The History of Dreamland Ballroom

Excerpt from Temple of Dreams, by Berna Love

'Things I remember about the bands and singers that came to Little Rock on Ninth Street, they were: Johnny Otis and Little Ester, Big Joe Turner, Count Basie, Roy Milton, Roy Brown, Etta James, Howling Wolf, Amos Milburn, Little Willie John, John Lee Hooker, Duke Ellington, Al Hibbler, Sam Cook, Otis Redding, Lightening Hopkins, B. B. King, Willie Mabon, Albert King, T Bone Walker, Big Maybell Walker, Clarence Carter, Jo Simmon . . . ,' De‐De Whitehead recounted from memory. 'Most of them played upstairs [Dreamland and Morocco] and a lot of them played at the auditorium [Robinson].'

By 1952, the Buck Allen “standard,” so evident in the Dreamland Auditorium years, was back at Club Morocco. As in the past, Buck Allen and Al Allen booked the biggest talent and the latest musical discoveries into Club Morocco, the Robinson Auditorium, and other club venues on the Line and in central Arkansas including Hot Springs and Pine Bluff. The Morocco was still an exclusive club for members and friends, but there was a decided shift to 'respectability' in its programs, though occasionally exotic shake and flash dancers shimmied across the Moroccan stage. (Appendix–Music)

One of the brightest new stars to hit the Moroccan stage was Riley B. B. (Beale Street Blues Boy, later shortened to Blues Boy or B. B.) King." 

Performers who graced the Dreamland Ballroom Stage

Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, W.C. Handy, Miss Etta Motan, Noble Sissle, Andy Kirk, Chick Webb, Jimmie Lunceford, Cab Calloway, Pigmeat Markham, Johnny Otis and Little Ester, Al Hibbler, Sam Cook, Otis Redding, Lightening Hopkins, B.B. King, Willie Mabon, Albert King, T Bone Walker, Big Maybell Walker, Clarence Carter, Joe Simmon, Etta James, Howling Wolf, Sammie Davis Jr., Peg Leg Bates, Red Foxx,  Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Buck and Bill Douglas, Lil Green, Lionel Hampton, The Rockets, Harlan Leonard, Ike Barlett's Vamping Babies, Millinder, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Trevor Bacon, Dizzy Gillespie, Ida Cox, Pha Terrell, Louis Jordan, Claude Trenier, Tiny Bradshaw, Doctor Clayton, Andy Kirk and his 12 Clouds of Joy, June Richmond, Benny Carter, Jimmie Lofton, Satchel Mouth Baby, Atomic Mama, Groovie G, Just One More Drink, Erskine Hawkins, Cootie Williams, Jack McVea, Roy Milton, Harlem Hep Car Orchestra, Big Joe Turner, Snookum Russell, Cornshucks and Johnny Otis, Roy Brown and His Mighty, Woody Herman and the Third Herd Orchestra, Sonny Thompson, Tab Smith, Chuck Young, Ruth Brown, Willis Jackson, Eddis LeMonte, Betty (Miss Blues) Ford, Joe Turner, Christene Henderson, Willie Johnson, Jimmie Liggins, Herman Manzy, Lewis and Parker, the Little Rockers, Chester Guyden, Shirley Lee with Roland Cook and Chester Guyden.