Arnold Dwight "Gatemouth" Moore, Oral History


Arnold Dwight "Gatemouth" Moore, Oral History


Arnold Dwight “Gatemouth” Moore - (b. Nov 8, 1913, d. May 19, 2004). Starting his career on the air at WIBW in Topeka, Kansas, his home town, in the 1930's, Moore was a major blues singer in the 1930’s and 40's and a prolific recording artist and gospel singer, minister and radio announcer in the 40's and 50’s... moving from AM 730 WDIA* Memphis in 1949 to AM 1220 WEDR and AM 1400 WJLD in Birmingham, from 1950 through 1957. His accomplishments can best be appreciated by listening to both interviews in the BBRM archive. This interview was done by phone while Gatemouth was at home in Yazoo, Mississippi.

This early interview was the second done with Gatemouth Moore. One of Bob Friedman's earliest interviews, he was mainly working to have Moore share as much as he could of the lay of the land, regarding WEDR and WJLD announcers in the early 50's. Friedman's zeal is best expressed by his sharing with Gatemouth how the collection was growing and by his hope Moore would follow through sending Friedman his music. The BBRM was a year old and much information was still needed. Gatemouth refers to individuals that Friedman has not yet learned about. When Gatemouth does not eventually recall those names, we have placed a note to name the individual.

* WDIA's power was rated at 250 watts from 1947 until 1954 when they changed frequencies to 1070 AM and were allowed to increase power to 50,000 watts.


Arnold Dwight "Gatemouth" Moore
Bob Friedman


Birmingham Black Radio Museum


November 3, 1993


Tabor Chapman
Emily Bibb






Bob Friedman


Arnold Dwight "Gatemouth" Moore


Transcript of Audio Snippet:

Bob Friedman: We got a picture from Ben Franklin, who was the engineer at JLD for a long time.

Gatemouth Moore: Oh yeah!

BF: Ben. You know Ben.

GM: Yeah.

BF: Very nice guy. Very nice guy. And Ben told us that Bob Umbach used to play—

GM: All my blues!

BF: Christmas Blues records by you.

GM: My blues.That’s right!

BF: Ben Franklin had a great memory.

GM: When I was a blues singer!

BF: Great memory.

GM: Yeah, yeah.

BF: And Roberta Rolland.

GM: Yeah, she was on the weekends.

BF: Mhmm. We—

GM: For Mister Epps.

BF: Mister Epps for the funeral

GM: Yeah. Epps Jewelry. Him and Deacon Davis. Her and Deacon Davis.

BF: Deacon Richmond Davis for Epps Jewelry...

GM: Yeah. And their favorite preacher was that preacher from Bessemer. Reverend Clark.

BF: W.A. Clark?

GM: Yeah, he was famous.

BF: From Saint Peter’s Primitive?

GM: Yeah, baptist church.

BF: Yeah, yeah.

GM: Yeah and I’m tryin’, I’m almost— Walter! Walter Anglin!

BF: Walter Anglin was back in the 50s?!

GM: Yes sir!

BF: No kidding…

GM: Walter Anglin! He was with me when I was at WEDR. With me. Walter Anglin.

BF: Now you see, he’s such an old. He’s eighty-two years old.

GM: Who?

BF: Walter is.

GM: Well, I’m eighty.

BF: Well, I know that but we only had information about Walter from the 1960s. We got pictures of him from the 60s—

GM: No sir, Walter Anglin was with me at WEDR.

BF: No kidding…

GM: When I started.

BF: Well, see now—

GM: In 1950!

BF: Now, we gotta get a picture of Walter from that period.

GM: Walter Anglin. He went up to JLD.

BF: Right, he came—

GM: Yeah. That’s who I was tryin’ to tell you about. Walter Anglin!

BF: We got, we got pictures of Walter, you know. The 60s…

GM: Listen, I started…Listen, I put Shelly (Stewart) on the air for the first time.

BF: Where? On EDR?

GM: Yes!

BF: Uh-huh.

GM: Doing my show for me.

BF: Ok.

GM: I’m the fella who put Shelley in radio. He told you that?

BF: He didn’t mention that.

GM: Well, you better tell him, tell him Gatemouth said that.

BF: Ok.

GM: Yeah.

BF: And Walter was a newsman?

GM: Yeah, news and, one of the best there...

BF: Oh that’s great.

GM: In the 50's. Walter Anglin.

BF: I gotta call him.


Full Interview: 197 minutes
Audio Snippet: 2 minutes


Gate at WEDR.jpg
Gatemouth 1993 2 min.mp3
Arnold Dwight Gatemouth Moore 11-3-1993.pdf


Arnold Dwight "Gatemouth" Moore and Bob Friedman, “Arnold Dwight "Gatemouth" Moore, Oral History,” The Birmingham Black Radio Museum, accessed July 24, 2024,

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