Wayne Cobb was popular with the folks down in Montgomery, Alabama. He appears
to be from Prattville.
In early 2010, we had the pleasure of hearing from Wayne's second wife, Pat,
who was kind enough to provide us with some details about Wayne's career. They'll
be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in September of 2010.
Pat indicates she was around the scene during the time of the
WBAM Deep South Jamboree. Her brother, was
Glynn Andrews and he was playing the fiddle for all the musicians
on that show. Glynn was the state champion fiddler for the State of Alabama
for 3 years running.
Glynn also played for Shorty Sullivan, Rebe & Rabe and many others
at the Fort Dixie Graves Armory on Madison Ave. in Montgomery, Alabama.
The armory would be packed with all locals that loved to dance and
especially square dances.
Glynn went on to also play the steel guitar and worked with such acts
as Little Jimmy Dickens, Billy Walker and Donna Fargo. Those stints had
him appearing on the stage of the WSM Grand Ole Opry quite a bit
back in the 1970s. Pat indicates her brother can still play the steel
quite well, but a light stroke slowed him down a bit. He now resides
near Huntsville, Alabama.
Wayne would "call" the square dances
and also did a lot of the vocals for the band. A 1954 article
noted that he was popular with the "bobby sox" set and was
a "...rich-voiced singer" and had been popular for many years in Montgomery,
indicating he had been working at his musical career for several years prior.
Pat notes he had a great voice that was different from any others.
He was the first to do an Elvis Presley song, "That's All Right Mama".
When he would sing that the phones started ringing off the hook at the station.
In 1962 Wayne went to work at WMGY Radio in Montgomery and became
known as "Po Boy". When he was asked how he got that nickname,he would always
say, "I have lived it all my life".
In October of 1962, word of his talents and popularity had made it to Nashville;
he was selected as "Mr. D.J. U.S.A" and was given a free trip to Nashville.
Pat and Wayne had only been married for only 2 years. She recalls it was an
exciting trip, especially for her. She had listened to the Grand Ole Opry
all her life and this was the first time she got to attend in person.
The couple actually had to borrow a friend's car to make the trip to the Music City.
They had dinner with THE Grant Turner and his wife Pat notes and they went
back stage at the Opry and met other artists as you might expect during
such a visit.
That Friday night, Wayne hosted a live show on WSM with
Grant Turner and several guests including Bill Anderson, Archie
Campbell, and others. Since Wayne was known as "Po Boy", one wonders
if he and Bill talked about that term as Bill's band was known as the Po Boys,
but this may have been before Bill had his big record of "Po Folks".
Wayne was introduced on the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night.
After the Opry Wayne and Pat went over to Linebaugh's (a local restaurant/drug store) where
all musicians hung out at that time. They were with Jim Reeves' Secretary
and Jim came in and they were introduced to Jim, who was fresh from
a recording session.
After that bit of rest, Wayne's next stop was the Ernest Tubb Record Shop
where he would get to share the stage with his hero, Ernest Tubb and appear
on the world famous Midnight Jamboree.
Wayne worked at WMGY for 10 years, then he moved on to WETU in Wetumpka,
WPXC in Prattville, both in Alabama.
During his days working in radio, he also did personal appearances at the
popular local clubs with his band.
In the 1950s, Wayne made a recording for the "Reject" label including the tunes
"Something Bad's Gonna Happen" and "Shoppin Around".
The sides were cut in Nashville with the super pickers of that era.
The record never did much but Pat notes, they were not the songs she would
have chosen for Wayne. The "A" side can be found today on some rockabilly compilations
of that era. One site shows that the tune "Something' Bad's Gonna Happen" was
written by Vic McAlpin.
Our research reveals that Billboard Magazine reviewed Wayne's "Shopping Around"
in their April 1956 issue, indicating that the Reject label made an "...auspicious
debut with this country rock and roll coupling. Rhythmic blues chanting is backed
by some potent guitar." The review noted that if the single got the air play,
plent of sales would result. As for teh flip side, "Somethin' Bad's Gonna
Happen", they noted "...blues with a beat is only slightly less promising," which
we take to mean they thought both sides were pretty good.
People loved Wayne's radio show and Pat relates that they still have people
that tell them they used to listen to Wayne on the radio. Pat affectionately
and proudly notes, he was quite the entertainer and everyone loved to hear him sing.
They were good friends with Shorty Sullivan and the others on the scene.
Shorty's death was such a shock to them. He was killed in a auto accident,
but Pat cannot remember the details as to who else also died in that accident..
Pat feels that had they moved to Nashville, there was no doubt Wayne
could have made it to the top.
Wayne and his first wife, Ruth, had 3 children, Wayne Jr., Wes and
Lytricia Cobb. They were all very special to them and we did enjoy having
them with us a good part of their lives.
They lost Wes in 1994 to lung cancer at age 40. They lost Lytricia from
bone cancer in 2007 at the age 50. Wayne Jr. is still living and
is living in South Florida.
Wayne and Pat moved to Destin, Florida in 1981 and lived there until 2004.
Wayne worked for WMMK radio for several years, continued to perform
as a singer and musician for several years during that time as well.
He then became a security guard for a condominium complex in the area.
Wayne and Pat moved back to Prattville, Alabama to be near family.
They now have four wonderful grandchildren and one great grandchild and another
great grandchild on the way. God is good and she feels they are so blessed.
Everyone tells her she should write a book. Well, maybe she got a start
by helping us out.
Credits & Sources
- Hillbilly-music.com wishes to express its appreciation
and thanks to Wayne's wife, Pat, for contacting us and providing
us with details about Wayne's life and career.
- Country Song Roundup; Issue No. 32; June 1954;
American Folk Publications, Inc.; Derby, CT
- Billboard Magazine; April 21, 1956; Billboard Publishing Co.;