Slim Lay

Country Fiddle, Guitar

Born: Cullman, AL

Died: 11/28/1973

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame

Photo of Slim Lay

 

Years ago in Cullman County Alabama, "Adrian Lay" was born. His stage name "Slim Lay" became a household word in Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and all over the South. This WBHP Western Gentleman was often called "The Country Colonel" by friends in the entertainment field. Just the name Slim Lay meant "Friend" to thousands of people all over the country. Before selecting the stage name "Slim Lay," he was also billed as "Arkansas Tex," and "Tex Lay." Since he was a slim tall fella, the name "Slim" stuck for the rest of his life.

Slim started his musical career with a Sears and Roebuck $4.95 guitar when as a lad he walked three miles for lessons held in a country school. At the age of 12 he won his first amateur contest and moved on to a weekly radio show: and Slim's fans grew forever more. One of the biggest highlights of his early career was an interview in 1941 with Life Magazine.

He later toured the U.S. with Royal American Shows. Then he moved to Birmingham, Alabama and worked with Happy Wilson and the Golden River Boys on radio station WAPI. Several months later he moved to Atlanta where he joined Lost John and his Kentuckians. They had a daily transcribed show for Chattanooga Medicine Show Co. on 285 radio stations. While performing in Atlanta, Bill Monroe hears the Kentuckians and urged them to locate to WSIX radio in Nashville, Tennessee. This station paved the way for Slim at this time. The Milo Twins from WSM radio needed a fiddle player and M.C.! They called Slim to join them.

While working on WSM's Grand Ole Opry, he received another call but this time for 33 months engagement with the U.S. Army. This consisted of a tour of duty in England, France and Germany. (While in France, he had the honor of being the personal driver for General George Patton). Slim earned the degree of "marksman" with his sharpshooting skills. He hit the bullseye 8 times out of ten. Not all of it was work though; He often entertained the troops wherever he was stationed.

Upon his return to the states he immediately was hired as a rythym guitarist with Curly Fox and Texas Ruby. One of his most thrilling experiences was an appearance on the NBC network with the "Prince Albert Show." While working with Curly Fox he also made several network appearances for Purina Feeds.

While Slim was living in Nashville, he met and married Christene Vickers and had two children, Diane and David, along with grandchildren. After working in Cullman, Alabama, Slim worked double barrel duty with daily shows on WKUL (Cullman), and WHOS in Decatur.

The John Danial Quartet needed a country music band for a variety show on WBRC in Birmingham, who was later affiliated with WSM in Nashville, Tennessee. Slim and his Tennessee Valley Boys were selected to fill this position. Later a new station WFMH was built in Cullman, Alabama and Slim had the opportunity of sharing in the success of getting the programs underway and the show on the road. At this time Gadsden, Alabama had a Saturday Night Barn Dance, there in the city auditorium called the "Midway Jamboree." While doing one of several guest appearances, Slim had the privilidge of meeting Mr. Sonny Simms who had become a good friend.

Hank Williams Sr. heard Slim on the air and pursuaded him to move back to Nashville and while there he worked with such greats as Milton Estes, Little Jimmy Dickens and George Morgan. At this time television was new and Slim's first TV appearance was with George Morgan. With the beginning of a family, Slim left the Opry and settled down in Huntsville, Alabama as a disk jockey. Slim moved to Huntsville in 1953 and started with WBHP radio in 1958.

Slim wrote and recorded songs for various record labels while in Nashville. He and his good friend Happy Wilson started "Golden River Publishing," which won several awards. Slim eventually started his own record label, "Cherokee Records. He gave many an artist a chance to record on the small label, and many of them became famous. One of those artists included Curly Putman who penned "Green Green Grass of home," "He stopped loving her today", "My Elusive Dreams," and too many more to mention. Curly played steel guitar (while honing his writing skills) and was, just one of many musicians who played in the same band with Slim over the years.

Slim also owned his own record shop in Huntsville for many years called "Slim's Record Ranch," and was extremely successful. He also started Slim Lay Enterprises, which was an advertising agency that offered Radio, Newspaper, as well as TV ads. During his career he published several song books, in addition to his recordings. His last venture was as Publisher/Owner of the "Country and Gospel Showman" which circulated the entire U.S. as well as overseas.

 

All of those years had been spent playing country and gospel music. This gentleman was in much demand as a Master of Ceremonies for the Old Time fiddlers contests held across the country. He had the priviledge of doing the Old Time Fiddling Contest at Renfro Valley, Kentucky for 3 consecutive years prior to his death. Slim did the emcee work at the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Contest in Athens, Alabama for 6 consecutive years.

His radio shows were heard 3 times daily on WBHP at 6:00 A.M., 11 A.M, and 4:00 P.M., with a special Gospel show on Sunday morning at 9:45 A.M. with part of the shows originating from his home at "Mush Island," (Hazel Green, Alabama).

Slim made many, many friends throughout his career. A few years before his death, he made his greatest friend Jesus Christ, who was his strength during three years of severe illness, which eventually claimed his life in November of 1973.

Slim always believed that God took care of you. Most every day he heard from some church or individual who reminded him that they were praying for him. His favorite expression was: "When you feel you've reached the end of your rope, tie a knot in it with a prayer and keep smiling." He closed every show with it and had succeeded by applying it to his own life.

Post Script: I'm Dave Lay and have put together this MySpace page in honor of my Father, my best friend, my Hero and the best person I've ever known. I personally think it's a shame he's never been nominated for the Country Music D.J. Hall of fame. He worked every day of his life for and in Country music, with the exception of 1 day that he worked in a print shop to purchase a bow for his fiddle. Anyone with suggestions on what direction I should go to see if I can get him inducted while I'm still on this earth, please message me. It would be greatly appreciated.

Source: Slim Lay | Free Music, Tour Dates, Photos, Videos

 

 

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