Portraits from our Past
Southwest Virginia Music

Smith "Spike" Carson

Music: 1940's - 1950's
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Smith Carson, known as "Spike" Carson was a noted African-American piano player from Pennington Gap in Lee County, Virginia. He never studied music, but expressed his talent as "just took it up himself" and played since he was big enough to sit at a piano. Carson's band included five members from Big Stone Gap, Pennington Gap, and one from Norton, Ed Duncan. With the exception of Duncan, all the members of the band were African-American and instruments played included saxophones, electric guitar, and bass violin with Carson on piano. Spike Carson was the opening performer on the Virgil Q. Cariety Show during the 1950's which was broadcast live on WCYB Channel 5. The band played numerous public and social events, including Mardi Gras in 1945. In 1948, Spike Carson's Band recorded an album featuring "As Time Goes By" and "Twilight Time."


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The Southwest Virginia Museum is a member of the American
Association of Museums, the American Association of State and Local History, and the Virginia Association of Museums.