Smilin' Jack Herring and His Swingbillys
Michael's Father, Jackson W. Herring Sr. was a drummer managing his own band, a DJ at a popular local radio station in Gainesville,FL (WDVH), and playing music for a living during the mid 1950’s.
It was a time when The Blues, R&B, Swing and Rock-n-Roll music were merging and all were getting radio play and capturing new audiences worldwide. Smilin' Jack Herring and his SwingBillys consisted of a wide variety of some of the best musicians in North Florida at that time, including singer- songwriter, steel guitarist and good friend Tommy Durden who co-wrote Elvis Presley's #1 all time hit, Heart Break Hotel. They burned up the pavement for quite a few years playing small clubs, dance halls and large shows featuring such acts as The Louvin Brothers, Jeannie Shepard, Little Jimmy Dickins, Marvin Rainwater, Eddie Hill and Hawkshaw Hawkins just to name a few.

Left to Right: Paul Yancy, Ira Louvin, Smilin’ Jack Herring,
Charlie Louvin, ?, Bob Foster & Marvin Rainwater


Smilin' Jack, Pee Wee Jenkins, Bob Chisolm
& Tommy Durden
Here's a nice article about Tommy Durden. It first appeared in The Stuart News (Stuart, FL) on January 12, 1989. It would have been even nicer if the reporter hadn't misspelled "Smilin' Jack Herring and His Swingbillys".

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