover, Florida, in 1932, guitarist Mel Tillis was a successful songwriter before he began performing, not recording until 1957. 'Juke Box Man', below, is among the four tunes he recorded that year. Among the bigger names with whom Tillis worked who wasn't particularly a country musician was Nancy Sinatra, releasing the LP, 'Mel and Nancy' in 1981. His autobiography, 'Stutterin' Boy', was published in 1984. In 2007 Tillis was inducted into both the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Mel Tillis   1957

   Case of the Blues

   Juke Box Man

   Take My Hand

      With Sherry Bryce

Mel Tillis   1958


   Lonely Street

   The Violet and a Rose

Mel Tillis   1960

   It's So Easy


Mel Tillis   1961

   Heart Over Mind

Mel Tillis   1962

   Holiday For Love

   I'm Tired

   Tupelo County Jail


Mel Tillis   1965


Mel Tillis   1966

   Mental Revenge

   Mr. Dropout

   I'm Tired

      Live with George Morgan

   You Are the Reason

Mel Tillis   1967

   At the Sight of You

   The Old Gang's Gone


      Live at the Grand Ole Opry

   Goodbye Wheeling

Mel Tillis   1968

   Am I Locking Someone In

   Another Bridge to Burn

   I Haven't Seen Mary In Years

   I've Lived So Fast and Hard

   Okeechobee Ocean

   Please Let Me Have You

Mel Tillis   1969

   Cover Mama's Flowers

   Crazy Arms

   Good Deal Lucille

   I'm Gonna Marry Nell

   Sorrow Overtakes the Wine

Mel Tillis   1970

   Heart Over Mind

   How You Drink the Wine

Mel Tillis   1972

   Neon Rose

Mel Tillis   1978

   Send Me Down To Tucson

Mel Tillis   1979

   Coca Cola Cowboy

Mel Tillis   1981

   Southern Rains

Mel Tillis   1984

   New Patches

   Slow Nights

      With Glen Campbell


Birth of Country Western: Mel Tillis

Mel Tillis

Source: Webulastic Logtastic

Birth of Country Western: Glen Campbell

Glen Campbell

Source: SecondHand Songs

Born near Delight, Arkansas, in 1936, guitarist Glen Campbell's first recordings in 1958 with the Glen-Aires, 'Dreams for Sale' and 'I Wonder', are unfound for this index. He next joined a group called the Champs, then recorded 'Winkie Doll' as Billy Dolton (unfound). His first solo releases, 'Valley Of Death' and 'Turn Around Look At Me' in 1961, after which he recorded with a group called the Gee Cees. He signed to his first major label, Capitol, in 1962. Seven years later his platter, 'By the Time I Get to Phoenix' ('67), won the 1969 Album of the Year Grammy Award. Campbell had begun appearing in films in 1965, perhaps most notably 'True Grit', with John Wayne, in 1969. It was also 1969 when Campbell began hosting his own television broadcast, 'The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour', which ran until June 1972. Campbell was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007. In 2011 Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, thus he took to the 'Goodbye Tour' in 2012, giving his last performance in November that year.

Glen Campbell   1961


   The Buzz Saw Twist

      With the Gee Cees

   Turn Around Look At Me

   Valley Of Death

Glen Campbell   1962

   Truck Driving Man/Kentucky Means Paradise

Glen Campbell   1967

   By the Time I Get to Phoenix

      Live performance

   Gentle On My Mind

Glen Campbell   1968

   Wichita Lineman

Glen Campbell   1970

   All I Have to Do is Dream

      With Bobbie Gentry

Glen Campbell   1973

   Back Home Again in Indiana

   Bonaparte's Retreat

Glen Campbell   1974

   William Tell Overture

Glen Campbell   1979


      Live with the Bee Gees & Willie Nelson

Glen Campbell   1980

   Dream Lover

Glen Campbell   1999

   Too Many Secrets

      With Patsy Cline

Glen Campbell   2001

   Classical Gas

      Live performance

   Gentle On My Mind

      Live performance



Born in 1936 in Louisiana, pianist Mickey Gilley began his career as a boogie woogie musician, 'Call Me Shorty' and 'Come On Baby' among his first recordings in 1958. (See A Birth of Rock& Roll 2 for those tracks.) Gilley didn't release his debut album, 'Down the Line' until 1967. Gilley filled the top spot on the country charts seventeen times during his career. His last Top 10 was in 1986 with 'Doo-Wah Days'. In 1988 he issued his last Top 40, 'She Reminded Me Of You'.

Mickey Gilley   1962

   I'll Make It All Up to You

Mickey Gilley   1980

   Stand By Me

   True Love Ways

Mickey Gilley   1981

   Lonely Nights

   You Don't Know Me

Mickey Gilley   1983

   Fool For Your Love


Birth of Country Western: Mickey Gilley

Mickey Gilley

Source: Bands In Town

Birth of Country Western: Claude Gray

Claude Gray

Source: Hillbilly Music

Born in 1932 in Hendersonville, Texas, guitarist Claude Gray was released from the Navy in 1954, upon which he returned home and became a salesman, then a radio announcer in Kilgore, then a dj in Meridian, Mississippi. His first recordings are thought to be for the Nimor label in 1958: 'My Tears Are Inside'/'When The Doorbell Rang', followed by 'Barricade Around My Heart' b/w 'Late Again'. In 1959 he switched to the D label, then Mercury in 1960, Columbia in 1964, then Decca in 1966.

Claude Gray   1958

   Barricade Around My Heart

   Late Again

Claude Gray   1960

   Family Bible

   I'll Just Have a Cup of Coffee (Then I'll Go)

Claude Gray   1961

   I Just Want to Be Alone

   My Ears Should Burn

Claude Gray   1967

   How Fast Them Trucks Can Go

   If I Ever Need a Lady

   I Never Had The One I Wanted

Claude Gray   1972

   What Every Woman Wants To Hear

Claude Gray   1986

   Sweet Caroline



Birth of Country Western: Charley Pride

Charley Pride

Source: Winnipeg Free Press

Born in1938 in Sledge, Mississippi, Charley Pride wasn't the only black country western musician, but he was preeminently popular from among them. Pride's teenage aspiration was to become a professional baseball pitcher. At age fifteen (1953) he signed to the Boise Yankees (the Class C team of the New York Yankees), before an injured arm defied his ambitions. After discharge from the military in 1958 Pride endeavored to return to baseball but was unsuccessful. But also that year he made his debut recordings with Sun Studios, one among which was not entirely unsuccessful in the United Kingdom: 'Walkin' (the Stroll)' (unfound, but included in a box set called 'The Sun Rock Box', released in 2013). In 1963 Pride traded baseball for country music and moved to Nashville. In 1965 Chet Atkins signed him to RCA. (Atkins was vice president of RCA's country division. As such, he nigh reigned over nigh the whole country music realm, giving not a few of the musicians on this page their start at RCA, such as Jim Reeves and Skeeter Davis.) Pride's first release in the States was 'The Snakes Crawl At Night' in 1966. In 1967 he became the first black musician to play the Grand Ole Opry since DeFord Bailey two score earlier in 1927. (DeFord Bailey was the first musician the play the Opry, as explained in A Birth of the Blues 2.) Pride remained with RCA until 1986 when he moved to 16th Avenue Records, said to be dissatisfied with the way RCA was neglecting older musicians to push younger ones. Pride has performed the National Anthem at both football's Super Bowl and baseball's World Series a number of times. His autobiography, 'Pride', was published in 1994. Pride was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000. He continues to join the Texas Rangers during each spring training (honorably drafted into the club in 2008). In 2009 he performed for President Obama. Pride's career has resulted in the sale of more than 70 million records. As of this writing (2011) his latest LP release is 'Choices', issued in May 2011.

Charley Pride   1966

   The Snakes Crawl At Night

   Before I Met You

   Distant Drums

   Just Between You and Me

Charley Pride   1969


      Live with Johnny Cash

Charley Pride   1971

   Kiss an Angel Good Morning

Charley Pride   1980

   You Win Again

   You Almost Slipped My Mind


  Born in 1935 in Ironton, Ohio, Bobby Bare's first record release, 'All American Boy' (1959), was confusedly credited to Bill Parsons (who later did another version of it). His big break occurred when Chet Atkins signed him to RCA in 1962, first issuing 'Shame On Me' b/w 'I Don't Believe I'll Fall in Love Today', followed in 1963 by 'Detroit City' b/w '500 Miles From Home'. (Atkins was by then vice president of RCA's country division.) Bare's last Top 10 songs are thought to have been issued in 1973: 'Daddy What If' and 'Lullabys, Legends and Lies'. From 1983 to 1988 Bare hosted his own television program, 'Bobby Bare and Friends'. Bare was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013.

Bobby Bare   1959

   All American Boy

      Erroneously labeled Bill Parsons

Bobby Bare   1962

   Detroit City

   Shame On Me

Bobby Bare   1964

   500 Miles

      Live performance

   Detroit City

      Live performance

   Miller's Cave

   Shame On Me

      Live performance

Bobby Bare   1965

   Four Strong Winds

Bobby Bare   1969

   Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town

      Live performance

Bobby Bare   1973

   Lullabys, Legends and Lies

   You Know Who

Bobby Bare   1975

   Daddy What If

       Live with son Bobby Bare on Pop! Goes the Country

Bobby Bare   1976

   Drop Kick Me Jesus

Bobby Bare   1977

   Till I Get On My Feet

Bobby Bare   1980

   Marie Laveau

      Live performance

   Tequila Sheila

Bobby Bare   1981

   Dollar Pool Fool

   Willie Jones

      Fiddle: Charlie Daniels

Bobby Bare   1998

   New Cut Road

Bobby Bare   2012

   Detroit City

      Live performance


Birth of Country Western: Bobby Bare

Bobby Bare

Source: Country Chatter

  Born Norma Jean Beasler in 1938 in Wellston, Oklahoma, Norma Jean had her own radio show on KLPR in Oklahoma City by the time she was twelve years of age. At age 16 she began touring Oklahoma with Merl Lindsay and His Oklahoma Night Riders, then the Bill Gray Band at age eighteen, In 1955 she won a regular spot on 'Ozark Jubilee' out of Springfield, Missouri. It was Red Foley who suggested she drop her last name in 1958. In 1959 Porter Wagoner was a guest on her show, resulting in her first recording contract (Columbia). She then moved to Nashville to become a regular on 'The Porter Wagoner Show' for six years while also touring with Wagoner. In 1963 Chet Atkins signed Jean to RCA Victor, after which she joined the Grand Ole Opry. Jean's last song to reach the Top 20 was 'Heaven Help the Working Girl' in 1967.

Norma Jean   1959

   Chapel Bells

   Honolulu Bells

Norma Jean   1960

   You Called Me Another Woman's Name

   Let's Go All the Way

Norma Jean   1965

   I Cried All The Way To The Bank

   You Have To Be Out Of Your Mind

Norma Jean   1967

   Heaven Help the Working Girl

Norma Jean   1970

   Another Man Loved Me Last Night

Norma Jean   1971

   It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels

   Ride, Ride, Ride

   A Satisfied Mind

Norma Jean   1972

   Hundred Dollar Funeral


Birth of Country Western: Norma Jean

Norma Jean

Source: From the Vaults

Birth of Country Western: Waylon Jennings

Waylon Jennings

Photo: Waylon Jennings Estate

Source: The Pogues

Born in 1937 in Littlefield, Texas, Waylon Jennings began his professional career at age twelve, singing for KVOW radio in Littlefield. His first record issue is thought to be 'When Sin Stops' backed with 'Jole Blon', recordings arranged in 1958 by Buddy Holly, who plays guitar on both tracks. (Saxophone is performed by King Curtis.) Jennings had a proclivity toward alcohol, then speed (amphetamines), then cocaine, the latter via which sweetness he dwindled the fortune he'd made by the time he stopped using it in 1984. Said to have smoked an unbelievable six packs of cigarettes day, he quit those as well in 1988. Of note to this history is Jennings' recording of an album in 1976 with Willie Nelson called 'Wanted! The Outlaws', something defining the stage to which country western had arrived by that time. Jennings was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001. He died February 13 the next year of diabetes.

Waylon Jennings   1959

   When Sin Stops/Jole Blon

      With Buddy Holly

Waylon Jennings   1961

   Another Blue Day

   Never Again

Waylon Jennings   1964


Waylon Jennings   1966

   Mental Revenge

      Live performance

Waylon Jennings   1978

   Don't Cuss the Fiddle

      With Willie Nelson

   Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys

      With Willie Nelson

Waylon Jennings   1990

   Where Corn Don't Grow



Born in 1946 in Tennessee, Dolly Parton produced her first recording, 'Puppy Love', at age 13 in 1959. Her second recording, 'It's Sure Gonna Hurt', followed in 1962. In 1965 she released her first album, 'Hello, I'm Dolly'. Her film debut occurred in 1980, '9 to 5', also starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, followed by 'The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas' in 1982, 'Rhinestone' with Sylvester Stallone in 1984, 'Steel Magnolias' in 1989 and 'Straight Talk' with James Woods in 1992. In addition to her music career Parton was a savvy business woman and generous philanthropist. Having composed more than 3000 songs, Parton was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1999. Parton's latest (and 42nd) LP, 'Blue Smoke', was released in May 2014.

Dolly Parton   1959

   Puppy Love

   It's Sure Gonna Hurt

Dolly Parton   1962

   I Wasted My Tears

Dolly Parton   1965


Dolly Parton   2008

   Backwoods Barbie


Birth of Country Western: Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton

Photo: Dolly Records

Source: LGBTQ Nation

  Born in 1928 in Huntsville, Alabama, Ernest Ashworth began his career singing for WBHP radio in Huntsville. In 1949 he moved to Nashville for greater opportunity in radio and landed a position as a song writer for Acuff-Rose Music. His recording career, however, wasn't going anywhere, so he returned to Huntsville in 1957 to work in the civil service at Redstone Arsenal. But he wasn't done yet, as three years later he landed his first recording contract with Decca Records, his first release in 1960 with 'Each Moment (Spent With You)'. In 1989 Ashworth bought WSLV radio in Ardmore, Tennessee. Ashworth actively performed, often at the Grand Ole Opry, until his death in 2009.

Ernest Ashworth   1960

   Each Moment (Spent With You)

   You Can't Pick A Rose In December

Ernest Ashworth   1961

   Forever Gone

Ernest Ashworth   1962

   I Take the Chance

Ernest Ashworth   1963

   Talk Back Trembling Lips

Ernest Ashworth   1964

   Crazy Me, Foolish You

   Pushed In a Corner

Ernest Ashworth   1966

   I Wish

   Sad Face


Birth of Country Western: Ernest Ashworth

Ernest Ashworth

Photo: Moeller Talent Inc.

Birth of Country Western: Loretta Lynn

Loretta Lynn

Source: Paftan

Born in 1932 in Kentucky, Loretta Lynn produced her first recordings in 1960. Lynn didn't start playing guitar until she was 21 years old, a seventeen-dollar Harmony. Three years later she was playing with a band called the Westerners. In 1959 she formed a group called the Trailblazers, then won her debut recording contract with Zero Records the next year. Lynn joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1962. In 1971 she formed a famous partnership with Conway Twitty that resulted in eleven studio albums together through 1988. She released three songs during her career which were variously banned from radio: 'Rated X', 'Wings Upon Your Horns' and 'The Pill'. Lynn released her last No. 1, 'Out of My Head and Back in My Bed', in 1978. Her last Top 10 was 'I Lie' in 1982. Lynn was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988. As of this writing her career includes more than 160 compositions, 60 albums, more than 45 million record sales, ten chart-topping albums and sixteen songs at the apex of the country charts.

Loretta Lynn   1960

   Darkest Day

      Guitar: Grady Martin

   I'm a Honky Tonk Girl

   New Rainbow

Loretta Lynn   1966

   You Ain't Woman Enough To Take My Man

Loretta Lynn   1968

   Fist City

      Live performance

Loretta Lynn   1970

   Coalminer's Daughter

      Live version

   Coalminer's Daughter

      Studio version



Born Donald Eugene Lytle in 1938 in Greenfield, Ohio, with Johnny Paycheck the outlaw tone of country western that arrived with George Jones was enforced. Paycheck recorded his first song, 'Miracle Of Love', in 1960 as Donny Young (unfound). He legally changed his name to Johnny Paycheck in 1964. Paycheck enjoyed a quarter century of phenomenal success, until 1985, when he was convicted of assault with a pistol and spent nigh two years in prison before resuming his career. Paycheck's last studio album was. 'Remembering', released in 2002 on Orpheus Records. He died in 2003, and is buried near his outlaw friend, George Jones, at Woodlawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Nashville.

Johnny Paycheck   1964

   I'd Rather Be Your Fool

Johnny Paycheck   1965

   A 11

Johnny Paycheck   1967

   Don't Monkey With Another Monkey's Monkey

   I'm Barely Hanging On To Me

Johnny Paycheck   1972

   Someone To Give My Love To

Johnny Paycheck   1977

   I'm the Only Hell Mama Ever Raised

   Take This Job and Shove It

Johnny Paycheck   1978

   Colorado Kool-Aid

   Friend, Lover, Wife


Birth of Country Western: Johnny Paycheck

Johnny Paycheck

Photo: Mark Humphrey

Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch

Birth of Country Western: Charlie Rich

Charlie Rich

Source: Världens Bästa Låt


Born in 1932 in Colt, Arkansas, Charlie Rich ("Silver Fox") recorded his first album, 'Lonely Weekends with Charlie Rich', in 1960. Rich began his music career in the Navy, forming a group called the Velvetones while stationed in Oklahoma. Upon discharge from service in 1956 he began playing clubs in Memphis and gained employment as a session musician for Judd Records. He switched to Sun Studios in 1958 and released his first record, 'Whirlwind', that same year, for Sun subsidiary, Phillips International. Rich's last No. 1, 'On My Knees', was released in 1978. His last Top 10 was 'I'll Wake You Up When I Get Home', released the same year. Rich's last LP issue was in 1992, 'Pictures and Paintings'. Rich died in his sleep in a Louisiana motel in 1995.

Charlie Rich   1958


Charlie Rich   1960

   Lonely Weekends

Charlie Rich   1973

   Behind Closed Doors/A Sunday Kind of Woman

   The Most Beautiful Girl

Charlie Rich   1978

   I'll Wake You Up When I Get Home

   On My Knees



Born in 1932 in Tennessee, Dottie West released her first recording, 'Angel On Paper', in 1960. West was the eldest of ten children, whose father was sentenced to 40 years in jail when she was seventeen for child abuse. After graduating from Tennessee Technological University she headed for Cleveland (with husband and family) where she became the other half of a duo with Kathy Dee called the Kay-Dots and first performed professionally for the television show, 'Landmark Jamboree'. Trips to Nashville eventually resulted in her first recording contract in 1959 with Starday Records. Some of the bigger names with whom West worked were Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves, Chet Atkins and Don Gibson. West's last Top 20 song was 'It's High Time', issued in 1981. Her last Top 40 was 'Tulsa Ballroom' in 1983. With a taste for luxurious living, West didn't have the financial sense to match and was evicted from her mansion in Nashville in 1990 upon claiming bankruptcy. The next year she died in the hospital upon her car, driven by a helpful neighbor trying to get her to a performance at the Grand Ole Opry on time, taking a 25 MPH freeway exit ramp doing 55. Her funeral was attended by some 600 people. The last song she had recorded, in July 1991, was 'As For Me', a duet with Norwegian singer Arne Benoni.

Dottie West   1960

   Angel On Paper

Dottie West   1968

   If You Go Away


Dottie West   1973

   Country Sunshine

Dottie West   1974

   Country Sunshine

      Live performance

Dottie West   1977

   When It's Just You and Me

Dottie West   1981

   It's High Time

Dottie West   1983

   Tulsa Ballroom

Dottie West   1991

   As For Me

      With Arne Benoni


Birth of Country Western: Dottie West

Dottie West


Born in 1936 in Leland, North Carolina, fiddler and guitarist Charlie Daniels was more country southern than country western, with a strong lean toward both bluegrass and rock. He first recorded in 1959 for Epic Records (titles unknown) with a group called the Jaguars that he had formed a couple years earlier at age 21. When it became clear he wasn't going to get anywhere in that direction Daniels moved to Nashville to become a session musician, at which he excelled, Bob Dylan among his more notable recording partners. Daniels released his first album in 1971, titled simply 'Charlie Daniels'. Among the more notable groups with whom Daniels played in the early seventies was the Marshall Tucker Band. In 1977 he performed at President Carter's inauguration. Daniels was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in January 2008.

Charlie Daniels   1961

   Robot Romp

Charlie Daniels   1966

   The Middle Of a Heartache

   Skip It

Charlie Daniels   1970

   Charlie Daniels


Charlie Daniels   1974


Charlie Daniels   1975

   The South's Gonna Do It

Charlie Daniels   1978

   The Devil Went Down To Georgia

Charlie Daniels   1985

   Still Hurtnin' Me

Charlie Daniels   1989

   Simple Man


Birth of Country Western: Charlie Daniels

Charlie Daniels

Source: Resource Entertainment Group

Birth of Country Western: Charlie McCoy

Charlie McCoy

Source: Resource Entertainment Group

Born in 1941 in Oak Hill, West Virginia, harmonica player (though a multi-instrumentalist) Charlie McCoy was first hired (by Chet Atkins) as a session mouth harp player in 1961, after releasing his first solo recording, 'Cherry Berry Wine'. During the sixties McCoy was a studio musician in high demand. His first LP, 'The World Of Charlie McCoy', was released in 1967. McCoy was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009.

Charlie McCoy   1961

   Candy Man

      With Roy Orbison

   Cherry Berry Wine

   I Just Don't Understand

      With Ann-Margret Olsson

Charlie McCoy   1965

   Hard Luck

      Film   With Elvis Presley

Charlie McCoy   1970

   Stone Fox Chase

      With Area Code 615

Charlie McCoy   1973


      Album: 'Good Time Charlie'

Charlie McCoy   1975


      Live on 'Hee Haw'

Charlie McCoy   1992

   Georgia On My Mind

      Album: 'Live From Paris'

Charlie McCoy   2003


Charlie McCoy   2004

   John Henry

      Live with Druhá Tráva

Charlie McCoy   2010

   Orange Blossom Special

      Live performance

      Composition: Ervin Rouse



Born in Oildale, California, in 1937, Merle Haggard, was another of country music's outlaws (George Jones, Johnny Paycheck, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams Jr., Kris Kristofferson). Haggard had been in and out of detention centers (including escape) for several years, since age fourteen, (first shoplifting, then robbery) before he was able to cut a record that saved him from going down fast in a world that wants the rent now with means to pay it less up front. His first recording in 1962, 'Skid Row', didn't go far. But his second recording, in 1964, 'Sing a Sad Song', went national in a big way. Haggard's last to chart to No. 1 was 'Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star' in 1988. Haggard continued recording and touring until his death of double pneumonia in April 2016. Discogs has him leading or col-leading above seventy albums to a collaboration in 2016 with bluegrass guitarist, Mac Wiseman: 'Timeless'.

Merle Haggard   1962

   Skid Row

Merle Haggard   1964

   Sing a Sad Song

Merle Haggard   1967

   Sing Me Back Home

Merle Haggard   1969

   Okie From Muskogee

Merle Haggard   1988

   Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star

      Album: 'Chill Factor'


Birth of Country Western: Merle Haggard

Merle Haggard

Source: Midnight Cafe

  Born in 1943 in North Carolina, Ronnie Milsap was born nearly blind of a congenital disorder and had to have his eyes removed as a child. Milsap began studying classical music at age seven and learned several instruments before settling with piano. His first professional gigs were with JJ Cale's band in the early sixties. His first recordings were soul-oriented, his debut release, 'Total Disaster', issued in 1963 (unfound). His next recordings followed with the Scepter label in 1965: 'Never Had It So Good' with 'Let's Go Get Stoned' flip side. He released his first album, 'Ronnie Milsap', in 1971. (All songs below for 1971 are from that album.) Not until 1972 did Milsap begin focusing on country western, upon moving to Nashville. His first country release was 'I Hate You' in 1973. His last song to chart at No. 1 was 'A Woman in Love' in 1989. The next year he published his autobiography, 'Almost Like a Song'.

Ronnie Milsap   1965

   Never Had It So Good

Ronnie Milsap   1966

   Ain't No Soul Left In These Ole Shoes

Ronnie Milsap   1971

   Blue Skies of Montana

   The Cat Was a Junkie


      Original composition: Roy Orbison


   Sweet Little Rock and Roller

Ronnie Milsap   1973

   I Hate You

      Album: 'Where My Heart Is'

Ronnie Milsap   1976

   Pure Love

      Live at the Grand Ole Opry

Ronnie Milsap   1978


      Live performance

Ronnie Milsap   1980

   Smokey Mountain Rain

Ronnie Milsap   1981

   There's No Gettin' Over Me

Ronnie Milsap   1982

   Stranger In My House

Ronnie Milsap   1989

   A Woman in Love


Birth of Country Western: Ronnie Milsap

Ronnie Milsap

Photo: Allyson Reeves

Source: CMT

Birth of Country Western: Don Williams

Don Williams

Source: Alan Cackett

Born in 1939 in Floydada, Texas, country musician Don Williams (whose first performance was at age three) pursued folk music at first, he and Lofton Kline forming a duo in 1963 called the Strangers Two, recording 'The Sissy Sheriff' and 'Everglades' that year with the Stacy label (neither found). The duo was made a trio with the addition of Susan Taylor called the Pozo Seco Singers (see A Birth of Country 2). Upon the Singers disbanding in 1971 Williams focused on songwriting until the release of his first LP in 1973 titled, with some confidence, 'Don Williams Volume 1'. Williams' latest LP release was in 2012: 'And So It Goes'. As of this writing he yet tours. With the exception of albums most of the cuts below are live performances. Much more Don Gibson with the Pozo Seco Singers in A Birth of Folk Music.

Don Williams   1973

   Don Williams Volume 1


   Shelter Of Your Eyes

Don Williams   1974

   We Should Be Together

Don Williams   1976





Don Williams   1981

   Lord I Hope This Day Is Good


      Album: 'Especially For You'

   Smooth Talking Baby

      Album: 'Especially For You'

Don Williams   1982

   Down the Road I Go

   Shelter Of Your Eyes

   Some Broken Hearts Never Mend

   Tulsa Time

Don Williams   2012

   I Just Come Here For the Music

      Album: 'And So It Goes'

   Imagine That

      Music video

Don Williams   2013

   Back In My Younger Days

   Good Old Boys Like Me

   Stage Coach

Don Williams   2014

   I Recall a Gypsy Woman

   I'll Be Here In The Morning

   She Never Knew Me At All


  Born in 1930 in Maryville, Tennessee, Jack Greene released his first record, 'The Last Letter', in 1964. Greene's first professional employment in the music industry came as a teenager, working for WGAP in Maryville as a disc jockey. By age eighteen he was a regular on the 'Tennessee Barn Dance' show at WNOX in Knoxville. He then moved to Atlanta to form the Peach Tree Boys, which with he performed for eight years. In 1959 he returned to Tennessee, now Nashville, to put together the Tennessee Mountain Boys. His big break finally arrived in 1961 when Ernest Tubb invited him to join his band, the Troubadors. He next made his first recordings with Decca Records. In 1970 he formed his famous partnership with country singer Jeannie Seely, 'Wish I Didn't Have To Miss You' climbing to No. 2 that year. Greene's last Top 40 was 'Yours For The Taking' in 1980. He died in 2013 of Alzheimer's disease complications.

Jack Greene   1964

   The Last Letter

Jack Greene   1966

   There Goes My Everything

Jack Greene   1967

   All the Time

Jack Greene   1969

   Statue of a Fool

Jack Greene   1970

   Wish I Didn't Have To Miss You

      With Jeannie Seely

Jack Greene   1972

   If You Ever Need My Love

Jack Greene   1973


Jack Greene   1974

   I Need Somebody Bad

      Live performance

Jack Greene   1980

   I'll Do It Better The Next Time

   Yours For The Taking


Birth of Country Western: Jack Greene

Jack Greene

Source: TV Guide



Born in 1941 in Brooklyn, Eddie Rabbitt's career didn't bust out the gate until the latter seventies, currently beyond the scope of this history. But he released his first recordings in 1964 ('Next to the Note' and 'Six Nights and Seven Days', unfound for this history). Those recordings went nowhere and Rabbitt spent the next decade working dead-end jobs while trying to build a living as a songwriter, to some success, then released 'You Get to Me' in 1974. He first began touring as an opening act for Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton in 1978. A couple years later he recorded the theme song to the film 'Every Which Way But Loose'. A registered Republican, Rabbitt allowed Senator Bob Dole to use his song, 'American Boy' (below), during his failed Presidential campaign to replace Clinton in 1996. Rabbitt died young, only 56, in 1998 of lung cancer.

Eddie Rabbitt   1974

   You Get to Me

      LP release 1975

Eddie Rabbitt   1977

   Rocky Mountain Music

      Live performance

Eddie Rabbitt   1978

   Every Which Way But Loose

   You Don't Love Me Anymore

Eddie Rabbitt   1979


      Live performance

Eddie Rabbitt   1980

   I Love a Rainy Night

Eddie Rabbitt   1990

   American Boy


Birth of Country Western: Eddie Rabbitt

Eddie Rabbitt

Source: Famous Fix

Birth of Country Western: Connie Smith

Connie Smith

Source: Vintage Vinyl News

In 1964 Connie Smith released 'Once a Day' which found her at the very top of the charts first swing. Born in 1941 in Elkhart, Indiana, Smith began playing guitar at age nine in the hospital while healing from a serious accident with a lawn mower. Upon winning a talent contest and five silver dollars in 1963, she found herself performing with country singer Bill Anderson on Ernest Tubb's Midnight Jamboree radio show, which in turn led to her first recording contract with RCA (signed by Chet Atkins, vice president of the RCA country division, who gave the first big break to not a few musicians in these histories). Her first album, 'Once a Day', was released in 1965, the same year she joined the Grand Ole Opry. In 1968 she became a Born Again Christian. Smith moved from RCA to Columbia in 1973, Monument in '77, Epic in '85, then Daywind Records in 2003. In 2012 she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Connie Smith   1964

   Once a Day

      LP release 1965

   In the Garden

Connie Smith   1969

   Ribbon Of Darkness




The Statler Brothers received their big break in 1964 when they were hired to be the opening act on 'The Johnny Cash Show' (unfound). Their first single followed the next year: 'Flowers On the Wall', for which they are best known. In 1966 they released their first album by the same title. The original Statler Brothers consisted of Don Reid (lead), Harold Reid (bass) Phil Balsley (baritone) and Lew DeWitt (tenor and guitar), the latter replaced in 1983 by Jimmy Fortune. The group released more than 40 albums before its retirement in 2002.

Statler Brothers   1965

   Daddy Sang Bass

      Backing Johnny Cash

   Flowers On the Wall

Statler Brothers   1973

   Class of '57

Statler Brothers   1984

   Atlanta Blue


Birth of Country Western: Statler Brothers

Statler Brothers

Source: KLRU



Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1949, Hank Williams Jr. was something of an outlaw himself. He was three years old when his father, Hank Williams Sr., died. Williams began performing at about age eight, and made his recording debut in 1964 with 'Long Gone Lonesome Blues'. Like Waylon Jennings, drugs and alcohol were less recreational than a lifestyle for Williams. Of especial note in William's life was a suicide attempt in 1974, followed the next year by a fall of nearly 500 feet while climbing Ajax Peak in Montana. Though injured severely, Williams survived to pursue a very successful career. In his latter years Williams, a Republican (like his famous father), has created some controversy over his opposition to President Obama. In 2011 his opening song to ESPN's 'Monday Night Football', in use since 1989, was switched to the National Anthem due to his political views. His response was the release of, 'Keep the Change' the same year.

Hank Williams Jr.   1964

   Long Gone Lonesome Blues

Hank Williams Jr.   1970


Hank Williams Jr.   1984

   Attitude Adjustment

Hank Williams Jr.   1990

   The American Way

Hank Williams Jr.   2009

   Red, White & Pink-Slip Blues

Hank Williams Jr.   2011

   Keep the Change


Birth of Country Western: Hank Williams Jr.

Hank Williams Jr.

Source: Tripod/Hank Williams Jr.

  Born in 1940 in Dyess, Arkansas, guitarist and singer, Tommy Cash, was the younger brother of Johnny Cash by eight years. He formed his first band in high school, then joined the Army, working as a disc jockey in the military. Upon relief from active duty he found work with Hank Williams Jr.. His first record release in 1965, 'I Guess I'll Live'/'I Didn't Walk the Line', was recorded in December of 1964 for the Musicor label and released the next year. He was issued by Columbia in Canada as well. Cash continued recording through the sixties, building his career until he arrived with three Top Ten singles, starting with 'Six White Horses' in 1969, followed by 'Rise and Shine' and 'One Song Away' in 1970. Recording ever since, Cash has never duplicated those earlier successes. As of this writing he yet preforms.

Tommy Cash   1965

   I Didn't Walk the Line

  I Guess I'll Live

Tommy Cash   1970

   One Song Away

  Six White Horses

  The Tears On Lincoln's Face

Tommy Cash   1973

   I Recall a Gypsy Woman

Tommy Cash   1991

   Elvis Is Alive

    Filmed live

  Six White Horses

    Filmed live

Tommy Cash   2008

   My Brother Johnny Cash

    Album: 'Shades of Black'

Tommy Cash   2010

   I Walk the Line

    Filmed live


Birth of Country Western: Billie Jo Spears

Tommy Cash

Source: Carl Richards Band

Birth of Country Western: Jeannie Seely

Jeannie Seely

Source: Gary Hayes Country

Born in Titusville, Pennsylvania in 1940, Jeannie Seely was about sixteen when she first appeared on WICU television in Erie. At age 21 she moved to California to work in a bank in Beverly Hills. But she wanted to be in the music business so she quit that for secretarial employment at roughly half the pay at Liberty and Imperial Records in Hollywood. Seely began writing songs for Four Star Records at that time. Her first record releases were for Challenge Records in 1965, after which she went to Nashville to record for Monument. Among Seely's most important associations during her career were with Hank Cochran (with whom she was early married for while), Dottie West and Hank Greene. In 2010 Seely lost everything she owned when her house fell victim to a mudslide in Nashville. Seven months later, at age 70, she married attorney Gene Ward.

Jeannie Seely   1965

   If I Can't Have You

   Today Is Not the Day

Jeannie Seely   1966

   Don't Touch Me

      Live at the Grand Ole Opry

   It's Only Love

Jeannie Seely   1967

   Mr. Record Man

Jeannie Seely   1968

   If My Heart Had Windows

   I'm Still Not Over You

Jeannie Seely   1978

   Take Me to Bed

Jeannie Seely   1995

   Another Bridge To Burn

      Live performance

   I Can't Stop Loving You

      Live performance

Jeannie Seely   2011

   Paper Mansions

      Live with Shelly West


  Jeanne Carolyn Stephenson was born in Stamford, Texas, in 1945. Shortly after high school she married Mickey Riley, which is how she became Jeannie C. Riley. With the intent of of becoming a professional singer, Jeannie and Riley left for Nashville. Jeannie worked as a secretary until landing a contract with Plantation Records in 1968, the year she released her first 45: 'Sock and Soul' b/w 'Harper Valley PTA'. Her debut at the Grand Ole Opry was in 1968 as well. Riley published her autobiography, 'From Harper Valley to the Mountain Top', in 1980.

Jeannie C. Riley   1968

   Harper Valley PTA

   Run Jeannie Run

Jeannie C. Riley   1969

   The Girl Most Likely

Jeannie C. Riley   1970

   The Generation Gap

Jeannie C. Riley   1971

   Roses and Thorns


Birth of Country Western: Jeannie C. Riley

Jeannie C. Riley

Source: Minnesota's New Country


Born Grant Calvin Shofner in 1932 in Gans, Oklahoma, Cal Smith was a rough kind who rode both saddle and truck before releasing his debut album, 'All The World Is Lonely Now', in 1966. Raised in Oakland, California, Smith first performed professionally at age fifteen at the Remember Me Cafe in San Francisco. He performed on the California Hayride television show briefly before a two-year tour of service in the military, after which he returned to San Francisco in 1961 and joined Ernest Tubb's Troubadours, with which he remained until 1969. In 1970 he signed to Decca (to become MCA in 1973), with which he kept the rest of his career. Smith issued his last album, 'Stories of Life', in 1986. He died in 2013 in Branson, Missouri.

Cal Smith   1966

   All The World Is Lonely Now

Cal Smith   1968

   Drinking Champagne

   Today I Started Loving You Again

   When You Are Gone

Cal Smith   1972

   I've Found Someone Of My Own

   The Lord Knows I'm Drinking

Cal Smith   1973

   An Hour and a Six-Pack

   The Lord Knows I'm Drinkin'

      Live performance

Cal Smith   1974

   Country Bumpkin

Cal Smith   1975

   It's Time To Pay The Fiddler

Cal Smith   1976


Cal Smith   1977

   I Just Came Home To Count The Memories

Cal Smith   1978

   Bits and Pieces of Life

Cal Smith   1986

   I Think I'd Be Better Off

      Album: 'Stories of Life'

   North Alabama

      Album: 'Stories of Life'

   The Show's Almost Over

      Album: 'Stories of Life'


Birth of Country Western: Cal Smith

Cal Smith

Source: Creative & Dreams



Born Virginia Wynette Pugh in Mississippi in 1942, Tammy Wynette was another country western giant who produced a phenomenal amount of popular material over the years. Wynette had been fighting a war against poverty since childhood until she moved to Nashville in 1966 to record her first single, 'Apartment No. 9', below. Once signed to Epic she changed her name. Among Wynette's most important musical associations was George Jones, with whom she was married for six years (out of a total of five husbands). Wynette's last solo recording to reach No. 1 was 'You and Me' in 1976. Her last No. 1 was the next year with George Jones: 'Near You'. In 1993 she partnered with two other powerhouses of country song, Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton, to release the album, 'Honky Tonk Angels'. Her last performance with George Jones was in 1997 at Lanierland Music Park in Georgia. Her last performance at the Grand Ole Opry was in May the same year. Wynette gave her last concert in March 1998, substituting for Loretta Lynn who was ill. She also last appeared on television in March 1998, on the 'Prime Time Country' show. Wynette died young, only age 55, in 1998 of irregular heartbeat.

Tammy Wynette   1966

   Apartment No. 9

Tammy Wynette   1967

   Your Good Girl's Gonny Go Bad

      Live with Dana Wynette

Tammy Wynette   1968

   Stand By Your Man

Tammy Wynette   1972

   Gone With Another Man

Tammy Wynette   1976

   Funny Face

   You and Me

Tammy Wynette   1977

   Near You

      With George Jones

Tammy Wynette   1987

   Live in Wheeling



Birth of Country Western: Tammy Wynette

Tammy Wynette

Source: CMT


Birth of Country Western: Donna Fargo

Donna Fargo

Source: Donna Fargo

Born Yvonne Vaughan in 1945 in Mount Airy, North Carolina, songwriter Donna Fargo was a high school English teacher before releasing her first three songs in 1967. She had moved to California to study at the University of Southern California. Upon getting her degree she taught school in Covina by day while performing in Los Angeles nightclubs at night. Upon her first releases in '67 Fargo issued 'Daddy' in '68 (unfound) and 'Wishful Thinkin'' in 1969. Fargo has published several books, largely poetry, as well as The Donna Fargo Collection, a greeting card series.

Donna Fargo   1967

   Kinda Glad I'm Me

   Would You Believe a Lifetime

   You Reach For the Bottle

Donna Fargo   1969

   Wishful Thinkin'

Donna Fargo   1972

   Happiest Girl In The Whole U.S.A.

Donna Fargo   1991

   Funny Face

      Live performance



Birth of Country Western: Barbara Fairchild

Barbara Fairchild

Source: Barbara Fairchild


Born in Arkansas in 1950, Barbara Fairchild first recorded a couple of unsuccessful singles for Kapp Records in 1968 upon graduation from high school (neither found). She began recording for Capitol in 1969, releasing her first record album, 'Someone Special', the following year.

Barbara Fairchild   1969

   A Girl Who'll Satisfy Her Man

   Love Is a Gentle Thing

Barbara Fairchild   1973

   The Teddy Bear Song

Barbara Fairchild   1974

   Kid Stuff

Barbara Fairchild   1978

   Touch My Heart

Barbara Fairchild   1979

   This Haunted House


  Born Cecil Ingram Connor III in 1946 in Winter Haven, Florida, Gram Parsons began playing professionally at age fifteen in clubs owned by his stepfather in Winter Haven. At age 17 he joined a band called the Shilos. Shortly later Parsons matriculated into Harvard. He dropped out after one semester, but now that he was at Boston he helped put together a group called the International Submarine Band. They relocated to Los Angeles, underwent personnel changes, then signed to LHI Records to record 'Safe at Home' in 1967. The band broke up before its release in 1968, when Parsons joined the Byrds, which he quit the same year, citing opposition to apartheid in South Africa where touring was planned. He then formed the Flying Burrito Brothers. (Which was the second act, following Santana, at the violent Altamont Music Festival, where the Stones had hired Hells Angels for security, for $500 in beer, and a concertgoer, brandishing a .22 revolver, was stabbed to death by an Angel.) Parsons left the Brothers for a solo career after recording the album, 'Burrito Deluxe'. His partnership with Emmylou Harris began with the recording of 'GP' (released 1973). Unfortunately Parsons would die in 1973 of morphine overdose, only 26 years of age.

Gram Parsons   1968

   Blue Eyes/Folsom Prison Blues/That's Alright

      With the International Submarine Band

   Luxury Liner/Do You Know How It Feels

      With the International Submarine Band

   Must Be Someone Else You've Known

      With the International Submarine Band

   Knee Deep In the Blues

      With the International Submarine Band

   A Satisfied Mind

      With the International Submarine Band

   Sweetheart Of The Rodeo

      With the Byrds   Album

Gram Parsons   1969

   Cody, Cody

      With the Flying Burrito Brothers

   Hot Burrito #1

      With the Flying Burrito Brothers

   Lonesome Fugitive

      With the Flying Burrito Brothers


      With the Flying Burrito Brothers

Gram Parsons   1970

   God's Own Singer

      With the Flying Burrito Brothers

   Wild Horses

      Original composition: Rolling Stones

      With the Flying Burrito Brothers

Gram Parsons   1973

   Streets of Baltimore

      Live with Emmylou Harris

Gram Parsons   1974

   Grievous Angels

      With Emmylou Harris   Album   Released posthumously


Birth of Country Western: Gram Parsons

Gram Parsons

Source: All Things Wildly Considered



Born in 1947 in Birmingham, Alabama, Emmylou Harris released her first album, 'Gliding Bird', in 1969. While in high school Harris won a drama scholarship to the University of North Carolina. But she dropped out and moved to NYC to perform music in Greenwich Village coffeehouses. She became part of a trio with Gerry Mule and Tom Guidera for a while, before partnering with Gram Parsons in 1973, both touring with his band, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and appearing on his first solo album, 'GP'. Parsons would also become a member of Harris' band, the Hot Band, upon its formation, recording its first album, 'Elite Hotel', in 1975. Harris put that band to an end in 1991 to form the Nash Ramblers. In 1992 she joined the Grand Ole Opry. In 1998 she and Willie Nelson recorded 'Teatro'. The next year she joined Linda Ronstadt and Dolly Parton in the issue of 'Trio 2', which they'd begun recording in 1994. As of this writing Harris has released 26 studio albums and 70 singles. With the exception of albums the majority of cuts below are live. Those recorded in 1995 are with Daniel Lanois.

Emmylou Harris   1969

   Gliding Bird

   I'll Be Your Baby Tonight

   Fugue For the Ox

Emmylou Harris   1975

   Elite Hotel


Emmylou Harris   1977

   I'll Be Your San Antone Rose

   Making Believe

   Pancho & Lefty

   Together Again

Emmylou Harris   1978

   Live In Germany


   Pancho and Lefty

Emmylou Harris   1987

   Precious Memories

      With Chet Atkins

Emmylou Harris   1994

   The Boxer

Emmylou Harris   1995

   Deeper Well



   I Ain't Living Long Like This

   High Powered Love

   Making Believe

   Sweet Old World

   Where Will I Be

   Red Dirt Girl

   All I Intended To Be



Birth of Country Western: Emmylou Harris

Emmylou Harris

Source: Jitterbugging for Jesus


76 Years of 'I'm an Old Cowhand'

Composition: Johnny Mercer

Bing Crosby & Jimmy Dorsey   1936

Charlie Barnet   1936

Carson Robison   1936?

Jack Teagarden & Frank Trumbauer   1936

Gene Autry & Mary Lee   1941

Roy Rogers   1943

Monica Lewis   1945

Patsy Montana   1952

Ray Coniff   1956

Sonny Rollins   1957

Johnny Ray   1959

Ria Valk   1961

Andy Williams   1963

Herb Alpert   1969

Johnny Cash   1980

Harry Connick Jr.   1992

Charlie Daniels   1997

Joshua Redman   1997

Blackbury Band   2006

Lisa Ono   2006

Evan Palazzo   2007?

Cross Town Cowboys   2009?

Daniel Clark & Jesse Harper   2010

Jeannie Cahill   2011

Pete Cornish   2011

Jesse Jones Jr.   2011

Laurie Beth Lennon   2011

Mary Ann Price   2011

Slim Stanton   2011

Buck Rogers   2012

Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks   2012


We pause this You Tube history of country western with Emmylou Harris at the cusp of the seventies, just before Barbara Mandrell's first record releases in 1970, such as 'I've Been Loving You Too Long', and Crystal Gayle's first issue the same year, 'I've Cried'. Sherry Bryce's debut recordings would follow in 1971, and Tanya Tucker's in 1972. Asleep At the Wheel, Johnny Lee and Reba McEntire would also begin recording in the seventies.




Early Blues 1: Guitar

Early Blues 2: Vocal - Other Instruments

Modern Blues 1: Guitar

Modern Blues 2: Vocal - Other Instruments

Modern Blues 3: Black Gospel Appendix


Medieval - Renaissance


Galant - Classical

Romantic: Composers born 1770 to 1840

Romantic - Impressionist

Expressionist - Modern

Modern: Composers born 1900 to 1950




Country Western


Early Jazz 1: Ragtime - Bands - Horn

Early Jazz 2: Ragtime - Other Instrumentation

Early Jazz 3: Ragtime - Song - Hollywood

Swing Era 1: Big Bands

Swing Era 2: Song

Modern 1: Saxophone

Modern 2: Trumpet - Other Horn

Modern 3: Piano

Modern 4: Guitar - Other String

Modern 5: Percussion - Other Orchestration

Modern 6: Song

Modern 7: Latin Jazz - Latin Recording

Modern 8: United States 1960 - 1970

Modern 9: International 1960 - 1970

Rock & Roll

Early - Boogie Woogie - R&B - Soul - Disco

Doo Wop

The Big Bang - Fifties American Rock

UK Beat

British Invasion

Total War - Sixties American Rock

Other Musical Genres - Popular Music Appendix

Musician Indexes

Classical - Medieval to Renaissance

Classical - Baroque to Classical

Classical - Romantic to Modern

The Blues

Bluegrass - Folk

Country Western

Jazz Early - Ragtime - Swing Jazz

Jazz Modern - Horn

Jazz Modern - Piano - String

Jazz Modern - Percussion - Song - Other

Jazz Modern - 1960 to 1970

Boogie Woogie - Doo Wop - R&B - Rock & Roll - Soul - Disco

UK Beat - British Invasion

Sixties American Rock - Popular

Latin Recording - Europe

Latin Recording - The Caribbean - South America


About This You Tube History

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