POINDEXTER, CLARENCE ALBERT [AL DEXTER]
Listen to this artist
POINDEXTER, CLARENCE ALBERT [AL DEXTER] (1902–1984). Clarence Albert Poindexter, country singer known as Al Dexter, was born in Jacksonville, Texas, in 1902. While working as a house painter, Dexter began performing in local bars and clubs. In the early 1930s he put together a band to perform in the outskirts of Longview, Texas. He signed a recording contract with American Record Corporation in 1936. Dexter's "Honky Tonk Blues," which he wrote with James B. Paris, was the first country song to use the term honky-tonk. In the late 1930s Dexter owned a honky tonk himself, the Roundup Club in Turnertown, Texas.
Through his experiences there and in other roadhouses, Dexter developed the idea for his future hit, "Pistol Packin' Mama." Art Satherley, Dexter's producer, helped him by arranging a recording session with Gene Autry's backup band, for which Dexter had expressed admiration. Dexter recorded "Pistol Packin' Mama" and "Rosalita" with them at Columbia's Hollywood studios. The record was released in 1943 and in its first six months sold a million copies. The song "Pistol Packin' Mama," a controversial number due to its lyrics, remained at Number One on Billboard Magazine's best sellers chart for eight weeks. In 1944, when Billboard started its "Most Played Juke Box Folk Records" chart for country music, "Pistol Packin' Mama" was still at the top. "Rosalita" also had a week at Number One, and Dexter received such widespread recognition that he launched national tours.
From 1944 through 1948 Dexter recorded other country hits, including "Too Late to Worry," "Wine, Women and Song," and "Calico Rag." The popularity of his honky tonk sound decreased over time. Although he recorded other songs with King, Decca, and Capitol, he never had another hit. In 1971 Dexter was inducted into the Nashville Songwriter's Hall of Fame. He had invested in savings and loan, motel, and real estate businesses in Texas and died a wealthy man. On January 28, 1984, Dexter died from a heart attack at his home on Lake Lewisville in Lewisville, Texas. He was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010.
Al Dexter.com (http://aldexter.com/), accessed September 22, 2011. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
Image Use Disclaimer
All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Jill S. Seeber, "Poindexter, Clarence Albert [Al Dexter]," accessed May 24, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fpo38.
Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on October 3, 2015. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Get Texas history every day,
with day by day
Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles