Of course, it were not the Playboys who were crucial for Charles' love for country music. That came from listening to the radio, especially to WSM's Grand Ole Opry shows, ever since he was a toddler.
|The Florida Playboys, not too long after Ray left. This photo, with guest|
Hank Williams, was made at WJHP.
Rowland remembers how he was a fan of "Tiny Grier and the Florida Playboys on the radio on a station [WJHP] out of Jacksonville. [...] They came on [live] twelve thirty every day". After finishing highschool, he decided to contact Grier. "The band had hired a young black fellow named Ray Charles [...]. He had tried out and played with them for a few days and then abruptly left. About the same time he left, two others, PeeWee Jenkins and Cliff Austin, also left. [Grier] told me he needed musicians to keep his band going and the radio program alive and well."
"A few days" is a better match with Ray's early career timeline than the "several months"-reconstruction by Lydon. Obviously, his adventures with the Playboys were limited to a part of October 1947.
In this interview Ray shared a few more memories.
The daily Playboys radio show on Jacksonville's WJHP is a new detail in Brother Ray's Playboys legend. It's highly probable that Ray participated in at least a few of these broadcasts.
Rowland described the show's format as it was during his membership of the band: "In a typical thirty-minute program, usually the leader Sleepy Gibbs would sing two or three songs and Marvin Phillips, Tiny Griers son-in-law, would also sing two or three songs. The steel-guitar player and the fiddle player, Luther Moore, would each play one or two numbers [...]".
*Many thanks to Joël Dufour for sharing this information.