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Who Riley Shepard
What Obituary: Riley Shepard
When November 6, 2009
Where Porterville, CA

Riley Shepard died at age 90, singer and songwriter who fought to get great respect for early country western performers in the 1940's.

Richard Riley Shepard, (who also used many pseudonyms such as Dickson Hall and Dick Scott) died on Friday, November 6, 2009 in a nursing home in Porterville, California. He was 90 years old. His daughter, Stacya Shepard Silverman announced his death.

"Shepard was at the vanguard of demanding greater respect and appropriate pay for major country artists, and moved away from the term hillbilly" said writer Kevin Coffey. Using the name Dick Scott, he started agitating for more respect across the board for country performers. With Leeds Publishing, he pushed for better deals for country songwriters and was also instrumental in trying to get pop performers to record country songs with great success. As a promoter, he signed up performers like Red Foley and pushed for better pay for country performers, who were being ripped off by radio station "Artist Bureaus" who booked these acts for low money and then took a huge cut.

Born in 1918 in New Hanover (near Wilmington), North Carolina he was named Richard Riley Shepard, "Riley" after his grandfather, a Primitive Baptist minister who had 18 children. He left home early to pursue a career in show business, by age 13 he was performing on local stages doing comedy, singing, and playing the guitar. He worked for the Dixie Reelers, and also local radio stations in Raleigh and Charlotte.

In 1945 he moved to the East Coast and cut records for King, Musicraft, Majestic, Sterling, Signature and other labels. In 1946 he recorded the popular song "Atomic Power" about the atomic bomb on Musicraft label. He also worked for the popular singing trio The Andrew Sisters.

He was the host of the Oklahoma Roundup in Oklahoma City on network broadcast in 1947.

Riley Shepard was married up to six times and had several children. In addition to his daughter Stacya Shepard Silverman, Shepard is survived by his son, Richard Shepard and daughters Leslie Sullivan and Lisa Shepard.

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