With the outbreak of World War II, he took a job at a New Orleans shipyard, and then served in the Navy in Hawaii. Upon his return to New Orleans he trained as a barber and attempted to start a singing career simultaneously. Known as the "Singing Barber" on local radio stations such as WJBW and WWEZ, he became a local country music star. In the early 1950s he also began recording, starting with Trumpet Records, and following this, Columbia, Capitol, and Savoy (often with his backing group called The Delta Boys). Fairburn also owned a label called Milestone Records in the 1950s and early 1960s. Fairburn's style blended elements of country, blues, and New Orleans-style R&B.
He became well-known throughout the South, and appeared on the Big D Jamboree in Dallas without ever having scored a regional hit in the area. As rockabilly became more popular, he adapted to the style, and remained a regional favorite, though he never made the national charts. In 1964, Fairburn sang his tune "I Guess I'm Crazy" on Louisiana Hayride, and Jim Reeves decided to cover the tune. This version was the single in current rotation when Reeves was killed in a plane crash in July of that year. Fairburn continued to perform after moving to California in the 1960s, nearly up until he died of lung cancer in 1985. Nine years later, Bear Family Records collected his singles and released them on CD as Everybody's Rockin'. Read more on Last.fm.
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