70s Country Artists LOCALS ONLY: This is a guide to independent and off-the-radar country musicians from the 1960s, 1970s and early 'Eighties, including hometown performers working in regional oprys, jamborees, dude ranches, casinos, pizza parlors and lounges. They included longhaired country-rockers, red-dirt outlaws, Nashville hopefuls and earnest amateurs, as well as the more country-oriented artists in the bluegrass and southern gospel fields. Many of these musicians toured nationally or regionally while others were strictly hometown folks. These are the people who are often overlooked in the history books but who contributed their talents, hopes and dreams to the country music world, and the aim of this guide is to keep their memories and their work alive. Comments, corrections and suggestions are always welcome.

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Quacky Duck & His Barnyard Friends "Media Push" (Warner Brothers, 1974)
(Produced by Stephan Galfas)

Awkward country(ish) rock from an East Coast band led by Danny and Daegal Bennett, sons of legendary pop crooner Tony Bennett. This is mostly clunky, cluttered stuff -- self-indulgent and not well-crafted, though I guess it has its moments. Based in Jersey, these guys had some regional success, but not surprisingly this odd, jokey album went nowhere on the charts, and the band quickly fizzled out. Perhaps the most notable member of the group was multi-instrumentalist David Mansfield, who later joined Bob Dylan's tour band, then co-founded the Alpha Band with T Bone Burnett, and became a prolific session musician. Meanwhile, the Bennett brothers went into more behind-the-scenes, out of the spotlight music business roles such as A&R and production. Overall, there's not much here that requires your attention: the title track generated mild controversy because of its gratuitous inclusion of various ethnic slurs, but it's not a terribly interesting song. Contrary to what you may have read elsewhere, twang martyr Gram Parsons is not credited as the album's producer, although they did add the dedication, "Our Love To Gram" on the back cover... Apparently they hung out with him in his waning days, but his influence isn't readily apparent. This disc is a footnote to East Coast country-rock, but not a compelling record.

Rooster Quantrell & The Border Raiders "Col. Buster Doss Presents..." (Stardust Records, 1998)
(Produced by Col. Buster Doss)

Apparently "Rooster Quantrell" was a made-up country music character conceived of by Nashville-based indie-twang/song-poem producer Col. Buster Doss, although I have seen Quantrell's name appear on other artists' albums, so that origin story may be a bit mythical. This CD came out in the 1990s, but the recordings may have been made much earlier; there are also a number of singles out under Quantrell's name.

The Quinaimes Band "The Quinaimes Band" (Elektra Records, 1971)
(Produced by Zachary & Jac Holzman)

Ruthie Quinlan "Here's Ruthie" (Country Green Records, 197-?) (LP)
(Produced by Walter Haynes & Ruthie Quinlan)

An independently-released album from country singer Ruthie Quinlan, an Indiana native who headed to LA and Nashville to hit it big, although she eventually returned to the Midwest, reconnected with her religious faith, and devoted herself to gospel music. This secular-themed debut features a lot of original material, as well as four songs written by Lola Jean Dillon and a few obscuros from Sonny Throckmorton and Bobby Braddock. Plus, there's studio backing by Nashville session pros such as Fred Carter, Jr., Jerry Shook and pedal steel player Lloyd Green... quite a production! Anyone have more info about this artist?

Ruth & Bill Quinlan "Jesus Wept" (2000)
I think this is the same artist, years later, recording gospel music with her husband Bill...

Bill Quinn "Jim Reeves Revisited" (Hilltop Records, 1968-?) (LP)
A budget-label homage to the late country crooner, Jim Reeves... Mister Quinn was an Irish artist who recorded for the Dublin-based Demense label, and was apparently unrelated to the Bill Quinn from Texas who founded the Gold Star studios.

The Quinn Brothers "A Bushel Of Charley Pride Hits" (Pickwick/Hilltop Records, 1972) (LP)
I couldn't tell you for the life of me, who these here Quinn Brothers were, although it's possible -- since this is a Hilltop LP -- that this also includes singer Bill Quinn (from above) who recorded for Pickwick a few years earlier. Or not. Anyway, this is a cheapo-label set of "soundalike" cover songs, including hits like "Does My Ring Hurt Your Finger," "Is Anybody Goin' To San Antone" and "Kiss An Angel Good Morning." Originally it was meant to appeal to folks who would be fooled into thinking it was really a Charley Pride album, and unlikely to make those folks very happy. But now, decades later, it's just another old, prefab countrypolitan album, and can be taken at face value.

Donnie Quinn "Reno Junction" (Big K Records, 1979) (LP)
(Produced by Charlie Kellogg & D. J. Brundridge)

Bill Quisenberry "Sings Country" (Custom Fidelity, 1972-?) (LP)
(Produced by Burton A. Decker)

This one's got quite a story behind it... I'm fairly sure this is the same Bill Quisenberry (1934-2017) who was an Air Force Master Sargent and led his own band while stationed at Vandenberg AFB on California's central coast. Like a lot of military folks, he moved around a lot... Quisenberry eventually took over a Nashville talent agency and became David Allan Coe's booking agent during the 1990s and early 2000s and settled down in Tennessee. Decades earlier, he was in the orbit of one of LA's fabled custom labels, not only recording his own album but also doing session work playing guitar on other records, such as Maxi Maxwell's Interstate 40 LP, which came out around the same time. This disc was recorded in Hollywood, and producer Burton A. Decker mentions something about seeing Quisenberry play a show "75 miles up the coast." More than half the songs on Quisenberry's record are his own originals: "Heart Of A Fool," "Fool's Gold," "When A Jester Loves A Queen," "A Girl Like You," "Sound Of The Wind," and "Alone." See any sort of pattern here? The forlorn ballads are paired with then-temporary hits such as "Is Anybody Going To San Antone," "Help Me Make It Through The Night," and "Maria," as well as a nice thumping oldie, "Pick Me Up On Your Way Down." The liner notes are a little fuzzy on where Quisenberry was from, but years later he was living in Oklahoma, where he recorded another album about a decade later. Somewhere between then and the Clinton presidency, Quisenberry opted for the business side of things, and started working behind a telephone rather than a microphone...

Bill Quisenberry "Bill Quisenberry's Country" (Diamond Q Records, 1981) (LP)
(Produced by Carol Quisenberry & Charles Townes)

This album was made while Bill Quisenberry was living in Oklahoma, apparently owning a horse ranch in Miami, OK. Plenty of cover songs from old-schoolers such as Johnny Bond and Jimmy Wakely, but also original material including two songs penned by Mr. Quisenberry, "Little By Little" and "Our Song," and two others ("Edges Of My Mind" and "I Ain't Much") by Bill Harmon. Harmon may have been in the backing band, though unfortunately the musicians aren't listed on this album.

Jack Quist "Texas Bound" (Oscar Records, 1980) (LP)
(Produced by George Mallard & Jack Quist)

Jack Quist "Where Does Love Go" (Grudge Records, 1989)
(Produced by Earl Richards)

Hailing from Utah, singer Jack Quist has tried his hand at a wide range of country styles, including a stint as a Johnny Cash impersonator. This is his best and most focussed album, with the strongest commercial feel. It's a decently produced, laid-back album with a strong stylistic debt to mid-'80s Merle Haggard... All the songs are originals and they're all pretty good. He's backed by a talented Nashville studio crew including Harold Bradley, Ray Edenton and Pete Wade -- they don't completely knock it out of the park, but they don't overdo it, either. If you're a Merle fan, this is definitely worth checking out.

Jack Quist "Dear Mom" (Grudge Records, 1996)

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