50 YEARS TOGETHER: THE RED BIRDS REMEMBER…..is the title of the book written by Joe Taylor and his partner of those 50 years, Patty Corbett. The book takes you through each year as a diary of their achievements, their disappointments, and their heartaches…all the highs and the lows they experienced in their careers in country music.
The Red Birds (at first called Indiana Red Birds) were organized by Taylor in 1948 in response to a request by a lady locally to have him make a recording. Of the songs recorded that year was a tune he had written entitled "He's a Cowboy Auctioneer." The first song to use an auctioneer's chant, it was inspired following Joe's graduation from Decatur's Reppart School of Auctioneering and his love of western and country music. The cowboy legend Tex Ritter recorded the song in 1950 on Capitol Records.
Joe's wife Pauline had quite a talented younger sister, Patty, so at age 15 Patty became a member of the Red Birds. She became one of the first female square dance callers in the country. In the 50s and 60s, the Red Birds broadcast live Saturday programs over WOWO and WGL, the latter for more than 17 years. Many of their guests went on to national stardom.
For 16 years, the Red Birds opened shows at "Nashville of the North's" Buck Lake Ranch, Angola, Indiana, for hundreds of super stars, including Gene Autry, Rex Allen, Tex Ritter, Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Bill Haley and the Comets, Minnie Pearl, Roy Acuff, Kitty Wells, Roger Miller, Ernest Tubb, Red Foley, Everly Brothers, Jimmy Dean, Hank Williams, Jr., Pee Wee (the "Tennessee Waltz") King, Dolly Parton, Statler Brothers, George Jones, Mickey Rooney and the Lennon Sisters.
The group traveled extensively, performing show and dance gigs not only in Northeastern Indiana but also many Midwest states. Taylor and Corbett wrote and recorded over 50 tunes for at least seven labels.
After more than 50 years in the country music scene, they retired the band New Year's Eve of 1998. During those 50 years, Taylor was recognized in numerous national country music publications.
In 1988, he was honored with a plaque signed by Emmylou Harris of Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame for his achievements and commitment to the industry. Taylor was one of just several Hoosiers among 1,200 included in a 1995 book sold internationally entitled, "Definitive Country: the Ultimate Encyclopedia of Country Music and Its Performers."
Gov. Frank O'Bannon in 1997 named him a Sagamore of the Wabash, the highest state award given a civilian.
The Indiana State Legislature in 1999 presented him with a Resolution thanking him and his band for countless hours of happiness brought to their audiences.
The Fort Wayne Historical Museum is the recipient of a multitude of items from their musical past to be preserved for future generations to view.
It's about the people, the music, the history.