Bailey was the third of six children born to James "Frank" and Mamie Berry Bailey. He was named after legendary third baseman Ty Cobb. A neighbor, Sam Oglethorpe, called him "Tatamerius", which was soon shortened to "Tat", by which he was thereafter known. As a teenager he sold magazines to fund the $15 purchase of his first car, a Ford Model T. In 1932 Bailey enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served for eight years, during which time he was trained as an electrician. He continued working at the Norfolk Navy Yard as a civilian before moving to Arab in 1946 and taking a job with the Arab Water Department. After three years there he found a job at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville. During the 1950s he was known for driving into Arab on Sundays in one of his succession of Model T's to pick up children and treat them to ice cream at the Frosty Freeze.
Cobb and his first wife had three children before they divorced in 1963. He purchased a low-lying two-acre plot at the foot of Fry Gap Mountain near Arab and had a log cabin moved to the property to serve as his home until he could construct a "dream house" on the estate he soon named "Singing Hills". He worked with a teenage apprentice from 1965 to 1969, a year after his retirement from Redstone, to complete the two-story house. Over the next 40 years, working primarily in stone, Bailey embellished the property with monoliths, arches, ponds, covered bridges and carved stone sculptures. He was also an avid gardener, raising large crops of peas and other vegetables.
When Bailey reached 90 he constructed a coffin for himself out of cedar and built a rock mausoleum at Berry-Brookshire Cemetery. He earned the use of them when he died in 2013. He was survived by three children and four grandchildren.
- Maze, Steve A. (1993) "'Tat' Bailey" Arab Today
- Campbell, Kay (November 3, 2013) "Tyrus Cobb 'Tat' Bailey created monumental life of song, stones, stories, friends." The Birmingham News