Lou Graham

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Lou Graham was one of the earlier rockabilly-style artists to show up on record, courtesy of Ivin Ballen's Philadelphia-based Gotham Records. Born in rural North Carolina, and one of 10 children, his…
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Lou Graham was one of the earlier rockabilly-style artists to show up on record, courtesy of Ivin Ballen's Philadelphia-based Gotham Records. Born in rural North Carolina, and one of 10 children, his full name may have been Lou Graham Lyerly. He showed an early interest in country music, and following a hitch in the United States Navy, he entered radio as a singer and disc jockey. Vocally, he was similar to his somewhat older contemporary Hank Williams. Graham spent 18 months at WPWA in Chester, PA, he made the acquaintance of Bill Haley, leader of a locally-based country band called the Saddlemen, who helped Graham get a recording contract with Gotham. Graham cut "Two Timin' Blues" and "Long Gone Daddy" at a 1951 session with an unknown backing band, but early the next year, he was backed by Bill Haley's Saddlemen on a quartet of sides, "I'm Lonesome," "Sweet Bunch of Roses," "Please Make Up Your Fickle Mind," and "My Heart Tell Me." Graham kept busy working as a deejay at WTNJ in Trenton, NJ, and on television as an announcer, on WDEL in Wilmington, DE. By the late 1950's, he was also working regularly in nightclubs, parks, and western jamborees playing country and hillbilly music, playing on the same bills with Webb Pierce, Hank Thompson, and Ernest Tubb. In 1957, he made his most lasting contribution to recordings with his single "Wee Willie Brown," for the Coral Records label. Krazy Kat Records assembled Graham's Saddlemen sides on album in the 1970's, and Collectables has followed suit with his Gotham output on CD on the compilation Long Gone Daddy.