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Collection Number: 20341

Collection Title: Glenn Thompson Collection, 1944-2002

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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the FAQ section for more information.


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Size About 70 items
Abstract During the 1940s and 1950s, country music singer and guitarist Glenn Thompson was a popular bandleader, radio personality, and recording artist, performing first with the Burlington, N.C.,-based Blue Ridge Entertainers and subsequently with his own Dixie Playboys. Thompson continued to perform regularly and released several recordings as both soloist and bandleader until his retirement in 1985. The collection includes photographs and sound recordings documenting Thompson's musical career. Photographs feature Thompson, his bandmates, and associates during the 1940s and 1950s, and include several promotional shots of Thompson, the Blue Ridge Entertainers, and the Dixie Playboys. Photographs also document Thompson's involvement with Danville, Va., radio station WDVA and his performance at a number of venues, including the WDVA Barn Dance, the Carolina Theatre (Burlington), a voting rally, a WTOB (Winston-Salem) television show, and several radio stations. Also included are photographs of comedians who performed in Thompson's stage show, most commonly long-time bandmate Sleepy Johnson and WDVA personality Homer T (Thomasson). Other performers include Charlie Monroe; armless musician Ray R. Meyers; and the Louvin Brothers. Sound recordings include CD copies of commercial 78 rpm records and LP records; original 45 rpm records; and cassettes and compact discs issued privately by Thompson or by the Greensboro-based Skatter label. A taped interview, in which Thompson comments on the collection's photographs, provides anecdotes about Buck Owens, Bill Monroe and Charlie Monroe, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, the Louvins, Ray Meyers, Thompson's bandmates, and Thompson's musical experiences in Danville and Burlington.
Creator Thompson, Glenn, 1921-
Language English.
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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Information For Users

Restrictions to Access
Use of audio materials may require production of listening copies.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Glenn Thompson Collection #20341, Southern Folklife Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Provenance
Received from Glenn Thompson of Burlington, N.C., in April 2001 and May 2001.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subject Headings

The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Glenn Thompson was born in Moore County, N.C., on 16 October 1921. His radio career began in 1941 at station WGH in Newport News, Va. In 1943, he moved to Panama City, Fla., working briefly at station WDLP with John King and his Drifting Cowboys. In 1944, after serving for about a year as a tank driver in Fort Knox, Ky., Glenn moved again to Burlington, N.C. His band, the Blue Ridge Entertainers, performed daily on Burlington radio station WBBB; the band, with some personnel changes, changed its name in 1946 to Glenn Thompson and his Dixie Playboys. From that year to 1948, they released five 78s on Thompson's own label, recorded at the Nelson Teal Studios in Burlington. In 1947, the group began extensive touring with the Wilby Kensey Theatre circuit, performing in thirteen eastern states from Maine to Florida. In 1949, Thompson and the Playboys moved to Danville, Va., where they recorded three 78s and were featured performers on radio station WDVA. That June, the station started its very popular Saturday night Barn Dance, held at the Danville Fairgrounds, with Glenn as its main attraction. In addition to headlining that weekly program, Thompson frequently entertained school and church groups, traveled with his own tent show, and coordinated a shifting pool of considerable talent for his shows. For a short period in 1950, the Louvin Brothers joined the Barn Dance, acting as Thompson's band and appearing uncredited on his 78 recording of "Lovers Lane" and "Trouble Keeps Hanging Around My Door."

Thompson returned to Burlington and WBBB in 1953 and recorded two LPs and a final single during the 1960s, with a number of the LP tracks released additionally as 45s. In 1983, he married his third wife, Wilma Martin, the widow of country entertainer Slim Martin. Thompson retired from the music business in 1985, but continued to make occasional personal appearances.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The Glenn Thompson collection includes photographs and sound recordings documenting Thompson's musical career. Photographs feature Thompson, his bandmates, and associates during the 1940s and 1950s, the most active years of his career, and include promotional shots of Thompson and his bands, the Blue Ridge Entertainers and the Dixie Playboys. Photographs also document Thompson's involvement with Danville, Va., radio station WDVA, and feature Thompson and the Playboys in performance at a number of venues, including the WDVA Barn Dance, the Carolina Theatre (Burlington, N.C.), a voting rally, a WTOB (Winston-Salem) television show, and several radio stations. Also included are photographs of comedians who performed in Thompson's stage show, most commonly long-time bandmate Sleepy Johnson and WDVA personality Homer T (Thomasson). Other performers at some point affiliated with Thompson and featured in the collection include Charlie Monroe, armless musician Ray R. Meyers, and the Louvin Brothers, who filled in briefly for Thompson's backup band and were regulars on the WDVA Barn Dance in 1950. A taped interview, in which Thompson comments on the photographs in the collection, provides anecdotes about Buck Owens, Bill Monroe and Charlie Monroe, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, the Louvins, Ray Meyers, Thompson's own bandmates, and, more generally, Thompson's musical experiences in Danville and Burlington.

Sound recordings include CD copies of commercially recorded 78 rpm records and LP records; original 45 rpm records; and original cassettes and compact discs issued privately by Thompson or by the Greensboro-based Skatter label. Two additional cassettes, recorded in 2001 with the acquisition of Thompson's photograph collection, contain an interview in which Thompson describes the photographs.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Photographs.

46 items.

Arrangement: original order has been maintained.

Photographs of Glenn Thompson, his bandmates, associates, and venues. Included are the Blue Ridge Entertainers, Glenn Thompson and his Dixie Playboys, Sleepy Johnson, the Louvin Brothers, the WDVA Barn Dance, and the Carolina Theatre (Burlington, N.C.).

Image P-20341/4326

Negative only #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4326

Image P-20341/4327

Smokey Garner and Glenn Thompson #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4327

Image P-20341/4328

Two men playing guitar and a woman singing #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4328

Image P-20341/4329

Glenn Thompson and the Rhythaires #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4329

Image P-20341/4330

Bill Monroe and Glenn Thompson #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4330

Image P-20341/4331

Glenn Thompson and Charlie Monroe #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4331

Image P-20341/4332

Glenn Thompson and Buck Owens #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4332

Image P-20341/4333

Charlie Monroe at the home of Glenn Thompson #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4333

Image P-20341/4334

Gurney Thomas and band #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4334

Left to right: Gurney Thomas on guitar, Glenn Davis on banjo, "Uncle Henry" with cane, Woody Grayson, other members unidentified.

Image P-20341/4335

Glenn Thompson's Dixie Playboys #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4335

Left to right: Billy Purcell; Paige Hepler, Sleepy Johnson, and unidentified bass player.

Image P-20341/4336

Glenn Thompson #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4336

Image P-20341/4337

Glenn Thompson #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4337

Image P-20341/4338

Lowell Blanchard and Ira Louvin #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4338

Image P-20341/4339

Glenn Thompson #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4339

Image P-20341/4340

Glenn Thompson #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4340

Image P-20341/4341

Louvin Brothers #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4341

Image P-20341/4342

Glenn Thompson #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4342

Image P-20341/4343

Glenn Thompson #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4343

Image P-20341/4344

Glenn Thompson and his Dixie Playboys #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4344

Image P-20341/4345

Glenn Thompson and his Dixie Playboys #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4345

Image P-20341/4346

Ray R. Meyers #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4346

Image P-20341/4347

Smokey Graves and Babe Harrell #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4347

Image P-20341/4348

WDVA Barn Dance stage, Danville, Va. #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4348

Image P-20341/4349

WDVA Barn Dance admission gate and Danville livestock auction market #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4349

Image P-20341/4350

Glenn Thompson and his Dixie Playboys at a voting rally #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4350

Image P-20341/4351

The Bowes Brothers #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4351

Left to right: unidentified mandolin player, Ira Bowes on fiddle, Josephine Gentry on guitar, Simon Bowes on Guitar, unidentified banjo player, unidentified bass player.

Image P-20341/4352

Jack Flemming #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4352

Image P-20341/4353

Sleepy Johnson publicity shot #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4353

Image P-20341/4354

Blue Ridge Entertainers #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4354

Left to right: Stacey Fry, Glenn Thompson, Oscar Hutchins, Smokey Graves, Sleepy Johnson, Curly Gardner

Image P-20341/4355

Glenn Thompson publicity shot #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4355

Image P-20341/4356

Publicity for Glenn Thompson and his Dixie Playboys, Carolina Theatre, Burlington, N.C. #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4356

Image P-20341/4357

Rusty Puckett #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4357

Image P-20341/4358

Publicity for Glenn Thompson and his Dixie Playboys, Carolina Theatre, Burlington, N.C. #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4358

Image P-20341/4359

Glenn Thompson with band, WDVA, Danville, Va. #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4359

Image P-20341/4360

Carolina Theatre, Burlington, N.C. #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4360

Image P-20341/4361

Crowd in line to see Glenn Thompson at the Carolina Theatre, Burlington, N.C. #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4361

Image P-20341/4362

Unidentified man #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4362

Image P-20341/4363

Al McCoy #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4363

Image P-20341/4364

Reunion at the WDVA Barn Dance #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4364

Left to right: Simon Bowes, Glenn Thompson, Homer T, Clyde Moody, Jim Eanes

Image P-20341/4365

Original Dixie Playboys lineup #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4365

Left to right: Babe Harrell, Billy Purcell, Glenn Thompson, Sleepy Johnson, Curly Gardner

Image P-20341/4366

Danville, Va. Left to right: Glenn Thompson, Billy Purcell, Roy Cook, Sleepy Johnson, Roy Russell #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4366

Image P-20341/4367

Left to right (standing): Maynard Skeare (?), Curly Gardner, Glenn Thompson, Homer T, Sleepy Johnson. Left to right (kneeling): Jack Flemming, Cub McGee. #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4367

Image P-20341/4368

Publicity shot for WTOB Saturday night television show, Winston-Salem, N.C. #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4368

Left to right: Oscar Hutchins, Sleepy Johnson, Johnny G, Paige Hepler, unidentified guitar player, Glenn Thompson

Image P-20341/4369

Louvin Brothers with Paige Hepler #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4369

Image P-20341/4370

Homer "T" Thomasson, Danville, Va. #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4370

Image P-20341/4371

Left to right: Babe Harrell, Billy Purcell, Rocky Stone, Brenda Ann Underwood, Glenn Thompson, Sleepy Johnson, and Curly Gardner at the Carolina Theatre, Burlington, N.C. #20341, Series: "1. Photographs." P-20341/4371

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Audio Recordings.

23 items.

Arrangement: by format.

Sound recordings include CD copies of commercially recorded 78 rpm records and LP records; original 45 rpm records; and original cassettes and compact discs issued privately by Thompson or by the Greensboro-based Skatter label. Two additional cassettes, recorded in 2001 with the acquisition of Thompson's photograph collection, contain an interview in which Thompson describes the photographs.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.1. 78 rpm Records.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.2. 45 rpm Records.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.3. LP Records.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.4. CDs.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.5. Cassettes.

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