Local artist Delbert "Dell Mack" McKinnon was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame
Delbert "Dell Mack" McKinnon was presented with a Rockabilly Hall of Fame certificate at the DR J Studio LLC video facility near Richland on Nov. 12, 2016 where artists and fans were gathered to see the historic event. McKinnon was awarded the honor on Nov. 1 by the exclusive Nashville music society for his early work with Goldband Records and other recording companies of the 1950's through '60's.
Presenting McKinnon with the honor were local Blues legend John Evans, former DR J Studio LLC CEO JJ Pritchett who was instrumental in helping to create the nomination with the studio manager Rick Kepple. Also in attendance was DR J's present CEO Dannie O'Reilly, studio computer tech Dale Allen and several others to applaud the event.
Evans, O'Reilly and McKinnon celebrated with present day music written by the artists such as Sexy and Ping Pong. A giant card and signed by many artists and friends in attendance was also given to Dell Mack. It seemed to be fitting that the local artist was given the rare award in Pulaski County Missouri where his life began.
Delbert "Dell Mack" McKinnon was born in 1937 in a cabin on Route 66, near St. Robert Mo. to parents Arthur and Vera McKinnon. Arthur encouraged his son to play music and always advised with the unforgettable phrase, "Stay in Tune and Stay in Time" referring to maintaining a steady rhythm in playing the guitar and singing. Like many stories of success, McKinnon started walking down his music path in church and Sunday school.
"I was playing guitar when I was in first grade," McKinnon said in a recent video interview with DR J Studio LLC of his Waynesville education.
Famed saxophone master, Steve Hooks, also attended Waynesville Missouri's music classes and has worked for prime time TV shows such as Seinfeld. Hooks and McKinnon remain best friends to this day.
The Rockabilly star said that when he was at about 14-years-old, he began hitchhiking to Memphis to hang around with the older professionals at Sun Records to learn and record songs! Hitchhiking in 2016 is extremely dangerous, but in 1952, it was just a cheap mode of transportation. The teenager's reckless notion worked out and he was accepted and trained by Smokey Joe Baugh, the man who also taught Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and many more legends.
McKinnon had invitations to hang out in 1953 with a new young talent named Elvis, but declined saying that Presley's music wasn't his style. However, McKinnon has played with other fellow hall of fame legends such as Charlie Feathers, Al Vance, BB Cunningham, Reggie Young, John Hughey and many others too numerous to mention and are in their respective hall of fame music organizations.
McKinnon describes the post-war music era as many veterans looking for a gig and living under bridges as they do now with the exception that the rivers were cleaner and the fishing was better in the 50's and 60's. Fifty years ago, it was just as frustrating to get recorded and noticed, but Delbert McKinnon was determined to succeed in music and to make his family and friends proud of his work.
McKinnon brought his bands back to Waynesville to play at Jodie's Café along with, the now famous, Reggie Young who has played guitar in more studios and songs than any artist in music history. McKinnon brought steel guitar player John Hughey too. Pulaski County Missouri has had more than their fair share of music geniuses past and present.
Billboard magazine cited "Jodie's Dine and Dance," an incorrect title and referring to Jodie's Cafe, in Waynesville Missouri in 1955 as a happening place for hit tunes from the best of the bands. Back in the day, if you were to be discovered by a recording label scout, Jodie's was one of the places execs frequented. Before smartphones, the few places to be discovered as a Midwestern music artist would have been in Peoria or Waynesville, but these days it's everywhere via YouTube and other websites.
On Nov. 12, McKinnon heard S.M.B.H.T.Y.H. again for the first time in nearly 50 years streaming through a laptop computer from North Carolina and into a small Missouri studio, and he was nearly speechless.
The humorous song is about addiction to cigarettes, the cravings, coughing and gagging, the machines dispensing the packs and it was an audio glimpse into the past for anyone to remember the 60's. The song title, "S.M.B.H.T.Y.H." stands for Smoking May Be Hazardous To Your Health, first recorded in 1967 when the first cigarette warnings came out, leaving the Pulaski County resident as the first artist to openly sing against tobacco, before disliking the industry was cool.
Dell Mack returned to the Ozarks where he grew up in the late 1970's and he started a music studio and the present location is in Crocker Mo. in an old house with "Hit House Recording" on the front porch, but it is also the home of Dell Mack Productions LLC and Sho-Me-Mo Music Records. He and long time friend, Dannie O'Reilly, still write songs with new friends visiting all the time!
Dell Mack's early music recordings are housed in the vast Southern Folklife Collection via the Internet at the Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library of North Carolina University at the website http://finding-aids.lib.unc.edu/20245/#d1e3557.
Delbert "Dell Mack" McKinnon No. 421 inductee in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, one of the last of the legends and residing in Pulaski County Missouri where he was born in 1937 and doing the things he has always done. McKinnon is also an Army veteran and he is suffering from leukemia at 79-years-old.