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Frank Evans

Frank was a Tampa native, born in 1940. By the time he was 13 or so he was a veteran performer in the Bay area and had already done 78 consecutive weeks of shows on two Tampa radio stations - WHBO and WALT - sponsored by Velda Ice Cream Products. In the late 50’s he became a part-time deejay on WHBO.

The new medium of television was emerging in Tampa Bay in the early and mid 1950’s. In 1956 Frank and his band, The Top-Notchers, were seen and heard regularly on St. Pete’s WSUN-TV.
 
Frank signed a recording contract with Starday Records of Beaumont, Texas in the mid 1950’s and recorded a number of sides for the label. In 1959, he and Byron Clark set up a small recording studio and label in Tampa called Nugget Records. Neither the studio nor the label’s releases went anywhere, so he sold his rights to Clark and began appearing on Ernie Lee’s morning TV show on Tampa’s WTVT.

In the late 1960’s Frank was playing lead guitar with The Homesteaders, a group that had made its name through Jerry Rivers, who had worked in Hank Williams, Sr’s band, The Drifting Cowboys. The band toured heavily throughout the period and had built a reputation as a top live act and main touring band for singer Jeannie C. Riley (of “Harper Valley PTA” fame). Rivers left the group in the early 1970’s and its leadership was turned over to Frank who also continued to do session work when not on the road.

Frank passed away in 2000.Frank was a Tampa native, born in 1940. By the time he was 13 or so he was a veteran performer in the Bay area and had already done 78 consecutive weeks of shows on two Tampa radio stations - WHBO and WALT - sponsored by Velda Ice Cream Products. In the late 50's he became a part-time deejay on WHBO.

The new medium of television was emerging in Tampa Bay in the early and mid 1950’s. In 1956 Frank and his band, The Top-Notchers, were seen and heard regularly on WSUN-TV Channel 38, the first TV station along Florida’s west coast.

Frank signed a recording contract with Starday Records of Beaumont, Texas in the mid 1950's and recorded a number of sides for the label. Later he recorded for Nugget, a label owned by Nashville entertainers Lonzo and Oscar.

In the late 1960’s Frank was playing lead guitar with The Homesteaders, a group that had made its name through Jerry Rivers, who had worked in Hank Williams, Sr’s band, The Drifting Cowboys. The band toured heavily throughout the period and had built a reputation as a top live act and main touring band for singer Jeannie C. Riley (of “Harper Valley PTA” fame). Rivers left the group in the early 1970’s and its leadership was turned over to Frank who also continued to do session work when not on the road.

Frank passed away in 2000.

Station History

1953 - 1958 Other Tampa Bay Area Stations (On Air Personality)

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