Rayburn Anthony was born and raised in Humboldt Tennessee (USA) 15 miles north of Jackson , Tennessee. One of eight children he was in his own words "about the middle." His father farmed and also painted houses to feed the large family.
He started singing in public when he joined his older brother Bob's band having learned the fundamentals of guitar playing from his brother.
He made his first recordings for the legendary Sun label in Memphis. W.S. “Fluke” Holland (long time drummer for Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins) took Rayburn to Memphis for his first sessions at Sun. At the time, W.S. had left the Perkins band to take some time off from the road himself and had discovered Carl Mann working in a local club. WS worked with Mann at Sun to produce such great records as "Mona Lisa ".
There was a club in the Jackson area called the Pineridge Club that stayed open late and musicians would drop in after their own shows for a jam session with Carl Mann, Kenny Parchman and W.S. Holland. Smoochy Smith, then only a teenager, was working in Kenny's band and later played piano on one of Rayburn's sessions. Rayburn played the club often and W.S. and he became friends. When W.S. took him over to meet Sam Phillips Rayburn recalls being asked to sit down at a keyboard and sing a few songs.
He expected them to set up the band to see what he could do but Sam liked what he heard and signed him from that keyboard session. Three singles were released on Sun "St. Louis Blues", "There's No Tomorrow" and "Big Dream." Altogether Rayburn recorded about sixteen tracks at Sun having either W.S. Holland or Tony Austin on drums and Eddie Bush on guitar. A few of the unreleased tracks like "Hambone" have been issued on the many Sun compilations.
Rayburn was at Sun during 1959-1960 when Sam was moving to the new Madison Avenue studios just when the whole music scene was changing so he was never recorded on out and out rockabilly. Sam even brought in Vinnie Trout. an outside producer, who used strings on his last session. Rayburn remembers Elvis would drop by the studio sometimes usually when he and his friends were renting the local roller ink or the movie theatre.
After Sun Rayburn started to write more often with friends like Tony Austin and Gene Dobbins. He got his first big check with Dobbins when they got the B side of Sandy Posey's hit "Born A Woman" with their song "Caution To The Wind." At this time he was writing for Bill Black's publishing company. Next Rayburn moved to Nashville to be in a better position to get songs cut and he went to work at Scotty Moore's (Elvis’ original guitarist) Music City Recorders. He had met Scotty in Memphis and this new association gave him lots of studio time to work on his demos.
He began to work on the road with Billy Walker and this led to Walker recording several of his songs with two reaching the top ten. "Sing Me A Love Song To Baby" reached number one and earned Rayburn an ASCAP award. Other acts to have recorded his songs include John Conley ( “She Loves My Troubles Away” ), Charlie Louvin and Melba Montgomery , Vern Gosdin ( 2 songs ), Conway Twitty / Loretta Lynn , Faron Young ( 'No Painless Way') The Jordanaires ( '100 Yards of Real Estate') , Charley Pride and Jerry Lee Lewis. The well known Scottish group Colorado also recorded several of his songs.
Rayburn has also worked on the road with Melba Montgomery and Bobby Bare ( 4 years ). He has many memories of their road trips and working on the Grand Old Opry. He also played keyboards in the Carl Perkins band on a number of occasions and played bass on one gig only for Linda Gail Lewis.
He told a story on Spencer Leigh's radio show how while on a tour to bases in Alaska and other US states with the Perkin;s band Carl and Jay had been drinking steady all day and when they went onstage Jay took this little clip on microphone and put it in his mouth and everytime Carl would get near he would make weird sounds - it ended with Carl kicking out at him and chasin' him onstage which the audience thought was part of the act.
Rayburn’s association with Bobby Bare led to his signing with Polydor, a major record company of the day. When there was a shake-up at the label he moved to Mercury Records.
Rayburn has recorded for a variety of labels including Mega, Stop, Polydor and Mercury. His many chart records include "Maybe I Should Have Been Listening" and "Shadows Of Love." On Mercury he was produced by Jerry Kennedy and once had Reba McEntyre singing on one of his tracks "Easy." While on Stop Records he had "A Hundred Yards Of Real Estate" recorded by the Jordanaires on their album "Monsters". This album was later released in Britain on Ember Records with some additional tracks.
He has toured many countries working as a front man for Billy Walker and Bobby Bare and is very popular in Sweden where he continues to tour several weeks each year. Rayburn has released 5 cd's in Sweden.
Rayburn and W. S. Holland renewed their musical connection when they played together at the Jackson Rockabilly Festival in April 2000 . Rayburn singing "St. Louis Blues" from his Sun days and a new song "Jackson Was Jumping" which mentions friends like W.S., Tony Austin, Kenny Parchman, Carl Mann and the Perkins band. Later they played together on a Sun TV documentary jamming with Scotty and Sonny Burgess. They also did some additional TV and concert work in Arkansas. They appeared together again at the 2001 Jackson Festival working this time as the Rockabilly Masters with Larry Donn , C. W. Gatlin and Burl Boykin. The group would like to work on the road together in Europe.
While on a trip to Sweden Rayburn recorded an album using 1950’s vintage equipment with all the session musicians playing together and no overdubs. The album was titled "Jackson Was Jumpin" the title of one of the album’s songs that gives Jackson, Tennessee some of the credit for the rockabilly explosion of the fifties with name checks for Rayburn's friends and fellow artists.
Rayburn's Sun recordings have been released on several compilations by Charly and Bear Family Records.He has also released two cd's on Rhythm Bomb "My Baby's Car Crazy" and "Big Bad City".
Today, Rayburn remains active in his music career traveling and playing his unique style of music that has endeared fans to his music for decades.