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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Music Man

Jim "Red" Pope 
That’s my Dad, looking rather rakish, back in 1949. He was an accomplished musician from an early age.
He played the guitar, the piano, the violin (fiddle) and bass violin (known as a bass fiddle in bluegrass/country music).

At the age of 5, he played the violin in a symphony orchestra! Mom couldn’t find the photo but I bet he was a cute little stinker. He grew up winning many County Fair fiddling contests across New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.

During the 1940’s he played with the Lee Bell band. They had their own radio show. In 1954, they had their own television show on KSWS in Roswell, New Mexico.  We moved to Indiana where he played with the Ray Kizer band then, later, with the Dixie Drifters. He played with them until 1970.

The uniforms they‘re wearing, in all the photos, were designed by Dad and sewn by his aunt Esther.

The Lee Bell Band

Fiddling duo- Lee Bell band (I found this photo on the internet)

The Ray Kizer Band

The Dixie Drifters

Then, he moved to Lubbock Texas to play with former members of the Lee Bell band who formed a new band headed by Jimmy Blakley. Jimmy owned the Palm Room nightclub and they played there until the late 80’s.

Over the years he was invited to sit in with many famous bands such as Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, Tex Ritter, Rex Allen, and Eddy Arnold.

I remember my favorite song that Dad played on the fiddle. It was “Pop Goes The Weasel”. He would play a line, then move the fiddle to the top of his head, play a line, move it behind his back, behind his knees, under one leg, then the other-- never missing a beat. It was such fun to watch and a real crowd pleaser.

We all miss him and his music very much.
Further reading:


  1. Talent runs in your family! You must have many really good memories of your Dad and his music!

  2. Great photos and tribute to a talented man.

  3. Wow, I didn't know this! What a great dad you had!
    Thanks for sharing :-))

  4. Thank you, Montucky! Yes, I have great memories of him and his music. :)

    Thank you, Mike! :)

    I don't know why I've never brought up the subject, before, of my Dad and his talents. Thanks a bunch, Jonie! :)

  5. so cool! do you have musical talent yourself? That had to be such a fun time :)

  6. No, none of us 4 kids learned to play any musical instruments. Isn't that weird? It was a fun time, for sure. Thank you, Yolo! :)

  7. thanks sis for posting those. it was a really sweet thing to do. it brought back a lot of memories and of course a lot of tears from "daddy's little girl" . yes he is missed dearly. not a day goes by but what something reminds me of him. I LOVE YOU!!!

  8. Thanks, Sis! Glad you liked it. Love you, too! :)

  9. I left a note but doesn't seem to be here.
    I have been to bluegrass festivals with bill monroe. The photos remind me of early Grand Ol Opry.


  10. Hi, Doug! Welcome to my site! Comments appear after approval, so your note doesn't show until I get them and approve.

    I remember Bill Monroe very well, and the early Grand Ol Opry. Thank you for your comment! :)

  11. Oh how neat! What wonderful photos of your Dad and a delight reading about him (and way cool first photo!). I surely would have enjoyed hearing your dad play on the fiddle "Pop Goes The Weasel" and watching him too. How blessed you were to grow up with music like that. Thank you for sharing this!

  12. The first photo is my favorite one. We had a lot of fun with Dad and his music. Thank you, Anna! :)

  13. Anna told me about these photos and stories of your dad. I had to come and take a peek. Wow... what memories these must be for you. Isn't it wonderful we have memories of such times?

  14. Yes, Preston, it is wonderful to have such great memories like this. Thank you! :)


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