Photo credit: Left – Alton and Rabon Delmore (en.delmore-brothers.com) | R – Alton and wife Thelma Delmore (encyclopediaofalabama.org)

On June 8, 1964, country music lost another valuable artist. On this day, Alton Delmore joined the Creator and his younger brother, Rabon in heaven. The Delmore Brothers, as they called themselves, rose to fame in the music industry in the 1930s and 1940s. Alton came from a highly musical family. As such, it is not surprising that he and his brother would follow a career in music. But, such aspect was not the only factor that contributed to his success. It’s undeniable that he and Rabon became famous in their own rights.

With the help of an uncle, Alton learned to play the guitar and was able to develop a highly advanced and conventional playing style. Soon, he learned to play other musical instruments such as the mandolin, banjo, tenor guitar, and fiddle all by himself. By the age of 13, Alton has written his first song.

The Delmore Brothers and their Music

Alton’s mastery of playing various musical instruments did not stop with him. Soon, he began imparting the skills to his younger brother, Rabon. As soon as Rabon learned to play the tenor guitar, the two were able to develop a complex but beautiful chemistry between their instruments. In no time, they were seen joining and winning in regional talent competitions. Then in 1931, the brothers recorded their first disc ever. Two years later, they became part of the Grand Ole Opry.

During the show’s early days, the Delmore Brothers were among the most favorites. With their incredible musical skills, warm harmony vocals,  pleasing songs, it’s not really difficult for the audience to love them. While participating in the show, the two continued recording old-time classic songs.  After the World War II, Alton and Rabon’s popularity was revived by redirecting their music to a more rhythmic style. Such career move resulted in the production of major hits including the most notable song, “Blues Stay Away from Me.” 

At that time, the brothers were no longer part of the Grand Ole Opry and they broke up in 1952. Together, they were inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1971, the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1989 and into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001.

As we commemorate Alton Delmore’s 54th death anniversary, let’s once again delight ourselves with one of the Delmore Brothers’ major hit, ” Blues Stay Away from Me.”

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