Muscle Shoals, Alabama

Members:
Dexter Johnson - Upright Bass, Mandolin, Vocals
Quinton Claunch - Guitar, Vocals
Edgar Clayton - Guitar, Lead Vocals
Bill Cantrell - Fiddle

In 1943, the Blue Seal Pals were co-founded by Edgar Clayton and Quinton Claunch and began playing on WLAY radio station in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The original lineup featured Clayton on vocals and guitar, Claunch on electric guitar, vocals and comic, known as "Washboard", Bill Cantrell joined in 1944 on fiddle, and Dexter Johnson joined in 1945 on bass, mandolin and tenor guitar.

In 1946, the Pals moved from WLAY to WJOI in Florence, Alabama and formed the Blue Seal Network with their sponsor, The Columbia Mill and Elevator Company of Columbia, Tennessee, the manufacturer of blue Seal flour. This radio network would expand to include twelve stations throughout Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Georgia. As their popularity grew they were auditioned by George D. Hay, founder of WSM's Grand Ole Opry, and asked to host "The Sun-Up Serenade" on nashville's WSM Saturday mornings.

The Blue Seal Pals performed shows all over the south and the east coast. They also toured with the Rod Brasfield road show. Quinton Claunch played the part of Brasfield's "Gal Susie" and Johnson played the "Doctor." The Pals also worked with Cowboy Copas and played on Minnie Pearl's International Harvester Shows.

As the 1940s came to a close radio stations began playing more recorded music, and the Blue Seal Pals disbanded.

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame


In 1943, Edgar Clayton and Quinton Claunch got together and formed a group that came to be known as the Blue Seal Pals, with their own radio show over station WLAY in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

The original members of the group included Edgar on vocals and guitar wiht Quinton on electric guitar, vocals and a comic character known as "Washboard".

Bill Cantrell and his fiddle joined the group in 1944 while Dexter Johnson became a member in 1945.

In 1946, the group expanded its horizons a bit. They moved from radio station WLAY to WJOI in Florence, Alabama. The Blue Seal Network was formed with their sponsor the Columbia Mill and Elevator Company, who made Blue Seal Flour. The network grew to twelve stations in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Georgia.

The group caught the attention of the Solemn Old Judge George D. Hay of WSM and the famed Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. The Judge asked the group to audition for WSM and they were subsequently asked to host The Sun Up Serenade show on WSM on Saturday mornings.

Their personal appearances took them all over the southern part of the United States and the East coast. They toured for a time with the Rod Brasfield show. Quinton would play the part of Brasfield's "Gal Susie" and Dexter Johnson played the role of "Doctor" in those shows. Other tours were with Cowboy Copas and with Minnie Pearl on her International Harvester shows.

The Blue Seal Pals broke up as the 1940s came to an end. The group sensed that radio was moving away from "live" performances to recordings.

Group Members:

  • Edgar Clayton, guitar, lead vocals, co-founder
  • Quinton Claunch, guitar, vocals, co-founder
  • Dexter Johnson, upright bass, mandolin, vocals
  • Bill Cantrell, fiddle
  • Buddy Bain, accordion, piano

Hillbilly-Music.com wishes to thank William W. Love, who's family was part owners of the Columbia Mill and Elevator Company in Columbia, TN that manufactured Blue Seal Flour for providing us with information and details about the Blue Seal Pals and the group members.
Country Song Roundup; Issue No. 44; June 1956; American Folk Publications, Inc.; Derby, CT

Source: http://www.hillbilly-music.com/

 

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