DEFORD BAILEY: A LEGEND LOST Photos of DeFord Bailey Courtesy of, L-R: Dennis Wile; Les Leverett; David Morton
 
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EARLY YEARS | OPRY YEARS | POST-OPRY YEARS

DeFord: "Ain't nobody ever beat me down with no harp. Trying to beat me blowing is like trying to outrun a Greyhound bus!"Post-Opry Years
The Shoeshine Business
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The Finale

 

Roy Acuff, David Morton, DeFord Bailey; PHOTO COURTESY OF LES LEVERETTThe Finale

In the last decade of his life, DeFord was befriended by David Morton, a Vanderbilt graduate history student and public housing employee. Morton developed a strong friendship with DeFord and eventually recorded the only publicly available renditions of his classic tunes. DeFord also asked Morton to write his biography.

"I want you to tell the world about this black man. He ain't no fool. Just let people know what I am … I take the bitter with the sweet. Every day is Sunday with me. I'm happy go lucky. Amen! "

Morton convinced DeFord to return to the Opry stage four times before he died. Though he never made the spectacular comeback that Morton envisioned, DeFord was satisfied with his accomplishments, realizing at last his preeminence in the field.

"I'm an old man now. But they never will get out of a harp what I can. They're just wasting their time trying to beat me on a harp. Ain't nobody ever beat me down with no harp. Trying to beat me blowing is like trying to outrun a Greyhound bus! I got notes harder than Mohammed Ali can throw."

Source for the material in this section, including excerpts:
David C. Morton with Charles K. Wolfe, DeFord Bailey: A Black Star in Early Country Music (Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 1991)

 

EARLY YEARS | OPRY YEARS | POST-OPRY YEARS

Post-Opry Years
1 | 2 | 3

 

 

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