DON & EARL HOME PAGE
DON and EARL were a Knoxville, Tennessee-based white gospel
duo who were broadcast nationally during the 1960s.
From my home on Long Island, I picked up their show on AM superstation WWVA,
from Wheeling, West Virginia that featured on-air miracle cures.
In that exotic setting, Don and Earl's homespun sincerity stood out.
Don and Earl were neglected by most country music and old radio references,
and I think it's a shame. They were a memorable act.
For me they characterize a time when nighttime AM surfing
provided a rich variety of unprocessed Americana.
We in the DON AND EARL TASK FORCE have made it our business to seek
out the story of these troupers.
After years of searching databases, books and internet sites,
years of confounding country music gurus and old-time radio show experts,
I'm happy to say that our SWAT team has returned
from the trenches with this brief report about Don and Earl.
Don was born Ladonuel Williams
on June 18, 1924 in Briceville, TN. After serving in World War II,
he began broadcasting as a singer at a local station in Knoxville Tennessee.
In 1950, young guitarist Earl Mays (born May 14, 1935 in Knoxville)
joined him on the air.
This partnership would last 35 years: until Don's death in 1985.
Click here to read Don Williams' obituary.
Don, the tenor, was a born storyteller and a born whistler
and baritone Earl provided the guitar accompaniment.
In addition to their radio shows,
they toured, singing on the church circuit,
and ran a sound studio in Knoxville.
After Don's death, Earl's wife Libby joined him as a partner
and to this day, they are active performers, recording privately,
touring for weeks at a time and singing in churches.
During the peak of Don and Earl's radio days,
their shows were produced at Wolfman Jack's home station:
XERF, the "border blaster" based in Del Rio, Texas.
The 500,000 watt signal was broadcast from across the border in Mexico
and from there syndicated to over 100 stations on the
North American continent.
The duo also had shows that originated in Waterloo, Iowa
and at WCKY in Cincinatti, Ohio.
Don and Earl recorded tapes for as many as a hundred
groups in their Knoxville studio.
This same studio was the site of Gospel Light Records,
and the Don and Earl Record Company,
and where they began recording and marketing their
own LPs during the 1960s.
list of known Don & Earl
records and cassettes
(This is not a sales list!)
Today Earl Mays markets his cassettes privately
from the same Knoxville post office box he and Don opened
during the 1960s. |
EARL MAYS - Box 20735
Knoxville, TN. 37940
(as of May 2005)
Among his current wares are two cassettes of newly mastered transfers
of the 1960s Don and Earl recordings and new cassettes of
the Earl and Libby duo.
He no longer has LPs, EPs or 45s
And be sure to visit
Earl and Libby's Web site
WAV file to be added Real Soon Now.