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New Music Enterprises
Redd Harper - Mister Texas
New Music Enterprises New Music Enterprises Redd Harper Redd Harper Artist Redd Harper - Mister Texas - Front Redd Harper - Mister Texas - Back Redd Harper - Mister Texas - Inside REDD HARPER Redd Harper or to give him his better-known title, 'Mr. Texas' was born in Nocona in the Lone Star State of Texas on 29th September 1903. The same day, Redd's father read in local press of the grand opening of 'Kit Carson' the first silent movie said to capture the 'derring-do' of the old Wild West. Little he knew that his new boy-child would grow to be part-and-parcel of Hollywood's celebrated Wild West. In spite of his title- 'Mr. Texas', the colourful redheaded Redd was raised not in Texas but in the beautiful, wide-open ranges of Oklahoma where he spent much of his 'growing-up-years' in the saddle. He loved the freedom of the hills, rivers and plains. He absorbed the rich, cowhand culture, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of the outdoors with great relish. Many years before he embraced the Christian faith, as a young man Redd found himself out riding in the wilderness with two Christian cowboy friends. It was Christmas Eve and they were miles from civilisation, but around the hastily-made campfire, with guitars in hand, his two Christian buddies started to sing carols and read the Christmas story from a well-thumbed Bible. Overhead in the dark velvet expanse of outer space, the bright stars twinkled in all their glory, as the favourite carols rang out across the silent, still range in the campfire glow. Secretly, Redd admired his friends but did not share the depth of their faith, as he had never yielded his life to Christ's 'call-to-repentance'. Rather his Christianity never amounted to much more than irregular attendance at church and a 'Sunday-go-to-meeting suit'. Embarrassed and seeking to be humorous, he taunted his friends with pointed negative comments. "ya know pardners, this ain't never gonna be a proper Christmas 'cause we don't have a Christmas tree!" Unaffected, one of his quick-thinking friends turned to him with a smile and pointed to one of the large desert cactus plants. "Redd, when you've Christ in your heart, a cactus Christmas tree is good enough. You don't need an evergreen. The reality is that you have a real Christmas-in-your-life everyday!" The three laughed heartily at these wise words but Redd was quietly but actively rejecting the early Christian influences of Christian friends. Yet Redd never forgot either the cactus Christmas tree incident or those 'well-chosen-words-in-season' from his cowboy friend. As a teen, when Redd Harper came to the age to decide about how he was going to earn a living, rather than continuing to spend his time riding the ranges as a cowhand or cattle rancher, he decided to pursue a career in journalism. So he enrolled at the University of Oklahoma in a town called Muskogee. Redd recalled with a cheery grin. "I guess you could call me the Texan from Muskogee!" After graduating from the University, Redd's first job was as a newspaper reporter but he also had growing ambitions to become a western swing musician. He could barely believe his good fortune when he was invited to join a local dance band. He jumped at the opportunity! The great era of the dance bands, including the western-swing bands, was dawning. Redd's band was soon very successful and this developed his show business persona. More and more in demand, he joined radio station WKY in Oklahoma City in 1924 as a presenter. His radio career took off with great enthusiasm. Well experienced as a radio presenter, in 1931 Redd was asked to join radio stations KSO and KRNT in Des Moines. Then with great ambitions, he adventurously set out for sunny California to find fame and fortune in the then, 'Entertainment Capital of the World', Hollywood. Redd said, "I went out to Hollywood to set the world on fire but it wasn't long before them people in Hollywood put the fire out!" Great western dance bands like the Bob Wills and Spade Cooley Bands were finding hard-earned fame but Redd hit Hollywood at the height of the world's great economic depression. So unfortunately work was scarce. These chilling winds of economic depression blew strongly across the entire continent. It forced every family to resourcefully adapt to the pragmatic realities of unemployment. A man had to take work wherever it could be found. Redd recalled, "I went to work in a night club with a western band led by Jimmy Greer. He was very big in those days The show was called 'the Musical Host of the Coast'' and we played all the big parties for the movie stars including the famous Academy Award Dinners." Redd's dance band work was followed by a spell back in radio again where he wrote and produced a programme for the 'Mutual Network'. Redd recalled, "World War II sure interrupted things for me! Uncle Sam decided he required me for three years in the Coast Guard. After that I had to start on my career all over again!" Returning to Hollywood, once more to seek his fame and fortune, he once again embarked on a career in radio. He originated and produced a series of very successful radio programmes entitled 'Redd Harper's Hollywood Roundup' (from 1945-50). Redd recalled, "It was a news and gossip show from the western field with guests who were in radio, rodeo, TV, comics and movies. I interviewed the singing and movie stars and would have them sing songs. If it was an 'action movie cowboy', well, we'd listen to a little scene from the soundtrack of his latest movie and talk about it!'" He developed a close friendship with silver-screen cowboy-stars Roy Rogers and his wife, Dale Evans. Indeed, Dale helped Redd put together his pilot radio show that set the ball rolling! One 'out-of-the-blue', Redd heard on the 'cowboy-grapevine' that Stuart had been converted at a Billy Graham gospel meeting and 'got religion'. "Well Redd, I don't know how many preachers you know who earn two thousand dollars a week like Stuart had been earning on the radio." Buddy's comment stumped Redd. Then one night at the invitation of Tim Spencer (of the Sons of the Pioneers), Redd went to the 'Hollywood Christian Group' where Stuart gave his dramatic Christian testimony. Redd said that he could barely believe his eyes and his ears. Thus it was through attendance at the 'Hollywood Christian Group' in 1950 that Redd had this life-changing religious experience. Later Roy Rogers - the President of the Group - spoke of Redd's experience. Overjoyed, the gracious husband-and-wife duo witnessed the tremendous transformation! Roy declared, "I have seen first hand the emergence of the soul of Redd Harper from darkness into stimulating Christian experience." Redd soon realised what his songs, music and writing talents could accomplish for the promotion of his faith. He always said, "God made a songwriter out of me! because he denies any natural talent in that direction. Perhaps, Redd's most successful song compositions were 'Each Step Of The Way' and 'Lord, Keep Your Precious Hand On Me'. Following his conversion in the early 1950s, Redd traveled extensively with the early Billy Graham party then launched out on his own evangelistic meetings. Indeed Redd spent the rest of his life in evangelistic work. He never changed from being the simple yet effective singing-cowboy preacher, using his songs to help convey the gospel message he believed in. Redd died in the early 1980s in Hollywood where he and his wife Laura resided.