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The Wink Westerners


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In 1949, at the age of 13, Roy Orbison organized his first band “The Wink Westerners”. After the Wink Westerners won a talent contest organized by Pioneer Furniture company in Midland, Pioneer sponsored a weekly television show for them on KMID-TV.

The Westerners consisted of Charles Evans on stand up Bass, Billy Par Ellis on drums, Richard West on piano and James Morrow on electric mandolin. In 1951, at the age of fifteen, Orbison and the band began appearing on radio broadcasts from nearby Kermit. Mr. Limpscombe, superintendent at Wink High School was running for a position with the district Lions Club and offered the Westerners $200 to be the opening act when he was asked to speak. This led to Orbison’s trip to Chicago at the age of sixteen to appear at the National Lions Club Convention.

The character of the Westerners can be judged by their name and the Roy Rogers bandanas they were around their necks. They played Lefty Frizell, Slim Whitman, Webb Pierce. They also played a lot of Glenn Miller-style songs like “Stardust” and “Moonlight Serenade,” which they adapted for their string instruments.


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