CAL SMITH (1932-2013)
(Jukka Joutsi * latest additions: 19.4.2020)

A) (2013): 'Country Bumpkin' Singer CAL SMITH Dies at 81.

(Chuck Dauphin, Nashville | October 11, 2013): Cal Smith -- who enjoyed a rich country career with some of the biggest hits of the 1960s and 1970s, passed away yesterday at his home near Branson, Missouri. He was 81.
Smith was born Calvin Grant Shofner on April 7, 1932 in Gans, Oklahoma. However, as many did in the Great Depression, Smith's family headed west settling in Oakland, California. He began his music career by performing at San Francisco's Remember Me Cafe in 1947. Unable to make a steady income as a musician, he also turned to other jobs, such as truck driving and the rodeo.
Smith enlisted in the military in the mid 1950s. Upon his discharge, he returned to the Bay area where he began playing in a local band. Country superstar Ernest Tubb heard the band play one night, and offered Smith a job playing guitar for his Texas Troubadours band. Not only a road band for Tubb, the group also backed him on his Decca recordings, so Smith was working plenty of Tubb's sessions as well.

Smith's vocals were brought to the attention of Kapp Records, who signed him in 1966. His debut single for the label, "I'll Just Go Home," failed to chart, but his second release, "The Only Thing I Want," hit the Billboard Country Singles chart in January 1967 peaking at No. 58.
Subsequent releases would fare better for Smith, who left the Tubb show in 1969 the same year he hit the top-40 for the first time with "Drinking Champagne" (later covered by George Strait). He moved to Decca in 1971, and hit the top ten for the first time with a cover of the Free Movement's "I've Found Someone Of My Own," a No. 4 release from the spring of 1972. By years' end, he would release "The Lord Knows I'm Drinking," a song written by Bill Anderson. It would become his first number one record in March 1973.
As big as that record was, it was nothing compared to his next major hit. "Country Bumpkin," a story song in the classic country tradition, was released in early 1974 hitting the top in May. It netted him a CMA Award for Single Record of the Year, and also won the Song of the Year trophy for writer Don Wayne, as well.

The song was a favorite of many -- including a young Garth Brooks. During a mid 1990s appearance on TNN's "Music City Tonight," the singer said that "Country Bumpkin" was his favorite country song prompting Smith to give Brooks the CMA trophy he won for the song.
Another fan of Smith's was Loretta Lynn. In her 2002 autobiography "Still Woman Enough," the singer admitted to having a crush on Smith during her stint as duet partner with Ernest Tubb claiming that husband Mooney would sometimes get jealous of the singer.
Cal Smith topped the charts for a third and final time with 1975's "It's Time To Pay The Fiddler," yet remained on the charts throughout the 1970s. One of his last major hits was his original version of "I Just Came Home To Count The Memories," a No. 15 hit from 1977 that helped put John Anderson on the map five years later. His last appearance on the charts was 1986's "King Lear," which peaked at No. 75 on the Step One label.

B) (Wikipedia, 22.3.2009):
Cal Smith (born April 7, 1932) is an American country musician, most famous for his 1974 hit "Country Bumpkin."

He was born with the name Calvin Grant Shofner on April 7, 1932, in Gans, Oklahoma, and was raised in Oakland California. He began his music career performing at the 'Remember Me Cafe' in San Francisco at the age of fifteen, but he was not financially successful at first. Throughout the 1950s, he was not able to continue his music career, so he worked at various other jobs, including truck driving and bronco busting. He appeared on the California Hayride television show in the mid-1950s before serving two years in the military.

After his discharge, he began playing in a band in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1961, country music legend Ernest Tubb heard the band play and, after an audition, hired Smith to play guitar for the Texas Troubadours. Thus, Smith is heard playing in most of Tubb's 1960s recordings. Smith's stage name began to catch on after he released his first solo single, "I'll Just Go Home," in 1966 for Kapp Records, and he first cracked the Billboard charts with his second single, "The Only Thing I Want."

Smith permanently parted ways with Tubb and the Texas Troubadours in 1969, and he released his first solo album, Drinking Champagne, in 1969. The album's title track had reached the Top 40 on the country charts the previous year.

In 1970, Smith signed with Decca Records, and his popularity quickly soared, starting off with his 1972 top 10 hit, "I've Found Someone of My Own." He began recording songs written by some of the biggest names in the industry; for instance, in March 1973 his rendition of Bill Anderson's "The Lord Knows I'm Drinking" became his first number-one country hit. When Decca became MCA Records in 1973, Cal enjoyed his biggest successes. In 1974, he recorded two of his greatest hits, "It's Time to Pay the Fiddler" and "Country Bumpkin," which received Song of the Year Awards from both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association.

Cal continued to have success with MCA Records into the late 70's including the Top 20 singles "Between Lust And Watching TV" (1974), "She Talked A Lot About Texas" (1975), "I Just Came Home To Count The Memories" (1977), and "Come See About Me" (1977). After this he continued to have minor successes that included "The Rise And Fall Of The Roman Empire" in 1979.

Cal released his last album, 'Stories of Life' by Cal Smith, in 1986 on Step One Records, where he scored a minor hit that year with "King Lear".

Smith and his wife, Darlene, now reside in the Branson, Missouri area, where they pass a great deal of their time fishing.

Cal Smith died in Branson on October 10, 2013. He is survived by Darlene, his son Calvin, five grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a son, Jimmie Todd.

Albums
1999 Cal Smith
1994 Lord Knows I'm Drinking
1986 A Touch Away
1986 Stories of Life by Cal Smith
1983 Turn Me Loose
1977 I Just Came Home to Count the Memories
1976 Jason's Farm
1975 Cal's Country
1975 My Kind of Country
1975 It's Time to Pay the Fiddler
1974 Country Bumpkin
1973 Cal Smith
1972 I've Found Someone of My Own
1971 The Best of Cal Smith
1969 Drinking Champagne
1968 Travelin' Man
1967 Goin' to Cal's Place
1967 All the World Is Lonely Now


Red Moore with Cal Smith

C) (Red Moore, e-mail 23.3.2009):
Hi Jukka, l think l first played with Cal Smith in 1969 after he left as front man for Ernest Tubb and went on his own.
l Think he had just cut "Drinking Champagne" l always liked that song, we used it on our shows for years. We had Cal back a time or two in the early 70's l believe.
He was a great entertainer with a smooth voice and one of the nicest guys you ever met and always had that smile on his face.
l remember my dad wanted to meet Cal and l was so glad that he got to before he passed away, it really pleased him and me. It was one of the highlights in his hard working life.
ln my book Cal Smith rates near the top of the list.

Red Moore

ERNEST TUBB & CAL SMITH-album: "Together" (First Generation).


D) 1) Thanks A Lot, 2) I'm Walking The Floor Over You, 3) Driftwood On The River, 4) Filipino Baby, 5) I'll Step Aside, 6) Let's Say Goodbye Like We Said Hello, 7) Waltz Across Texas, 8) Try Me One More Time, 9) Soldier's Last Letter, 10) Drivin' Nails In My Coffin.

(J.Joutsi, 19.10.2013): Obviously Cal Smith got a permission to visit the First Generation studio archives and overdub his vocal parts into the original E.Tubb-tapes. Pete Drake produced some vinyl double-albums back then right after Tubb's death with several star-classed visitors. Justin Tubb has later also released his own album full of over-dubbed duets with his dad Ernest.
Now - this sounds very good to me - the news of Cal Smith's death had reached me only a few days ago ~ just before listening to this project for the first time, so here are some sentimental shades, too.

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