Leland Thomas (Tommy) Lloyd came into the world in Bedford County, Tennessee in 1915, the son of James and Laure (Elkins)
Lloyd. He wanted to play guitar at an early age. During early years, he tried to make
guitars out of small wooden boxes, such as those that contained cigars.
At the age of 15, he was working on the farm and that enabled him to buy his first guitar
for the grand sum of three dollars.
It was not even two years later that Tommy, the Strollin' Cowboy, was making his first
radio appearance over WSM in Nashville, Tennessee. Marge Engler wrote a letter to the editor
of The Mountain Broadcast and Prairie Recorder that indicated he started with WSM in 1933. He hooked up with the band that backed
the legendary Opry fiddler, Fiddlin' Sid Harkreader on the Grand Ole Opry. During that early
time at WSM, he was picked by Lum and Abner to provide the music for their "Jot 'Em Down" show.
By 1946, he was in Toledo, Ohio. He was being heard by special wire from Toledo over radio station
WFIN every Monday through Saturday from 11:00am to noon on the Home Service Hour. He also
had a show over WTOD in Toledo, Ohio at 7:00am. Marge Engler reported that his daily theme
song was "Happy Cowboy". She also indicated that Tommy enjoyed "...singing his hill folk
songs, and usually adds some yodeling."
A blurb in the Bill Boyd Ranch House News in 1947 noted that he was being heard six days a week
over WTOD at 1:30pm. The note also indicated that Tommy had appeared on forty radio stations
by then and appeared on numerous transcriptions. Stars doing personal appearances in the Toledo
would stop by and chat with Tommy such as Gene Autry, Ken Maynard, Texas Jack Sparks, Doye O'Dell,
and, Wild Bill Elliott.
In a 1954 article, Tommy relates one his funniest moments on the air.
"One day, about three years ago, I was singing one of Johnny Bond's songs, and just as I finished,
I was telling our listening audience what a fine song I thought it was. Then, as I looked around,
there stood Johnny Bond and Gene Autry looking through our studio window at me.
For a while I thought I was dreaming, but found out different after they came in and helped
finish out the program."
We have seen mention of Tommy working at or owning several night clubs in the Toledo area. In 1949,
he was appearaing at the Flamingo Club.
By 1952, his show was aired from 12:00noon to 12:30 over WTOD. The show featured Tommy and his
band the Strollin' Cowboys which consisted of Roy Justice, John Justice and Sandy Harrison.
According to a fan club listing in Country and Western Jamboree in 1958, his fan club president
was Shirley Anderson who lived in Albert Lea, Minnesota.
Tommy was married to Annie Lee (Harris) Lloyd; she passed away in 1994. They had a son Leland Thomas Lloyd, Junior.
Credits & Sources
- National Hillbilly News; Vol. 2 No. 5; December 1946; Poster Show Print Co.; Huntington, WV
- The Mountain Broadcast and Prairie Recorder; December 1946; Mountain Broadcast Co., Inc.;
45 Astor Place; New York, NY
- Bill Boyd Ranch House News; Vol. 4 No. 6; June 1947; The International Bill Boyd Fan Club;
Janie B. Hamilton, Editor; Lovelock, NV
- National Hillbilly News; Vol. 4 No. 2; November - December 1948; Mr. and Mrs. Orville Via; Huntington, WV
- National Jamboree; No. 3; October 1949; Words to SOngs, Inc.; 1 East 42 Street;
New York, NY
- Country Song Roundup; No. 7; August 1950; Charlton Publishing Corp.; Charlton Building;
- Country Song Roundup; No. 19; August 1952; American Folk Publications, Inc.; Charlton Building;
- Country Song Roundup; No. 33; July - August 1954; American Folk Publications, Inc.; Charlton Building;
- Country and Western Jamboree; Spring 1958; Maher Publications, Inc.; Chicago, IL