A SFC Holiday

Carson Robinson and his Pioneers appeared on BBC run Radio Luxembourg and Normandy on Sunday mornings in the late 1930s. They are often credited as the first Country & Western group from the United States to tour Europe. Robinson was a well known singer, guitarist, and professional whistler in his native Kansas before he moved to New York City for a contract with Victor records and began collaborating with the legendary singer Vernon Dalhart in 1924. Robinson accompanied Dalhart on the recording of country music’s first million selling record, “The Wreck of the Old 97” b/w “The Prisoner’s Song.”
The postcard above was a holiday card sent to John Edwards for Christmas dated 1957, the year that Carson Robinson died. We found a few other holiday images in the photos from the John Edwards Memorial Foundation Collection (#20001) that we wanted to share with you here.  Have a wonderful weekend.


Photo of the Week: Merle Haggard and the Texas Playboys

P2998, from the John Edwards Memorial Foundation Collection (#20001), is but one of a series of photographs documenting the recording sessions for Bob Wills’s final album, For the Last Time. Sessions, produced by the legendary guitarist Tommy Allsup (another former Cricket like Bobby Durham), took place just outside of Dallas on December 3 and 4, 1973.
Haggard drove all night from Chicago to participate on the final day after begging permission from Wills to attend. Sadly, Wills was unable to complete the session after suffering a severe stroke on the night of December 3 and slipping into a coma the following day never to retain consciousness. Haggard and the band, the first reunion of the Texas Playboys since Wills disbanded the group in the 1960s, pressed on with noted successor of the Bob Wills sound Hoyle Nix stepping up into the boots of his hero to lead the group.
We are not positive, but we believe the photo above includes Haggard, fiddlers Keith Coleman and Johnny Gimble, steel guitarist Leon McCauliffe, and the back of guitarist Eldon Shamblin’s head.

Photo of the Week: Bobby Durham

Bobby Durham was not just a smart dressed man. A prominent vocalist with the Bakersfield sound, Durham got his start in country music performing on California country music variety shows like Town Hall Party and Hometown Jamboree.  After stints with Cousin Ebb Pillings’s Ozark Squirrel Shooters and Jolly Judy and her Go-Go Daddies, Durham signed with Capitol Records in the early 1960s.  He scored a major hit with the Merle Haggard penned classic “My Past is Present,” earning Durham a 1965 Academy of Country Music Awards nomination for “Most Promising Male Vocalist.” Durham later joined The Crickets, performing some excellent progressive country with the group in the early 1970s.
Durham returned to Bakersfield in the 1980s, recording solo albums for Hightone Records like the popular Do You Still Drink Margeritas and Where I Grew Up.  Durham continues to perform with his Durham Band at Buck Owens’s Crystal Palace.
The photo above, call no. P599, is part of the John Edwards Memorial Foundation Collection (#20001).