DeFord Bailey

DeFord Bailey (December 14, 1899 – July 2, 1982) was an American country music and blues star from the 1920s until 1941. He was one of the first performers to be introduced on Nashville radio station WSM's Grand Ole Opry, the first African-American performer to appear on the show, and the first performer to have his music recorded in Nashville. Bailey played several instruments in his career but is best known for playing the harmonica, often being referred to as a "harmonica wizard".

Born and raised in Tennessee, Bailey learned how to play the harmonica while recuperating from polio as a young child. He moved to Nashville with relatives in his late teens and was an important early contributor to Nashville's burgeoning music industry. Among the first generation of entertainers to perform live on the radio, his recorded compositions were well-known and popular.

Bailey toured and performed with many well-known country artists during the 1930s. As a result of the 1941 royalties disagreement between Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) and American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), he was fired by WSM and stopped making his living as an entertainer. Afterwards, he supported himself and his family by shining shoes and renting out rooms in his home. He returned to sporadic public performances in 1974 when he was invited to participate in the Opry's first Old-Timers show and in 2005 was posthumously inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Birth and Death Data: Born December 14, 1899 (Tennessee), Died July 2, 1982 (Nashville)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1927 - 1928

Roles Represented in DAHR: harmonica, composer

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BVE-47110 10-in. 10/2/1928 Lost John De Ford Bailey Harmonica solo instrumentalist, harmonica  
Victor BVE-47111 10-in. 10/2/1928 John Henry De Ford Bailey Harmonica solo instrumentalist, harmonica  
Victor BVE-47112 10-in. 10/2/1928 Ice water blues DeFord Bailey Harmonica solo composer, instrumentalist, harmonica  
Victor BVE-47113 10-in. 10/2/1928 Kansas City blues DeFord Bailey ; Harmonica solo instrumentalist, harmonica  
Victor BVE-47114 10-in. 10/2/1928 Casey Jones DeFord Bailey ; Harmonica solo instrumentalist, harmonica  
Victor BVE-47115 10-in. 10/2/1928 Wood Street blues DeFord Bailey ; Harmonica solo composer, instrumentalist, harmonica  
Victor BVE-47116 10-in. 10/2/1928 Davidson County blues DeFord Bailey Harmonica solo composer, instrumentalist, harmonica  
Victor BVE-47117 10-in. 10/2/1928 Nashville blues De Ford Bailey Harmonica solo instrumentalist, harmonica  
Columbia W143846 10-in. 4/1/1927 Pan-American Express De Ford Bailey Harmonica solo, unaccompanied instrumentalist, harmonica  
Columbia W143847 10-in. 4/1/1927 Hesitation mama De Ford Bailey Harmonica solo, unaccompanied instrumentalist, harmonica  
Brunswick E22511 10-in. 4/19/1927 Alcoholic blues DeFord Bailey Harmonica solo instrumentalist, harmonica  
Brunswick E22512 10-in. 4/19/1927 Fox chase DeFord Bailey Harmonica solo instrumentalist, harmonica  
Brunswick E22475-E22476 10-in. 4/18/1927 Pan American blues DeFord Bailey Harmonica solo instrumentalist, harmonica  
Brunswick E22501-E22502 10-in. 4/19/1927 Dixie Flyer blues DeFord Bailey Harmonica solo instrumentalist, harmonica  
Brunswick E22503-E22504 10-in. 4/19/1927 Up country blues DeFord Bailey Harmonica solo instrumentalist, harmonica  
Brunswick E22505-E22506 10-in. 4/19/1927 Evening prayer blues DeFord Bailey Harmonica solo instrumentalist, harmonica  
Brunswick E22507-E22508 10-in. 4/19/1927 Muscle Shoal blues DeFord Bailey Harmonica solo instrumentalist, harmonica  
Brunswick E22509-E22510 10-in. 4/19/1927 Old hen cackle DeFord Bailey Harmonica solo instrumentalist, harmonica  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Bailey, DeFord," accessed June 23, 2024, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106276.

Bailey, DeFord. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved June 23, 2024, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106276.

"Bailey, DeFord." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 23 June 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106276

Wikipedia content provided under the terms of the Creative Commons BY-SA license

Feedback

Send the Editors a message about this record.