Black Jack Wayne
Born: February 8, 1923
Died: June 30, 1999
KEEN San Jose, CA
KVSM San Mateo, CA
Along the way, we’ll find artists who cause some discussion back and forth or even some debate. No, not about their music, but about the details of their career. We’ve already seen some discussion on this fellow in an exchange of emails. But, somehow we stumbled across an issue of Cowboy Songs from December 1957 that had a column written by Imogene Ellwanger who provides some tidbits. And a few other mentions elsewhere, too.
It has proven difficult to find something other than this short biography taken from hillbilly-music.com site. Black Jack Wayne (real last name : Shults) was a native of Oklahoma who moved to the San Francisco Bay Area when he was 14. He started guitar playing as a hobby but later on down the road, it became part of his career. He had an injury of some type and came back to the Bay Area and decided to join his brother’s band, the “Rattlesnake Ramblers”.
In 1950 he and his younger brother Chuck « Charles » bought the « Garden of Allah » nightclub, located in Niles, north of Hayward-Oakland Highway. They hired country artist Ed Cima to transform the Garden by painting cartoon cowboys and western scenes in a whimsical mural over the walls. He also hand painted the ceiling to look like the Taj Mahal. They tried to change the name but people wouldn’t accept it, so it remained the Garden of Allah.?In its heyday, the Garden catered to rock and roll fans on Friday nights, country western lovers on Saturdays and square dancers on Sundays. In mid-1956, he had three daily shows over the all-western radio station KVSM out of San Mateo, California. And a one hour show over television station KOVR with the “Bar 10 Ranch Boys”.
Black Jack and the Bar-10 Ranch Boys had several recordings in 1954 on the Cavalier label. Back then their latest release was “A Dream Just Won’t Do” along with “Nip or Two” (# 839) or Jack’s brother Chuck Wayne‘s « Mean Mean Mean » (# 836). The latter seems to be the Bud Hobbs song.
Later on in her column, Ms. Ellwanger mentions that KOVR, Channel 13 in Stockton, had two Western music shows on the air. One show had Glenn Stepp and his band. The other had Black Jack Wayne and his “Bar 11 Ranch Boys”. Black Jack had also started a live radio show from the Garden of Allah nightclub he owned that was broadcast over KEEN every Saturday night. She also wrote that there was a possibility that the “California Hayride” might start a show originating from the Garden of Allah every Friday night over Channel 13 in Stockton.
In 1955 on the Spur label we found Charles (Chuck) Wayne for two solid Hardrock Gunter type hillbilly rockers (hillbilly bop with a dose of western swing), « Rockin’ Rollin’ Rhythm » and “Rodeo Time Is Here » # 1245), and maybe more with « The Golden Key » (# 1248).
In 1957, per a column in Cowboy Songs by Imogene Chapman, we find that Black Jack had his own record label – Black Jack. And around that time, had put out his first recording, “Time Stole My Empire” b/w “Shallow Water Blues” : the latter being a strong fast bluesy number. Tom Hall and Terry Fell helped on the record with their guitar and harmonica. At the time, they mentioned that you could order the record from Black Jack in care of radio station KVSM in San Mateo, California. No coincidence that Ms. Chapman might mention Black Jack, for in the same issue featuring “Stars on the Horizon”, she is listed as the president of his ‘fast-growing’ and ‘real-active’ fan club.
Later on, we found a mention on Channel 2, KTVU, now of the Fox Network, on the Bayinsider.com… “Not all of KTVU’s local programming was noteworthy or long-lasting. There was The Black Jack Wayne Show, a western variety show…”
In the KVSM studio (San Mateo), Black Jack Wayne cut in 1957 his next record « What Makes Me Hang Around » and backed Rose and Cal Maddox on « Gotta Travel On » (Black Jack 104). Medium honky tonk (nice guitar), with Jack vocally fronting, backed on chorus by Rose. His cooperation with the Maddoxes led him to offer them « Ugly & Slouchy » (Columbia 40836)
In 1959 Chuck Wayne had « Wishing/Thank You Call Again » on Ozark 963, both pop country. Incidentally the latter was written by two comperes of the Rural Rhythm days, Johnny O’Neal and Johnny Tyler. Black Jack Wayne and the Roving Gamblers backed Bill Carter on « Baby Brother ». B-side, « Ride, Gunman, Ride », was a Jack Wayne original. Chuck Wayne had his last known recordings in 1959 on Black Jack 106 with « I’m Sending You Some Roses /Blue Moon Waltz » (untraced record).
Black Jack Wayne had several interesting records on Cheyenne, among them « Dancing With A Stranger » (# 114) in 1960, before a couple on Big West and a solitary issue in 1962 on Decca. Charles Wayne also backed Mel Dorsey (« Little Lil » rocker) on Black Jack.
sources: main source was “hillbilly-music.com” site. Many Youtube label shots. And a lot of research! I am not THAT satisfied with this article.