Pearl Robison comes from a fractured family line going back before the Civil War. And her life resembles a jagged line. She is related through her father, Jason Jones Robison (1946- ) to Ruby Robison (1843-1933), who was the sister of Marcus Walsh Robison (1936-1897) Pearl’s great-great-great-grandfather. Ruby was a prostitute in Shreveport who gave birth to a Civil War soldier’s child, the first Pearl Robison.
In 1973 our Pearl was born in Conyers, Georgia but we meet Pearl when she is managing a dollar store in Macon. One January day, sitting in her car before going opening up she decides to just leave town and head west on U.S. 80.
She ends up in Shreveport, Louisiana, when she stops at an all night diner and Jake McLemore enters her life. They live together for five years before Pearl’s wanderlust overtakes her again and she leaves again, this time heading for Dallas. She does not know at the time that she is pregnant, but when she does discover this fact, she does not intend to tell Jake that he is going to be a father.
She gives birth in 2015 to a baby girl whom she names Ruby Robison, after her aunt but also looking back to her prior Shreveport relative, Ruby Robison and Fannin Street.
Sonny Tate (1936-2003) was born in Opalika, Alabama and displayed musical talent at an early age. He could mimic Hank Williams from the age of eleven and would stand on his father’s bar and entertain the patrons who were delighted with the youngster’s uncanny ability. Sonny would later go on to have something of a professional career as a country singer but never making it really big.
He performed on the Lousiana Hayride and even was invited to perform at the Opry for once when he had a Top-20 song but he he was never asked to join the Opry as a member.
After Sonny’s wife passed away, he was left to raise his son Tully alone. This he did despite still trying to carry on with his career as a singer. Tully would travel with him and stand backstage as Sonny performed and was adopted by all the musicians and other performers something like a mascot.
Sonny outlived his son Tully who pre-deceased him in 1993 and is remembered as someone who could sing and sell a song but not hold his liquor. He is also remembered as a loving grandfather to Mike, Tully’s son, who lived with Sonny until 2003 when Sonny passed away and Mike moved to Nashville.
Mike inherited Sonny’ guitar and had some dreams of follwoing in Sonny’s footsteps as a country singer.
Louisiana Hayride was a radio and later television country music show broadcast from the Shreveport Municipal Memorial Auditorium in Shreveport, Louisiana, that during its heyday from 1948 to 1960 helped to launch the careers of some of the greatest names in American country and western music. Elvis Presley performed on the radio version of the program in 1954 and made his first television appearance on the television version of Louisiana Hayride on March 3, 1955.
While the Opry, the Jubilee and the Hayride all showcased established stars, the Hayride was where talented, but virtual unknowns, were also given exposure to a large audience. Over the years, country music greats such as Hank Williams, Webb Pierce, Kitty Wells, Jimmie Davis, Will Strahan, Slim Whitman, Floyd Cramer, Sonny James, Hank Snow, Faron Young, Johnny Horton, Jim Reeves, Claude King, Jimmy Martin, George Jones, John and The Three Wise Men, Johnny Cash, Frankie Miller, Tex Ritter, Cowboy Jack Hunt & Little Joe Hunt of the Rhythm Ranch Hands, Nat Stuckey, and Lefty Frizzell, among many others, performed on Louisiana Hayride.
By mid-1954, a special 30-minute portion of Louisiana Hayride was being broadcast every Saturday on the AFN Pacific channel of the United Kingdom Scottish Forces Radio Network. On October 16 of that year, Elvis Presley appeared on the radio program. Presley’s performance of his newly released song from Sun Records called “That’s All Right Mama” brought a tepid response, according to former Hayride emcee Frank Page (1925-2013), but soon after Presley was nonetheless signed to a one-year contract for future appearances. The immediate and enormous demand for more of Presley’s new kind of rockabilly music actually resulted in a sharp decline in the popularity of the Louisiana Hayride that until that point had been strictly a country music venue. On March 3, 1955, Presley made his first television appearance on the television version of The Louisiana Hayride, carried by KSLA-TV, the CBS affiliate in Shreveport.
Within a few years, rock and roll had come to dominate the music scene, and on August 27, 1960, Louisiana Hayride ended its primary run