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The History of Black Country/Western Singers
A Brief History of Black Americans in Country Music
Did you know that the black voice twang of country music existed in the early 1900s. Yes, black country singers played "Honky-Tonk" music. Please... Read on, for the interesting history and facts, that the everyday person is unaware of in the country music foundation.
- Fact #1- I bet the first thought that came to mind was the well-known country star "Charlie Pride", was that close?
- Fact #2- Have you ever heard of "Rufe "Tee-Tot" Payne"? I didn't think so...He was a regular around the Greenville,Alabama area and performed as a street musician in the 1920s. In the 1930s he was the mentor to "King Hiram Williams", that's right! The person we would know as "Hank Williams". Believe it or not he was taught to play country music by a black man somewhat unknown to the public. Anyone, out there that has more info on Tee-Tot, I would love to hear it.
- Fact #3- DeFord Bailey was a contemporary of Rufe "Tee-Tot" Payne. In actuality, he is probably and should be the first noted black country music star because he joined the cast of the "Grand Ole Opry" at the age of 26. He had made a number of appearances as other acts on the radio show, and toured cities all across the south and the midwest within several years after the opry scene. He was suddenly let go! This was the statement made by DeFord Bailey in a interview in 1993, “They'd seen the day was coming when they'd have to pay me right and they used the excuse about me playing the same old tunes.” The interview was held by the University of Tennessee Press.
- Fact #4- "Blind Lemon Jefferson", whom was a blind musician had over 400 country hits. The fact is many of the early white country stars got their style and songs from such black artists.
- Fact #5- "J.J. Jones" he performed in the 1970s side bands which backed George Jones, Mel Tillis, and other country stars in the country music business. He once cut an album but it was never released and devotes all his time nowadays backing other black talent.
- Fact #6- "Ray Charles" actually sang country in his early years of music and he loved it till the day he died. He said he liked it because every song told a story.
- Fact #7- "Kurt Cobain" and "Johnny Cash" admired an black artist known as "Leadbelly".
- Fact #8- A huge country music singer sensation in Europe and Germany is a black country singer known as "K.C. Williams".
- Fact #9- Has anyone heard of "Cleve Francis", he was a doctor who took a shot at being a black country singer in the 1990s. Unfortunately, the radio industry didn't give him much success.
- Fact #10- This is just a compiled list of other influences that may be unknown or some you may recognize; Carl Ray, Stoney Edwards,Tayo Reed, Cowboy Troy, Big Al Downing, O.B. McClinton, Author Pamela Foster, Frankie Staton, Vicki Vann, Rhonda Towns, Ebony Hillbillies, Buddy and Tina Wright band , Miko Marks, and of course newcomer, "Darius Rucker". Almost done; I have just a few more interesting facts to take with you.
- "Shanai Twain" is one of the only bands with a black drummer.
- "Aaron Neville" is considered country to some people and he did a video remake of George Jones "The Grand Tour". Coffey Anderson was a black contestant on Nashville Star show.
- "Charley Prides" brother Steven Pride is actually a country singer too! Have you ever heard him play? Please, let me know....
- "Elvis" talent came from where? Your right, the black community around Tupelo, Mississppi.
- Last Fact- The banjo was an African instrument brought over by the slaves. It was modified and has been the mainstream music instrument for what genre? You guessed it! Bluegrass and Country music.
Right now, I have reason to believe that the business men of music row are starting to open their minds and may have hands itching. When, I lived in Nashville for about 10 years, I noticed things and one was how I wanted to tap this industry. I had a very close black friend that left everything behind in his hometown in Texas. Looking back, I wished I could have promoted him and helped change the market. Face it! We live in a country that runs after the almighty dollar. If I was to set aside all other views or could help set aside other views in Nashville, I would be a rich man. Note: Right now, Nashville is changing Trini Triggs has a self-titled album that was released in 1998 by MCG/Curb Records which had 3 singles on Billboard and a 4th single by Asylum -Curb Records in 2004. Carl Ray has songs available on www.carlray.com and Rissi Palmer has a hit song that peaked #54 on Billboard Hot Country Songs and her label is 1720 Entertainment / Universal Music Group. Rissi can be seen on CMT video "Country Girl".
Also, the picture I used above is an inspiring country music artist. His name is " AKON " and he is now a R+B star. He supposedly recorded an album under an alias name. He is a big country fan and desires to be the best known black country singer artist of all time. We will have to wait it out and see how it goes...The picture was from Live Earth New York concert at Giants Stadium.
Hope this was interesting......
My 1st very own Quote: "When people are confronted with real facts, it transforms our opinions and opens our beliefs that were once marketed and manufactured by un-relative brainwashing!" by Michael Gladden