Gant is born in Nashville, Tennessee on 4
In 1944 Cecil joins the US Army and is based in Los Angeles, where he
appears at Treasury Bond rallies. He records his composition 'I Wonder'
first for Bronze Records, then for Gilt-Edge. It charts in October and
is promptly covered on rival labels by singers Warren Evans (National),
Dan Grisson (Exclusive) and another army private, Lloyd Thompson
The following year 'I Wonder' remained Billboards Harlem
Hit Parade until April, flanked by cover versions from
the Bluebird label) and Louis Armstrong (on Decca). Woody Herman also
records the song (for Columbia). Gilt-Edge rush out several more Gant
Cecil is on the roster of Harold F. Oxley booking agency. In
Nashville, he signs with Bullet Records and starts their R&B series in
April 1946 with 'Nashville Jumps'. Meanwhile, Cecil records continue to
appear on the West Coast on the 4 Star record label.
He re-records 'I Wonder' for Bullet in 1947 and also records half a
dozen sides which will be acquired in the following years by King
Cecil's 'Another Day, Another Dollar' is Bullet's first R&B hit in 1948
and King Records release 'Hogan's Alle' / 'Why'.
Cecil has a second R&B Chart entry with 'I'm a Poor Man, but a Good
Man' (Bullet) in 1949. In L.A. he records for Swing Time with Tiny Webb
(guitar), Ralph Hamilton (bass) and Jesse Sailes (drums), sidemen who
also worked with
Lloyd Glenn. In Nashville he records for the Dot label.
In 1950 Cecil records for the Imperial label. In Nashville he signs
with Decca. His first release is 'Goodnight Irene', a cover of the
Weavers' hit recording of this
number, but subsequent sides are blues and boogies.
Cecil records Tennessee Ernie Ford's 'Shot Gun Boogie' on 19 January.
Two months later Down Beat magazine
reports the recent death of Cecil Gant in Nashville. A date of 4
February 1951 has been suggested.
John Lee Hookerrecords
a, for him, surprisingly faithful version of 'I Wonder' for the Modern
record label in 1953.
Then in 1956 a school teacher and part-time singer named Clenest Gant
records a jump-blues song, 'Jump Jump-Hi Ho', for Kit a small Nashville
label. It remains to be discovered if he was related to Cecil.
Aretha Franklin records 'I Wonder', with string arrangement by Ralph
Burns (a one time Woody Herman arranger), on her album Aretha
Arrives in 1967.
The first album length reissue of Cecil Gant's work, Rock
Little Baby, is produced
by Flyright Records in Britain in 1974.
In 1993 the young singer/pianist A.J. Croce includes 'I Wonder', on
his debut album.