Singer Carl Smith dies at 82
Sunday, January 17, 2010
– Carl Smith, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, known as Mr. Country, died Saturday at 82. He was the former husband of June Carter Cash and Goldie Hill. A honky tonker, who also knew his way around a ballad, Smith was one of country's most successful male artists during the 1950s, accumulating 30 Top 10 hits. No further information about the cause of death was available.
Smith was born March 16, 1927 in Maynardsville, Tenn. As a teenager, Smith learned to play string bass and worked at radio station WROL in Knoxville, Tenn. After graduating high school and serving in the Navy, he returned to the station and played bass for country singers Molly O'Day and Skeets Williamson and began his own singing career. A fellow radio station colleague sent a copy of Smith to radio station WSM in Nashville, which soon signed him to perform on the station. In 1950, Smith inked a record deal with Columbia Records.
Smith told the Tennessean newspaper, "My first job at WSM was six or seven days a week at 5:15 in the morning. The announcer would put me on and then just leave. I started being on the Opry pretty regularly. They didn't say you were a 'member' of the Opry back then. You just were on it or you weren't." Smith later would leave the Opry in 1956.
In 1951, he hit number 2 on the chart with Let's Live a Little. The next year, he had three number ones with Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way, (When You Feel Like You're in Love)
Don't Just Stand There and Are You Teasing Me. Hey Joe was number 1 in 1953. The hits continued with Back Up Buddy, Loose Talk, You Are the One and others. His last top 10 was Ten Thousand Drums in 1959.
Smith continued recording, but the hits stopped coming. He stayed with Columbia until 1975, leaving for Hickory Records. By the late 1970s, he retired from music, although he recorded again in 1983 for Gusto Records. During his career, Smith also ventured into Western swing.
Smith entered the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2003, an honor that some said was long overdue. "I appreciate it very much. I was afraid I was going to have to die before this happened," Smith said.
On the personal side, Smith married June Carter, the daughter of Maybelle Carter of Carter Family fame. They had a daughter, Carlene Carter, the country singer. Smith and Carter divorced in 1957. That same year, he married singer Goldie Hill, who died in 2005.
More news for Carlene Carter
CD reviews for Carlene Carter
When Carlene Carter recorded "Musical Shapes" in 1980, country music was woven into her DNA and pop/rock burned in her untamed heart. The daughter of June Carter and Carl Smith, Carter exuded the traditional conviction that was the hallmark of her lineage and the contemporary verve that was exemplified by her marriage to new wave icon Nick Lowe. Ten years later, Carter's brand of rock-scorched country was topping the charts, but in 1980, "Musical Shapes" barely made a dent. »»»
"...The whole purpose and point of striving to create music," Carlene Carter says in the liner notes to this compilation, "is to remind us all we're alive." Being alive for Carter means rock 'n roll thrill and country candor.
In the'80's, traditionalists like Dolly Parton crossed over into rock and landed in disaster, but Carter mixed genres artfully. Her roots are as much in Sun Studios as in Clinch Mountain. She plays with sharp, spunky musicians, and often matches her easy going twang with the »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk
When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Steve Earle doesn't rest (on laurels)
If you didn't realize Steve Earle had a new disc out, "The Low Highway," it would have been no problem realizing that quite and quickly.
That was because Earle started the two-hour show with three straight tracks from "The Low Highway," and he would not be done for the night. The title track of was a midtempo effort... »»»
Concert Review: The Howlin' Brothers leave the radar behind
The Howlin' Brothers - this trio, in reality, contains no brothers - are about eight years into their career and on their fifth album. To say they've been under the radar screen may be an understatement. You couldn't even say they've been flying under that screen because they have stuck very close to their Nashville environs.... »»»
Country News Digest
Elsewhere in the news
Currently at the CST blogs
Some folks listening to Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison's new duet album, "Cheaters Game," may well exclaim, 'Well, it's about time!' after finally hearing these two talented country singer/songwriters recording music as a pair for the first time. Willis has built quite a following for her independently-minded feminine perspective, while Robison has written hits for the Dixie Chicks (Travelin' Soldier
) and Tim McGraw and Faith Hill (Angry All the Time
), as well as penning the ultimate Willie Nelson tribute, What Would Willie Do?
and recording it as a solo act.
Last fall, singer/songwriter Steve Forbert dropped the 14th studio album of his 35-year career, the impeccable "Over With You." Critics recognized the album as a return to the form Forbert displayed on his earliest works - 1978's stripped back and personal "Alive on Arrival" and 1979's more lushly produced and commercially accessible "Jackrabbit Slim" - but the fact is that Forbert has never strayed far from their basic folk/rock tenets.... »»»
Over the course of the past 20 years or so, Jim Lauderdale and Buddy Miller have both experienced a certain rise in their respective rootsy country profiles. Miller has become one of Nashville's hottest speed dial numbers, as an artist, a guitarist-for-hire (a role he has performed for Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris and Robert Plant, among others) and an intuitive producer (he's currently working with Executive Music Producer T Bone Burnett to provide the soundtrack for ABC's "Nashville" television series).... »»»
"Wilderness" is another twisted menagerie of The Handsome Family songs. Once again, husband Brett Sparks sings their songs, sometimes in a bellowing gravedigger voice, after adding music to wife Rennie's lyrics. This time out, each and every tune is named after an animal, insect or other such nature creature. However, Rennie studies animals the way Flannery O'Connor wrote about humans, which is with the weirdness and character flaws in primary focus. »»»
Love Is Everything
George Strait may have reached his seventh decade, but he shows zero signs of slowing down. In fact, Strait seems to be getting even more consistent as he gets older. Strait doesn't stray all that far from the formula that has resulted in superstar status. First and foremost, that means his sonorous voice is mixed far above the music, a very good thing. »»»
Dark Dirty Mile
Jason Boland and the Stragglers have released a new country album that sounds old. This isn't to imply that the sound is aged in a negative way; they have a classic country maturity that isn't heard too much these days with the exception of Jamey Johnson. For those not familiar with the music of Boland, the first track is a great way to decide whether this is your kind of country music. The title track is a mid tempo country song reminiscent of the late Waylon Jennings. »»»