About The Artist
Happy Wainwright told country music fans in a 1955 article that he was born in Perdido, Alabama about 1927. He grew up around country music. His dad was a bit of everything back then - a horse trader, a farmer and square dance caller.
Happy picked up one of his brother's guitars at a young age - just all of four years old. But even then, he started having visions of music being his life's endeavor.
Then the family began to find records to play on its phonograph at home. The recordings of Jimmie Rodgers were among them and Happy was even more determined to be a musician after listening to the sounds of the Blue Yodeler.
It may be a bit of a part of his myth, but was mentioned in a January 1955 article that he would get himself into a bit of a pickle at school when he'd start fussing with his guitar while the teacher was in the midst of a lesson or two.
Around 1955, he was a disc jockey at radio station WKRG in Mobile, Alabama. The way he explained it, he had been playing square dances, night clubs and other odd jobs to "pay for my meals" for nearly 14 years prior to auditioning for a spot on WKRG.
Happy had his own band and would tour the Oklahoma, Florida and Mississippi area as well as Alabama doing appearances and television spots.
Around 1955 or so, Happy had a release on the "X" label entitled, "Red Lips and Red Roses". Marvin Lacy noted in one of his columns that Happy told him it was "...selling like hotcakes down in Argentina and since I talked with him I have found out that they don't know what hot cakes are in Argentina." But Marvin noted, some of his listeners did enjoy hearing the tune, but whether they bought the record or not, he didn't claim to know. The old magazines were sometimes full of shameless plugs for friends, especially when songwriters were involved, but this one little tidbit gives you a bit of the sense of corn-ball humor that was around back then.
In 1958, Happy told the readers of his column in On The Trail magazine who was in his band at the time. There was Roy Wainwright on rhythm guitar; Cecil Smith on bass fiddle; Burel Dixon played the steel guitar; and Eddie Smith was on piano. During 1958, they were headling at the Supper Club in Fairhope, Alabama. Happy notes that they were were all members of the Orders of the Oddfellows and in fact had another group called the "Oddfellows Chorus" where they would visit churches and offer their musical services as part of the Christian experience. He noted in an earlier issue that the band's name was "Kings Of The Hillbillies".
Around this time Happy was reporting that he was getting ready to record his first record for the Sandy records label and noted that the VP of the label, Paul DuBose was also a disc jockey on WKQB.
Credits & Sources
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