THE LONE STAR QUARTET
    ...the Texas Gospel Group That Impacted One
    Young North Carolina Boy's Life Forever

It was a year or two after we got a radio in our home that I heard a professional Gospel quartet
for the first time.

Our family enjoyed all the kinds of music this marvelous invention brought into our home, but i
fell in love with the music by a group known as
The Lone Star Quartet. When they came on the
air, I had the listening rights. My parents knew my interest in music and seemed most pleased
that I was so attracted to this kind of music.

It was kind of odd to hear a Texas label on a group amid the country groups broadcasting from
the heart of tobacco land. But there they were—The Lone Star Quartet, the Blue Sky Boys, The
Monroe Brothers (Bill and Charlie) and The Tobacco Tags—all filling the air-ways from
Radio
Station WPTF in Raleigh, North Carolina
, only 51 miles from Roxboro, my home town.

It would be several years before
I learned how it all happened for
The Lone Star Quartet to be on
Tobacco Road. The pieces came
together as I met many of the
people who were in the group at
one time or another.

They came to North Carolina
from radio station KWFT in
Wichita Falls, Texas. Because
of the tremendous success of
the Stamps Brothers (Virgil and
Frank), the Stamps-Baxter Music
& Printing Company of Dallas,
Texas, had a growing number of
opportunities to place similar
groups on radio stations,
especially throughout the South.

The Lone Star Quartet was one of some 35 groups they placed and supported. In return, the
groups sang from the Stamps-Baxter music books, represented the company in the Singing
Conventions and sold their products in all the concerts.

I'm sure it was Frank Stamps who took the initiative to bring
Milton Estes into The Lone Star
Quartet, and more than likely it was Milton Estes who had the connections to place the group in
Raleigh. He had a background in country and western music. He performed and managed in the
Pee Wee King and Golden West Cowboys organization. have been a great musician to make
that change into the convention style music The Lone Star Quartet sang. Estes was also an
outstanding Master of Ceremonies. In the late Forties, he returned to country music and had a
band on WSM's Grand Ole Opry. That venture was not a success, and Milton died a few years
afterward. I, for one, will always have an appreciation for the part he played in bringing Gospel
quartet music to our part of the country.

    Bert Carroll was the only tenor I recall being in the group. He
    sang first tenor the way a tenor should sing. In the late Forties,
    he returned to his native state of Texas and sang baritone for
    the Stamps-Baxter Men's Quartet. When I was with the Stamps
    Ozark Quartet from Wichita Falls, Texas, we met often and were
    able to visit a lot. It was always special to be around Bert
    because he had captured my musical interest for many years.

    Wilkin "Chief" Bacon was the baritone for The Lone Star
    Quartet. He and Erman Slater were the only baritones I recall in
    the group. Erman later joined the famous Rangers Quartet and
    died in that groups's terrible automobile accident. Wilkin Bacon
    returned to Texas and became a minister of the Gospel.

Ed Davis was the bass singer for the group when they were in Wichita Falls, but the big,
booming bass voice of Olin Dunn was heard throughout the Southland when the quartet moved
to North Carolina. It took awhile for the group's fans, including me, to get over it when Olin left
and Carl Rains took over. Carl was such a great bass singer with a wonderful personality, so it
didn't take long to win the listeners' hearts. If you ever saw him perform, you would understand
how truly special he was. After his days with The Lone Star Quartet, he had his own group. I saw
them at least once when they came to the Annual All-Night Broadcast from Dallas, Texas. The
last time I saw Carl was in Birmingham, Alabama, at a political rally where I performed with the
Imperials. Carl, Jake Hess and I visited for quite a while. Carl was a fun-loving, entertaining bass
singer unlike any other, before or since.

Edwin Baggett was the pianist when the group was in Texas and stayed for awhile with the
quartet when they moved to North Carolina. He was followed by
Jimmy Hand, Hershall Collins
and
Jack Taylor. Hovie Lister, later of the Statesmen, also played with the group for awhile.
Edwin Baggett returned to Wichita Falls and was the pianist for the Stamps All Star Quartet,
then became a very successful businessman during he Fifties.
Hershall, later known as Dr.
Frankie Collins, entered the ministry and was very successful as an evangelist and pastor, and
we have visited numerous times over the years about those early years.
Jack Taylor became
the pianist about 1944 at the tender young age of sixteen, yet it was unbelievable how well he
played even then. Later Jack became the editor for the Stamps-Baxter Music & Printing
Company. To me, he will always be one of the best Gospel pianists I have ever heard.

Many others were in the group, including the great Elmo Fagg of Blue Ridge Quartet fame. The
ones I have mentioned are the ones I recall during all those broadcasts from WPTF. They may
all not be mentioned in the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, but they are in mine, and I salute them all
for the influence they had upon my life.

In fact, during my senior year in high school, I wrote the question, "How do I get started in
Christian music?" to The Lone Star Quartet, in care of the radio station. It was written in all
sincerity, and it changed my life forever when I received a letter from Frank H. Stamps of the
famous Stamps-Baxter Music & Printing Company, to whom the quartet has passed the letter.
That response led to my experiences at the company's singing school, and later it led to a
career that started in the Stamps-Baxter organization.

You never know who is listening to you or the impact your life will have on others. For me, The
Lone Star Quartet was much more than just a singing group. They were my window to the world
that I wanted to be part of. For that, I will always be grateful!
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The Lone Star Quartet broadcast live every day from
WPTF Radio Station in Raleigh, North Carolina.
"You never know
who is listening to
you or the impact
your life will have
on others. For me,
The Lone Star
Quartet was much
more than just a
singing group. They
were my window to
the world..."
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All contents © MyBestYears.com. No portion may be used in print, for broadcast or on the Internet without prior
permission. Contact:
admin@MyBestYears.com
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