KWKH Louisiana Hayride
The Louisian Hayride became one of the major live hillbilly music radio
shows during the hillbilly music era. It ranked right up there with the WLS
National Barn Dance, the WSM Grand Ole Opry and other shows. The artists
that passed through there are legendary. Yes, even Elvis was there. And Hank, too.
The Louisiana Hayride was on each Saturday night from Shreveport, Louisiana on
radio station KWKH.
It began with an announcement on the local paper on March 28, 1948.
Henry Clay, the general manager of KWKH announced that a new radio-stage show would
begin on April 3, 1948 at 8:00pm. It would be held and broadcast at the Municipal Audorium
every Saturday night. The admission charge was to be held to a minimum to allow fans
to see their favorite perofrmers.
The article stated while the show was for three hours, due to network commitments, the show
would not broadcast during the 8:30pm to 9:30pm hour. The radio log listing for KwKH that night
shows the Vaughn Monroe Show and the Saturday Night Serenade filling that timeslot.
The article goes on to list which artists would be on that inaugural broadcast, which
would have Horace Logan acting as master of ceremonies:
- Bailes Brothers and their West Virginia Home Folks
- Johnny and Jack and their Tennessee Mountain Boys with Johnny Wright as Nimrod for comedy
- The Four Deacons (formerly known as Wally Fowler's Oak Ridge Quartet)
- Curley Kinsey
- Harmie Smith, the Ozark Mountaineer
- Tex Grimsley and His Texas Playboys
- The Mercer Brothers
- Pappy Covington's Band
Dean Upson was to be the producer of the show. He had been identified with the Grand Ole Opry
for some 17 years and for four years, produced NBC's Grand Ole Opry.
Whatever we might tell you here would be
pale in comparison to a book that Horace Logan wrote about the show. Be
sure you check that out. At times it rivaled the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville,
at other times it was a stepping stone to the Opry. Or for some, an alternative
to the Opry.
The legendary Hank Williams was on the Hayride back in 1948, then he recorded
the "Lovesick Blues" and the Opry came calling. The legend is that Hank got
seven encores when he did that song on the Opry.
The Hayride was the starting point in many artist careers. Their roster includes
folks like Webb Pierce, Faron Young, Goldie Hill, Janet Hicks, Elvis, Hank, Slim Whitman,
Maddox Brothers and Rose, Johnny Horton, Jimmy Lee, Claude King, the legendary
Jim Reeves and a boat load of others.
Horace Logan was the big cheese of the show back then, producing it and
even helping the artists on it gain recording contracts. Read the book
by Logan - it will bring the Hayride to life more than we can here. Horace
had a few others that helped out at the time as co-emcees that included
Frank Page, Hi Roberts and Jim Reeves.
Around August of 1953, the headliners were:
- Slim Whitman
- The Maddox Brothers and Rose
- The Carlisles
- Billy Walker
- Red Sovine
- Johnny Horton
- Van Howard
- The Rhythm Harmoneers
- Jimmy Lee
- Claude King
- Janet Hicks
- Tommy and Goldie Hill
- Jimmy Reeves aka Jim Reeves
The last radio broadcast of the KWKH Louisiana Hayride was August 27, 1960.