Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b 10 July '13, Midland AR, d 18 June '84) Western Swing bandleader, singer, songwriter and mult-instrumentalist, reputed to be first to play electric guitar on Nashville's Grand Ole Opry. Started playing guitar in teens and started his career on local radio in Phoenix, Arizona '31. Worked in farming, mining and as a salesman alongside showbusiness. Joined Opry '40, signed as a songwriter with Acuff-Rose; led Arkansas Cotton Pickers, a nine-piece band with multiple basses to make up for lack of drums, still taboo on the Opry stage, with wife Rosella featured as sometime vocalist and co-writer. Recorded for Columbia '45-7 and King '48. Left Opry '49 and worked in Houston, then to Shreveport to host Louisiana Hayride. Toured with the Cotton Pickers and Paul Howard Band through to mid-'70s. Albums incl. Faded Picture Blues '70 on King.