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Shot Jackson

One of the premier steel guitar and Dobro players of the postwar generation, Shot Jackson was a solo and session artist who also gained fame as a designer and manufacturer of musical instruments. Born Harold B. Jackson on September 4, 1920, in Wilmington, NC, he earned the nickname Buckshot -- later abbreviated to simply Shot -- while still a child. His interest in music also began at an early age, and he became a devoted fan of the Grand Ole Opry, in particular of Roy Acuff's Smoky Mountain Boys and their Dobro player, Bashful Brother Oswald. In 1941, Jackson joined the house band on a local country radio station, and in 1944, he moved to Nashville to sign on with the Opry as a sideman for Cousin Wilbur Westbrooks.

After a year in the Navy, Jackson began playing electric steel guitar with the Bailes Brothers and continued performing with the group throughout their tenure on the Shrevport, LA, station KWKH's Louisiana Hayride program. After the Bailes Brothers left the show, Jackson remained at KWKH, where he performed and recorded with the likes of Webb Pierce, Jimmie Osborne, and Red Sovine. In 1951, he joined Johnnie & Jack's Tennessee Mountain Boys, and over the next half-dozen years, he played Dobro on virtually all of the group's live dates and studio sessions. He also played on many of Kitty Wells' first hits, in addition to recording a few solo sides.

In 1957, Jackson fulfilled a personal dream by becoming the electric steel player for Acuff's Smoky Mountain Boys and remained with the group for five years. During his affiliation with Acuff, Jackson and Buddy Emmons designed an electric pedal steel guitar; to market it, they founded their own company, Sho-Bud. Gradually, the company's success began to absorb more and more of Jackson's time, and he left the Smoky Mountain Boys, although he did remain an active musician, particularly as a steel player for Melba Montgomery, who had also left Acuff to go solo some time before. In addition to working with Montgomery (on both her solo work and her duets with George Jones), he recorded with many other artists and even cut his own solo LP, Singing Strings of Steel Guitar and Dobro, in 1962.

Jackson rejoined Acuff full-time in 1964, but his tenure abruptly ended in July of 1965 when he, Acuff, and singer June Stearns were all sidelined by a near-fatal car crash. After a long recovery period, he began performing with his wife Donna Darlene, a former vocalist on the Jamboree program; in 1965, he also issued the solo record Bluegrass Dobro. His latest creation, a seven-string resonator guitar called the Sho-Bro, hit the market not long after, and again, Jackson distanced himself from music to focus on business. Still, he continued to play on occasion, rejoining the Bailes Brothers for a number of reunion concerts and recordings. He also hooked up with the Roy Clark Family Band for a pair of albums and appearances on the TV program Hee Haw. In 1980, Baldwin-Gretsch purchased Sho-Bud, and three years later, Jackson sold his instrument repair business as well. Soon after retirement, he suffered a stroke which left him unable to speak and play music. In 1986, he was inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame; shortly after suffering another stroke several years later, Jackson died on January 24, 1991. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Steelin' It: The Steel Guitar Story

Disc 1

1. Slidin' On The Frets

2. Iniki Malie

3. Wai O Minnehaha

4. Black Boy Blues

5. Farewell Blues

6. The Memphis Blues

7. St. Louis Blues

8. Honolulu Stomp

9. Hawaiian Capers

10. My Best Girl

11. Wela-Ka-Hao

12. Ua Like No A Like

13. Blues Of The Guitar

14. Honolulu March

15. Hawaiian Melody

17. Saint Louis Blues

19. An Orange Grove In California

20. Oh, Lady Be Good!

21. Guitarese

22. Slippery Fingers

23. Limehouse Blues

24. Hula Blues

Disc 2

2. I Found A New Baby

3. Takin' Off

4. Stompin' At The Honky Tonk

5. Kelly Swing

6. Jitterbug Jive

7. Don't Ever Go Wrong

8. Dust Off That Old Piano

9. Stay A Little Longer

10. Texas Playboy Rag

11. Bogg's Boogie

12. The Daughter Of Jole Blon'

13. Spadella

14. Steel Guitar Stomp

15. Steel Guitar Stomp

16. Steel Guitar Rag

17. Steel Guitar Rag

18. Twin Guitar Boogie

19. Take It Away, Leon!

20. Train Whistle Blues

21. I've Got The Blues #2

22. Down At The Roadside Inn

23. Blue Steel Blues

24. Weary Steel Blues

25. Car Hop's Blues

Disc 3

1. Mean Mama Blues

2. Panhandle Shuffle

3. Sally's Got A Wooden Leg

4. Juke Box Jump

5. Steeling The Blues

6. Double Crossin' Mama

7. Steel Guitar Rag

8. Texas Steel Guitar

9. John's Other Wife

10. I Won't Stand In Your Way

11. So Round, So Firm, So Fully Packed

12. Don't Look Now (But Your Broken Heart Is Showing)

14. Down In New Orleans

15. Pretty Baby Boogie

16. Steel Guitar Bounce

17. Steel Guitar Hop

18. Campbell's Steel Guitar Special

19. This Is Southland

20. And I Shook

21. Steel Guitar Boogie

22. Safety Pin Rag

23. Slidin' Steel

24. Hot Steel

25. I've Just Got To See You Once More

Disc 4

2. Remington Ride

4. Steeling The Mood

5. I Don't Care Anymore

7. Mexican Joe

8. Speedin' West

10. Settin' The Woods On Fire

11. Fire On The Strings

12. Peepin' Eyes

13. I've Been Deceived

14. Where Do We Go From Here?

15. Uncertain Love

16. Gonna Romp And Stomp

17. A Booger Gonna Getcha

19. Shame On You

20. I'm Gonna Live Some Before I Die

21. Looky There, Over There

22. That's The Way The Big Ball Bounces

23. Wham! Bam! Hot, Ziggity, Zam

24. I Ain't Gettin' Nowhere With You

25. Is It True What They Say About Dixie?

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