Darius Rucker, who has guest starred on TV series like CBS’s Hawaii Five-0 (as a bomb-builder) and CMT’s Still the King (as Jesus) makes another CMT appearance this week, playing real-life singer Johnny Bragg of Fifties vocal group the Prisonaires on Sun Records. In an exclusive clip from the episode, premiering Thursday, March 23rd, Bragg and the Prisonaires sing a cappella as they are led in shackles into the Sun studios. Elvis Presley (played by Drake Milligan) is spotted too, driving by in a pickup and smiling as he hears the group. (Watch the clip above.)
With 20-foot walls, topped with five feet of electrically charged barbed wire, the Tennessee State Prison in
A singer since childhood, Bragg had been incarcerated in 1943, at age 17, and had joined a gospel quintet in the prison shortly after his sentence began. After a falling-out, he and two of that group’s members, Ed Thurman and William Stuart, both doing 99-year stretches for murder, began singing with a pair of recent arrivals, John Drue and Marcel Sanders. As the Prisonaires, the group was discovered by radio producer Joe Calloway, who was putting together a news report from the prison. With the assistance of warden James Edwards, Calloway gave them a performance slot on the radio.
Phillips had the group transported via armed guard and driver to
“Just Walkin’ in the Rain,” which sold more than 50,000 copies upon its release on Sun, was later a huge pop hit for singer Johnnie Ray in both the
Sun Records airs Thursdays on CMT at .