• Added info on Jimmy Ford, thanks to Volker Houghton. • Extended and corrected the post on Happy Harold Thaxton (long overdue), thanks to everyone who sent in memories and information! • Added information to the Jim Murray post, provided by Mike Doyle, Dennis Rogers, and Marty Scarbrough. • Expanded the information on Charlie Dial found in the Little Shoe post.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Little George Domerese

Little George Domerese
A Giant in Johnson County Country Music

"Little" George Domerese was a Northwest Arkansas based singer, radio personality, promoter, and songwriter. Domerese hailed from Johnson County, near Fort Smith, Arkansas, and the territories located on the banks of the Arkansas River and Lake Dardanelle, from Russellville to Fort Smith, became Domerese's stomping grounds his whole life.

George Virgil Domerese, whose nickname "Little" more than likely came from his stature, was born on October 13, 1926, in Johnson County, Arkansas, to Harley Clarence and Eva (Elkins) Domerese. He came from a large family with a total of nine children. I found no hint to where his last name originated from but I suspect a Greek origin.

Blessed with musical talent, Domerese and his younger brother Clarence had begun appearing as "The Domerese Brothers" by 1950. He had formed a duo with mandolin player Carl Blankenship six years later and by 1958, the duo was performing over KWHN in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Domerese and Blankenship also played school houses along the Arkansas-Oklahoma state border and in addition, he worked with Lost John Miller at KWHN during this time. By then, Carl Blankenship had established his own record label Razorback Records, headquartered in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and although Domerese would never record for that imprint (though Cash Box would report differently in February 1958), he penned two songs, "The Kings Highway" and "Loved Ones Are Waiting in Heaven", which were recorded by Blankenship for Razorback in 1960.

Billboard December 14, 1959
In 1958, Domerese began promoting live country shows, including the KWHN Country Music Jamboree in Fort Smith and his own Johnson County Jamboree in Clarksville. By May 1960, he had added a show on radio KFDF in Van Buren, Arkansas, to his repertoire (Domerese would eventually own KFDF for 34 years), and could be heard on KLYR in Clarksville, too. Around that time, he also promoted records by Blankenship's Razorback label, including Vernon Stewart's "Down to the Blues", the label's latest release in early 1960.  His KWHN show with Blankenship went off the air around 1964 but Domerese remained active in the radio business.

Domerese's only solo recording came into existence probably in the late 1960s. Favoring religious material, he composed two slices of primitive, Vietnam war themed country gospel, "Dear Daddy I'll Pray for You" and "A Message from Daddy in Heaven", which he recorded on the Power label. Given the fact that it was a Rimrock custom pressing, I assume the Power imprint was his own venture.

Domerese would diversify his interests in the radio business by buying gospel stations KMTL in  Sherwood/North Little Rock in 1988 and KWXT in Dardanelle/Russellville and owned at least KMTL until his death.

Domere's wife Earla died in 2016, followed by Little George Domerese on February 27, 2017, in Clarksville at the age of 90 years. KMTL was sold by the Domerese family after his death.


Power PS 103: Little George Domerese - Daddy Dear Daddy I'll Pray for You / A Message from Daddy in Heaven

Find a Grave entry
45cat entry and Carl Blankenship 45 entry
The World's Worst Records blog by Darryl W. Bullock
Clarence Domerese obituary
• various Billboard and Cash Box news items

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