Jay Hammond and the D-J’s
9455 – Same Old Crowd
(Hammond-Roy Wariner-Jimmy Wariner)
9456 – D-J Twist
(Burchett-Collins, Fayette BMI)
Lefty Combs, producer
From the book "Grassroots Music In The Upper Cumberland" by William Lynwood Montell ; University Of Tennessee Press, Knoxville (2006 ) :
Russell County musician William Jay Hammond was born December 30, 1930. Music was an everyday thing around the Hammond home. After a long day, the family alwaus gathered after supper to sing songs on the front porch. Gospel songs from memory filled the air without the aid of musical instruments. The Hammond family was too poor to own expensive pieces of equipments.
As soon as Jay could afford one, he bought himself a guitar. Without the aid of lessons, he soon taught himself the basics he needed in order to play this instrument.
Jay joined the U.S. Army and served in Korea during the Korean War. Upon return from military service, he was quick to gather with other local musicians and form a bluegrass band in 1955 called Jay Hammond and the DJ’s. The term « DJ’s » became a part of the group’s name because all but one of the member’s first names started with a D or a J. The group included Jay as guitarist and lead singer ; Delmer « Dynamite » Russell, guitar and backup vocals ; Jimmy Wariner, lead guitar ; Davis Wariner, bass ; and Codel Burchett, drummer. From time to time, others filled in and were considered to also be a part of the band. The latter included Roy Wariner and his ten-year old son, Steve, who went to become a leading country music professional.
Although group members were working in Noblesville, Indiana, at the time, their first public performance was a barn dance at the Eli community in Russell County. They drove down from Indiana and were paid five dollars each for their musical performance. Soon thereafter, Jay Hammond and the DJ’s were regular guests at the Lake Cumberland Jamboree at the county fairgrounds. They also won a spot on WBKO TV in Bowling Green on Saturday nights. Steve Wariner was playing drums for the group at the time.
In the early 1960s, Jay married Glenna Neat of Columbia, Adair county. They had five children vetween 1962 and 1972, thus slowing downJay’s music business. He worked through the week but continued to play music on weekends. He also expanded his music career as he began writing his own songs and publishing them. He created Wheelhoss Publishing Company in order to publish his songs. He also paired up with June Campbell Brewster and Roy Wariner to write songs and add music.
Other members who played with Jay’s bluegrass band included Glenna Hammond, Imogene Wooten, and Pat Thompson, who were Russell County residents and who sang backup. Part-time members included the Corbin Twins, Kay and Winston McGowan, Jean Gibson, Joe Thompson, Beckham Collins, June Campbell, Fred Russell, Kenny Wariner, Roy Wariner, and Steve Wariner.
Jay Hammond and the DJ’s were regular performers at White Swan Jamboree, Lake Cumberland Jamboree, WAIN Radio in Coumbia, WBKO Channel 13 in Bowling Green, WJRS Radio in Russell County, and Independance Day Celebration in Jamestown.
Jay Hammond died in March 1983 after two heart attacks.
Note 1 : One of his song, "I'm An Ape", issued on his own Wheelhoss label has been recently compiled on CD (I Am An Ape, White Trash Rockers).
Note 2 : The Jay Hammond of Jay Hammond & Rhythm Kings ("I'll Be Your Fool/ She's My Girl") on the Fortune Records HI-Q subsidiary (#5015, 1960) is a different artist. " I'll Be Your Fool" can be heard on YouTube.