Al Dexter

Induction Year: 1971

Birth Name: Clarence Albert Poindexter

Birth Date: 05-04-1905

Place of Birth: Jacksonville, Texas

Death Date: 01-28-1984

Place of Death: Lewisville, Texas

Al Dexter is considered to be one of the forefathers of the honky-tonk music style. But rather than specializing in forlorn heartache laments, he emphasized the rollicking, good-time, barrelhouse side of this country barroom genre.

Dexter evidently began his career in the 1920s by entertaining at Texas square dances. He was proficient on guitar, banjo, harmonica, organ and mandolin.

He began his recording career in 1936, scoring a hit with "Honky Tonk Blues." The song is said to be the first one in country music to use the term "honky tonk."

But follow-up hits were not forthcoming. Columbia executive Art Satherley was urged to drop Dexter from his label's roster. He declined, saying that he believed that the artist would one day record a blockbuster.

Throughout the 1930s, Dexter experimented with a variety of backing bands, at one point fronting an African-American ensemble. He formed his Troopers band in 1939.

Satherley's faith was rewarded when Dexter wrote and recorded "Pistol Packin' Mama." The disc became the sensation of 1943 and '44, selling a reported three million copies, becoming a #1 country hit and topping the pop hit parade for eight consecutive weeks. Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters teamed up to record a competing version, and it too became a major hit. The song was so ubiquitous it prompted an article in Time magazine. It also inspired a movie that used its title.

During the remainder of the 1940s, Dexter recorded a dozen more Top 10 country hits, including the self-penned, chart-topping successes "Rosalita," "So Long, Pal," "I'm Losing My Mind Over You," "Too Late to Worry, Too Blue to Cry" and "Wine, Women and Song." In 1946, "Guitar Polka" ruled the country charts by spending 16 weeks at # 1. In addition to "Guitar Polka" and "Pistol Packin' Mama," Dexter's song "Too Late to Worry, Too Blue to Cry" became a country evergreen. It was revived as a major hit by Ronnie Milsap in 1975. Following his successful career at Columbia Records, Dexter recorded for Decca, Capitol, King, Dot, Ekko and his own Aldex label. He owned and operated a nightclub in Dallas for many years. He also had business interests in real estate, a motel and a local bank prior to his retirement in the 1960s.

"Answer to ‘Honky Tonk Blues"

(written with James B. Paris)

Al Dexter1938 

"Calico Rag"

Al Dexter & His Troopers1948 #11 country

"Down at the Roadside Inn"

Al Dexter & His Troopers1947 #4 country

"Guitar Polka"

Al Dexter & His Troopers1946 #1 country, #16 pop
Rosalie Allen1946 #3 country
Chet Atkins & Rosalie Allen1952 
Doc & Merle Watson1982 

"Honey Do You Think It's Wrong"

(written with Frankie Marvin)

Al Dexter & His Troopers1946 #2 country

"Honky Tonk Blues"

Al Dexter1936 
Jimmie Davis1937 

"I'll Wait for You Dear"

Al Dexter & His Troopers1945 #2 country

"I'm Losing My Mind Over You"

(written with James B. Paris)

Al Dexter & His Troopers1945 #1 country

"I'm Lost Without You"

(written with Frankie Marvin)

Al Dexter & His Troopers1945 #5 country

"It's Up to You"

(written with James B. Paris)

Al Dexter & His Troopers1946 #3 country

"Jelly Roll Special"

Al Dexter & His Troopers1939 

"Kokomo Island"

(written with Cindy Walker)

Al Dexter & His Troopers1947 #4 country

"Pistol Packin' Mama"

Al Dexter & His Troopers1943 #1 country, #1 pop
Bing Crosby & the Andrews Sisters1943 #1 country, #2 pop
Roy Rogers1944 
Frank Sinatra1944 
The Pied Pipers1944 
Glenn Miller1944 
Harry James1944 
Gene Vincent1960 
Bill Haley1962  
Charlie Walker1967 
Sonny James1977 
Hoyt Axton1982 
Boxcar Willie1989 
Mac Wiseman & John Prine2007 
Willie Nelson2010 

"Poor Little Honky Tonk Girl"

(written with James B. Paris)

Al Dexter & His Troopers1940 

"Rock and Rye Rag"

Al Dexter & His Troopers1948 #14 country


Al Dexter & His Troopers1943 #1 country, #29 pop
Hank Locklin1963 

"So Long, Pal"

Al Dexter & His Troopers1944 #1 country

"Too Late to Worry, Too Blue to Cry"

Al Dexter & His Troopers1944 #1 country, #23 pop
Texas Jim Lewis1944 #3 country
Ernest Tubb1945 
Tex Ritter1946 
Glen Campbell1962 #76 pop
Esther Phillips1962 
Ray Anthony1963 
Ronnie Milsap1975 #6 country

"Wine, Women and Song"

(written with Aubrey A. Gass)

Al Dexter & His Troopers1946 #1 country

Al Dexter

Induction Year: 1971