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.

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

Collection Items

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

Cowboy Jimmie Cantrell 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…

Harry Blevins and the Steel City Playboys 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…

Tommy Reeves and the Alabama Playboys 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 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…

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.

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…

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…

Dan Brennan at WVOK
Photo of radio personality, businessman, and concert promoter Dan Brennan (1930-2020), WVOK, Birmingham, Alabama. Born in Brickyard, Alabama, Brennan — along with his older brothers Bill and Cyril — belonged to a powerful family of radio…

3 Postcards: Dan Brennan / WVOK
Three promotional photo postcards for WVOK radio personality Dan Brennan, Birmingham, Alabama. Also featured in the postcards are Brennan's wife Clara and members of their growing family, children Danny and Susan.Born in Brickyard, Alabama, Brennan —…

2 Photos: Dan & Clara Brennan
Two photographs of radio personality Dan Brennan and his wife Clara, Birmingham, Alabama. The first shows the young couple at radio station WVOK. In the second, the couple embraces; lipstick kisses adorn the back of the photo.Dan and Clara Brennan…

Happy Hal Burns, Wartime Publicity Photo
Happy Hal Burns, Birmingham radio personality, “and his little dog ‘Sissy’” in a wartime promotional photo. Photo is addressed to Mrs. M. R. Daniels in Thomasville, NC, and accompanied by a form letter from Happy Hal’s sponsor, the American Snuff…

Sponsor Letter to Fan, Happy Hal Burns
Letter from the American Snuff Company to a fan of Birmingham’s Happy Hal Burns. (See previous image).

Happy Hal Burns, 1955 Publicity Photo
Happy Hal Burns (Harold Frank Byrnes) was a popular, longtime Birmingham radio personality and a mentor to many of the city’s “hillbilly” and country acts, including Hank Penny, Sidney “Hardrock” Gunter, and Gordon Edwards “Country Boy Eddie” Burns…
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