Celebrating Black History Month: Drink Small

Tyler Ryan shares details about South Carolina's Drink Small celebrating Black History Month


Born on January 28, 1933, Drink Small (Yes, that is his real name), grew up in a sharecropper family in the small rural community of Bishopville, South Carolina.

Small came from humble beginnings, educated in a two-room schoolhouse, and in addition to his studies, taught himself how to play the guitar around seven years old.

After graduating high school, Small went to Denmark Area Trade School to learn the trade of barbering, playing gigs on the weekend to help earn money.  Small eventually decided that playing strings was better than the working end of a pair of scissors, and went on tour.  The road trip included shows at the Apollo Theater, working with Same Cooke, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and many more.

Small, who has long been considered one of the best guitarists in gospel music, and went on to become known as The Blues Doctor,  Small’s depth as a performer makes him the perfect blend of soul, blues, and electric blues guitarist, pianist, singer, and songwriter. 

Even through all the success, Small has never made enough money to work fulltime in music, opting for a unique set of various money making ventures.  Small says “Rich people got the blues because they are trying to keep the money, poor people got the blues because they are trying to get some money, and Drink Small got the blues because I ain’t got no money.”

You can learn more about Drink HERE.


Tyler Ryan is an award winning television and radio personality, writer, investigative journalist, and professional emcee.  He appears daily on ABC Columbia’s Good Morning Columbia, as well as hosting the syndicated radio program Carolina Cares on the South Carolina Radio Network, and the iHeart Radio Network.  Tyler also regularly appears as a criminal expert and journalist on regional and national crime based programs like Snapped and Killer Couples.  You can contact him directly via EMAIL Or on the socials: Tyler’s Instagram  // Tyler’s Facebook


Categories: Black History