Jeanette Hicks was born in Texarkana, Texas. She gained notice in the 1950s, singing for several years
on the legendary KWKH Louisiana Hayride.
We first read about her in 1953 when Hillbilly and Western Hoedown magazine reviewed a recording of hers attributed
to the OKeh record label. The "A" side was All I Care About. They noted, "...she could stand high
among the female vocalists with right song. This number shows her voice up well and could gain some
attention." The "B" side was He Knows Why and they noted, "Another better than average effort
by the thrush who shows voice appeal here."
She was getting attention a bit in 1956. A Mr. Paul Gilley from Maytown, Kentucky wrote Country and Western
Jamboree magazine that he would enjoy seeing articles about Jeanette and other artists.
In 1957, the same magazine indicated fans had voted her one of the The Top 10 New Female Vocalists of 1957.
In a short biography piece, C&W Jamboree noted she had learned to yodel while listening to the Grand Ole Opry
while she was still in school. She honed her talents by appearing on various school shows and other
venues when the opportunity presented itself.
It was said she got her big break when a friend introduced her to Tillman Franks. He later
asked him to appear on his show which was to be held at the Muncipal Auditorium in Texarkana.
Tillman was impressed enough that he asked her to come to Shreveport and meet Horace Logan, who
was the director of the Louisiana Hayride at the time.
Mr. Logan auditioned Jeanette that night. She performed on the last five minutes of that night's show.
Afterwards, she went to the KWKH studios where she made an audition tape. A week later, she had a
three-year contract to appear on the Hayride. And if that wasn't enough, two weeks later, she had a
recording contract with Columbia Records.
One of the recordings on Columbia was a bit different. She had a song on one side of the record,
but a Dallas disc jockey by the name of Johnnie Hicks had the other side. We have found nothing
to indicate they were related. Jeanette's obituary in 2011 indicated she was preceded in death
by her husband Edsel Hicks.
She got married and Billboard reported that she was back on the Hayride after giving birth
to a son on April 14, 1954.
In 1955, she teamed up with Billy Walker for a duet or two for Columbia. Country and Western Jamboree
picked their duet number, Let's Make Memories, as a hit in the West South Central area of the United
States. A later record review indicated the flip side was a number entitled Which One of Us Is To Blame.
Late in 1955, Billboard reported that Jeanette was part of a package show headlined by Johnny Cash
in Odessa, Texas that drew a crowd of over 6,000 people. Also on the show were the Browns, Jim Ed,
Maxine and Bonnie, George Jones and Werley Fairburn.
That contract with Columbia was apparently a short one. For in early 1957, we find that she
was brought to the attention of Pappy Daily of Mercury-Starday by George Jones and signed to the label.
Bukkbiard nites that she had did a duet number with George Jones for Starday called Yearning.
Credits & Sources
- Hillbilly and Western Hoedown; Vol. 1 No. 4; December 1953; Hoedown, Inc.;
124 Government Place, Cincinnati, OH
- Billboard; May 22, 1954; The Billboard; Cincinati, OH
- Billboard; March 26, 1955; The Billboard; Cincinati, OH
- Country and Western Jamboree; May 1955; Maher Publications, Inc.;
- Country and Western Jamboree; June 1955; Maher Publications, Inc.;
- Country and Western Jamboree; July 1955; Maher Publications, Inc.;
- Country and Western Jamboree; August 1955; Maher Publications, Inc.;
- Billboard; December 24, 1955; The Billboard; Cincinati, OH
- Country and Western Jamboree; January 1956; Maher Publications, Inc.;
- Country Song Roundup; No. 43; April 1956; American Folk Publications, Inc.;
- Country and Western Jamboree; January 1957; Maher Publications, Inc.;
- Billboard; March 23, 1957; The Billboard; Cincinati, OH
- Country and Western Jamboree; March 1957; Maher Publications, Inc.;
- Country and Western Jamboree; June 1957; Maher Publications, Inc.;
- Folk and Country Songs; Vol. 2 No. 2; March 1957; American Folk
Publications, Inc.; Derby, CT
- Rustic Rhythm; Vol. 1 No. 2; May 1957; Ristic Rhythm, Inc.; 527 Lexington Ave.;
New York, NY