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Billy (Hillbilly) Barton
Born:  November 21, 1929
Died:  October 8, 2011
KWKH Louisiana Hayride
KGEM Boise, ID
KGY Olympia, WA
KXLA Pasadena, CA


About The Artist

As we research artists on this web site, we sometimes find the 'stage names' are not the same as their 'real names'. Such is the case in this instance.

He was born John Ralph Grimes in London, KY (according to his World War II Draft Card found on ancestry.com), to parents John L. and Flora E. (Lee) Grimes in November 1929.

He is most well known as "Billy Barton" but also used the name "Hillbilly Barton" and "Laurel London."

He first recorded for the Abbott record label as "Hillbilly Barton," doing several sides with Johnny Horton in 1952.

In 1953, he cut a couple of sides for the Grande Record Co. label located in Bakersfield, CA as "Billy Barton" and was backed by the Circle O Ranch Boys.

In 1955, he recorded for Abbott records again, this time as Billy Barton. A couple of sides were cut with a young female singer named Wanda Wayne. Promotional appearance ads show they began working together in December 1953. Wanda was 18 years old at the time, born in Jasper, Alabama. Her family moved west.

He signed with King records. The label did something unusual when they released his first recordings. The DJ or promo copy of that first release contained some biographical information, such as his date of birth, where he was born. It also noted that his first appearance was over radio station KXLA in Pasadena, CA. The flip side of that record noted he had studied auctioneering and for a time was a tobacco auctioneer. One learns he had married the young Wanda Wayne. Wanda's King release around that time noted they were married on December 17, 1954. She was 19, he was 26. It is interesting to note that the recordings were done at the King Studios on January 19, 1955 but Wanda's sides were released first on April 1, 1955 and Billy's on April 4, 1955.

At some point, Wanda and John Grimes (Billy Barton) divorced.

Billboard reported in its August 21, 1954 issue that Billy was working a two hour stint over radio station KGY in Olympia, WA.

Perhaps taking advantage of his recording contract with King, The Cash Box reported that Billy had taken up residence in Cincinnati, OH in early 1955.

By 1958, he had left Abbott and King records. He then signed to do promotional work for Fabor Robison's Radio record label.

Promo Ad - Blackboard Cafe - Bakersfield, CA - Billy Barton - Wanda Wayne - December 1953
Promo Ad - The Big Barn - Salinas, CA - Billy Barton - Wanda Wayne - Reynold (Randall?) Parker - Valley Rhythm Ranch Hands - March 1954

Promo Ad - Northwest Barn Dance - At The Tropics - Olympia, WA - Bud Hobbs - Billy Barton - Wanda Wayne - June 1954
Promo Ad - The Big Barn - Salinas, CA - Billy Barton - Wanda Wayne - Randall Parker - April 1954

Promo Ad - Valentine Special - Melody Mountain Barn - Roseburg, OR - February 1954 - Billy Barton - Wanda Wayne
Promo Ad - Playquato Dance Hall - Centralia, WA - Wanda Wayne - Billy Barton - Tex Mitchell - July 1954

Promo Ad - Riverside Ballroom - Boise, ID - Billy Barton - Wanda Wayne - Randall Parker - Smokey Stover - Western Rhythmaires - October 1954
Promo Ad - Riverside Ballroom - Boise, ID - Billy Barton - June 1956
Promo Ad - Town Club - Garden City, ID - Billy Barton - October 1954
Promo Ad - Wills' Point Ballroom - Sacramento, CA - Bob Kennedy's Band Wagon - Hillbilly Barton - KFBK - June 1955


Promo Ad - Bell Avenue Corral - Sacramento, CA - Billy Barton - Lamon Davis - Billy Jack Westmoreland - Honky Tonk Johnson - June 1955

Promo Ad - Riverside Ballroom - Boise, ID - Music Valley Jamboree - Billy Barton - Wanda Wayne - Randall Parker - Dona Dean - December 25, 1954


Promo Ad - Riverside Ballroom - Boise, ID - Billy Barton - September 1955
Promo Ad - Riverside Ballroom - Billy Barton - Candy and Leon Walker - Barbara Mae - The Brown Boy - May 1956
Promo Ad - Riverside - Boise, ID - Billy Barton - September 1955

Promo Ad - Riverside Ballroom - Boise, ID - Billy Barton - Jimmy Patton - Morgan Brothers and Arlene - September 1955
Promo Ad - The Cash Box - Abbott and Fabor Records - Billy Barton - March 1954
Promo Ad - The Fresno Big Barn - Fresno, CA - March 1956 - Hillbilly Barton - Dave Stogner

Hoedown Magazine Cover - October 1953 - Ferlin Huskey - Jean Sheard - A Dear John Letter
Country Song Roundup Magazine Cover - June 1954 - Ferlin Huskey - Jean Sheard - A Dear John Letter

Abbott Records 111 - Never Satisfied - Hillbilly Barton - March 1952
Grande Record Co. 117A - You Will Always Be In My Heart - Billy Barton - Circle O Ranch Boys - 1953

Billy Barton
Record Reviews From The Billboard and The Cash Box
Date Label Rec No. Review
1/24/1953 (BB) Abbott 117 You Will Always Be In My Heart b/w Barton, a guy with a high tenor, has a good country weeper here and he projects it with moderate appeal. (Overall Rating: 68)

Blues In The Blue Of The Night
Novelty rhythm ditty is piped in okay fashion. (Overall Rating: 60)
1/24/1953 (CB) Abbott 117 You Will Always Be In My Heart b/w Billy Barton etches a slow paced melodic item with a nasal type delivery. The Circle O Ranch Boys provide a solid string backdrop. (Overall Rating: C+)

Blues In The Blue Of The Night
Barton comes through with a quick beat item which he chants with spirit. A lively side. (Overall Rating: C+)
3/6/1954 (CB) Abbott 155 I Cried My Eyes Out Over You (Duet with Wanda Wayne) A middle tempo feelingful piece is fashioned in first class style by the velvety tones of Wanda Wayne. Mid-deck recitation by Billy Barton rounds out an engaging side. Tune could break through.. (Overall Rating: B)

What's The Matter With Me
Solo By Billy Barton. Barton, who has penned some of the recent country successes applies his vocal talents to another original that should garner him more laurels. Two standout decks. (Overall Rating: B)
7/10/1954 (CB) Abbott 166 That World Called Love (Duet with Wanda Wayne) Billy Barton and Wanda Wayne have a terrific chance to smash through with a big one as they wax a happy-go-lucky ditty with delectable lyrics. Vocal efforts are top calibre. (Overall Rating: B+)

You're You
Solo By Billy Barton. Barton takes the vocal spotlight as he solos through a zestful, quick beat love tune. Should lure a heap of coin. (Overall Rating: B)
7/12/1954 (BB) Abbott 166 That World Called Love (Duet with Wanda Wayne) Wanda Wayne teams up with Barton for a humorous portrayal of the troubles That ensue from careless use of the word "love." The solid-beat and pretty harmonking make for a disk with commercial potential. (Overall Rating: 77)

You're You
Solo By Billy Barton. Barton gets carried away here as he tries to explain to his girl why he's so in hove with her. It's pleasing material and gels a sound from Barton that is all his own. (Overall Rating: 76)
2/26/1955 (BB) King 1440 The Song You Just Played Duet with Billy Barton. Barton Is joined by Wanda Wayne (Mrs. B.) In a mighty attractive duet. Despite its weeper theme, it moves briskly and tunefully. This could catch on and earn satisfactory loot. (Overall Rating: 76)

Why Don't They Leave Her Alone?
Solo By Billy Barton. Billy Barton, who sings this one solo, puts the question appealingly. A weeper with a beat and a tune, this side can pull spins and sales. (Overall Rating: 74)
2/26/1955 (CB) King 1440 The Song You Just Played Duet with Wanda Wayne. Wanda Wayne and Billy Barton never sounded better than they do on this quick beat weeper with tender lyrics. Deck could happen with enough exposure. Watch it. (Overall Rating: B+)

Why Don't They Leave Her Alone?
Solo By Billy Barton. Billy Barton sounds mighty jealous of the other guys on this fast paced piece with a tantalizing instrumental backdrop. (Overall Rating: B)
4/16/1955 (BB) King 1457 What God Has Put Together, Let No Man Tear Apart Barton, who wrote both tunes on this disk, warbles with sincerity and considerable feeling on weeper about a man who lakes a girl away from his best buddy, only to have still another pal take her from him. Clever lyrics make this a good juke bet. (Overall Rating: 76)

Pardon Me, Old Buddy
A sprightly vocal treatment of a jaunty paced novelty with bouncy country styled backing. (Overall Rating: 75)
4/23/1955 (CB) King 1457 What God Has Put Together, Let No Man Tear Apart Billy Barton takes hold of a powerful piece of material and delivers it in heartrending style. Top calibre performance. (Overall Rating: B+)

Pardon Me, Old Buddy
Under deck is a fast paced cutie that has the quality, novelty and charm to break through. Two chart contenders. (Overall Rating: B)
6/11/1955 (CB) King 1478 Do You Love Me, Do You Love Me?
Versatile Billy Barton can really be heard on this one as he belts out a rousing, quick beat bouncer in money-making manner. (Overall Rating: B+)

I'm Turning Over A Brand New Leaf On the flip side Barton socks out another fast paced toe tapper. Two flavorful biscuits. (Overall Rating: B)
6/11/1955 (BB) King 1478 I'm Turning Over A Brand New Leaf As long as she's got a hears — that's the burden of Billy Barton's chant. It's lively country material, and the chanter has an individual style.(Overall Rating: 72)

Do You Love Me, Do You Love Me?
This repetitive query makes a routine weeper. (Overall Rating: 68)
10/11/1958 (CB) Radio 117 Doorway To Heaven The gal’s front door is the “doorway to heaven” sez Billy Barton as he brightly carves out this quick beat love affair. Happy wedding of melody and lyrics on a lid that packs a sales wallop. Keep close tabs on it. (Overall Rating: B+)

The Devil, My Conscience and I
Here’s an interesting ditty that’s gonna provide the jocks with some good, offbeat programming. Billy engages in a three-way-conversation about a gal who done him wrong. Intriguing, up tempo opus. (Overall Rating: B)
10/13/1958 (BB) Radio 117 Doorway To Heaven Country ditty is handed a nice reading by Billy Barron, as he sings of his true love. (Overall Rating: 72)

The Devil, My Conscience and I
Country novelty receives a 1istenable rendition from Barton as he sings of his trouble with his girl. (Overall Rating: 72)
5/16/1964 (CB) Sims 176 Even Stevens Barton unleashes his potent, wide-range vocal talents full-blast on this top-notch, hard-driving, rhythmic romantic novelty which boasts a fine spinnable beat. (Overall Rating: B+)

Remembering
This time out the songster offers a plaintive, slow-moving, chorus-backed, shuffle-beat weeper (Overall Rating: B+)

The Songwriter

  • I Cried My Eyes Out Over You
  • I Love You
  • Mexico Gal
  • Let This Be The Last Time (w/Rose Maddox)
  • Forgive Me John (w/Jean Shepard)
  • A Dear John Letter (w/Lewis Talley and Fuzzy Owen)
  • Marriages

    Roda Holland (Puterbaugh)(B: March 31, 1931 — D: July 3, 2015)
    Married: October 2, 1948 in Cheyenne, WY. Divorced:


    Betty Lou (Parvin) Harvey ("Wanda Wayne") (B: — D: )
    Married: December 17, 1954. Divorced: ?


    Ladonna June (Bennett) Kelly (B: April 25, 1932 &mdash: D: Aril 23, 2015)
    They married on October 4, 1961 in Las Vegas, NV. Divorced May 1964, Pinnellas County, FL.

    There appear to be other marriage(s); but data could not be determined.

    King 1437 - I Gotta Go Get My Baby - Wanda Wayne - Released January 1955

    King 1437 - The Light Across The River - Wanda Wayne - Released January 1955

    King 1457 - What God Has Put Together, Let No Man Tear Apart - Billy Barton - Released April 1955

    King 1457 - Pardon Me, Old Buddy - Billy Barton - Released April 1955

    Credits & Sources

    • Folk and Talent Tunes; Joel Friedman; August 21, 1954; The Billboard; New York, NY
    • Vox Jox; Charlotte Summers; October 9, 1954; The Billboard; New York, NY
    • Folk Talent & Tunes; Bill Sachs; October 30, 1955; The Billboard; New York, NY
    • Cincinnati Cut-Ups; April 2, 1955; The Cash Box; New York, NY
    • Country Round-Up; July 19, 1958; The Cash Box; New York, NY
    • Grimes, John "Hillbilly Barton"; Obituary; October 23, 2011; The Tennessean; Nashville, TN

    Printer Friendly Version

    Recordings (78rpm/45rpm)

     
    Abbott
    Rec. No. Side Song Title
      108 A Somebody's Rockin' My Broken Heart (as Hillbilly Barton w/Johnny Horton)
      108 B Betty Lorraine (by Johnny Horton)
      109 A Bawlin' Baby (as Hillbilly Barton w/Johnny Horton)
      109 B Rhythm In My Baby's Walk (by Johnny Horton)
      110 A Strange Affection
      110 B She's A Good Ole Gal
      111 A No Interest (Nothing But A Girl)
      111 B Never Satisfied
      113 A My Darlin' Liza Lou
      113 B You Made Me Love You
      117 A Blues In Blue Of Night
      117 B You Will Always Be In My Heart
      155 A What's The Matter With Me
      155 B Other Side by Wanda Wayne
      166 A The World Called Love (w/Wanda Wayne)
      166 B You're You (w/Wanda Wayne)
     
    Fire Records
    Rec. No. Side Song Title
      1008 A Doorway To Heaven
      1008 B The Devil, My Conscience and I
      1011 A So Called Friend
      1011 B Wanted Man
     
    Grande Record Co.
    Rec. No. Side Song Title
      1178 A You Will Always Be In My Heart (w/Circle O Ranch Boys)
      1178 B Blues In The Blue Of The Night (w/Circle O Ranch Boys)
     
    Gulf
    Rec. No. Side Song Title
      1001 A Monkey Business (as Billy Boy Barton)
      1001 B Blue Lover (as Billy Boy Barton)
      1004 A Two Kids In Love (w/Carolyn Johnson)
      1004 B Why Do I Love You (by Carolyn Johnson)
     
    Gulf Reef
    Rec. No. Side Song Title
      GR-1007 A Don't Knock The Rock (as Laurel London)
      GR-1007 B My Conscience And I (as Laurel London)
     
    King
    Rec. No. Side Song Title
      1291 A Who Would You Cry To (as Johnny Grimes)
      1291 B These Three Little Words (as Johnny Grimes w/Wanda Wayne)
      1440 A The Song You Just Played
      1440 B Why Don't They Leave Her Alone
      1457 A Pardon Me, Old Buddy
      1457 B What God Has Put Together Let No Man Tear Apart
      1478 A Do You Love Me, Do You Love Me
      1478 B I'm Turining Over A Brand New Leaf
     
    No Label Name
    Rec. No. Side Song Title
      1007 A Crazy Lover
      1007 B Day Late And A Dollar Short
     
    Quality King
    Rec. No. Side Song Title
      1291 A Who Would You Cry To (as Johnny Grimes)
      1291 B These Three Little Words (as Johnny Grimes w/Wanda Wayne)
     
    Sims
    Rec. No. Side Song Title
      176 A Remembering
      176 B Even Steven
      209 A After The Boy Gets The Girl
      209 B Backstreet Affair
      244 A Letter To A Fool
      244 A A Letter To A Fool (w/Janet McBride)
      244 B Arms Of A Child
      244 B The Arms Of A Child (by Janet McBride)
     
    Stars Inc.
    Rec. No. Side Song Title
      548 A No Tomorrow
      548 B Ten Wheels


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