During my midday show this week, Elmer Aho played a song by Charlie Pride song entitled, “Wonder Could I Live There Anymore”. I am familiar with Charlie Pride and I looked up some career info on him and it was stated that Charlie was the second black country performer to appear on the. So who is the first??
That would be DeFord Bailey, the first black musician to perform on the Grand Ole Opry. Bailey, a talented musician playing several instruments, his became most famous for his harmonica playing. Deford became a star in the country music business from the 1920’s until 1941.
One of the pioneers for WSM Barn Dance radio show, Bailey became one of the most popular performers on the Grand Ole Opry between 1927 to 1941. A licensing conflict between WSM and BMI-ASCAP resulted in Bailey being fired from WSM and he never appeared again in public until 1974 when he was invited to perform on the Grand Ole Opry.
DeFord Bailey died July 2, 1982 in Nashville, Tennessee at the age of 82. The Encyclopedia of Country Music called him “the most significant black country star before World War II.”
Her is Deford Bailey performing his trademark song, “Pan American Blues”…