Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Whip

Ernie "The Whip" Bringier was a name unfamiliar to me before I found this record at the "fire sale" a few weeks ago.



It lead to me to learning other names like Vernon "Doctor Daddy-O" Winslow, George "Tex" "Mr. Cool" Stephens, "Honey Boy" Hardy, "Okey Dokey" Smith, "Honey Chile" Horne, "Sister Bessie" Griffin. Names that while unfamiliar to most, were integral in bringing a black voice to broadcast radio in the late 1940's and 50's.

When Vernon Winslow approached New Orleans radio station WJMR about broadcasting "race" music over the airwaves, they agreed it was an untapped market and were interested in the idea with one exception: Vernon wouldn't be allowed to speak on the air because he was creole, black enough in the eyes of the station owners.  Instead, the station manager had Vernon write scripts, select music and coach a white DJ on how to sound black, creating the persona "Poppa Stoppa".   In 1948, when the regular DJ failed to show up, Vernon Winslow took up the microphone himself and was fired for violating the studio policy of no blacks on the air.  A year later, he was back on the air at WWEZ as "Doctor Daddy-O", New Orleans' first "black" DJ. That same year (give or take a year, the history is sketchy) , WMRY became one of the first integrated stations in the country.



Ernie "The Whip" was among the first black DJ's at WMRY.


The text is hard to read, but I believe that first picture is Ernie.





At the time, DJ's were responsible for selling their own air time.  This record was a pitch directly from Ernie to Anheuser-Busch to sponsor his 15-minute show.  It demonstrates how he would use his show to promote Budweiser beer.


In the tracks, Ernie not only uses Budweiser bumper spots, rhythmically reading off the AB distributor phone number ("Magnolia 5 641"), but even interrupts the music to insert his own lyrics replacing the originals with references to Bud with "hold my hand" being appended with "hold Budweiser" and "Blueberry Hill" becoming "Budweiser Hill".


Side 1 includes the following tracks:

"Just to Hold My Hand" Unknown Artist
"I've Been Around" Little Willie John
Unknown Song Eddie Blanchard
"I Feel Good" Shirley & Lee
"Blueberry Hill" Fats Domino (beginning)

Side 1 - Click to listen


Side 2 is the conclusion of "Blueberry Hill" and show wrap up.

Side 2 - Click to listen

This 1950 issue of "Sponsor" magazine mentions Ernie in an article titled "The Negro d.j. strikes it rich".

I couldn't find many pictures of Ernie on the internet.  These two were the best I could find.

Ernie is the fourth from the left with the third person hidden behind the second, seen with Cab Calloway to his left.

Ernie in the 1970's.

According to this article in Wavelength magazine, Ernie "The Whip" Bringier passed away in Los Angeles in 1983.  His obiturary mentions that Blatz Beer was a long-time sponsor of his show.  I guess the Anheuser-Busch deal didn't work out.

6 comments:

  1. You got yourself a little treasure there.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, I thought it was a pretty good find myself.

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  2. Wow Tom that is so cool! Truly a great score.

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. this is amazing. a little slice of music history!

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