There were many huge “barn dance” radio shows in the country in the 1940s-1950s. Today, let’s take a look at a somewhat lesser-known barn dance from Birmingham, Alabama.
Hillbilly-Music is an excellent resource for hillbilly-era country music, and here’s their write-up on the WVOK Dixie Jamboree: http://www.hillbilly-music.com/programs/story/index.php?prog=560
Harry Blevins was one of the regulars: http://www.hillbilly-music.com/artists/story/index.php?id=12933
Note the bits near the end of the article about Harry Blevins at Fort Jackson, South Carolina in the mid-50s with Faron Young and Roger Miller.
The WVOK Dixie Jamboree Memories site has a lot of photos and letters: http://wvok-memories.tripod.com/id40.html
The Hillbilly-Music article mentioned the amazing story of the armless musician Ray Myers. His FindAGrave memorial includes photos of the Pennsylvanian playing the steel guitar with his feet, and also driving his car: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/84307228/raymond-r-myers
There were many, many “barn dance” programs around the country, usually with some mix of “local stars” and national talent. If you’re looking for some “country oldies” that aren’t just the same few that everyone knows about, then the old radio barn dances are great places to start.
Joe Rumore was a big part of Birmingham radio for decades, including WVOK, and here’s a playlist with dozens of his shows: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLHL3qN-aN2Nvw_v3FtoklaIz0XgMNaMfF
While I’m on the subject of Birmingham, I’ll mention that Hardrock Gunter figures prominently on my Rockin’Country Roots playlist. Here’s a great write up about the Alabama rock and roll pioneer, and his country roots: http://www.hardrockgunter.com/hardrockstory.html
Hardrock Gunter hosted a Birmingham TV show, and performed with a puppet named Ernest Tubb.
Another Birmingham legend I should mention is Country Boy Eddie, who had a television show from 1957-1993: https://www.bhamwiki.com/w/Country_Boy_Eddie
Tammy Wynette and others played on that show early in their careers.
I’ll close today’s post with some 1958 rock and roll from the Rhythm Rockets on the WVOK Dixie Jamboree: https://youtu.be/tCI1egxMqJE