April 26 2008


Remember our January 5, 2008 Blast From The Past page?

Jerry Hilgenberg told a story about the days when he worked at the local radio station, WIUC.  Jerry said "...we got a record in the mail.  It was called "Rotten Love" by a guy named Ronnie Gray (or some such).  The label had a drawing of cow horns on it, so we knew it was gonna be a real s**t kicker..and it was awful.  I put it on the air anyway..."  Seems Jerry held onto that old record.  You can click on the image below to see it.

Additionally, below is a brief biography of the record artist.

Billy Gray - 1924-1975

In 1924 in Paris, Texas, Billy Gray was born. At 19 years old, he purchased a guitar from a pawnshop and created his first western swing style band.  Billy was the host of his own radio show in his hometown, and he and his band toured around Texas and the Southwest for the next several years.


Gray moved to Dallas in the early 1950s.  There, he met Hank Thompson, who had a band by the name of Thompson’s Brazos Valley Boys. Gray became the bandleader and guitarist for the band.  Billy and Hank owned two publishing companies, the Texoma Music Publishing Company and the Brazos Valley Publishing Company.  The two co-wrote songs, some of which included "Waiting in the Lobby of Your Heart", "The New Wears Off Too Fast", and "A Fool, a Faker" which became hits for Hank Thompson.


"You Can't Have My Love" was released as a duet with Wanda Jackson in 1954.  In 1955, Gray's next band, the Western Oakies, released and album called "Dance-O-Rama".  His single, “Tennessee Toddy,” which was released in 1956, has been reissued many times.


Gray was a guitarist for several bands, including the Nuggets and the Cowtowners thoughout the 1950s and 1960s, and also appeared on the TV.  Billy made his last recording in 1965 after which, he retired.  Although he was considered successful, he was never himself a star.  Billy Gray died in 1975, while undergoing heart surgery.