Instruments: Guitar, Vocals, Songwriter
Date of Birth: September 9, 1911
Place of Birth: Empire, Alabama

Zeke Clements, "The Alabama Cowboy," was born Marlon R. Clements near Empire, Alabama, on September 9, 1911, and had one of the longest careers in country music, having appeared on radio shows in all sections of the country, as well as having the unusual distinction of having been a member of all three of the major barn dances in the course of his long career.

Zeke began on the National Barn Dance in 1928, toured for some years with Otto Gray's Oklahoma Cowboys, then joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1933 as a member of their first cowboy group, the Broncho Busters. While spending some time on the west coast he appeared in such films as "Santa Fe Stampede" with John Wayne and "Billy The Kid Returns" with Roy Rogers. His is the voice of the yodeling dwarf Bashful in Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Clements returned to the Opry in 1939, where he became one of the Opry's major stars throughout the 1940s. He also became known as a songwriter during this era, especially for "Blue Mexico Skies," "Just a Little Lovin'" recorded by Eddy Arnold in 1948, Kitty Wells 1955 hit, "There's Poison In Your Heart," and as co-writer on "Smoke On The Water," the No. 1 country hit of 1944, recorded by Red Foley.

Clements later appeared on the Louisiana Hayride and on many other Deep South stations. He pursued a business career in Nashville in the late 1950s and 1960s, then moved to Miami, Florida, where he spent nearly a decade playing tenor banjo in a dixieland band before returning to the Nashville area.

Zeke has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He became known as "The Dixie Yodeler" and "The Man from Music Mountain".

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame



Zeke became known as the "Dixie Yodeler" and was born in Central Alabama near the town of Warrior, of English and Cherokee Indian descent.

He began his singing career learning his songs from the old time residents of central Alabama. Zeke's radio career has carried him to over 44 states and he has been featured on innumerable radio stations; he has been featured on all of the major networks. He played the guitar, sang and composed. And back in 1942, yes, for the ladies, he was still single.

Zeke's picture career gave him spots in some 200 major Hollywood pictures. The high spot of his career? He did the voice of "Bashful" in Walt Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". His yodeling sequence in the "Silly" song caused much favorable comments in the press at the time.

Was on the Opry at various times in the late 30's and 40's, moved and pursued other business interests but moved back to Nashville and made appearances on the Opry in the 80's.



Timeline and Trivia Notes

  • 1928, radio debut on WLS National Barn Dance
  • Later, joined band of Otto Gray and the Oklahoma Cowboys as guitarist and vocalist.
  • 1930's, joined the Grand Ole Opry.
  • Formed own band, the Bronco Busters while on Opry; featured Texas Ruby Owens as female vocalist and band included his brother, Stanley 'Curley' Clements.
  • 1938, voice of BAshful in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • Often called Alabama Cowboy

Credits & Sources

  • Most of above from "Original Songs by Zeke Clements The Dixie Yodeler" (published by the Grand Ole Opry, copyright 1942)


Catalog Highlights:

"Smoke on the Water" - Co-writer: E. Nunn,  Artists: Red Foley, Bob Wills, Boyd Heath

"Brown's Ferry Boogie"

"Live and Learn"

"I Dreamed I Spent Christmas in Heaven"

"Just a Little Lovin' (Will Go a Long, Long Way)" - Co-writer: Eddy Arnold, Artists: Eddy Arnold, Eddie Fisher, Ray Charles, Jim Nabors, Bob Crosby, Billy Byrd

"Shades of Summer"

"Back Off"

"There's Poison in Your Heart" - Artists: Kitty Wells

"Why Should I Cry?" - Artists: Eddy Arnold

"Anytime" - Artists: Eddy Arnold

"Somebody's Been Beating My Time" - Artists: Eddy Arnold

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