Redd Revealed

In this section you will find some interested things about Redd that you might not have known before! Things about him not only professionally, but also personally.
Click here for 'Memories of My Dad' by his son, Billy


Redd learned to play the banjo, piano, fiddle and guitar as a child, then dropped out of junior high to perform in local bands. He completed only the seventh grade. At the young age of 14, he was contracted to write a song for a commercial in Louisville, Kentucky for Ford Motor car dealer. Redd and his band did a show from Ford’s showroom on Fifth Street in Louisville, KY, and it was broadcast on WGRC. 

Here Is How The Jingle Went:  
Watch the Fords go by  
See them how they fly  
Full of pep and speed  
Always in the lead  
There must be a reason why 

(Late 1930s)
On his way to his job at WGRC radio in Louisville, KY with his fiddle in a gunnysack, Redd ran into Mr. Frank. Mr. Frank asked him, “What’s your name and what do you do?” He said, “My name’s Henry Stewart, and I play in a little country band called the Kentucky Wildcats.” Mr. Frank said, “How would you like to work with Pee Wee King?” Redd said, “I wouldn’t mind it.” So Mr. Frank said, “Well, when you finish your present job and want to go into business with Mr. King, we’ll work it out.”  

Redd joined the Golden West Cowboys band headed by Pee Wee King as a fiddle player with lead singer, Eddy Arnold. That’s how Redd became a member of the Golden West Cowboys. Within months he was a principle member of the band.  *An interesting note here is at this particular time, Redd was giving serious consideration to become a minister.
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Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Redd was drafted into the U.S. Army and sent to the South Pacific. While stationed there and influenced by the devastating scenes of war in the jungles, he wrote the song, "Soldiers Last Letter.”   
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The first song Pee Wee and Redd wrote together was, ‘Southland Polka’ and was recorded by the Golden West Cowboys. The entire band got in on the vocals. The record, unfortunately, made no impression on the Billboard charts, what at the time normally included only five position. Click to listen

The picture to the left is a picture of Redd with his new bride, Jean, Pee Wee King's wife, Lydia, Pee Wee King and Don Davis (former member of Pee Wee King's Golden West Cowboy as the chauffeur. Redd & Jean had three children together - one daughter and two sons.

(March 6, 1948) 
Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King were traveling by truck from a performance in Henderson, Texas. The radio was turned to WSM's Grand Ole Opry. As they listened to Bill Monroe sing "The Kentucky Waltz," Pee Wee jokingly said to Redd, "Why haven't you written a song about your home state of Tennessee?"  

At that moment, with pencil in hand and nothing but the cover from one of those large boxes of wooden matches on which to write, Redd began scribbling the words to the "Tennessee Waltz." Upon returning to his home in Nashville, he transcribed what he had written onto paper and penciled in the notes.  Click to listen

Just over a month after the second musician's union recording ban ended, the Golden West Cowboys were again in the studio in Chicago to record for the first time in over a year. There was an obvious attempt to capitalize on the success of "Tennessee Waltz" by recording a couple more waltzes, "Waltz of the Alamo" and "Whisper Waltz."  Click to listen

Redd and Pee Wee were rehearsing some square dance numbers with a boy from Texas, and he showed them a recording of a Texas square dance tune called ‘Bonaparte’s Retreat,’ which had a sort of Cajun beat. It was a folk tune in the public domain, so Redd & Pee Wee took part of the melody, put a bridge or middle to it, wrote some words, and reshaped the whole song, building on its folk base.  Click to listen

Pee Wee & Redd flew to California to perform in another movie, ’Ridin’ The Outlaw Trail’, after doing a TV show for 'The Old American Barn Dance' in Chicago.  On December 7th while returning from filming the movie, with Smiley Burnette, their airplane was reported missing and they were reported killed. Pee Wee carried the newspaper clipping around in his wallet for many years afterwards.  
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Pee Wee, Redd & the band filmed another Gene Autry movie, ‘Rough, Tough, West’.  

Steve Holden, also the Durango Kid (Charles Starrett), arrives in a mining town and finds that his old friend Big Jack Mahoney (Jock Mahoney billed as Jack Mahoney) is operating a saloon and winning illegal control of gold mines and claims. Saloon entertainer Carolina (Carolina Cotton) is in love with Mahoney and does not know of his unorthodox deals.  
Smiley Burnette , the local fire chief, sympathizes with the miners and, as usual, provides next-to-nothing in the way of help except some songs, which are overshadowed by the music from Carolina Cotton and Pee Wee King.