He was known as the "Dixie Cowboy" and was a native of Hardinsburg,
Kentucky. He showed his musical talents at a very early age while
in school and at church and became quite a bit of an expert at
'strumming the old family guitar'. His very first professional
musical engagement was with the Continental Lyceum Chautauqua
Bureau of Louisville, KY as the leader of the International
Glee Club Quartette. He stayed with them for a couple of years
before doing a vaudeville tour with the likes of the Loew's Time,
Bently Theatrical Agency Time of St. Louis, MO. and other circuits.
Jenks did his vaudeville act as a single for several years, while
later teaming with his sister when they billed themselves as the "Royal
Castillians". When his sister got married, the act broke up. And Jenks
went back to doing the vaudeville tours by himself. Then he began to do
radio work on stations such as KMOX out of St. Louis, WHAS out of Louisville.
Later, he was signed to record with the Four Star Records, Inc. label.
On Four Star, some of his more notable recordings were:
- End of the World
- Sunny Tennessee
- I Don't Know Why But I Do
- Wreck of the Old 97
- New Waikiki Beach
- Hillbilly Hula
What was the key to his success? He was a showman. And he had a unique
style of playing the steel guitar that "...placed him in a class by himself."
Jenks learned his steel guitar from Frank Plada, one of the first of the
Hawaiian musicians that came to this country. The showman he is, he learned
the traditional Hawaiian stylings, but let his showmanship creativity turn
it into something unique that entertained the audiences everywhere he went.
Those talents led to a later recording contract with Capitol Records where
it saw him record such tunes as:
- End of the World
- Don't Feel Sorry For Me
- Poor Lonesome Fellow
- My Loney Heart and I
- Samoa Stomp
- Hillbily Hula
- Indian Polka
- I Could Love You, Darlin'
- Dixie Cannon Ball
- The Caisons Go Rolling Along
- Locust Hill Rag
Jenks in the mid-1950s was performing on the west coast show "Town Hall Party",
that was one of the top TV shows out of Compton, California on KTTV.
Credits & Sources
- Jenks "Tex" Carman's All Star Western Song Collection";
M.M. Cole Publishing Co.; Chicago, IL; 1955.