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Jack (The Singing River Boy) Turner
Born:  June 10, 1921
Died:  December 29, 1993
WBAM Deep South Jamboree

About The Artist

The "Singing River Boy" as they called Jack Turner came from Haleyville, Alabama. Jack's fater was S.W. Turner, a conductor on the I.C. Railroad.

Jack made his first public appearance when he was six years old and sang at a county wide gathering that encompassed all Winston County schools. They say he wore that blue ribbon on his overalls button til it wore out. His mom gave him a ukelele when he was seven and in a couple years, he got his first guitar, an $8.00 special. Where he lived, there were many good fiddle players and before long, Jack could 'second' to the old-time breakdowns. (If you read some of the books about country music history, you'll find that Alabama had quite a history of country fiddlers.)

Jack had another artistic bent to him. He also enjoyed painting and drawing. His parents often wondered what to make of his varied interests and which way he would turn. He just about almost chose the artist in him as a career. After he graduated from high school, he headed up to Nasvhille to enroll in an advertising art school. However, the very first Saturday he was there, he went to WSM's Grand Ole Opry and the itch to sang came back again. And somehow, he managed to work both loves into his life.

Early 1942 saw some changes in Jack's life. He met a gal named Lorene Davidson who was from northern Alabama. Later, he enrolled in the US Navy. While there, he formed a hillbilly band and entertained his fellow troops. He also kept up his artistic work by drawing charts and illustrations along with his regular duties as Yeoman.

When he got out of the service, he moved his family to Montgomery, Alabama. By then, he had two daughters, Jacqueline and Dixilyn. He got work as an artist-illustrator at the Air University at Maxwell AFB. And also hooked up with a local radio station, too, but they don't mention which one. If he had any spare time, he spent it composing songs and taking private lessons in portrait painting. Not to mention taking an ICS course in commercial art, selling vacuum cleaners part-time and accepting commissions to do portraits.

Television came to Montgomery like it did to many cities back then. And Jack auditioned and became a regular member of the first Saturday night hillbilly program, "Bar Twenty" that aired over WCOV-TV. He stayed with that for several months. He was turning to music and singing more and more it seems. When WBAM radio came on the air, Jack was a guest on Shorty Sullivan's first "Deep South Jamboree" program and had stayed with them it appears through the mid-1950s. Jack eventually got his own show on WBAM and signed on with the RCA Victor record label in 1954. Some of the releases he had back then included: "Shoot I Reckon I Love You" backed with "Walkin' A Chalk Line"; "If I Could Only Win Your Love" backed with "I'm Getting Married Tonight".

Credits & Sources

  • Cowboy Songs Number 39; February 1955; American Folk Publications, Inc. Derby, CT.

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Recordings (78rpm/45rpm)

RCA Victor
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  20-5267 A Hound Dog
  20-5267 B I Couldn't Keep From Crying
  20-5384 A Butterfly Love
  20-5384 B Gambler's Guitar
  20-5682 A Shout I Reckon I Love You
  20-5682 B Walkin' A Chalk Line
  20-5815 A If I Could Only Win Your Love
  20-5815 B I'm Getting Married Tonight
  20-5901 A I'm Not Jealous
  20-5901 B Put It Down On Paper
  20-5997 A Hitchin' A Ride
  20-5997 B Model T Baby
  20-6163 A Bama Bamboo Boy
  20-6163 B Story Of The Smoky Mountains
  20-6309 A Hi Fi Polka
  20-6309 B Smile
  47-6163 A 'Bama Bamboo Boy
  47-6163 B Story Of The Smoky Mountains
  47-6305 A Llittle Boy, Why Do You Weep?
  47-6305 B Nightmare

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