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The Dixie Playboys
KVIC Victoria, TX

About The Group

Floy Case mentions The Dixie Playboys in her June 1946 column, reporting that the group was entertaining the listening audience of KVIC out of Victoria, Texas with a daily 8:45am show. The group did the usual types of personal appearances while at KVIC, such as theaters, school auditoriums and the local dances. At the time (mid-1946), the group was on the Gulf Recording label.

Ms. Case thanked Vernon Friedel, a Texas representative of the Ernest Tubb fan club for interviewing the band in her writeup. It included some details about the band.

Lou Parsley, was coined "Texas Own Blind Cowboy Singer". He had been blind since the age of 16, but taught himself to play the guitar and sing. He had made transcriptions for XEG and entertained on KRBC out of Abilene, KTBC in Austin. For a time, he was the vocalist with Dickie McBride and his Music Macs over at KTRH in Houston. He then organized the Dixie Playboys.

Next was Skillet Garner, who was termed "king of the 'steel willie'". He was a native Texan and had been playing music since the age of seven. During his 28 month stint in the armed services during World War II, he entertained the troops in many USO shows.

Mack McCray was the "National Junior Fiddle Champion" who was born in Shannon, Texas. He was known for his blues and ballad vocal numbers, too. Before joining the Dixie Playboys, he worked with a group called the Texas Rounders in Austin, Texas.

On the bass fiddle was Eddie Garner, Skillet's brother who played the "...solid jive on the bass." He played with various bands in the Houston and Corpus Christie areas prior to the war. He joined the U.S. Army and was seriously wounded while in Italy. Upon discharge, he resumed his radio work.

Finally, there was Leon Merritt, who played the electric standard guitar. Like others in the band, he had been musically inclined at an early age. He was married at the time and had two children.

NOTE: The Dixie Playboys was a popular group name it seems for we've seen several different groups that used the name. Others that we are aware of include

  • Glenn Watkins and the Dixie Playboys, a Georgia based group in the mid to late 1940s.
  • Glen Thompson and his Dixie Playboys, heard over WBBB in Burlington, NC around 1946 also
  • Banjo Murphy and his Dixie Playboys heard at WCHS in Charleston, WV and later KMOV(X) in St. Louis

Timeline & Trivia Notes

Group Members

  • Lou Parsley, (Texas Own Blind Cowboy Singer)
  • Skillet Garner, steel guitar
  • Mack McCray, fiddle
  • Eddie Garner (Skillet's brother), bass fiddle
  • Leon Merritt, electric guitar

Credits & Sources

  • The Mountain Broadcast and Prairie Recorder; June 1946; Mountain Broadcast Pub. Co.; New York, NY

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