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Big Al Downing

February 27, 1996 OHC90 108 min.


Country music performer. Born January 9, 1940. Died July 4, 2005. Toured with Wanda Jackson as part of the Poe Kats. Songwriting credits include the rock classic “Down On The Farm.” During the late 1970s-1980s recorded fifteen country chart records. A featured artist on the boxed album set From Where I Stand: the Black Experiences in Country Music (Warner Bros., 1998).

Interview Summary

1996 February 27
(1 hour, 48 minutes)
Musician Big Al Downing discusses his career in country music. Discussion includes growing up in Oklahoma and his early musical influences; his first piano; the Poe Kats; touring with Wanda Jackson; the story behind “Down On The Farm”; the impact of segregation and racism on his career; his work during the late 1950s-early 1960s; performing country music; performing for military audiences; the popularity of country music in Europe; recording in Nashville; and comments on the country music audience.

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