Bailey also had several records issued in 1927-1928, all of them harmonica solos. In 1927 he recorded eight sides for Brunswick records in New York City, while in 1928 he recorded eight sides for RCA Victor in Nashville, of which three were issued. Emblematic of the ambiguity of Bailey's position as a recording artist is the fact his arguably greatest recording, John Henry, was released separately in both RCA's 'race' and 'hillbilly' series.
Bailey was a pioneer member of the WSM Grand Ole Opry, and one of its most popular performers, appearing on the program from 1927 to 1941. During this period he toured with many major country stars, including Uncle Dave Macon, Bill Monroe, and Roy Acuff. Like other black stars of his day traveling in the South and West, he faced many difficulties in finding food and accommodation because of the discriminatory Jim Crow laws.
Bailey was fired by WSM in 1941 because of a licensing conflict with BMI-ASCAP which prevented him from playing his best known tunes on the radio. This effectively ended his performance career, and he spent the rest of his life shining shoes, cutting hair, and renting out rooms in his home to make a living. Though he continued to play the harp, he almost never performed publicly. One of his rare appearances occurred in 1974, when he agreed to make one more appearance on the Opry. This became the occasion for the Opry's first annual Old Timers' Show.
In 2005, Nashville Public Television produced the documentary "DeFord Bailey: A Legend Lost" The documentary was broadcast nationally through PBS. Later that year, thanks to his pioneering efforts, Bailey was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on November 15, 2005. Joining him in the 2005 class were country-pop superstar Glen Campbell and the band Alabama. On June 27, 2007, the DeFord Bailey Tribute Garden was dedicated at the George Washington Carver Food Park in Nashville.
Refer to Devan Crabtree at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pioneering Grand Ole Opry star DeFord Bailey has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.(Brief Article)
Dec 22, 2006; Pioneering Grand Ole Opry star DeFord Bailey has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Harmonica player Bailey was...