|The East Hialeah Rexall on E. 25th Street - Hialeah, Florida|
The Gold Coast Jamboree was held at the Hialeah City Auditorium in Hialeah, Florida, a suburb of Miami. It was started by promoter Ben Yearty (who was also involved with the Town Hall Party) around May 1956 and was partially broadcasted by WMIE. After the show, also a barn dance was held, which also aired on radio WMIE. The Gold Coast Jamboree was one of the first Country & Western shows in the Miami area, since the more popular music style was Big Band music.
The cast of the show was made up by several local and regional artists. The only nationally known musicians were Wesley & Marilyn Tuttle, who were maybe brought on the show through the connection of Ben Yearty.
Jimmy Hartley also did some of the emcee work, too. Hartley was a local Miami based country singer and was also a member of Cracker Jim Brooker's "Big Orange Jubilee" that started in November 1956 on KITV in Miami. Hartley was the leader of the backing band, the "Orange State Playboys". He also had two releases on the De-Luxe label, whose Miami burea was headed by Henry Stone. The first of two singles ("Don't Dropt It" b/w "Cold Moods", De-Luxe 2013) was issued in the summer of 1954, while the second came out in the fall of 1954 ("Cinnamon Sinner" b/w "Jennie from Jamaica", De-Luxe 2026).
|Billboard reviewed Hartley's singles in August and September 195|
Hear "Don't Drop It"
Hear "Cold Moods"
|Marilyn Tuttle during an appearance on the Gold Coast Jamboree - Kenny Lee is far right on guitar|
Tommy Spurlin should be familiar with most of the rockabilly collectors. His "Hang Loose", originally issued in 1956 on Perfect, became a revival hit in the UK during the 1970s. Spurlin was born on January 12, 1928, in Elba, Alabama, and grew up in Alabama and Louisiana. In 1948, he moved to Miami, where he formed the "Southern Boys" in 1952, featuring himself (guitar/vocals), his half brother George "Benny" Dumas (bass), Virgil Powell (fiddle), Jimmy Slade (lead guitar), and Bill Johnson (steel guitar). Jimmy Slade had previously worked for Martha Carson as a guitarist. When rockabilly captured most of the teenagers' ears, Spurlin and the Southern Boys decided to go with the trend and dropped fiddle and steel guitar. Their first singles were made for Harold Doane's Perfect label in 1955 and 1956, which were pure country. It was not until summer 1956 that "Hang Loose" b/w "One Eyed Sam" appeared on Perfect. They also incorporated other rock'n'roll numbers such as "Long Tall Sally" into their stage shows. Kenny Lee remembers Spurlin as follows:
Spurlin and the Southern Boys had one last release on Art Records in Miami. Spurlin then went out of the music business. He died in 2005 in Gulfport, Mississippi.On the Gold Coast Jamboree Tommy performed primarily as a rock & roll artist. [...] The producer (Ben Yearty) used to let teenage girls into the show without paying admission so that when Tommy came out to sing the girls would holler and clap at the foot of the stage.
The Country Pals had Gene Christian as a member, a Miami native who worked with Ervin T. Rouse (writer of "Orange Blossom Special"), Gordon Rouse, and Chubby Wise early on in his career. His bluegrass group, the Country Pals, appeared on Arthur Gordfrey's Talent Show in December 1955 and in 1956, they joined the cast of the Gold Coast Jamboree. Next, they moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, where they appeared on KTHS but soon returned to Miami. In the 1960s, the band disbanded and Christian switched to mainstream country music.
As of Ann Clark and the Dixie Darlings, there is no information available on them. The Dixie Darlings were a children trio appearing in fancy western costumes.
|The Dixie Darlings, standing behind the microphone, appearing on the Gold Coast Jamboree|
- Billboard August 28, 1954 - Billboard September 25, 1954 - Billboard June 23, 1956 - Billboard November 24, 1956
- Randy Noles: "Orange Blossom Boys: The Untold Story of Ervin T. Rouse, Chubby Wise and the World's Most Famous Fiddle Tune"
- I wish to express my gratitude to Kenny Lee and Wayne Head, who supplied many of the information and photos.