May 10, 1895 - February 19, 1979
Carl Sprague, the "Original Singing Cowboy," had the pedigree to prove it. Texas born, a veteran of World War I and graduate of Texas A&M, Sprague learned his songs while working on a cattle ranch. Inspired by fellow Texan Vernon Dalhart, whose "Wreck of the Old 97" took the nation by storm in 1924, Sprague proved that cowboy songs had commercial potential when his version of "When the Work's All Done This Fall" sold 900,000 copies for Victor. Sprague would make a total of 33 recordings for Victor before the Depression ended his musical career.
Adapted from: Seemann, Charlie. "Carl Sprague." The Encyclopedia of Country Music. ed. Paul Kingsbury. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998, 499.