This site was created by David Morton, DeFord's long-time friend and biographer, and his son Andrew Morton. Here you can view photos, listen to DeFord's songs and read about the legendary country musician.
Robert Oermann's excellent new book Behind the Grand Ole Opry Curtain: Tales of Romance and Tragedy contains a very nice chapter on DeFord Bailey, The Harmonica Wizard.
In 2007 the University of Illinois Press published a new book by Craig Havighurst that will interest many fans of DeFord Bailey. Air Castle of the South: WSM and the Making of Music City includes many references to the Harmonica Wizard, and several quotes from his biography. David Morton was sent an autographed copy just before Christmas by Robert Macon, one of Uncle Dave Macon's grandsons, who is a friend of the author. Craig Havighurst is a Nashville-based writer, editor and producer whose company String Theory Media specializes in music documentaries.
DeFord's 1927 Brunswick recording of the "Pan American Blues" was one of 44 recordings inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame by The Recording Academy, on January 10, 2007. The Grammy Hall of Fame was established by the Academy in 1973 to honor records of lasting qualitative or historical significance that are at least 25 years old.
The October 2007 issue of the American History magazine features DeFord Bailey in a special one page article called "Overlooked by History." David Morton assisted the magazine staff by providing a vintage photo of the "always dapper DeFord Bailey" with his foot on a Coca Cola crate to include with the article.
On Wednesday, June 27, 2007 a rose garden in Nashville was named in honor of DeFord Bailey. Two non-profit groups, EarthMatters and Lifeworks, joined together to establish the DeFord Bailey Tribute Garden in the George W. Carver Food Park at the corner of Leland and Gale Lane in the Green Hills area of Music City. The garden contains a variety of roses named after well-known Country musicians and songs. The dedication was attended by Bailey's children (DeFord Bailey, Jr., Dezoral Thomas, and Christine Craig) and a number of other relatives, including his former wife, Ida Lee Haynes.
October 6, 2007
During the first weekend of October, 2007 the legend and musical accomplishments of DeFord Bailey were remembered in the rural Tennessee county where he was born. The Smith County Chamber of Commerce sponsored a "Rendezvous on the Square" during the day and a musical festival that evening in Carthage, Tennessee east of Nashville. Both special events honored the memory of the Harmonica Wizard and provided some outstanding musical entertainment. DeFord's son, DeFord Bailey Jr., performed with a local band on the Square, and grandson, Carlos DeFord Bailey, and many well known musicians performed that evening. David Morton attended and took photos.
Visit http://www.defordbaileyharmonicafest.com for more information
The Summer 2007 issue of American Legacy Magazine features an article on DeFord Bailey by Rick Petreycik. David Morton, Chris Craig (DeFord's youngest daughter), John Rumble (Country Music Hall of Fame), and Reginald Stuart (retired New York Times writer) were all interviewed by Petreycik in preparing the story. American Legacy is an outstanding magazine that publishes African-American history and culture.
Another DeFord fan, Harmonica Buzz, sent us a link to a video of the NBC Nightly News segment on the unveiling of DeFord's memorial on June 23rd 1983. It features Bill Monroe and Roy Acuff talking about Bailey and how "The Harmonica Wizard" should be included in the Country Music Hall of Fame.
And below we've got a few other DeFord related videos.
This paper was written by David Morton and presented at the Afro-American Culture and History 12th Annual Local Conference held at Tennessee State University in Nashville on February 10, 1993.