David Harlon Bailey

David Harlon Bailey (born Christmas Day 1940) is a native and long-time resident of Webster Parish who had a brief youthful career as a musician, principally with a group called "The Tunes."


David was born in Shongaloo, but in 1944, his family moved to Minden. The Baileys lived there in the Tillman Addition and later on Pine Street. He developed his love of music at an early age. His brother, Bonnie James Bailey, played the steel and rhythm guitar. Bailey family members played and sang both religious and country music.

His mother, the former Auby Lucene Young (April 17, 1912 - July 8, 1969), often sat David on the piano stool while she did her household chores. He entertained himself by playing piano, learning "by ear" to play the songs that he heard and liked. As he matured, David's skills progressed, and his voice grew stronger. He sang in the choir at Minden High School under the long-term director Benjamin Earle Cooke, Jr. (1923-2001), who was also a piano tuner.

Bonnie James Bailey (August 2, 1932 - September 28, 1956) perished in Simsboro in Crittenden County in eastern Arkansas when the 18-wheeler that he was driving for the J.B. Beaird Company of Shreveport collided with a train. After his brother's death, David felt unable to focus on academic studies and left MHS without graduating with his Class of 1958. Instead, he received his General Educational Diploma in 1960.

Musical career

As a pianist, David played for variety shows at MHS, the Knights of Pythias Minstrels, and for the local singer Dawn Glass, later the patient care representative for the Minden Medical Center. From ca. 1957 until 1962, David played for the group "The Tunes". He also played for the Holiday Inn hotel chain and for several nightclubs in Bossier City. His third cousin,
Owen Perry, owned a piano store in Minden.

Owen Perry, James Frazier, and James Blackwell established a
recording company called Banner records. David performed as a
recording artist for the group.

David's first recording was "My Share of Heartaches," followed by "Time Out for Tears," a successful recording in the five states of Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and Mississippi. This was the only song pushed by Banner Records. Pepper Studio in Memphis, Tennessee, made a master recording of this selection. His third recording was "Rocky Road Blues," an old rock and roll song.

David's fourth recording, "Caney'' is an instrumental which he wrote in 1960 and dedicated to the Caney Lakes Recreational Area north of Minden. Choir director Earle Cooke did the arrangement. David spent a lot of time on the lake when he was growing up, belonged to a skiing club, and was a lifeguard there, long before anyone had heard of the giant salvinia fern which has in recent years choked up the water and vastly reduced the level of the lake.

The Banner Recording Company went out of business, and David was hence forced to find other employment, primarily as a transportation engineer.

Family members

David's father, James A. Bailey (February 16, 1907 - May 3, 1974), a Shongaloo native, was a farmer, ordnance plant worker, and maintenance foreman for the Louisiana Highway Department. His parents were Alice Bell Wise and John William Bailey. Auby Bailey was a native of Joaquin in Shelby County, Texas, just west of the Louisiana state line. Her parents were Henry Caleb Young and the former Ora Bell Spurlock. A nurse at the Minden hospital, Auby died in Minden at the age of fifty-seven. After her death, James Bailey married Gracie Poland Miller. They relocated to Carriere, an unincorporated community in Pearl River County in southwestern Mississippi, to be near her daughter, Peggy. There James Bailey died at the age of sixty-seven.

David had two children by a former marriage;
(1). Carole Joanne born Februay 3, 1962
Carole was married to Tom Gilbert and had a daughter
named Chelsea Erin Gilbert born February 8, 1990.
She married Andrew Elgin.
(2) Robert Alan born January 6, 1965 in Shreveport, Caddo Parish,
Louisiana. He was married but no children were born to that union.

Bonnie James Bailey was married at the time of his death to the former Loretta Young (no relation to Auby Young Bailey) and the father of two daughters. He is buried at the Minden Cemetery along with the Bailey parents. Loretta Bailey subsequently married the late Gene Durrett and lives in Cortez in Montezuma County in the southwestern corner of Colorado. She and Gene had two children, Terry Durrett (deceased) and Randy Durrett. Over the years, David has maintained regular communication with Loretta and her family.

Military service

When his son was a month old, David, while living in Minden, was drafted into the United States Army on February 4, 1965, as the United States began a massive buildup in the former South Vietnam. David did his basic training at Fort Polk in Leesville, Louisiana. He was then sent to the U.S. Army Engineer School in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. There, he underwent six months of training and became an instructor in precise power generation. He remained in this position until his honorable discharge from Fort Belvoir on February 3, 1967, at the rank of Specialist 5. He earned the National Defense Service Medal and a Sharp Shooter (Rifle) Medal.

Bailey in 2011

In 1987, David married the former Virginia Wilson Boyet (born November 24, 1940) of Heflin, a retired employee of Regions Bank in Minden. They were wed in the home of Bruce and Emmy Beatty in Minden, with now Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeal Judge R. Harmon Drew, Jr., officiating. Judge Drew, descended from among the founders of Webster Parish, has also been a musician since the 1960s. Virginia has a son, Timothy C. Boyet (born July 14, 1959), a long-term employee of CenturyTel in Ringgold. His father was John Boyet (1936-1986). David and Virginia reside at 4937 Highway 371 in Heflin. Tim, the father of two children, is their next-door neighbor.

As a youth, David attended Beech Springs Baptist Church in Webster Parish, where he gave his life to Christ and was baptized. After his marriage to Virginia, he joined the Bistineau Baptist Church in Heflin, where they now attend.

The Baileys travel in their fifth-wheel trailer, often for purposes of fishing. They are also involved in genealogy. Virginia Bailey says that her husband "always loved to see what is over the next hill and still does."

(Note:In 1960, local musician and singer David Harlon Bailey (born 1940) recorded through the defunct Banner Records the instrumental entitled "Caney," dedicated to Caney Lakes. Bailey's former choir director at Minden High School, Benjamin Earle Cooke, Jr. (1923-2001), did the arrangement. Bailey spent a lot of time on the lakes when he was growing up, belonged to a skiing club, and was a lifeguard there

Wanted Record of Caney

I am Virginia Wilson Bailey, the wife of David H. Bailey from Heflin, Louisiana. I am trying to surprise David by finding a copy of his record "Caney".

When you do your Minden updates, do you ever make a personal request for anything like this?

I have been searching for a playable copy of his record called "Caney" written by David H. Bailey and arranged by Earl Cook, Jr. The copyright date is 1960 and is on the Banner Label. This is one of the two records that David recorded.

I will be happy to pay for a playable record or a copy from it. I would like to have a CD!

If this is not something that you do on your site, I understand. But, if you find someone that still has this record, please put them in touch with me .

Thank you for any effort given in regard to this special request.

Virginia Wilson Bailey


                Chelsea/Erin Gilbert

The first photo is Carole Marquez & Chelsea Gilbert, David's daughter & grandaughter.

The second photo is Chelsea Gilbert Elgin, David's granddaughter.


The third photo is   David Harlon Bailey when he was a young boy


The fourth photo is David Bailey & Bonnie James Bailey. Bonnie is David's brother.

       The fifth photo is David Bailey with his daughter, Carole, and son Robert Alan.


                                   The sixth photo is David's son Robert Alan.                         


           The seventh photo is David's  grandaaughter, Chelsea Gilbert Elgin.


The eight photo is David's granddaughter Chelsea Gilbert and her now husband Andrew Elgin.

The ninth photo is David,s Daughter, Carole and granddaughter, Chelsea Gilbert Elgin.

The tenth photo is  Robert Alan, Chelsea Gilbert Elgin, Carol, and David.  L to R. David's son, granddaughter, daughter and David.

The eleventh photo is Robert Alan, Carol, and David. L to R. Robert, Carole, and David.