Collection Number: 20341

Collection Title: Glenn Thompson Collection, 1944-2002

This collection has access restrictions. For details, please see the restrictions.

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the Duplication Policy section for more information.


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Size About 70 items
Abstract During the 1940s and 1950s, white country music singer and guitarist Glenn Thompson was a popular bandleader, radio personality, and recording artist, performing first with the Burlington, N.C.,-based Blue Ridge Entertainers and subsequently with his own Dixie Playboys. Thompson continued to perform regularly and released several recordings as both soloist and bandleader until his retirement in 1985. The collection includes photographs and sound recordings documenting Thompson's musical career. Photographs feature Thompson, his bandmates, and associates during the 1940s and 1950s, and include several promotional shots of Thompson, the Blue Ridge Entertainers, and the Dixie Playboys. Photographs also document Thompson's involvement with Danville, Va., radio station WDVA and his performance at a number of venues, including the WDVA Barn Dance, the Carolina Theatre (Burlington), a voting rally, a WTOB (Winston-Salem) television show, and several radio stations. Also included are photographs of comedians who performed in Thompson's stage show, most commonly long-time bandmate Sleepy Johnson and WDVA personality Homer T (Thomasson). Other performers include Charlie Monroe; armless musician Ray R. Meyers; and the Louvin Brothers. Sound recordings include CD copies of commercial 78 rpm records and LP records; original 45 rpm records; and cassettes and compact discs issued privately by Thompson or by the Greensboro-based Skatter label. A taped interview, in which Thompson comments on the collection's photographs, provides anecdotes about Buck Owens, Bill Monroe and Charlie Monroe, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, the Louvins, Ray Meyers, Thompson's bandmates, and Thompson's musical experiences in Danville and Burlington.
Creator Thompson, Glenn, 1921-2012.
Language English.
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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Information For Users

Restrictions to Access
Use of audio materials may require production of listening copies.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Glenn Thompson Collection #20341, Southern Folklife Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Provenance
Received from Glenn Thompson of Burlington, N.C., in April 2001 and May 2001.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subject Headings

The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Glenn Thompson was born in Moore County, N.C., on 16 October 1921. His radio career began in 1941 at station WGH in Newport News, Va. In 1943, he moved to Panama City, Fla., working briefly at station WDLP with John King and his Drifting Cowboys. In 1944, after serving for about a year as a tank driver in Fort Knox, Ky., Glenn moved again to Burlington, N.C. His band, the Blue Ridge Entertainers, performed daily on Burlington radio station WBBB; the band, with some personnel changes, changed its name in 1946 to Glenn Thompson and his Dixie Playboys. From that year to 1948, they released five 78s on Thompson's own label, recorded at the Nelson Teal Studios in Burlington. In 1947, the group began extensive touring with the Wilby Kensey Theatre circuit, performing in thirteen eastern states from Maine to Florida. In 1949, Thompson and the Playboys moved to Danville, Va., where they recorded three 78s and were featured performers on radio station WDVA. That June, the station started its very popular Saturday night Barn Dance, held at the Danville Fairgrounds, with Glenn as its main attraction. In addition to headlining that weekly program, Thompson frequently entertained school and church groups, traveled with his own tent show, and coordinated a shifting pool of considerable talent for his shows. For a short period in 1950, the Louvin Brothers joined the Barn Dance, acting as Thompson's band and appearing uncredited on his 78 recording of "Lovers Lane" and "Trouble Keeps Hanging Around My Door."

Thompson returned to Burlington and WBBB in 1953 and recorded two LPs and a final single during the 1960s, with a number of the LP tracks released additionally as 45s. In 1983, he married his third wife, Wilma Martin, the widow of country entertainer Slim Martin. Thompson retired from the music business in 1985, but continued to make occasional personal appearances.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The Glenn Thompson collection includes photographs and sound recordings documenting Thompson's musical career. Photographs feature Thompson, his bandmates, and associates during the 1940s and 1950s, the most active years of his career, and include promotional shots of Thompson and his bands, the Blue Ridge Entertainers and the Dixie Playboys. Photographs also document Thompson's involvement with Danville, Va., radio station WDVA, and feature Thompson and the Playboys in performance at a number of venues, including the WDVA Barn Dance, the Carolina Theatre (Burlington, N.C.), a voting rally, a WTOB (Winston-Salem) television show, and several radio stations. Also included are photographs of comedians who performed in Thompson's stage show, most commonly long-time bandmate Sleepy Johnson and WDVA personality Homer T (Thomasson). Other performers at some point affiliated with Thompson and featured in the collection include Charlie Monroe, armless musician Ray R. Meyers, and the Louvin Brothers, who filled in briefly for Thompson's backup band and were regulars on the WDVA Barn Dance in 1950. A taped interview, in which Thompson comments on the photographs in the collection, provides anecdotes about Buck Owens, Bill Monroe and Charlie Monroe, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, the Louvins, Ray Meyers, Thompson's own bandmates, and, more generally, Thompson's musical experiences in Danville and Burlington.

Sound recordings include CD copies of commercially recorded 78 rpm records and LP records; original 45 rpm records; and original cassettes and compact discs issued privately by Thompson or by the Greensboro-based Skatter label. Two additional cassettes, recorded in 2001 with the acquisition of Thompson's photograph collection, contain an interview in which Thompson describes the photographs.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s.

46 items.

Arrangement: original order has been maintained.

Photographs of Glenn Thompson, his bandmates, associates, and venues. Included are the Blue Ridge Entertainers, Glenn Thompson and his Dixie Playboys, Sleepy Johnson, the Louvin Brothers, the WDVA Barn Dance, and the Carolina Theatre (Burlington, N.C.).

Until 2019, some of photographic materials in this collection were originally part of the "SFC General Photograph Collection." Materials in the SFC General Photographic Collection were individually numbered in a sequential manner that spanned collections. Materials that have a number with a "P-" indicate inclusion in this collection. These numbers have been retained so that previous uses of the images and additional description remain connected to the materials.

Image Folder PF-20341/1

Image P-20341/4326

Blue Ridge Entertainers #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/1, Image P-20341/4326

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/1

Image P-20341/4327

Smokey Garner and Glenn Thompson #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/1, Image P-20341/4327

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/1

Image P-20341/4328

Two men playing guitar and a woman singing #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/1, Image P-20341/4328

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/1

Image P-20341/4329

Glenn Thompson and the Rhythaires #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/1, Image P-20341/4329

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/1

Image P-20341/4330

Bill Monroe and Glenn Thompson #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/1, Image P-20341/4330

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/1

Image P-20341/4331

Glenn Thompson and Charlie Monroe #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/1, Image P-20341/4331

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/1

Image P-20341/4332

Glenn Thompson and Buck Owens #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/1, Image P-20341/4332

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/1

Image P-20341/4333

Charlie Monroe at the home of Glenn Thompson #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/1, Image P-20341/4333

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/1

Image P-20341/4334

Gurney Thomas and band #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/1, Image P-20341/4334

Photographic Prints

Left to right: Gurney Thomas on guitar, Glenn Davis on banjo, "Uncle Henry" with cane, Woody Grayson, other members unidentified.

Image Folder PF-20341/1

Image P-20341/4335

Glenn Thompson's Dixie Playboys #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/1, Image P-20341/4335

Photographic Prints

Left to right: Billy Purcell; Paige Hepler, Sleepy Johnson, and unidentified bass player.

Image Folder PF-20341/1

Image P-20341/4336

Glenn Thompson #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/1, Image P-20341/4336

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/1

Image P-20341/4337

Glenn Thompson #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/1, Image P-20341/4337

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/1

Image P-20341/4338

Lowell Blanchard and Ira Louvin #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/1, Image P-20341/4338

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/1

Image P-20341/4339

Glenn Thompson #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/1, Image P-20341/4339

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/1

Image P-20341/4340

Glenn Thompson #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/1, Image P-20341/4340

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/1

Image P-20341/4341

Louvin Brothers #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/1, Image P-20341/4341

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/1

Image P-20341/4342

Glenn Thompson #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/1, Image P-20341/4342

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/1

Image P-20341/4343

Glenn Thompson #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/1, Image P-20341/4343

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/2

Image P-20341/4344

Glenn Thompson and his Dixie Playboys #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/2, Image P-20341/4344

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/2

Image P-20341/4345

Glenn Thompson and his Dixie Playboys #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/2, Image P-20341/4345

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/2

Image P-20341/4346

Ray R. Meyers #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/2, Image P-20341/4346

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/2

Image P-20341/4347

Smokey Graves and Babe Harrell #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/2, Image P-20341/4347

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/2

Image P-20341/4348

WDVA Barn Dance stage, Danville, Va. #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/2, Image P-20341/4348

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/2

Image P-20341/4349

WDVA Barn Dance admission gate and Danville livestock auction market #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/2, Image P-20341/4349

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/2

Image P-20341/4350

Glenn Thompson and his Dixie Playboys at a voting rally #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/2, Image P-20341/4350

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/2

Image P-20341/4351

The Bowes Brothers #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/2, Image P-20341/4351

Photographic Prints

Left to right: unidentified mandolin player, Ira Bowes on fiddle, Josephine Gentry on guitar, Simon Bowes on Guitar, unidentified banjo player, unidentified bass player.

Image Folder PF-20341/2

Image P-20341/4352

Jack Flemming #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/2, Image P-20341/4352

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/2

Image P-20341/4353

Sleepy Johnson publicity shot #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/2, Image P-20341/4353

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/2

Image P-20341/4354

Blue Ridge Entertainers #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/2, Image P-20341/4354

Photographic Prints

Left to right: Stacey Fry, Glenn Thompson, Oscar Hutchins, Smokey Graves, Sleepy Johnson, Curly Gardner

Image Folder PF-20341/2

Image P-20341/4355

Glenn Thompson publicity shot #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/2, Image P-20341/4355

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/2

Image P-20341/4356

Publicity for Glenn Thompson and his Dixie Playboys, Carolina Theatre, Burlington, N.C. #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/2, Image P-20341/4356

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/2

Image P-20341/4357

Rusty Puckett #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/2, Image P-20341/4357

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/2

Image P-20341/4358

Publicity for Glenn Thompson and his Dixie Playboys, Carolina Theatre, Burlington, N.C. #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/2, Image P-20341/4358

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/2

Image P-20341/4359

Glenn Thompson with band, WDVA, Danville, Va. #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/2, Image P-20341/4359

Photographic Prints

Image P-20341/4360

Carolina Theatre, Burlington, N.C. #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." P-20341/4360

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/3

Image P-20341/4361

Crowd in line to see Glenn Thompson at the Carolina Theatre, Burlington, N.C. #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/3, Image P-20341/4361

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/3

Image P-20341/4362

Unidentified man #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/3, Image P-20341/4362

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/3

Image P-20341/4363

Al McCoy #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/3, Image P-20341/4363

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/3

Image P-20341/4364

Reunion at the WDVA Barn Dance #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/3, Image P-20341/4364

Photographic Prints

Left to right: Simon Bowes, Glenn Thompson, Homer T, Clyde Moody, Jim Eanes

Image Folder PF-20341/3

Image P-20341/4365

Original Dixie Playboys lineup #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/3, Image P-20341/4365

Photographic Prints

Left to right: Babe Harrell, Billy Purcell, Glenn Thompson, Sleepy Johnson, Curly Gardner

Image Folder PF-20341/3

Image P-20341/4366

Danville, Va. Left to right: Glenn Thompson, Billy Purcell, Roy Cook, Sleepy Johnson, Roy Russell #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/3, Image P-20341/4366

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/3

Image P-20341/4367

Left to right (standing): Maynard Skeare (?), Curly Gardner, Glenn Thompson, Homer T, Sleepy Johnson. Left to right (kneeling): Jack Flemming, Cub McGee. #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/3, Image P-20341/4367

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/3

Image P-20341/4368

Publicity shot for WTOB Saturday night television show, Winston-Salem, N.C. #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/3, Image P-20341/4368

Photographic Prints

Left to right: Oscar Hutchins, Sleepy Johnson, Johnny G, Paige Hepler, unidentified guitar player, Glenn Thompson

Image Folder PF-20341/3

Image P-20341/4369

Louvin Brothers with Paige Hepler #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/3, Image P-20341/4369

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/3

Image P-20341/4370

Homer "T" Thomasson, Danville, Va. #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/3, Image P-20341/4370

Photographic Prints

Image Folder PF-20341/3

Image P-20341/4371

Left to right: Babe Harrell, Billy Purcell, Rocky Stone, Brenda Ann Underwood, Glenn Thompson, Sleepy Johnson, and Curly Gardner at the Carolina Theatre, Burlington, N.C. #20341, Series: "1. Photographs, circa 1940s-1960s." Imagefolder PF-20341/3, Image P-20341/4371

Photographic Prints

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Audio Recordings.

23 items.

Arrangement: by format.

Sound recordings include CD copies of commercially recorded 78 rpm records and LP records; original 45 rpm records; and original cassettes and compact discs issued privately by Thompson or by the Greensboro-based Skatter label. Two additional cassettes, recorded in 2001 with the acquisition of Thompson's photograph collection, contain an interview in which Thompson describes the photographs.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.1. 78 rpm Records.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.2. 45 rpm Records.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.3. LP Records.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.4. CDs.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 2.5. Cassettes.

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Processing Information

Processed by: Burgin Mathews, October 2002

Encoded by: Burgin Mathews, October 2002

Updated by: Anne Wells, March 2017; Patrick Cullom, December 2019

Since August 2017, we have added ethnic and racial identities for individuals and families represented in collections. To determine identity, we rely on self-identification; other information supplied to the repository by collection creators or sources; public records, press accounts, and secondary sources; and contextual information in the collection materials. Omissions of ethnic and racial identities in finding aids created or updated after August 2017 are an indication of insufficient information to make an educated guess or an individual's preference for identity information to be excluded from description. When we have misidentified, please let us know at wilsonlibrary@unc.edu.

Until 2019, some of photographic materials in this collection were originally part of the "SFC General Photograph Collection." Materials in the SFC General Photographic Collection were individually numbered in a sequential manner that spanned collections. Materials that have a number with a "P-" indicate inclusion in this collection. These numbers have been retained so that previous uses of the images and additional description remain connected to the materials.

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