This Piedmont, Oklahoma native, Eudell "Del" Dunbar, was known to his fans as the
D-Bar Ranch Hand. Like his nickname suggests, he was born on a ranch in Oklahoma
and learned many of the tools to ranching growing up as well as the tunes associated
with the lifestyle in that era.
In 1931, Del moved to a ranch near Boerne, Texas where he registered his own D-BAR
cattle brand. He also participated in rodeo shows, showing off his roping and
lariat skills in roping, bronco riding and bulldogging contests. And fans were
sure to hear him sing a few tunes with the guitar he took with him to those events.
Del's radio career began in San Antonio over KONO, which is also where Ernest Tubb
spent part of his early career. A 1947 article reports he also made radio transcriptions
for the border radio station, XEG out of Monterey, Mexico.
Like many in that era, Del served with Uncle Sam after the Pearl Harbor attacks.
He traveled with a USO unit and also served in the armed forces ground services
for a couple of years. He returned home after his discharge and started a new
show over KABC in San Antonio on June 17, 1947, which was heard every day at 1:00pm
The 50,000 watt radio station gave fans in a wide listening area a chance to hear
this singer's vast repertoire that included "...yodeling songs, cowboy classics,
and the newer cowboy and hillbilly tunes." As testimony to the reach of the station,
the article we found indicates he was getting fan mail from throughout the southwest,
from Monterey, Mexico, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The D-Bar Ranch Hand then acquired the rights to the name "Texas Outlaws" which
was a staff band that was formerly led by Dave Rogers. Del and the Texas Outlaws
had a show that was heard every day at 12:15pm, and sponsored by Heart's Delight flour.
At the time Del took over the leadership of the Texas Outlaws, the band included Louie
Skufe, a native of West Virginia and playing the fiddle; Shorty Bryan, born in Oklahoma and
their bass fiddle player; Charlie Poss, a San Antonio home-town native who played the piano;
and Bob Symons on the steel guitar and vocals.
Matt Pelkonen in his "Matt's Chats" column reported in 1948 that Del was getting a lot
of requests for a tune called "Little Gal I Trusted You Too Long".
Floy Case told the fans in a 1949 "Newsettes" column that Del was one of the main acts
for the KABC "Noon Day Jamboree". Also appearing on that show with Del was Bill Lister,
as well as the Texas Top Hands and others.
By 1949, Tex Moon was reporting in his "Fence Post Observations" column that Del, the D-BAR Ranch Hand
was being heard daily at 12:30pm over KWBU in Corpus Christie, Texas. Also at the station
during this time was Harry Choates and his Jole Blon boys whose show started at 1:00pm.
A 1947 article written by Floy Case indicates Del got married to his wife about six and a half years
prior and had two sons, Errol and Bruce.
Timeline & Trivia Notes
- Del Dunbar, leader, guitar, vocals
- Louie Skufe, fiddle
- Charlie Poss, piano
- Bob Symons, steel guitar, vocals
- Shorty Bryan, bass fiddle
Credits & Sources
- The Mountain Broadcast and Prairie Recorder; January 1947;
Mountain Broadcast Pub. Co., Inc.; New York, NY
- National Hillbilly News; March - April 1949; Mr. & Mrs. Orville Via;
- National Hillbilly News; May - June 1949; Mr. & Mrs. Orville Via;
- National Hillbilly News; September - October 1949; Mr. & Mrs. Orville Via;