Bill Pinkney, Oral History

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Bill Pinkney, Oral History


Bill Pinkney, the original Bass of the Drifters vocal group, 1953-1957. Bill visited Bob at WJLD twice and sat down for this interview. He reflects on his early career and the creation of one of the best known vocal groups of all times. He also reflects on other groups and their members.


Bill Pinkney
Bob Friedman


Birmingham Black Radio Museum


October 19, 1994


Mark Usry
Emily Bibb





Oral History Item Type Metadata


Bob Friedman


Bill Pinkney


Transcript of audio snippet:

Bill Pinkney: And we’re talking for so many years now and there’s something great about me as old as I am I can remember that’s because it’s entertainment.

Bob Friedman: Uh huh

BP: And anything out of this ballpark and anything out of this league, I can’t remember.

BF: (laughs)

BP: But you want to talk music, I can talk with you.

BF: (laughs) Yeah.

BP: (laughs)...Oh yeah, man. It’s just great. Another thing too I would like to talk a little more about Jimmy Ricks.

BF: Yeah

BP: And even though the late Jimmy Ricks now.

BF: Yeah

BP: I want to give thanks to him because if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn't have done “White Christmas” the way I did.

BF: Mhm, mhm.

BP: Yeah, I've heard so many things from Jimmy Ricks. “Green Eyes”, “Wagon Wheels”, “Old Man River”, you know…

BF: Just never stopped. Endless supply of stuff.

BP: Oh, yeah

BF: “Don’t Mention.” Then those unbelievable tenors and that progressive harmony The Ravens had. Boy, “Don’t Mention My Name”, “Begin the Beguine”…

BP: The Tenors sang it. Maithe Marshall.

BF: Maithe Marshall

BP: Well, yeah.

BF:Joe Van Loan...

BP: He was in before Van Loan. That came later

BF: Yeah, yeah.

BP: Joe and Jim was there, but The Ravens….

BF: They had the Marshall brothers actually put out a record.

BP: Yeah

BF: Yeah, that was really something. Really unbelievable.

BP: Yeah

BF: And Pioneers

BP: Yeah

BF: There were other...while I was collecting….

BP: Well, the guy that sang bass in The Drifters after I left, uh, in 57, was from The Ravens. He took Jimmy Ricks place. When Jimmy went solo, his name was Tommy Evans. He’s this guy here. (shows picture)

BF: Is he on it?

BP: Yeah, that’s him there.

BF: No, that’s one of the Thrashers.

BP: Oh, that’s one of the Thrashers.

BF: Tommy…

BP: That’s a Thrasher in the middle, that’s Tommy Evans right there.

BF: Oh, I thought these guys were brothers.

BP: No, no, no.

BF: So there’s only one Thrasher in here.

BP: There’s only one Thrasher in that picture.

BF: Yeah

BP: The other Thrashers on the original picture

BF: Yeah

BP: The second group of Drifters.

BF: Mhm

BP: See what happened is that this is Tommy Evans and that’s why I’m not on there cuz he’s on there. (laughs)

BF: Unbelievable, so you came and picked up where you left off.


Bill Pinkney pix.jpg
Bill Pinkney 2 min.mp3
Bill Pinkney-Transcript.pdf


Bill Pinkney and Bob Friedman, “Bill Pinkney, Oral History,” The Birmingham Black Radio Museum, accessed March 23, 2018,

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