Jimmy Hall was born in Vinita, Oklahoma back in 1921. When he was about six years old,
the family moved to Wichita, Kansas. Towards the end of his high school
years, Jimmy got into the mind set that music was going to be his career choice.
He pushed forward and his first radio experience was over radio station
KSAL out of Salina, Kansas.
After a couple of years, his talents found him returning to Wichita
as a staff musician over KFBI.
His reputation grew and took him next to radio station KTUL in Tulsa, Oklahoma
where he worked with the original Alabama Boys. He stayed there for
about nine months.
His next stop on his musical journey was a return trip to Wichita. This time
he was working over KFN and stayed there for a couple of years.
In 1943, he joined the Army to serve his countryduring World War II, serving
in the 63rd Infantry Division in England, France, Belgium and Germany. He
was discharged after three years of service.
In February of 1947, he took his fiddling talents and vocals back to
Tulsa where he worked with Leon McAuliffe's band over station KVOO.
His first fan club newsletter written by President LaRayne McCann,
(who lived in Wisconsin back then) noted that
he kept busy with his radio shows and personal appearances.
Jimmy could also do a bit of songwriting. He penned a well known tune
called "T-U-L-S-A Straight Ahead" that was recorded by the popular western
swing bands of that era. He noted in his fan club newsletter that he
had written one of Leon's Columbia releases, "No One For Me".
A 1948 article notes that he co-wrote a tune called "Search My Heart" with
Leon McAuliffe. The author of the article notes that the tune gave Jimmy
a chance to showcae his vocal talents, "...knack for putting simple feeling
in his phrasing, and is a great favorite on all their radio shows."
A 1953 article featuring Leon and his band notes that Jimmy also did the vocals
on "Sugar and Salt".
Fan club newsletters of that era were interesting. They'd include a note or
two from their featured artist, news of the artist's career, where to hear
him, or the latest recordings. You'd also sometimes see notes from other
personalities - perhaps a common courtesy to exchange pleasantries by artists
and their fan clubs. They would also include write-ups on other artists
of the day as well. In fact, Jimmy's first issue ("Hall Highlights") did include a note
from Norma Barthel, the long time head of Ernest Tubb's Fan Club and publisher
of their "Melody Trails" publication.
The fans would also include tributes to their favorite star. In the
issue we have, we're guessing it was published in the 1951 to 1953 time
frame. It's dated Sep-Oct-Nov, but no year is given. One of its members,
Monna Massey wrote a tribute to Jimmy.
To Jimmy Hall
A Tribute From Your Friends
By Monna Massey
Who owns that voice with McAuliffe's band
That wins him praise throughout the land?
Who has that smile for one and all?
Why, it's KVOO's own Jimmy Hall!
A genius in music; to his many fans a friend
And if you haven't heard him, please an ear do lend;
Then when his song is over, I'm sure you will agree
That Jimmy is a STAR in all reality.
So to you, Jimmy, we'd like to say:
"May all good things come your way,
And should the shadows on your pathway fall...
Remember, we're with you, Jimmy Hall.
Credits & Sources
- Hall Highlights; The Offical Publication of the Jimmy Hall
Fan Club; Vol. 1 No. 1; Sept-Oct-Nov; Year Unknown; LaRayne McCann, President;
Eau Claire, Wisconsin
- National Hillbilly News; May / June 1948; Orville and Jenny Via;
Huntington, West Virginia
- Cowboy Songs; No. 27; July 1953; American Folk
Publications, Inc.; Derby, Connecticut