Alabama Country & Bluegrass

Title

Alabama Country & Bluegrass

Description

Photographs, recordings, and ephemera documenting country, bluegrass, and related music traditions in Alabama.

If you've got personal or family materials related to country music in Alabama, the Southern Music Research Center would love to help preserve them. We also welcome additional information about any of the lesser-known artists documented in this and our other collections. If you've got artifacts or insights to share, please email contact@southernmusicresearchcenter.org, and thank you for your help in documenting the American South's rich music histories and traditions.

Note: Several songbooks by Alabama country artists are also included in our collection of Pamphlets, Programs, Songbooks, and Magazines. Other relevant collections include our Alabama Ramblers, Johnson Family, and Alabama Music Photos: The Music of Politics collections. 

Materials in these collections may not be reproduced without permission and citation. For usage requests, please email contact@southernmusicresearch.org.

Collection Items

Paw Perkins and the Pea Pickers Poster
Poster for Paw Perkins and the Pea Pickers at the Jasper (Alabama) City Auditorium. Featuring the Phillip Sisters, Roving Ramblers, and Dixie Slim. Date unknown. Courtesy John Horton.

Sid "Hardrock" Gunter: "Alice" & Guitar Instrumental (Acetate Disc / Audio)
One-of-a-king acetate disc recording by Sidney Louie "Hardrock" Gunter (1925-2013), Feburary 12, 1948, Birmingham, Alabama. A popular country entertainer on Birmingham radio and television, Hardrock Gunter cut his first commercial records for the…

Smokey Reason and his Southerners: "Honky-Tonk Swing" & "Stolen Kisses" (Acetate Disc / Audio)
One-of-a-kind acetate disc recording by Smokey Reason and his Southerners, April 1, 1949. Courtesy John Horton.Honky-Tonk Swing Stolen Kisses

Cowboy Jimmie Cantrell: "Tennessee Moon" & "Filipino Baby (Acetate Disc / Audio)
One-of-a-kind acetate disc recording by Cowboy Jimmie Cantrell, April 4, 1949. Courtesy John Horton.Tennessee Moon Filipino Baby

Unidentified Artist Acetate Disc (Audio)
This undated acetate, recorded by an unidentified artist, was located by John Horton in 2023 at an estate sale in Brierfield, Alabama. Side One: Four SongsSide Two: Three SongsHorton notes that one of the seven songs recorded on these two sides is…

Tommy Reeves and the Alabama Playboys: "You Make Me Happy" (Acetate Disc / Audio)
One-of-a-kind acetate disc recording of Tommy Reeves and the Alabama Playboys, October 25, 1952. The disc contains a performance of "You Make Me Happy." The reverse side of the disc includes a performance by the Johnson Family, recorded on the same…

Johnson Family: "You Are My Flower (Acetate Disc / Audio)
One-of-a-kind acetate disc recording attributed to the Johnson Family, October 25, 1952. Mislabeled "Wildwood Flowers," the disc contains a performance of "You Are My Flower."Though there are some broad similarities, it appears unlikely that this…

Harry Blevins and the Steel City Playboys: "Alone with the Blues" & "Broken Hearted" (Acetate Disc / Audio)
One-of-a-kind acetate disc recording of Henry Blevins and the Steel City Playboys, June 6, 1953."Alone with the Blues""Broken Hearted"Henry Blevins and the Steel City Playboys appeared weekly on Birmingham, Alabama, radio station WVOK's "Dixie…

Jay & Swingbillies: "Steel Guitar Rag" & "Sugarfoot Boogie" (Acetate Disc / Audio)
One-of-a-kind acetate disc recording by Jay and the Swingbillies. Recorded for radio station WVOK, Birmingham, Alabama.Jay & Swingbillies: "Steel Guitar Rag"Swing-Billies: "Sugarfoot Boogie"From the estate of Dan Brennan. Courtesy John Horton.

Shorty Sullivan: "Release Me" (Acetate Disc / Audio)
One-of-a-kind acetate disc recording by Shorty Sullivan, March 8, 1954, for radio station WBAM (Montgomery, Alabama). Sullivan performs "Release Me," the country standard written in 1949 by Eddie Miller and Robert Yount.The reverse side of this disc…

Rebe Gosdin and The Sunny Valley Gang: "Pray, Pray, Pray" (Acetate Disc / Audio)
One-of-a-kind acetate disc recording of Rebe Gosdin and the Sunny Valley Gang, "Pray, Pray, Pray." Recorded March 9, 1954, for radio station WBAM (Montgomery, Alabama). The reverse side of this disc contains a recording of "Release Me" by…

Wallace O'Dell: "My Life In Darkness" (Acetate Disc Audio)
Acetate disc recording of Wallace O'Dell, "My Life in Darkness," recorded for Reed Records, March 16, 1959, Birmingham, Alabama. Vocal backing by the Chordaires.O'Dell (as Wallace Odell, without the apostrophe) released this title on the Reed label…

Zeke Clements Photo Postcard
Addressed to a fan at Rt. 1 in Brilliant, Alabama, the publicity postcard offers a short biography of Clements, "The Dixie Yodeler":

"Born September 6, in the hills of Central Alabama, of English and Cherokee Indian descent. Has dark brown hair…

Uncle Bob Helton's Blue Ridge Boys
Uncle Bob Helton and his Blue Ridge Boys at Montgomery radio station WMGY, circa 1940s. Left to right: Luke Sheahan, George Mayhew, Cuss Thorpe, "Uncle" Bob Helton, Duff Sherer, Todd Williams, and Kilroy Entreken. Helton’s band performed and…

Happy Wilson and His Golden River Boys
Photo of Happy Wilson and his Golden River Boys, Birmingham, Alabama. Pictured left to right are Billy Tucker, Ted Crabtree, Sammy Pruett, Louise Linard, Happy Wilson, and Jim O’Day. Sponsors identified in the photo are White Tulip Corn Meal and…

The Watkins Brothers & The Mother's Best Red Hat Kids (Photo Postcard)
Photo postcard of the Watkins Brothers and the Mother's Best Red Hat Kids, circa 1950s, WVOK, Birmingham, Alabama. Pictured left to right are Curley Fagan, Richard Watkins, Bobby Watkins, announcer Joe Rumore, Jimmie Watkins, Robert [?], and Tommy…

Newspaper article: "Armless musician to play for wheel chair meeting at City Auditorium May 2" (1954)
Newspaper article featuring Ray R. Myers,Birmingham News, April 25, 1954.Born without arms in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1911, the dapper and versatile Myers learned to play steel guitar with his feet, performing at the 1933 World's Fair and in…

WVOK Dixie Jamboree Cast Photo
Cast photograph for "The Dixie Jamboree," WVOK, Birmingham, Alabama. Begun in the late 1940s and continuing into the 1960s, WVOK's "Dixie Jamboree" featured live music broadcast from Birmingham's National Guard Armory. Hosted by radio personality Dan…

WVOK Dixie Jamboree Cast Photo (2)
Cast photograph of "The Dixie Jamboree," WVOK, Birmingham, Alabama. Begun in the late 1940s and continuing into the 1960s, WVOK's "Dixie Jamboree" featured live music broadcast from Birmingham's National Guard Armory. Hosted by radio personality Dan…

Ad: Dan Brennan / Dixie Jamboree
Advertisement for "The Dixie Jamboree," hosted by Dan Brennan, WVOK, Birmingham, Alabama. Begun in the late 1940s and continuing into the 1960s, WVOK's "Dixie Jamboree" featured live music broadcast from Birmingham's National Guard Armory. Hosted by…
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