Hillbilly-Music.comThe People. The Music. The History.
About The Artist
Jeanette Hicks was born in Texarkana, Texas. She gained notice in the 1950s, singing for several years on the legendary KWKH Louisiana Hayride.
We first read about her in 1953 when Hillbilly and Western Hoedown magazine reviewed a recording of hers attributed to the OKeh record label. The "A" side was All I Care About. They noted, "...she could stand high among the female vocalists with right song. This number shows her voice up well and could gain some attention." The "B" side was He Knows Why and they noted, "Another better than average effort by the thrush who shows voice appeal here."
She was getting attention a bit in 1956. A Mr. Paul Gilley from Maytown, Kentucky wrote Country and Western Jamboree magazine that he would enjoy seeing articles about Jeanette and other artists.
In 1957, the same magazine indicated fans had voted her one of the The Top 10 New Female Vocalists of 1957.
In a short biography piece, C&W Jamboree noted she had learned to yodel while listening to the Grand Ole Opry while she was still in school. She honed her talents by appearing on various school shows and other venues when the opportunity presented itself.
It was said she got her big break when a friend introduced her to Tillman Franks. He later asked him to appear on his show which was to be held at the Muncipal Auditorium in Texarkana. Tillman was impressed enough that he asked her to come to Shreveport and meet Horace Logan, who was the director of the Louisiana Hayride at the time.
Mr. Logan auditioned Jeanette that night. She performed on the last five minutes of that night's show. Afterwards, she went to the KWKH studios where she made an audition tape. A week later, she had a three-year contract to appear on the Hayride. And if that wasn't enough, two weeks later, she had a recording contract with Columbia Records.
One of the recordings on Columbia was a bit different. She had a song on one side of the record, but a Dallas disc jockey by the name of Johnnie Hicks had the other side. We have found nothing to indicate they were related. Jeanette's obituary in 2011 indicated she was preceded in death by her husband Edsel Hicks.
She got married and Billboard reported that she was back on the Hayride after giving birth to a son on April 14, 1954.
In 1955, she teamed up with Billy Walker for a duet or two for Columbia. Country and Western Jamboree picked their duet number, Let's Make Memories, as a hit in the West South Central area of the United States. A later record review indicated the flip side was a number entitled Which One of Us Is To Blame.
Late in 1955, Billboard reported that Jeanette was part of a package show headlined by Johnny Cash in Odessa, Texas that drew a crowd of over 6,000 people. Also on the show were the Browns, Jim Ed, Maxine and Bonnie, George Jones and Werley Fairburn.
That contract with Columbia was apparently a short one. For in early 1957, we find that she was brought to the attention of Pappy Daily of Mercury-Starday by George Jones and signed to the label.
Bukkbiard nites that she had did a duet number with George Jones for Starday called Yearning.
Credits & Sources