Monday, July 15, 2013

THEODORE WILBURN WITH THE WILBURN FAMILY - Down in Dixie (Where They Say You All) (4 Star, 1950)

THEODORE WILBURN WITH THE WILBURN FAMILY - Down in Dixie (Where They Say You All) (4 Star, 1950)

From around January 1949 to December 1951, the Wilburn Family called Shreveport home. During this time, fans could tune in to their morning radio show (first employed by KTBS, then KWKH) and catch their performances around town (many of which were Louisiana Hayride shows). Based on show advertisements, song writing credits, and photographs, the group regularly worked with other local country musicians such as Zeke Clements, Webb Pierce, Hank Williams, and Faron Young.

The Wilburn Family recorded "Down In Dixie (Where They Say You All)" sometime between February and July 1950. The February 25 issue of Billboard announced that the group signed to 4 Star Records, then the July 15 issue mentioned this particular release. Although the group had existed for over twelve years by the time 1950 rolled around, it wasn't until they moved to Shreveport and signed a contract with 4 Star that they actually recorded any music. The entire Wilburn Family discography is available at Praguefrank's Country Music Discographies website.

It seems that the original version of this song -- featured here -- has essentially been out of print since stock copies disappeared from record store shelves in the early 1950s. Completists might notice an edited version appears on the album The Wonderful Wilburn Brothers (King 746, issued in 1961). However, it sounds pretty inferior to my ears. It's dripping with overdubbed echo, plus about thirty seconds of steel guitar and fiddle breaks were removed. The lyrics to "Down In Dixie (Where They Say You All)" follow a familiar song theme -- reminiscing about home. Even with this well-worn subject, a few of the goofy lines make me laugh every time I hear them:

where the cooks know how to cook, and they don't need no cook book

you'll just kill yourself a eatin' if your appetite ain't small

To learn more about the Wilburn Family, you may want to start with the two online resources below. Biographical details include their disabled father turning the children into musical entertainers, a short stay on the Grand Ol' Opry (due to child labor laws), plus Teddy and Dole's eventual rise to stardom as the Wilburn Brothers. I'm still searching for a good, in-depth resource that shines more light on their early history. Any suggestions?
In closing, here are a few items about the "Wilburn Family -- the Shreveport years" that I've collected.

Set your Shreveport radio to KTBS to hear a live broadcast from the Wilburn Family at 6:00 a.m.  There are a few other options, too: Cousin Emmy, Hank Williams, Johnny and Jack, Red Sovine, Sheb Wooley, Zeke Clements, Bailes Brothers, Ray Bartlett's Groovie's Boogie, Curley Williams and the Georgia Peachpickers, and Webb Pierce.  (Radio schedule, Shreveport Times [Shreveport, Louisiana], January 3, 1949.)
(Louisiana Hayride advertisement,
Shreveport Times
[Shreveport, Louisiana], July 16, 1949.)
The Wilburn Family's Selected Poems Radio, Stage and Recording Artists
with Life's History Lines and Photographic Album
(Shreveport: s.l., circa 1950).
Every day is a Wilburn Family day!
(Wilburn Family calendar, 1950.)

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