Friday, January 6, 2012

Barber Shop Blues

Ira Lee
Accompanied By Bill Jeffery

Barber Shop Blues

Henagar, Alabama

From the birthplace of the Louvin Brothers come this custom record released in 1972 or 1973.

Born on 16 Aug 1907. Ira L married Manilah Mae Hicks and had a child. He passed away in Henagar, Alabama, in 1986.

All the man's life coming down to just few words. That's quite frightening. I can't find anything else about the man.



  1. Hair in his THAT'S sad! ;-)

  2. Sometimes people just don't leave a big footprint, but with Ira at least we have this 45 and through the magic of the internet and your dedication to the blog many will have the chance to listen to his recording. Gone, but certainly not forgotten now.

    I just got off the phone with a very nice lady at the Henagar library who offered a little more information. Ira lived his whole life in Henagar and may have worked as a mail carrier or at least worked for the government. He had deep roots in Henagar as his his father was a minister there. As you mentioned his wife's name was Manilah and they had one child. I discovered that childs name was Jack, who went on to become a school teacher. I think he now rests with his Mom and Dad in the Henagar Baptist Church Cemetary - not too far from Ira and Manilah grave there's one for Billy Jack Lee who died in 1993. The incredibly nice lady at the library had no idea that he recorded anything and was surprised since she never remembered him taking a solo in church.

    So there's a few more words, not many, but at least a few. I've got another call out there and if I get any more information back from that I'll post something more

    Thanks for the post! How's the flip?

  3. Many thanks Bruce.

    Flip is "A Little Girl's Prayer". Not as good as far I can remember...

  4. Looks like I need a bit of error correction for my last post. I had the pleasure of talking to Bill Jeffry this afternoon, the same Bill Jeffry who is the "accompaniment" part of this 45. He was fun to talk to, an incredibly gracious, funny and interesting individual. "You'll never believe this" he told me in his relaxed drawl, "When you called I didn’t answer because I was out in my shop. I was going through some things and ran across an old copy of that 45 with oil on it. I'd totally forgotten about it. When I came in and my wife told me I had to listen to the message on the machine that was strange" I agree ...strange, really strange.

    To set the facts straight it turns out Ira was not only an excellent singer, a tenor, but also a wonderful musician and songwriter who taught classes in singing. At the time of this recording Ira was a member of a group of singers called the Old Timers Quartet who performed at churches and schools around the area and Bill was a friend of the members. One day, Bill said, Ira told him come over to the house he needed someone to accompany him on a few songs he wanted to record. The recording took place in Ira's living room on a reel to reel tape machine and Bill thought nothing more of it until years later when he received a copy of this 45 from Ira's brother who found it while cleaning out Ira's house after Ira's only son Jack died. "I had no idea that he had that made into a record" Bill told me

    Bill, who's 70 now, worked at the funeral home but is now retired. He's happy, healthy and seems to be enjoying retirement spending time with his five kids and many grandkids, doing odd jobs around the house as well and getting in some hunting and fishing when he can (I'm jealous!).

    As mentioned earlier, Ira, his wife, his son have all passed on. When he was alive he wasn't a postal carrier nor did he work for the government, as I mentioned in the last comment, he was self employed TV repairman.

    I'd like to thank Bill for spending the time fill me in on his life, Ira's life and how this recording came about. We now have a few more words. That's a good thing.

  5. Ira, his wife and son Billy Jack are buried in Henagar at the United Methodist Church cemetery which is across from the Baptist church. However, the Methodist church owns the cemetery. I was raised in the same church with the Lee family!