Friday, May 28, 2010

MIA: Dee Hasley and Eddie Noack in Germany (UPDATE)



Dee Hasley and the Hoedowners, 1956, NCO Club, poss. Mannheim, Germany. From left: unknown, Anne Schmidt, Dee Hasley, unknown drummer, Eddie Noack, poss. Smokey Paul. Click to enlarge. Courtesy the James Silver Collection.

An Internet search on the name "Dee Hasley" returns numerous references to a woman who runs a Barbeque restaurant and exhibits show dogs, but nothing on the musician of the same name who worked with Eddie Noack both in Germany and Texas during 1956-57. Hasley is also completely absent from country music literature, save for a lone Billboard reference in 1956. Who was he?

Eddie Noack spent two years in the armed forces: October, 1954 to September, 1956, a period that coincided with his Starday era. The final nine months of that time was spent in Germany. Almost nothing is known of this period, but Eddie probably spent more time performing in U.S. military officer's clubs than he did performing maneuvers. The photo above, which surfaced just recently, captures just such a performance. Hank Snow had made Eddie's song "These Hands" a big hit that year, so it's not hard to imagine Hasley introducing Eddie as "the boy who wrote 'These Hands'" to the audience.

The 1950s country music scene in Germany has been poorly documented. As an indication of the shows that went on, Billboard carried this in its July 7, 1956 issue: "Sgt. Red Jones of the American Forces Network (sic -- Armed Forces Network), Frankfurt, Germany, types: 'Good old-fashioned country music is by far the more popular here, as was proven recently when Bill Haney and the Crackerjacks, Chuck Hahn and band, Dee Haseley (sic) and the Hoedowners, and Eddie Noack brought down the house at a three-hour stage show presented recently in Kaiserslautern, Germany.'"

After Hasley was discharged, presumably around the same time as Noack, he moved to Texas with a German wife and started a new band, the Southwesterners. Noack continued to play with this group, as San Antonio musician Ray Szcepanik remembers seeing them play locally, and kept a poster advertising Hasley's band.


Dee Hasley poster, c. 1957. Courtesy Ray Szcepanik Collection.

Hasley apparently never made a record, and I've never heard anyone except Ray mention him. So I'm posting this message hoping that somebody related to Hasley will find it, and help rescue him from complete obscurity.

UPDATE: Norman DeWitt "Dee" Hasley died in Austin April 7, 1990.