Springfield's Musical Heritage
Dallas Bartley was a part of the African-American musical tradition
in Springfield. A few of the other local performers are pictured
Ray Pike's Jazz Hounds, shown around 1919. Ray Pike was Dallas
Bartley's maternal uncle.
At left are unidentified musicians in Springfield's South Town
area (in the vicinity of Grand and Grant Streets).
David Bedell was among the original Lincolnites who played with
Dallas Bartley and Bebop Brown in the 1930s. Bedell later opened
a music store, the Drum Key, and continued to play with local
musical groups, even after retirement.
Another former Lincolnite was John 'Bebop' Brown. He settled in
Springfield after playing with the Rabbitfoot Minstrels and performing
with orchestras on the West Coast. Until the 1970s, Brown's clubs
were the center of nightlife in the black community. An experienced
plumber, Brown could not get a city license for years because
he was black. He finally became the first black master plumber
The Philharmonics sang on national television as regulars on
the Ozarks Jubilee. They are shown here in Springfield's Gibson
The Hardin Brothers were taught harmony at Lincoln High School
by Adah Fulbright. After graduating, they went to New York City,
where they immediately achieved success. They worked major clubs
like the Apollo Theater in New York City, the Grove in Boston,
and they sang at Carnegie Hall on the bill with Count Basie and
Duke Ellington. They had just recorded their first sides for Decca
records when one of the brothers was drafted. They did not resume
their musical careers after World War II, but were successful
in business and professional careers.
Etta Moten, daughter of a Benton Avenue Methodist Church minister,
starred on Broadway in "Porgy and Bess."
This online exhibit
is from the
Special Collections and Archives Department,
Missouri State University
the department's website.
No part of this site may be reproduced
permission from the Archives.
was last updated on
May 18, 2006