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Event Records, the little independent label out of Westbrook, ME actually came into being because of a snowstorm during the winter of 1955. Al Hawkes had a group called the Cumberland Ridge Runners, a popular local country music show which was performing on local radio stations and doing shows in the area. Al Hawkes and his Cumberland Ridge Runners were hired as an opening act for radio station WWVA Country Jamboree performer Charlie Bailey and his Happy Valley Boys, who was making personal appearances through northern New England and the Maritimes. Unfortunately, the tour came to a halt due to the snowy aftermath of a Nor’easter. During this short break, Bailey and his band stayed at the Hawkes’ ancestral home in Westbrook, Maine until the tour could continue.
At breakfast one morning, Al and Charlie were discussing things in the music business. After seeing the thousands of records Al had collected of early Bluegrass/Country 78s and some 45s, Charlie suggested that Al, himself should get into the recording business. As Charlie was not under contract to any label at the time, he could be the first recording artist for the label. As a bonus, he could promote the recordings over the powerful airwaves of 50,000 watt radio station WWVA located in Wheeling, West Virginia and also sell them on his tours. At that moment, Barbara Hawkes, Al’s wife exclaimed, “Recording Charlie Bailey, that will be a big event!” and Charlie Bailey replied, “That’s it! The record company and label name should be Event Records.” Everybody agreed. And that’s how it happened, over coffee, eggs and toast plans were drawn up to record Bailey on his next tour up in New England.
To be continued………
by: Bruce Milliard