DeFord Bailey

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DeFord Bailey, 1970s

DeFord Bailey (born December 14, 1899 in Carthage in Smith County in Tennessee , † July 2, 1982 in Nashville ) was an American old-time musician . He is considered a trailblazer for black country musicians .


DeFord Bailey was born in Carthage in the US state of Tennessee in 1899 . By Palsy disease in childhood he suffered from dwarfism . He learned the banjo , guitar and harmonica from his father and uncle . In 1925 he was discovered by the harmonica player Dr. Humphrey Bate and brought him to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Although he was an African American , he was celebrated as the Harmonica Wizard ("Warlock of the Harmonica"). His Pan America Blues , in which he imitated a locomotive with the harmonica, was particularly famous . In 1927 and 1928 he recorded a few records.

In 1941 the Grand Ole Opry was resigned. The official Opry standpoint is that the musician was fired for being lazy. Allegedly he refused to add new pieces to his repertoire. According to DeFord Bailey and his supporters, however, racist reasons - he was only announced as a mascot in his later years and his performance time was shortened more and more - and DeFord's financial claims (he earned five dollars per performance) were responsible for the dismissals. After his release from the Grand Ole Opry, DeFord Bailey made a living as a shoe shine in Nashville. He only appeared in public on a few occasions, such as when there was a special by country stars from the early days of this music in the Grand Ole Opry. DeFord Bailey died in Nashville in 1982. Many old country stars, such as Roy Acuff and Bill Monroe, attended his funeral .

DeFord Bailey is considered a trailblazer for black country musicians such as Charley Pride , Stoney Edwards and OB McClinton . Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass music, always counted DeFord Bailey among his great role models. Pan American Blues was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2007. In 2005, Bailey was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame .

Recordings and discography

  • 1927: Session for Columbia Records in Atlanta: "Pan American Blues" and "Hesitation Blues" - but the two recordings were never released.
  • 1927: Brunswick and Vocalion-New York: "Pan American Blues" "Dixie Flyer Blues" "Muscle Shoals Blues" "Evening Prayer Blues" "Up Country Blues" "Old Hen Cackle" "Alcoholic Blues" "Fox Chase" - published in the 100 "Songs of Dixie" series by Brunswick.
  • 1928: Victor in Nashville: Of the eight recorded numbers, Victor only released "Ice Water Blues," "Davidson County Blues," and "John Henry".
  • Between 1974 and 1976 Bailey allowed David Morton to record a large part of his repertoire. The recordings include both harmonica and guitar recordings and have been published by the Tennessee Folklore Society.
  • 1993 Harp Blowers 1925-1936 (11 titles by DeFord Bailey) Document
  • 1998 The Legendary DeFord Bailey: Country Music's First Black Star Tennessee Folklore Society
  • 2005 Harmonica Showcase De Ford Bailey and DH 'Bert' Bilbro 1927-31 Matchbox MSE-218
  • 2007 Best of Blues vol. 1: Harmonica Genius Deford Bailey MP3 Download

List of songs

  • "Alberta, Don't Grieve about a Dime"
  • "Alcoholic Blues"
  • "Amazing Grace"
  • "Black Man Blues" (guitar)
  • "Bunch of Blues"
  • "Bye Bye Blackbird"
  • "Casey Jones"
  • "Comin '' Round the Mountain" (Harmonica and Banjo)
  • "Cow Cow Blues"
  • "Cry Holy unto the Lord"
  • "Davidson County Blues"
  • "Dixie Flyer Blues"
  • "Early in the Morning"
  • "Evening Prayer Blues"
  • "Every Time I Feel the Spirit"
  • "Fox Chase"
  • "Get Out and Get Under the Moon"
  • "Gonna Eat at the Welcome Table Some of These Days"
  • "Good News"
  • "Gotta See Mama Every Night"
  • "Greyhound Blues" (guitar)
  • "Guitar Blues" (guitar)
  • "Has the Cat Got the Whoopin 'Cough and the Dog Got the Measles"
  • "Hesitation Blues"
  • "Howling Blues" (guitar)
  • "Ice Water Blues"
  • "I'll Fly Away"
  • "In the Evening"
  • "In the Sweet Bye and Bye"
  • "It Ain't Gonna Rain No More"
  • "John Henry"
  • "Kansas City Blues" ("I'm Going to Kansas City") (guitar and harmonica)
  • "Little Sally Gooden"
  • "Lost John" (harmonica and banjo)
  • "Muscle Shoals Blues"
  • "My Blue Heaven"
  • "Nashville Blues"
  • "Nice Like That"
  • "Old Hen Cackle"
  • "Old Joe Clark"
  • "Old Time Religion"
  • "Over in the Glory Land"
  • "Pan American Blues"
  • "A Prayer" (guitar)
  • "Rattlesnake Blues" (guitar and harmonica)
  • "Sally Long"
  • "Sally Sittin 'in a Saucer"
  • "Shake That Thing"
  • "Shoe Shine Boy Blues"
  • "Sitting on Top of the World"
  • "Soup Cow, Come Get Your Nubbins, Eat That One Up and Come Get Another One"
  • "Sweet Marie"
  • "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot"
  • "Up Country Blues"
  • "Way Down upon the Swanee River"
  • "When the Saints Go Marching In"
  • "Whoa, Mule, Whoa"
  • "Wood Street Blues"
  • "The Worry Blues" (guitar)
  • "Yes, Sir, That's My Baby"


  • Finke, Eberhard: Bluegrass. Music with a future , Ulm 2000.
  • Fischer, Jonathan: Black Cowboys and the Nashville Blues , in: Dobler, Franz: Auf des Toten * Mannes Kiste. Get Country and Rhythm , Hamburg 1999, 105-113. ISBN 3-89401-337-0
  • Fuchs, Walter: The new big book of Country Music , Königswinter 2005. ISBN 3-89880-364-3
  • Larkin, Colin (ed.): The Guinness Who's Who of Country Music , Enfield 1993. ISBN 0-85112-726-6
  • David C. Morton with Charles K. Wolfe: DeFord Bailey: A Black Star in Early Country Music Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 1991

Individual evidence

  1. Information page from David and Andrew Morton ( Memento of the original from June 15, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. Discography DeFord Bailey
  4. David C. Morton with Charles K. Wolfe, DeFord Bailey: A Black Star in Early Country Music (Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 1991) quoted from: .html