This Week in Texas Music History: Carl T. Sprague
This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll remember a World War I doughboy who helped launch the singing cowboy craze of the 1930s and 1940s.
Beginning on August 3, 1925, Carl T. Sprague recorded ten cowboy songs for the Victor Recording Company of New Jersey. Born in Brazoria County, Texas, on May 10, 1895, Sprague had learned cowboy songs as a child growing up on a cattle ranch. During World War I, he joined the U.S. Army. After serving in France, he returned home to earn a degree at Texas A&M University. While working as an athletic trainer at A&M, Sprague made his recordings for the Victor label. One of those tunes, “When the Work’s All Done This Fall,” was the first cowboy-themed song to become a national hit.
Carl Sprague marketed himself as a genuine Texas cowboy, often performing in chaps, boots, and a hat. His popularity helped start the singing cowboy craze of the 1930s and 1940s, which launched the careers of Gene Autry, Tex Ritter, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, and countless others.
Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll meet a singer who seemed to have an answer for everything.