Walter Bailes Dies at 80

Walter Bailes, of renowned country harmony act the Bailes Brothers, died Monday (Nov. 27) in Sevierville, Tenn., at the age of 80. A talented writer of both secular and sacred songs, he penned the Bailes Brothers’ best known works, “Dust on the Bible,” later recorded by Kitty Wells, and “Give Mother My Crown,” later covered by Flatt & Scruggs. Born and raised in West Virginia, Walter and his brothers Kyle, John and Homer seldom all worked together at once, instead pairing off for performances. Walter and John were stars of Nashville’s WSM Grand Ole Opry in the mid-’40s and in 1946 went to KWKH in Shreveport, La., where they helped initiate the Louisiana Hayride and gave support to the fledging career of Hank Williams. Walter joined the ministry a year later and was replaced by Homer in the duo. Walter pastored evangelical churches and preached at numerous revivals in the U.S. and overseas. Walter and John re-formed as a gospel duo in 1953 to record for King, and Walter later recorded solo albums on his own White Dove label. In later years, various combinations of the brothers got together for occasional recordings and appearances. Until this summer, Walter was the host of a gospel show on WSM. A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. today (Nov. 30) at the Atchley Funeral Home in Sevierville.