Danny Schmidt / “Sunshine” Sonny Payne’s “King Biscuit Time” / The Gillette Brothers of Crockett, Texas
Song and Artist: “Girl With Lantern Eyes” by Danny Schmidt of Austin, Texas
images courtesy Danny Schmidt website and Town Hall Live website
“Girl With Lantern Eyes” by Danny Schmidt on his CD “Owls”
Danny Schmidt’s Facebook music page:
Danny Schmidt’s website:
Radio Show: “Sunshine” Sonny Payne and “King Biscuit Time,” KFFA -AM Radio, Helena, Arkansas
images courtesy KFFA
“Sunshine” Sonny Payne hosts “King Biscuit Time” on KFFA 1360 AM in Helena, Arkansas, the longest running blues radio show in American history. Airing since November 21, 1941, “King Biscuit Time” features blues music, originally showcasing the live music of radio station KFFR‘s studio band “The King Biscuit Entertainers” in a half-hour daily show. During those initial years, “The King Biscuit Entertainers” featured blues musicians Sonny Boy Williamson and Robert Jr. Lockwood. When the station switched from live music to vinyl records in 1943, the show was hosted by Hugh Smith until 1951, when “Sunshine” Sonny Payne took over the reins.
The “King Biscuit Time” radio show was (and still is) an important influence in blues music at the time of the show’s inception in the mid-20th century when racial segregation was legal; KFFR was the only station in the region that would play music created and performed by people of African-American origin, and to cater to an African-American audience. Over the years “King Biscuit Time” made Helena, Arkansas a major blues music hub, attracting the most accomplished blues musicians to perform and even settle in the area. The radio program even spawned a magazine, “King Biscuit Time” and the annual “King Biscuit Blues Festival.”
*Sources for this information:King Biscuit Time (Wikipedia) / “Sunshine” Sonny Payne (Wikipedia) / King Biscuit Time website
This is a great short video posted by Arkansas Parks & Tourism about King Biscuit Time and “Sunshine” Sonny Payne:
“King Biscuit Time” airs Monday through Friday at 12:15 on KFFA AM 1360 in Helena, Arkansas.
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Supporter of Americana: The Gillette Brothers of Crockett, Texas
The Camp Street Cafe & Store in Crockett, Texas was founded and run by brothers/ranchers/award-winning cowboy musicians Pipp Gillette and the late Guy Gillette. The cafe is a landmark venue in east Texas, known for hosting world-renowned musicians from around the world.
The Gillette brothers not only operated the Cafe as a traditional roots music venue, but also spread their joy in playing their cowboy songs, Celtic music, and blues tunes and knowledge of cowboy culture by touring across the nation and around the world performing their music and even demonstrating their chuckwagon cooking skills at various venues and cowboy culture-related events.
As avid supporters of blues music, Pipp and Guy were involved in the installation of the town’s statue in honor of a regular patron on Camp Street, Sam Lightnin’ Hopkins. There is a fascinating article about the brothers and how their upbringing in New York and move to Texas shaped their musical careers, written by journalist Bryan Woolley (The Dallas Morning News) in 2005.
Guy Gillette passed away in 2013; his brother Pipp continues the brothers’ legacy of supporting music by keeping the Cafe filled with the best talent and by touring and performing their cowboy ballads. Both Guy and Pipp have received numerous awards for their music and for their support of cowboy culture, too many to cite here.
A list of awards can be found here:
Camp Street Cafe website: