There are not many people who can say they have been successful at two
careers. But Billy Robinson can! After a successful stint as a steel
guitarist, he added another dimension to his life, becoming a respected
He can truly call himself a native Nashvillian. A self–taught
musician, He began playing guitar at age 10, and by 15 formed his own
local band, the “Eagle Rangers” playing steel guitar locally at places
like the old “Eagles Club” on 8th Avenue. All the “Rangers” went on to
make their own mark in the music world: Bobby Moore, Floyd Robinson
(Billy's Brother), Jerry Rivers, Jack Boles and Dwain Birdwell. In 1947
He began playing steel guitar with Big Jeff who was the “music school”
for a lot of musicians at the time. Billy worked for Jeff in clubs and at WLAC
Radio as one of the “Radio Playboys” while still in high school
Billy’s big break came in l948, while he was still playing at WLAC.
WSM, then a clear channel station, needed a steel guitarist for their
Grand Ole Opry, NBC Network Prince Albert Show. Red Foley, star of the
show and Jack Stapp, Program Director, auditioned him for that spot
and he was hired.
Here is a Dec. 1950, Red Foley radio show on WSM with
Red introducing "Little 19 year old Billy Robinson"
Listen To Billy playing "Steel Guitar Stomp"
Listen To Billy playing
"Mama Don't Like No Music Played Around Here"
He quickly had all the work he could do. Not only did
he work and record for Foley, he recorded on hits records with George
Morgan, Carl Smith, Webb Pierce and many others. As steel player “On Staff”
with WSM, he found himself rising at dawn to do the early shows, back
again at “Noontime Neighbors” and again there for the dinner show, “Blue
Velvet Music” with Red Foley. As an Opry musician, he was called on to
play for Opry guests such as Tony Bennett and Kay Starr.
Now for your enjoyment, Carl Smith's original 1950 78 rpm recording
of "Over Looked An Orchid" with Billy
Listen To Billy playing his new Bigsby Single Neck
8 String Steel. See Bigsby Ad. picture below
Henry Cannon's Plane
husband of Sarah Cannon "Minnie Pearl"
left to right -
Butter Ball Page, Jack Drake, Red Foley, Eva Foley,
Grady Martin, Rod Brassfield, Ernest Tubb, Cowboy Copus,
Calvin Robins-ET's Bro,
Dollie Dearman, Don "Red" Barry, Minnie Pearl, Ernie
Newton, Lazy Jim Day
in the door - Zeb Turner
Many years later, (1982) he was chosen for a stand-in part, playing the
Eastwood's movie "Honkytonk Man"
left to right: Billy Robinson, unknown,
Clint Eastwood, unknown
back row - Floyd Robinson, Jerry Rivers, Jack Boles, Bob Moore
front row - Billy Robinson,
Billy with Eddie Stubbs of WSM radio, at Uncle Dave
Old Time Music And Dance Festival in Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Displaying his Art.
Danny Hammers of FLwww
02/15/17 07:30 PM.
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