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Donald (Sandy) Smith
Born:  October 1, 1934
Died:  July 10, 1954
Hayloft Frolic
WTTS Bloomington, IN

Donald "Sandy" Smith was from Kirksville, Indiana and began playing guitar with Uncle Bob Hardy at the age of 14. He was musically beside Uncle Bob through both the Happy Valley Folks and the Hayloft Frolic Television Shows on WTTV in Bloomington, Indiana.

Sandy was also a part of the many Hayloft Frolic personal appearance tours the group made throughout Southern Indiana and Eastern Illinois. Sandy's talents were such that he also toured with some of the stars of the Grand Ole Opry when they came to the area.

Uncle Bob notes that Sandy picked a great guitar, sang a beautiful song and was the center of the "on stage" comedy on the Hayloft Frolic shows.

In 1954, in addition to all this, he began his own regular radio show over WTTS.

Sadly, his promising career was abruptly cut short as he was killed in an automobile accident.

An old Hayloft Frolic folio included a bit of a newspaper article by a Frances Smith dated July 10, 1954.

Sandy made his first public appearance at a very young age - he was only eleven years old when he stood before the audience at the Green Valley Jamboree Barn at Harrodsburg, Indiana.

It seems Sandy became quite enamored with radio and music at this early age. Ms. Smith further notes that when he was fourteen, he had found himself at radio station WTTS in Bloomington, Indiana, his freckled face trying to peer into the sound room just to catch a glimpse of his idol - Uncle Bob Hardy.

Uncle Bob saw the lad and motioned for him to come into the studio. That was the beginning of a lasting friendship as they seemed to hit it off from the start. Uncle Bob told him to come back the very next day and had him playing the back up music on his radio shows. Sandy was one determined teen-ager then - he hitchhiked thirteen miles, twice a day, six days a week, carrying his fifteen dollar guitar to the station to work with Uncle Bob.

When he was 16, he toured with Red Garrett and his Pioneers that allowed him to gain more exposure to "live" audiences. One of his highlights during that time was appearing on a show in Bethany, Missouri with another idol of Sandy's - the legendary Texas Troubadour himself, Ernest Tubb. You see, Ms. Smith tells us that Sandy had long copied the guitar style of Ernest Tubb. Now we think that was perhaps the sound we heard behind Ernest on his records such as Billy Byrd would play that Ms. Smith is referring to.

Uncle Bob had left his radio show to start a new show called the Hayloft Frolic over WTTV. Sandy joined the cast and was seen every Thursday night.

In the spring of 1954, Sandy had gotten his own 25-minute show on WTTS, "Sandy and the Haylofters" that was heard by folks every Saturday morning at 11:05am.

Sandy had also begun songwriting. Frances tells her readers that Sandy's first song was "Mother's Pride And Joy", written when he was just a fourteen year old teen-ager and he had continued to perform the tune for audiences to that day. He was under a contract with Public Records at the time.

Here is a verse from that tune:

My Mother's Pride and Joy
By Donald (Sandy) Smith

"When I was born a little boy,
in this world so big and wide;
I had no hair upon my head,
I was my mother's pride.
She used to rock me in her lap,
just like a tiny toy;
And I was happy as I could be,
I was my mother's pride and joy."

In that same Hayloft Frolic folio, it featured some poetry written by Sandy, including "Dad", "As I Looked Through The Window", "Mam", "Memories", and "Winter At Home".

Sandy struck a chord with the fans of the Hayloft Frolic. One fan, Esther Mink wrote a remembrance of him:

Our Sandy
By Esther Mink

"What an we say, or what can we do,
A wonderful friend has been taken from you;
What can we do, or what can we say,
To lessen the heartaches you must feel today.
Sandy, the singer . . . .
Sandy, the clown . . . .
The musician, the writer of increasing renown.
Was rapidly climbing the ladder to fame
But today, the dark shadow, snuffed out the flame.
He must (have) been tender, he must (have) been kind,
This handsome young man, with such a keen mind;
He flashed his bright smile in a whimsical way,
Now it's hard to believe, that he's been taken away.
He's been singing more beautifully,
Writing more rhyme,
Improving his talent, all of the time;
Pickin' his guitar, and singing his best,
Now God has called him, to the land of the blest.
Yes, God needed Sandy in heaven,
So he stretched forth his hand;
And guided Sandy to glory.
To sing in his heavenly band."

Uncle Bob would tell you that he is sorely missed by all.

Credits & Sources

  • Hillbilly-Music.com wishes to express its appreciation to Uncle Bob Hardy for providing his recollection of Sandy's career.
  • Uncle Bob Hardy Presents The Hayloft Frolic WTTV Folio No. 2
  • Uncle Bob Hardy Presents The Hayloft Frolic WTTV Folio No. 3
  • Uncle Bob Hardy Presents The Hayloft Frolic WTTV Folio No. 4

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