Sporting red hair which earned him his nickname, Farrell Haliday "Rusty" Draper sold millions of records and earned five gold records in the 1950s and '60s with such hits as Gambler's Guitar, Shifting Whispering Sands, Night Life and Mule Skinner Blues.
Born in Kirksville, MO, he and his uncle Robert "Ralph" Powell combined their talents in the early years in the band "Cy Perkins and Freckles." The pair performed on radio shows on WTAD-AM in Missouri and KMA-AM in Iowa, and one of the talents with whom he performed was a young, unknown Patti Page, who proceeded to become the most popular woman singer of the '50s. He is known to have worked as a radio station announcer in Des Moines, occasionally filling in for up-and-coming sportscaster Ronald Reagan.
Rusty's first big hit, in 1953, was Gambler's Guitar, which sold 800,000 copies as the B-side of another record. He appeared on national television programs such as The Ed Sullivan Show and Ozark Jubilee, was on a variety show with Arthur Godfrey, and played guest roles on such television shows as Rawhide, Laramie, The Danny Thomas Show and 77 Sunset Strip. In 1966, for a year, he was a television co-host with Molly Bee of the daily country music show Swingin' Country, with Roy Clark as a regular performer.
Rusty was the son of Samuel C. and Della Mae (Powell) Draper of the family of Sebastian Heck and Margaret Elizabeth (Pring) Cornell. Other musical industry talents highlighted in theMinerd.com "Photo of the Month" series have been left-handed fiddler Fred Younkin (March 2007) - ukulele player and vaudevillian Bobby "Uke" Henshaw (December 2008 and June 2019) - talent agent Frank Wayne Hanshaw Jr. (April 2009) - singer Deane Janis (December 2010) - West Virginia Country Music Hall of Famers Lisa (Hawker) Janoske (June 2018) and her father Jack (August 2019) - singer Alice Lucille Wydman (July 2019) - San Francisco Opera soprano Eloise Farrell (April 2022) - and Alfred Arthur Younkin and the Casselman Cornet Band (May 2020).