About The Artist
Art Gibson was an important early day figure in the development of Mercury Records in the late 1940's. He had an atypical background in that he spent much of his career in such locales as Wisconsin and North Dakota in addition to Chicago. Born Chester Arthur Gibson in Langlade County, Wisconsin, his father died when he was quite young. His mother had a tough time rearing him and his younger brother Orbie (later known as Arbie).
But only the older boy seems to have been a major problem. In fact, Art spent some time in the federal reform school in Chillicothe, Ohio. At about the same time, Arbie went to Kentucky and lived with relatives.
Following Art's release from reform school, he and Arbie teamed up musically although the latter became better known as a songwriter, composing among other numbers the Ernest Tubb classic, "Letters Have No Arms." (Note: The sheet music in an Ernest Tubb song folio shows writer credits for Arbie Gibson and Ernest Tubb).
Art Gibson and his Mountain Melody Boys began their recording career with Mercury (a brand new company at the time) about March 1946. Through 1947, they were among the busiest artists on the label. The AFM recording band took time out of the studio through 1948, but in 1949 they were back for another session. Thereafter, Mercury seemingly shifted their recording bases southward toward such places as Knoxville and Nashville, but they kept releasing Gibson's masters still in their vaults. He did a final record session for the small Replica label in 1954.
Gibson played shows eastward as far as Michigan and southwestward to Texas, but spent much of his career in such states as North Dakota being based for some time at KILO Grand Forks, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Greater Chicago area where he owned nightclubs at various times. Research also shows he spent time at radio station WNAX in Yankton, SD a station that attracted many country performers in the early years. This is based on the fact that research showed a group called "Mountain Melody Boys" in the radio logs for that station. But surprisingly, the research of newspapers available to research did not include any promotional ads for he and his group's appearances.
In 1962, Ernest Tubb revived one of Art's 1946 originals, "I'm Looking High and Low for My Baby" for a hit.
Gibson was married twice and fathered ten children. Unfortunately, he also had a drinking problem. As his son told Kevin Coffey, he recalled "Hard-living, working, and drinking got the best of a wonderful, talented man" and "liver disease" took his life at the age of 59.
In 2009, BACM (British Archives of Country Music) Records in England re-issued a disc containing many of his original recordings.
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