Red Perkins And His Original Dixie Ramblers started life as a sextet, but soon grew in size in direct correlation to the more prestigious bookings they secured. Formed in Omaha, Nebraska, USA, in the mid-30s, the ranks soon swelled to accommodate sidemen such as Jesse Simmons, A.C. Oglesby, Charlie Watkins, Eugene Freels, Harry Rooks, Louie Van, Sylvester Freels, Clarence Gray, Bernard Wright, Jabbo Smith, Ernie Redd, Bill Osborn, Bob Hall, Louis Evans, Sam Grievous, Bob Canslar, Jim Alexander, Johnny Redd, Richard Hart, Herb Wiggins, Jay Green, Francis Whitby and Willie Parr. Perkins led the band from the front as vocalist and trumpet player. Their popularity lasted until the early 40s, by which time they had played thousands of dates in Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and the Dakotas, often under the auspices of the National Orchestra Service. With the musicians often doubling up on two instruments, and Perkins vivacious presentation of the material, they were warmly received in all of these locations. Were they not black musicians, they would without doubt have progressed further and acquired more prestigious bookings. Eventually Perkins gave up his band leading career and moved to Minneapolis to become a photographer.
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