Lone Star Quartet
Lone Star Quartet (1941-1949)
The Stamps-Baxter Lone Star Quartet was organized in Texas by The Stamps-Baxter Music and Printing Company. They were based at KWFT radio in Wichita Falls, Texas. Milton Estes, who had a background in country and western music, was their lead singer, manager and emcee. Other members of this early lineup were Ralph Gage, tenor; Wayne Roseberry, baritone; Edd Davis, bass; and Edwin Baggett, pianist.
By the fall of 1941, they had numerous singing engagements in North Carolina, so they relocated to Raleigh. They operated out of WPTF radio which had become a 50,000 watt station around mid-1941. The Lone Star Quartet was supported by Stamps-Baxter with occasional guest appearances by Frank Stamps.
Soon after the move to Raleigh, Burt Carroll came on at tenor. After both the Dixie Four and its successor, the Stamps-Baxter Dixie Quartet had disbanded after the beginning of WWII, former members Carl Rains (bass) and Herschel Collins (pianist) joined the Lone Star Quartet.
Estes, Rains, and Collins were relatively long-serving members. In addition to their singing, both Rains and Estes provided comedy routines with Rains as "Joe Squashead" and Estes as "Uncle Milt."
The Lone Star Quartet had considerable turnover at the baritone position following Wayne Roseberry’s departure in early 1942. Erman Slater, “Chief’ Wilkin Bacon, Elmer Johnson, Shaw Eiland, Elmo Fagg, Clarence Turbyfill, Thurman Simmons, and Norris Dawkins are among those who held the position for a while. Although several pianists accompanied the Lone Star Quartet during its first few months in Raleigh, Herschel Collins was the pianist for most of the period until Jack Taylor joined the Lone Star around 1944. Hovie Lister is said to have played for the quartet for a short time.
When Frank Stamps left Stamps-Baxter in 1945 and formed his own company, the competition for, and turnover of, quartet members increased. Elmo Fagg and Jack Taylor left in 1946 to join the fledgling (Frank) Stamps Blue Ridge Quartet which operated from radio station WRAL, also in Raleigh. There they joined former Lone Star members Wayne Roseberry and Shaw Eiland, both of whom were original members of the Blue Ridge Quartet. Carl Rains and Clarence Turbyfill left the Lone Star Quartet in 1947. Turbyfill later became a member of the Blue Ridge Quartet.
After his stint with the Blue Ridge Quartet, Jack Taylor rejoined the Lone Star Quartet. During the late 1940s, one lineup included Bert Carroll, tenor; Elmer Johnson, lead; Thurman Simmons, baritone; and Joe Baxter, bass. Bert Carroll served as the manager and emcee.
The group continued to operate for another year or two with a somewhat lower profile than during the earlier years. The final lineup included Bert Carroll, tenor; Oren Adams, lead; Norris Dawkins, baritone; Johnny Jones, bass; and Jack Taylor, pianist.
Bert Carroll and Jack Taylor returned to Dallas where they were involved in Stamps-Baxter operations for a number of years. Both served as members of the company's primary Stamps-Baxter Quartet. Taylor became an executive with the Stamps-Baxter Music & Printing Company.
After Carroll and Taylor left, the Lone Star Quartet re-organized in Raleigh and continued for a short time.
Other Lone Star Quartets
Several other groups have used the "Lone Star" name including more than one in Texas during the late 1940s. The King's Heralds began in the 1920s in Texas as the "Lone Star Four." A Lone Star group in the late 1950s included former Stamps Quartet and Plainsmen member, Howard Welborn. Former Stamps and Rangers member Cecil Pollock was part of a Lone Star group in the 1990s.