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HALL, HELEN

Helen Hall
Helen Hall, a regular on Big D Jamboree in the mid-1950s, wrote many of her own honky-tonk-themed songs. She received some long overdue recognition with the release of her recordings on The Gals of Big “D” Jamboree in 2001. Courtesy of Dragon Street Records, Inc.

HALL, HELEN (1927–2006). Helen Hall, country and rockabilly singer on Big D Jamboree, was born on October 20, 1927, in Navarro County, Texas. She was the daughter of Chlora Ellen (Polter) and George Minhinnette. At a very early age she learned how to play the guitar from a brother-in-law. She married Maurice Wayne Hall around 1944, and they had one daughter, Delores.

In 1954 Helen Hall was a regular performer on Big D Jamboree, a program that took place at the Sportatorium in Dallas every Saturday night. Her husband was her bassist. As one of the show’s regulars, Hall shared the playbill with other notable country and rockabilly singers and up-and-coming stars—Carl Perkins, Ronnie Dawson, Johnny Cash, Charline Arthur, Johnny Horton, Elvis Presley, and many others. After she was involved in a serious car accident in 1955, she even performed onstage on crutches. In the 1950s Hall also appeared on episodes of Bewley Barn Dance, a popular local television program (hosted by Pat Boone for a time) out of WBAP in Fort Worth.

Charline Arthur

Helen Hall (left) with Charline Arthur at
Big D Jamboree. Courtesy of Dragon Street Records, Inc.

Unlike many of the other singers, Hall wrote many of her own songs with themes that echoed the tragedy of cheating husbands, love gone bad, and other classic honky-tonk topics with such titles as “Wasted Life,” “Honky Tonk Husband,” “Hello Baby,” “Rock Till My Baby Comes Home,” and “What Else Does She Do Like Me?” Fellow singers Charline Arthur and Bob Luman recorded Hall’s “Hello Baby.” Hall signed with Coral Records, a subsidiary of Decca, in the mid-1950s. In 1955 she recorded several songs for engineer/producer Jim Beck. She also cut several demos at her home in Fort Worth in 1957.

Hall was heralded by many fans as a favorite female singer, but after her run on Big D Jamboree, her career faded into obscurity as Hall settled into her married life. Though she recorded some tracks as late as 1973, later in life the focus of her musical efforts centered on her singing in the church choir at the Fairfield Christian Center outside of Palestine, Texas. She received some overdue recognition when her songs were included as part of a compilation titled The Gals of the Big “D” Jamboree released on Dragon Street Records in 2001. Her song “Hello Baby” experienced added rejuvenation as the tune in a Chevrolet commercial that debuted that same year.

Helen Hall died of lung cancer on September 24, 2006, in Oakwood, Texas. She was buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Corsicana.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Corsicana Daily Sun, September 27, 2006. Dragon Street Records: The Gals of the Big D Jamboree (http://www.dragonstreet.com/galsofbigdjamboree.html), accessed June 9, 2011. Robert Wilonsky, “Girl Power: The Gals of the Big ‘D’ Jamboree remain the sweethearts of the wrestling ring,” Dallas Observer, March 1, 2001 (http://www.dallasobserver.com/content/printVersion/277788/), accessed June 9, 2011. Robert Wilonsky, “Something Special,” Dallas Observer, September 29, 2006 (http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2006/09something-_special.php), accessed June 9, 2011.

Laurie E. Jasinski and Danny Thomas

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Laurie E. Jasinski and Danny Thomas, "Hall, Helen," accessed October 23, 2017, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fhahd.

Uploaded on August 7, 2014. Modified on December 5, 2015. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.