b. c.1933, d. 29 December 1986. No one knows when and where Tex Withers was born, his real name or his parents. The disabled baby was abandoned in the USA, and his rise in British country music showed remarkable resilience: he was four feet tall and a hunchback with a painful history of severe spinal problems and tuberculosis. Withers wore western dress throughout the day as he longed to be an American Indian - his wife, known as White Fawn, dressed as his squaw and smoked a clay pipe. A good-natured man who laughed at his handicaps, Withers was the long-standing compère at West London’s Nashville Room and won several awards as the Top UK country singer, his show-stoppers being ‘These Hands’ and a narration about a Red Indian’s difficulties in coming to terms with society, ‘The Ballad Of Ira Hayes’. Tex Withers Sings Country Style sold 135, 000 copies, while his 1973 album, The Grand Ole Opry’s Newest Star was recorded mainly in Nashville, Tennessee. He was championed by Hank Snow, but his professional career was cut short by throat illness. Withers became bankrupt and his illiteracy made work difficult. His last years were spent as a cleaner at Gatwick Airport and Haywards Heath railway station. He found his happy hunting ground on 29 December 1986, probably aged 53, and merited an obituary in The Times.
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