Foreman Phillips

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Bert A. "Foreman" Phillips (born August 20, 1897 , † April 15, 1968 ) was an American country musician and presenter. Phillips was one of the most influential western swing figures on the US West Coast.


Life before career

Foreman Phillips was born in 1897. During the First World War he served in the US Navy and after the war found a job as a salesman for the broadcaster KFWN. In 1935, Phillips became a manager for Don Lee and the Mutual Network. Already at this time he started his first successful show, the Western Hit Parade Show .


Phillip's popularity on the radio grew steadily, so in 1941 he started the Los Angeles County Barn Dance , which was broadcast live from the Venice Pier. He also rented halls in Compton , Baldwin Park and Culver City . As early as 1943, the Foreman Phillips County Barn Dance, as it was also known, was so successful that Phillips decided to organize more events.

In California, Phillips found in a wide audience that the eastern states of the USA had moved to the west coast to find work due to the war. With them came country music and the need to be entertained on weekends. To make the music danceable, jazz elements were adopted, which gave rise to western swing. At the time, Phillips was hosting two daily shows on KRKD and KPAS. Phillips was now able to book stars like Ray Whitley , Al Dexter , Hank Penny , Ted Daffan , Bob Wills , Roy Rogers , Bill Boyd , Roy Acuff , Bob Atcher and many more. His Barn Dances were a resounding success and drew more and more people into the dance halls where his house bands played the entertaining western swing. Adolph Hofner and Spade Cooley were constant attractions at the time. Cooley was partly managed by Phillips and had 5000 to 7000 visitors per evening.

In 1945, Phillips won Zeke Clements and Curly Williams for his shows and moved to the Spring Arcade Building in Los Angeles with the County Barn Dance . In November 1947 he gave his western hit parade to Cliffie Stone , which he had hosted for over ten years. In March 1949, Phillips was involved in the development of the Town Hall Party , which from then on aired every Saturday night with Jay Stewart as the host from the Town Hall in Compton, California.

In March 1950 he started a nightly radio show on KRKD again, but on the same train sold the Compton Town Hall to William Wagnon, who continued the Town Hall Party there. After the sale, things slowly calmed down around Phillips. His shows were still popular and in 1954 he started a new show in Baldwin Park, the County Barn Dance Jubilee, starring Les "Carrot Top" Anderson . The show first went on air in November via KCOP.

In the mid-1950s, Phillips slowly retired. The Los Angeles County Barn Dance continued until 1956. But the music scene was changing faster and faster and rock 'n' roll made its way. One of the most important figures on the California country scene, Forman Phillips died in 1968 at the age of 70.

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