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About The Artist
The native of Ralls, Texas appeared on the legendary Louisiana Hayride on KWKH out of Shreveport, LA around 1952, 1953. His family ran a farm. When he was six, his mother died. His father then made the hard decision to send Billy and his two older brothers to a Methodist orphanage in Waco, TX being unable to do handle both running the farm work and taking care of the boys.
It was to be some time their father could bring the family back together again, but he finally did that in Clovis, NM. This is where Billy first started showing his interest in music. As poor as they may have been, his father managed to buy Billy a guitar for $7.50. However, being poor, meant that their would be no musical lessons for Billy, so he learned by listening to others and trying to do the same. When he was 15, he won an amateur contest and a prize of $3 and that led to his first radio show on radio station KICA in Clovis, New Mexico.
After graudating from high school, Billy joined a traveling band that he toured with for about two years, ending up on the Big D Jamboree in Dallas, Texas. During that time, he also worked with Hank Thompson.
At this point in his career, things seemed to start happening at once in a good way. He auditioned for Columbia records and was signed up. His first big hit was "Anything Your Heart Desires" backed with "What Makes Me Love You".
Next he joined the "Louisiana Hayride" in Shreveport, LA as one of the featured stars. There he had the good fortune to hook up with Tillman Franks, who became his manager.
Along about 1956, Billy was appearing on the nationally known television show hosted by Red Foley, the Ozark Jubilee.
Billy met his wife, Boots, in San Angelo, Texas in 1947, and married her on March 17, 1948. They had two darling little girls, Judy Lynn, born February 4, 1949 and Deana Ann, born August 11, 1952. He and his band, "The :Traveling Texans" just completed a tour of Texas, playing to capacity crowds in San Antonio and Houston, Texas.
From his stint on the Hayride, he went on to continued success on WSM's Grand Ole Opry out of Nashville, TN.
Credits & Sources