b. Dallas Turner, 27 November 1927, Walla Walla, Washington, USA. Given away by his mother and then by a nurse, who was supposedly looking after him, he was finally adopted by the Turners, who raised him on their ranch in Elko, Nevada. He listened intently to the cowboy singers that he heard on Border Radio, being particularly influenced by Cowboy Slim Rinehart. In the mid-40s, after learning to play guitar, he hoboed to the Border stations, where Rinehart befriended him. They became great friends and it was Turner who put a tombstone on Rinehart’s unmarked grave, after he was killed in a car crash in 1948 (Cowboy Slim Rinehart’s Folio Of Country Song Hits was published by Dallas Turner in Reno, Nevada in 1983). Turner appeared on various programmes on XERF, XELO and XEG, sometimes singing under his own name but usually under an alias such as Nevada Slim or Yodelin’ Slim Dallas. He proved popular with sponsors of the programmes, since he was a most competent ‘pitchman’ for their products. He also sold his own songbooks by mail order and remained a favourite on Border Radio for around 30 years, at times even being involved with the running of stations. He played few US stations, probably owing to differences of opinion over marketing his wares, but in the 60s, he recorded transcription programmes that were broadcast by several important US stations including WWVA Wheeling and WCKY Cincinnati.
In the mid-60s, he recorded several albums for Rural Rhythm, which he also sold by mail order. After seven years, he succeeded in curing a drink problem, brought on after his son died in a fire. He related how, lonely and sad in a motel room, he had held a gun to his head and was about to pull the trigger, when he heard a gospel song, ‘God Put A Rainbow In The Clouds’, playing on his bedside radio. He put down the gun, picked up the Gideon bible on the table and from that day, he found religion. He later became a minister and presented evangelistic programmes, as well as recording a gospel album. He became acknowledged as an noted historian of Western material and Border Radio. He has also sung authentic cowboy material in documentaries and appeared at the annualElko Cowboy Poetry Gathering, instigated by Waddie Mitchell. A great deal of information about this most interesting and authoritative character may be found in the 1987 bookBorder Radio by Gene Fowler and Bill Crawford.