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Dusty Walker
and the Dixie Drifters
Born:  April 14, 1924
Died:  May 21, 1998
WGAD Gadsen, AL (1943)
WVOK Birmingham, AL (1947)
WILS Lansing, MI (1952)

About The Artist

He was born George L. Brindley in 1922 in Morgan County, Alabama to the proud parents, George Lafayette Brindley, Sr. and Nancy Ann Kyle Brindley. He was the last of six children, two brothers and three sisters. He grew up near the town of Hartselle, Alabama.

Dusty Walker - WILS

He had the itch to be a performer at a very young age. In fact, a fan club article notes that "...When other kids were at the old swimming hole or climbing saplings, Dusty stood on a make-believe stage in the pine-thicket in the stock pasture performing to an imaginary audience, even before he'd ever seen a show."

His family was not well off, but he didn't complain about that. He had a goal in mind and nothing was going to stop him. He had likable personality, enjoyed talking to people and seemed at ease in front of the audiences.

Dusty Walker - Mr. DJ USA He pestered his dad to get him a guitar, probably relentlessly. His father finally relented and got him a guitar, and while a used one, Dusty treasured it for the joy he would find learning to play it. And he was only ten years at the time.

He got his first experience in front of a radio audience when he got to appear on the Farm and Home Hour over WMSL in Decatur, Alabama. He would hitch hike to Decatur every Saturday. He took his harmonica and guitar to play on the radio. He then learned how to play the fiddle and played on the Midway Jamboree that was hosted by Chester Studdard in Gadsden, Alabama. He soon found himself performing with various acts over radio station WGAD in Gadsden.

One of his thrills back then was when he got to share the stage with none other than Hank Williams and his wife then, Audrey.

Dusty Walker - Webb Pierce He taught himself to play other instruments besides the guitar, harmonica and fiddle. He also learned to play the mandolin and bass fiddle as well.

He then hooked up with Shorty Sullivan and his Green Valley Boys. Shorty was the brother of John Sullivan - the Lonzo of Lonzo and Oscar. The group entertained folks over station WVOK in Birmingham, beginning around 1947. Dusty also worked with a female singer by the name of Judy Jenkins during this stint at WVOK. He stayed there until 1951.

Dusty formed his own band, the Dixie Drifters. The group included the Geer Sisters who were from Sydney, Ohio along with Chris Sparkman. They moved on to Lansing, Michigan and were working regularly out of the Trade Winds Club. That stint caught the attention of the folks operating a local radio station.

The Geer Sisters, a popular act by themselves, embarked on an overseas tour. When they returned, they ended up at the power house station, WLW in Cincinnati, Ohio. But Dusty had grown fond of the folks in Lansing and had decided to stay there.

Around 1952, he joined the on the air staff of WILS in Lansing, Michigan. He stayed there until 1963.

Dusty's work as a disc jockey at WILS and promotion of country music in the Lansing area got the attention of radio station WSM in Nashville, Tennessee. He was one the DJs honored as "Mr. DJ USA" and invited to appear on WSM. He hosted the show along with legendary Opry announcer Grant Turner on January 21, 1955.

Around 1956 or so, Dusty's on the air stint was for 90 minutes from 5:00 to 6:30am each morning. Another article tells us that he then came back to do the Grand River Jamboree program from 1:30pm to 2:00pm. Both shows were on Monday through Saturday.

Dusty Walker, Ferlin Husky Dusty Walker, Grant Turner and Ferlin Husky

His trip to Nashville at this time was certainly memorable. He also did a guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Ernest Tubb had him on as a guest on his post-Opry show the Midnite Jamboree as well.

Dusty Walker - Ernest Tubb As part of the festivities honoring Dusty that weekend, the mayor of Nashville presented him with the key to the city.

During those years, Dusty helped bring the "Opry Shows" to the Lansing Civic Center on a regular basis and was the emcee and host of those shows.

As was the case for many artists back then, Dusty also had his own fan club. His president was Elaine Rybicki in Lansing, Michigan in 1957.

In 1963, he moved back to Cullman, Alabama where he worked with several Gospel groups including the "Song Masters" for many years.

Dusty married the former Helen Nunnelley of Baileyton, Alabama. They had three children, Alton, Anne, and Elizabeth.

His wife wrote us an email telling us that he had won many fiddlers contests and had a beautiful voice. She said she could lamost hear him singing in that Heavenly Choir. Dusty passed away in 1998. Dusty and Helen had 53 years together.

Dusty Walker - Buck Lake Ranch

Credits & Sources

  • Hillbilly-Music.com wishes to thank Dusty's granddaugther, Nancy Brindley, for providing us with a photo of Ernest Tubb and Dusty.
  • Hillbilly-Music.com wishes to thank Dusty's wife, Helen, for contacting us and providing us with biographical information about Dusty's career.
  • Hillbilly-Music.com wishes to thank Elliot Brindley, grandson of Dusty, for providing us with further details about Dusty's career as well as additional photos.
  • Billboard; February 12, 1955; The Billboard Publishing Company; 2160 Patterson Street; Cincinnati, OH
  • Cowboy Songs; No. 49; December 1956; American Folk Publications, Inc.; Derby, CT
  • Country Song Roundup; No. 44; June 1956; American Folk Publications, Inc.; Derby, CT
  • Country & Western Jamboree; May 1957; Maher Publications, Inc.; Chicago, IL
  • Dusty Walker Fan Club Article; Undated; Text courtesy of Elliot Brindley, grandson of Dusty Walker
  • Hillbilly-music.com would like to thank Dusty's family for being patient with us as well as their persistence.

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