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Red Brigham
and the Harmony Hayriders
Born:  March 21, 1932
Renfro Valley Barn Dance
WLNA Peekskill, NY

Red started to take a liking to music and especially country music when he was just nine years old. His mother had a love for music and could sing a tune or two as well, coached her son with a few tunes, taught him a few harmonica licks. That got him read to play with a neighborhood band. And it was quite a compilation of instruments - the members played guitars, fiddles, bazookas, combs on wax paper.

He started his professional music career while he was still in high school at a local unnamed radio station. It gave him some extra spending money until he graduated.

After graduation, life found him working on the farm. But music wasn't something he put aside. He would play at dances and local shows at every opportunity.

When he was 21 years old, he joined the military service and was part of the Special Service Division. That allowed him to organize a band. Two of the members were names country music fans will easily recognize. One was Jesse McReynolds of the famed Jim and Jesse duo. The other was Charlie Louvin of the Louvin Brothers fame. What a treat it must have been to hear those guys in their early years.

Eventually, he left the military service, having gained a lot of musical experience and got his own radio show on WLNA in Peekskill, New York. Their personal appearances were around the area and even into Canada. And one article mentions they had a standing invitation to play the Connecticut State Fair in Danbury. A 1962 article mentions he appeared at the fair for six consecutive years.

We read in one 1956 article that Red had apparently broken up his band and started working with Lee and Terry Edmond's Roamin Mountaineers Group. The group was doing appearances around the south shore area of New Jersey.

In 1958, Red Brigham and his band appeared at the fourth anniversary celebrtion of the Pal's Inn in Somerville, New Jersey. The venue was owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. Eddie Jankowski who liked their entertainment to be strictly country.

In 1964, we learn that Red was then performing on the Renfro Valley Barn Dance in Kentucky. Smokey Warren wrote in another article that Red was to start doing a radio show in the Cincinnati area.

Timeline & Trivia Notes Group Members:

  • Red Brigham, leader, vocals and rhythm guitar
  • Don Cerce, guitar
  • Vern Ballard, steel guitar
  • Dean Sterry, bass and rhythm guitar
  • Margarette Sterry, bass and vocals
  • Betty and Rusty Pizzo, background vocals

Credits & Sources

  • Hillbilly-Music.com wishes to express its appreciation to Don Cerce Jr., son of band member Don Cerce for the photo and other information related to Red Brigham's band.
  • Country and Western Jamboree; May 1956; Maher Publications; Chicago, IL
  • On The Trail Magazine; Vol. 1 No. 1; February 1958; Trail Publications, Inc.; 48 West 48th Street, New York, NY
  • Country Song Roundup; Issue No. 84; May 1964; American Folk Publications, Inc.; Derby, CT
  • Country Music Review; April 1964; Devvy Davenport; P. O. Box 1399; Orange, CA
  • Country Song Roundup; Issue No. 85; August 1964; American Folk Publications, Inc.; Derby, CT

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