Buster Moore was a native of Cocke County, Tennessee. According to Ivan Tribe,
Buster's radio career started in 1939 with daily shows until it came time
for him to serve his country in World War II.
He formed a duo with his wife, "Bonnie Lou" (Margaret Bell), who was a native
of Asheville, North Carolina, born in perhaps 1927. The two of them were
married in 1945.
A country music fan that found our site tells of growing up in Johnson City,
Tennessee and watching the Bonnie Lou and Buster television show over WJHL-TV.
Ivan Tribe notes the show started in 1953. Mr. Sayers recalls that Homer Harris,
known as the Seven Foot Cowboy and Chuck the Carolina Indian were also regulars
on the show.
Mr. Tribe notes that they were not quite bluegrass, but were a 'hard country'
sound that seemed similar to other acts like Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper,
Molly O'Day or Lynn Davis, but "...without imitating either."
Bonnie had a brother, Lloyd Bell, who would sing the newer country songs.
Buster was said to do a comedy character that was called "Humphammer".
Their show included the fiddling of Benny Sims and the banjo sounds
of Buddy Rose, which gave them some of their bluegrass stylings.
Their shows were sponsored by Morris Homes and were initially done "live".
Mr. Tri be tells us that after three years on the air, the shows began to
be video taped with a new sponsor.
When Buster completed his military service, sometime in 1945, he returned
to his musical career at WROL in Knoxville, Tennessee where he was part
of a group called the Dixie Pardners. The other members were Lloyd Bell and
Arlie Kinkade wrote in a 1947 article in the National Hillbilly News that
Buster Moore and his Country Pardners were the most recent acts signed
by WPTF in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Linnell Gentry wrote in his Encyclopedia of Country Music in 1966 that Buster
had won a radio station talent contest over NBC radio that gave him the
opportunity to play at the famed Village Barn in New York City.
Credits & Sources
- Country Comes To Television; Mountaineer Jamboree; By
Ivan Tribe; pg. 145-146; University Press of Kentucky; Lexington, Kentucky
- Mountain Broadcast and Prairie Recorder; December
1945; Mountain Broadcast Co., Inc.; New York, NY
- National Hillbilly News; Sep/Oct 1947; Poster Show Print Co.;
Huntington, West Virginia
- Hillbilly-Music.com wishes to thank Dennis Sayers
of North Carolina for sharing his memories of this show and helping us
document this duo.