|Birth name||Isaac Daniel Hornsby|
|Born||February 1, 1900|
|Origin||Atlanta, Georgia, US|
|Died||May 18, 1951(aged 51)|
|Genres||Old time music|
|Occupations||Singer, songwriter, producer, musician|
|Labels||Columbia Records,, Bluebird Records|
Isaac Daniel Hornsby (1 February 1900–18 May 1951) was an American singer, musician, music writer, producer and arranger.
Dan Hornsby was born in Atlanta and attended North Georgia College. Later, at the age of 19 he worked as a painter with the W.E. Browne Decorating Co. in Columbus, Georgia when he met Louise Wise of Little Rock, Arkansas. She sang and danced in a roadshow and they met at the hotel, which Hornsby was painting. They married and had five children. His oldest son had a daughter Nikki Hornsby, who also became a full-time artist - singer, songwriter, musician, producer, arranger, and founder of CJP-NHRecords.
Beginning of career
After the marriage Louise quit the stage, but Dan drifted towards show business although he did not have any formal musical training. However, he enjoyed playing trumpet and singing with various dance bands in Atlanta in the 1920s. Hornsby formed his basic group Dan Hornsby Quartet: Perry Bechtel (banjo, guitar and bariton), Taylor Flanagan (piano and high tenor), Sterlin Melvin (guitar and bass guitar) and Dan Hornsby (lead singer and arranger).
The Atlanta Baking Company asked Hornsby to do a show on WSM Radio in Atlanta. The group name was changed to Bamby Baker Boys and Hornsby became the first commercial performer of the WSB radio station, which started airing in 1922. His pleasant disposition and sense of humor earned him a nickname "Cheerful Dan" "the man with the two octave voice". He discovered a great deal of American music talent like Bessie Smith and many others of that time for Columbia. He was an engineer as well as producer of recorded music in Atlanta for Columbia Records as well as singer songwriter and musician.
Hornsby's performance on radio was noticed by Columbia Records - the oldest record company. His main role was a sort of talent scout, but he had many roles at Columbia Records during the 1920s and early 1930s, including production of his own recordings like "On Mobile Bay" and "I Want A Girl" or with Young Brothers Tennessee Band: "Are you from Dixie" and "Bill Bailey, won't you please come home", "Oh! Susanna", "Little Brown Jug", and other classic American songs. For example, Hornsby was the first recorded voice of the "Arkansas Traveler" and was the producer of the first recording of "You Are My Sunshine".
The Shelby Disaster by Dan Hornsby, recorded in 1928
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Let the tears of fond remembrance,
flow gently, full and free;
Let all who read my story,
extend their sympathy.
But the whispering hope of ages,
with true ambition shod,
leaps forth with reconstruction,
for hope is part of God.
And remember there's a city,
whose streets should be our goal,
where buildings never crumble,
that city of the soul.—Dan Hornsby, The Shelby Disaster
In 1931 he recruited Alton and Rabon Delmore (later known as Delmore Brothers) for Columbia Records.
The Great Depression also affected the phonographic industry and Hornsby lost his job with Columbia Records despite selling over 9000 recordings of "The Shelby Disaster". He then went back to radio and worked with several stations including WGST, where his roles included announcer, continuity man and even a comic in programs like "Down to Unkle Zeke's".
For Bluebird Records he played Uncle Ned in a series of children's bedtime stories such as "Humpty Dumpty", "Wynkyn, Blynky and Nod".
During his career Hornsby both created or joined many music bands:
- Dan Hornsby Trio
- Dan Hornsby Novelty Quartet
- Dan Hornsby Novelty Orchestra
- Dan Hornsby & His Lion's Den Trio
- Skillet Lickers
- Young Brothers Tennessee Band
- Bamby Baker Boys
- Taylor Flanagan & His Trio
- Georgia Organ Grinders.
- Bluegrass Unlimited, Jack Tottle, Dan Horsby, Jim Scancarelli, Hub Nitchie, August, 1989, p. 33-35
- Artist Nikki Hornsby's grandfather Dan Hornsby the man with the two octive voice. Atlanta Music Hall of Fame 1986
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