ERNEST TUBB (1923-1984)
(Jukka Joutsi, March 2009 ~ latest additions: 15.12.2014)

A) 'Ernest Tubb Mailbox':

(Misty C, Nashville - 18.6.2008): Reasons to go to the Ernest Tubb Record Shop:
1. The incredibly cheesy, kitschy, and reasonably-priced knick-knacks. Thimbles, snow globes, floaty pens, straw hats, and more. It's that kind of place that you are pretty sure has not changed a bit since it opened. Granted, they have moved on to carrying CDs, but you get the idea that they probably were reluctant to do so when the time came... Insisting cassettes were way better.
2. Getting your photo taken either beside or on the original "Midnight Jamboree" stage where Ernest Tubb, Loretta Lynn and many other legends sang every Saturday night after the Grand Ole Opry "back in the day".
3. The staff. They eat, sleep and breathe country music. REAL country music... Hank Williams, Ray Price, Kitty Wells... You get the idea. They are extremely helpful in locating hard-to-find items. They have a huge mail order operation as well. The Ernest Tubb Record Shop might possibly have the last real "catalog" on earth where people actually send in a check or money order with their order form. They also have an online store for those who have moved into the internet age.
4. The location. Buy a few classics like "Johnny Cash at San Quentin", "Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music" by Ray Charles, maybe some Bob Wills, Flatt & Scruggs, or Buck Owens. Then go complete your day by having a cold beer at the Bluegrass Inn or Robert's.
There you have it. Ernest Tubb Record Shop = THE destination for hard core country & western fans. Also, the shop is a great tourist destination as well. Their outdoor sign is a well-known photo op location, because it is one of the oldest and most recognizable landmarks on Broadway.
One last hint: Head out to their Music Valley location on Saturday night for the Midnight Jamboree. This live radio show has been running continuously on the radio for over 60 years (second only to the Grand Ole Opry). It's free and often full of characters.

(Kevin E, England - 28.10.2011): Was 'Walking The Floor Over You' Ernest Tubb's biggest hit?

(JJ, 29.10.2011): First we should specify the expression 'biggest hit' - Ernest recorded 'Walking the Floor Over You' already in 1941 and Billboard's 'official' country music charts started only in 1944. That's why we can't use the system 'how many weeks it was number one in country charts'.
Ernest's 'Soldier's Last Letter' was #1 hit for four weeks in a row in 1944 and any of his later recordings couldn't beat that. I am quite sure 'Walking The Floor Over You' has sold a lot more copies than 'Soldier's Last Letter', however. At least 'Walking The Floor Over You' was his 'biggest career hit song'.

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


C) 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 piece of 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.

C) ('Legacy', August 2009): Jimmie Rodgers’ influence on Tubb’s music was perhaps too pronounced in those early years. Tubb struggled to emerge from the stylistic shadow of his idol, going so far as to choose the tribute song “The Passing of Jimmie Rodgers” as his first release. His early recordings tanked.
Then in 1939, another setback arrived as Tubb learned he would have to undergo a potentially voice-altering tonsillectomy. In one of those odd twists of fate you often find in showbiz success stories, what could have been a career-ending moment provided the impetus for his big breakthrough.
The operation changed his voice (making it impossible to ape Rodgers’ yodel) and forced him to concentrate on his songwriting and develop his own vocal style. What emerged was a plaintive, more straightforward approach to singing, one that made up in warmth and personality what it lacked in range and technical precision.
“As much as I loved Ernest, he was never a singer,” fellow musician Danny Dill told biographer Ronnie Pugh. “But communicate! Nobody else I ever saw except [Hank] Williams onstage could communicate what he was feeling as well as well as Ernest.”

After leaving RCA for Decca records in 1940, Tubb finally had a hit record with “Walking the Floor Over You.” He moved to Nashville not long after, bringing with him what was coming to be known as honky-tonk music – a stripped down style of Western swing popularized in the roughneck bars of Texas and Oklahoma where Tubb cut his teeth.
Tubb’s band The Texas Troubadours became the first act to use an electric guitar at the Grand Ole Opry, and his songs emphasized guitarist Jimmy Short’s simple, single-string melodic guitar lines instead of the layers of fiddles and jazzy compositional flourishes favored by most country musicians popular at the time.
This back-to-the-basics approach would be a big influence on later country artists like Hank Williams, Ray Price, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and George Strait. Despite Tubb finally discovering his sound, his recording career was momentarily stalled by factors beyond his control, one being a musicians' union strike in 1943, another being a wartime shortage of shellac that meant not enough records could be produced to satisfy the growing demand. But beginning in 1946 he released a string of hit songs, outselling every artist on Decca except Bing Crosby.

His newfound and hard-won stardom earned him silver screen roles in B movies like The Fighting Buckaroo and Hollywood Barn Dance. And in 1947, Tubb helped legitimize his artform by becoming the first country artist to headline at Carnegie Hall. It’s thanks in part to Tubb’s efforts that we even refer to the genre as country music, as he lobbied music publications to use that appellation rather than the pejorative “hillbilly music” many favored.
He also helped convince them to create a separate sales category for country and western that lasts to this day in the form of the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Indeed, much of Tubb’s legacy resides outside the actual music he produced. The record store he opened in 1947 remains a Nashville landmark, and it was there he hosted the one-hour “Midnight Jamboree” radio show.
Always thankful for the help he’d had along the way, Tubb used his radio program to give many up-and-coming Nashville acts broader exposure.

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