Tony Douglas was born April 12, 1929 in Martins Mill, Texas to Hubert and Artie Jones Douglas.
He often lead the singing for the church congregation. He also learned to love country music while listening to an old battery operated radio at a neighbor's house.
Every Saturday night they would listen to the Grand Ole Opry. When he got a little older his family got their own radio and he never missed a show. He always wished in some way he could be a small part of it. In 1949 Tony married Mim Reaves from the Colfax area.
Then in 1953 he joined the Army and went to Germany during the Korean War. He was in Kaiserslautern with the 45 th Anti-Aircraft Battalion and his comrades nicknamed him "Tex." During this time Tony took every opportunity to learn songs by some of his favorite performers like Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzell and Webb Pierce. One night he was headed to his room singing Hank Williams "Long Gone Lonesome Blues," when someone asked him if he sang professionally before he came to the Army.
They had never heard anybody sing a Hank Williams song like that. Tony was flattered but he had never sung these songs to an audience before. A few nights later he went to a jam session and some of the guys asked him to sing. He did and it felt so natural, he was hooked!
The next night there was a big show going on at the service club and he was asked to sing a song. There were over two thousand people there. He sang "Long Gone Lonesome Blues" and the crowd screamed, hollered and stood up to cheer for him. Tony ended up singing eleven songs that night. The bug bit him and he's been at it ever since.
During this time Tony wrote a song called "Echoes of You" for his wife Mim which was later released on a record.
Tony truly loved Country Music and enjoyed singing with all his soul. While visiting in Fort Worth, Texas, Tony learned about the Cowtown Hoedown - a weekly Saturday night show. After trying on four or five occasions he was allowed to sing "one song" the emcee said. Tony was so well accepted by the audience, he received five encores. The manager asked him to become a regular member of the cast that night.
It was at this show that Johnny Horton appeared as a special guest one particular night. Johnny's manager, Tilman Franks, saw Tony's performance and how he moved the audience. He invited Tony to appear as a guest on the "Louisiana Hayride."
After Tony's second appearance on the Hayride, he was asked to sign a three-year-contract, which he did.
Tony's first record was recorded in 1956- "OLD BLUE MONDAY" b/w "ECHOES OF YOU."
Tony had several single releases while a Hayride member which included: WORLD IN MY ARMS; BABY WHEN THE SUN GOES DOWN; THUNDER AND LIGHTENING; WORLD KEEPS TURNING; LITTLE RED HEN; ROOSTER AND THE MOUSE; OLD MAN LOVE; TOO MUCH TO LOSE.
In the fall of 1957 Tony and Mr. Franks went to Nashville where they met Jim Denny, General Manager of the Grand Ole Opry. Mr. Denny offered Tony a three year contract to perform every Saturday night on the Opry. But, due to a contract clause of having to move to Nashville, Tony turned it down.
So with the love for his life long home he returned to Athens Texas and fulfilled his contract with the Hayride where he performed until it closed in 1960.
In 1961, after Tony's recording of "Shrimpin" gained national attention, his band acquired the title "The Shrimpers" hence it has since been Tony Douglas and The Shrimpers.
On October 5, 1962, "HIS AND HERS" was released which set the stage for Tony and The Shrimpers to "hit the road." This was definitely a big turning point in his career.
Another great single "THANK YOU FOR TOUCHING MY LIFE" was released in 1972.
It was in that year Tony formed CMU Productions (Country Music Unlimited) and until 1980 toured across the country performing shows in numerous states with guest appearances from the stars of "The Grand Ole Opry". Names such as Ernest Tubb, Charlie Walker, Dolly Parton, Osbourn Bros., Porter Wagoner, Leona Williams, Johnny Russell, Kenny Price, and many others helped Tony put on fan filled shows during those years.
In May 1974 Tony was invited to the Jimmie Rodgers Memorial Festival in Meridian , Mississippi , which is an annual Country Music Festival.
Tony worked the Festival for eleven consecutive years and he called Meridian his "home away from home".
It was in Meridian at the beautiful Temple Theatre where Tony recorded his first live album entitled " Meridian Live".
Tony and The Shrimpers traveled and performed all across the United States and into Canada for close to thirty years.
In the early 1990's he recorded "THANK YOU LORD FOR MAKING HER MINE."
When the radio stations didn't pick it up he became extremely disappointed for a while and did no shows and totally quit performing for three years.
At the insistence of family and friends he finally realized it wasn't the people who didn't want to hear his songs but the corporate radio owners who were making unwarranted decisions for the public.
He took his new show out to a grateful public and continues to do so today.
It was such a warm feeling for him to know there are still people out there who want to hear and see him perform.
In 1993 Tony opened Papa T's Produce Stand in Athens Texas where he puts to good use the training he got from growing up on a farm.
Tony and his wife Mim have three children, Hank (named after his inspiration Hank Williams), Tonya and Jason.
They have five grand sons and one grand daughter. Tony and Mim love their grandchildren and wish they had more.
When Tony's not performing he can be found at Papa T's with lot's of fruits, vegetables, and Mim's homemade breads and pies.
Tony's country disciplined up bringing made a big impact on his life. He hopes to always be remembered as "a man who kept his shows clean, where you could always take the family and not be afraid of what might be said or done on stage."
He continues to perform however; he is not on the road as much as in his younger years.
But as long as the crowds keep coming Tony Douglas will keep pouring his heart and soul into each and every song and performance, like it was his first night on "The Louisiana Hayride."