Tuesday, 2 April 2013


THE RHYTM OAKIES (Vcl - Leonard Snipes)
E2KB-1123 - Fools gold
E2KB-112? - Smooth Sailing
Fresno, CA   (Morgan Brothers)

Source: RaB Hall Of Fame

Tommy Collins (Leonard Raymond Sipes)was born on a farm just outside of Oklahoma City on the 28 September 1930. He was the youngest of six children born to Leslie Raymond Sipes and Willie Etta Brown Sipes. His father worked part time on the farm and spent many years working for the county as a road worker, while his mother looked after the house and children. At a very early age he was listening to the music of Jimmie Rodgers and Ernest Tubb, and with the encouragement of his mother he started to write and learn to play the guitar.

After finishing high school he graduated to Central State Teachers College in Edmont, Oklahoma. While at college he started to get serious about his music and started entering talent contests and occasionally he would sing a few songs on Cousin Jay Davis' radio show on KLPR in Oklahoma City.

In 1951 he won a talent contest at KLPR that led to a regular radio show, and it was this show that brought him to the attention of the Morgan Brothers from Fresno, California. The brothers, who were in Oklahoma City at the time, heard him singing with his band The Rhythm Okies. They offered to record the band at a recording studio in Oklahoma City and four songs were cut Campus Boogie, To Beautiful To Cry, Smooth Sailin' and Fool's Gold. All the songs were written by Leonard Sipes except To Beautiful To Cry, which was written by Floyd Spiva. Campus Boogie and To Beautiful To Cry, were issued as Leonard Sipes and His Rhythm Okies and Smooth Sailin' and Fool's Gold were issued as The Rhythm Okies. Leonard Sipes (vocal/rhythm guitar), Billy Porter (lead guitar), Johnny Gilchrist (steel guitar) R M Bradshaw (bass) and Russell O' Neill (fiddle).