Jimmy Powell

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This artist may not own much of a ranch in the country & western record section, but Jimmy Powell was nonetheless a popular performer during an era when fans gathered around their radios in order to check…
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This artist may not own much of a ranch in the country & western record section, but Jimmy Powell was nonetheless a popular performer during an era when fans gathered around their radios in order to check out performers in the cowboy boot and hat genre. Powell, a classic old-timey and mainstream country frontman, sang lead vocals and kept up a steady rhythm guitar framework. His collective ensemble was known as Jimmy Powell & His Hillbilly Ramblers & the Sunshine Sweethearts, perhaps intimidating record company scouts who might have been afraid the name wouldn't possibly fit across an album cover.

The group started out on WPRC, a station out of Lincoln, IL, in 1953. Exposure of a much more national nature came a few years later when the group was picked by Texan bandleader and talent scout Ernest Tubb to perform regularly on his extremely popular radio show out of Nashville, The Midnight Jamboree. The group's style fit somewhere between the earlier Appalachian traditions and the new Nashville sound: there was no drummer, but Johnny Wiggen was featured on a slightly modernistic steel guitar. The Sunshine Sweethearts were a pair of harmony singers, who were simply identified as "Shirley" and "Carol." One also played accordion, an instrument totally frowned upon in the state of Tennessee. This Jimmy Powell should not be confused with, for example, the R&B singer from England or the reedman from the Count Basie band.