b. 14 November 1914, in a buckboard between Colgate and Centrahoma, Oklahoma, USA. Carson’s part-Cherokee father died when he was aged one, but he developed his musical interest from his mother who played guitar, and his fiddle-playing stepfather. After first moving to Wichita, Kansas, the Carsons finally settled in Los Angeles. A good singer, he soon became a competent guitarist but first performed, playing harmonica, in a duo with Red Barton, on the KGFJ radio station. Late in 1931, he became a regular on Stuart Hamblen’s popular radio show. A year later, he became a member of the Beverly Hillbillies and formed a lasting friendship with Shug Fisher. He was later part of the Ranch Boys trio and made his film debut in 1934, singing ‘The Man On The Flying Trapeze’ inIt Happened One Night. The Ranch Boys moved to join NBC in Chicago in 1936, initially for a one-year contract but stayed until they disbanded in 1941. Carson then gained his own programme on WGN, where he became known to the Sons Of The Pioneers. In April 1943, they asked him to deputize for Lloyd Perryman, who was drafted for military service. He officially joined the group in June 1943 and his fine tenor vocals became an important part of some of their recordings for Decca Records. Perryman returned early in 1946 but Carson continued to record with the group until December 1947, although officially no longer a group member. During this time, he may be heard on some of their first RCA Records recordings including a reworking of their classic ‘Tumbling Tumbleweeds’. After leaving the Pioneers, he worked on NBC in Los Angeles, where for a time he had his own show and was backed by the Nelson Riddle Orchestra. He then moved to CBS, where he worked occasionally with Roy Rogers And The Pioneers. Between 1948 and 1958, he was a regular on major radio shows for NBC and CBS, both in Hollywood and New York where, in the late 50s, he hosted his own television show. In the early 60s, he recorded albums for the Longines Symphonette Society.
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