Hillbilly-Music.com—The People. The Music. The History.
(Tater) Pete Hunter
Born:  August 2, 1913
Died:  March 29, 1968
Country Music DJ Hall of Fame (1979)
KNUZ Houston Home Town Jamboree
KNUZ Houston, TX
KRCT Baytown, TX
KTLW Texas City, TX
WTAD Quincy, IL

About The Artist

"Tater" Pete Hunter was a popular disc jockey in the Houston, Texas area. He was born in Springfield, Illinois. He started singing 'professionally' at the very young age of five years old, but we can't find too many details about that aspect. But he did more than spin the platters, he was a singer, guitar player and songwriter as well.

When he was seventeen years old, he had five programs on the radio each day. He billed himself back then as the "Hillbilly Boy".

He wrote quite a few tunes as well - by 1953, he had penned over 50 tunes. He also began teaching music back around 1944 and did so for many years.

He penned such tunes as "I'm So Tired (Of Going Home All By Myself)" and "Where Can I Go But To You". He noted in one column that Utah Carl of KGUL-TV in Galveston had recorded one of his tunes for the Starday record label.

Tater Pete Hunter - Houston Hometown Jamboree - 1954 Pete wrote in one of the regional round-up columns for "On the Trail" magazine back in 1958 that Cooks Hoedown Club was THE country and western place to be. The club had an All-Star Jamboree on Friday nights that included two regular bands as well as other artists from throughout the area. Pete mentioned one his DJ friends at the station he worked at was the emcee for that affair, but did not tell us who it was.

Tex Moon wrote in one of columns in 1949 of a new place to hear hillbilly music in the Houston area. The slogan for the new venue was "The Best Bands of All Come To Hillbilly Hall." Some of the stars that played the venue included Tater Pete Hunter, Texas Bill Strength, Floyd Tillman, Leon Payne and others.

In the mid-1950s, Tater Pete was a part of the Houston Hometown Jamboree show that aired each Saturday night over KNUZ in Houston, Texas at the City Auditorium. KNUZ-TV broadcast a portion of the show on television. Though Pete was at KRCT in Baytown at the time, he handled the emcee chores for the show as well as picking a few tunes for the audiences. A 1954 article notes that he was on the air five and a half hours a day over KRCT and was "...quite a showman", too.

Red Jones wrote in a 1956 column about news in the southwest area of the various disc jockeys in the southwest area at that time and it reads like a Who's Who list of disc jockeys of that era. Imagine being able to listen to all of these folks while driving around the southwest back then. Charlie Walker over KMAC. Biff Collie over KFRC. Bill Mack on KWFT. Slim Willet over KBRC. Tom Perryman over KSIJ. Marge Collie over KCRT. And of course, Pete was on KTLW in Texas City.

It seems in 1957, some disc jockeys were concerned about the future of country music with the rise of such acts as Elvis and others. Tater Pete was one of those, thinking that he might pass up the annual disc jockey convention. But he decided to go and found a warm reception and appreciation for his efforts in sticking to the true traditional country music sounds. He even notes in one "Trail Talk" column that he had a length discussion with Tillman Franks who assured him that the Louisiana Hayride was going to remain a country music show.

A 1959 article tells us that Pete Hunter had been on the air for over 27 years by then, putting him on the radio way back in 1932! He was on KTLW at that time, doing two hours a day from 10:30 to 12:30, five days a week. That mention also gives us a glimpse into his sense of humor. He noted that he was the "all-around chore boy" for his coummnity, which he said was "Hogscratch", a suburb of Houston.

Credits & Sources

  • National Hillbilly News; November - December 1949; Mr. and Mrs. Orville Via, Huntington, WV
  • Country Song Roundup; No. 27; December 1953; American Folk Publications, Inc.; Derby, CT
  • Country Song Roundup; No. 34; September 1954; American Folk Publications, Inc.; Derby, CT
  • Country Song Roundup; No. 47; December 1956; American Folk Publications, Inc.; Derby, CT
  • On The Trail; March - April 1958; Vol. 1 No. 2; Trail Publications; New York, NY
  • On The Trail; July - August 1958; Vol. 1 No. 4; Trail Publications; New York, NY
  • On The Trail; January - February 1959; Vol. 1 No. 7; Trail Publications; New York, NY

Recordings (78rpm/45rpm)

4 Star
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  1314 A Take A Cold Tater And Wait
  1314 B Home Sweet Home
  1327 A Twelfth Street Rag
  1327 B I Know In My Heart