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Carl Smith - 1959
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I had the pleasure of seeing Carl Smith in person in 1959. We were at Camdeb Park in Hunnington, WV.. my Ma, Aunt Louise, my cousing Verna Jean and myself. I was six years old and saw all of the teenagers going up on stage to get his autograph and wanted to go so badly. While my Ma wasn't looking, my Aunt Louise gave Verna Jean and I each 50 cents so we could talk to this handsome star and get his autographed photo.

BORN: March 15, 1927, Maynardsville, TN

Known as "Mr. Country," Carl Smith was one of the most popular honky tonkers of the '50s, racking up over 30 Top Ten hits over the course of the decade. Smith was also able to sustain that popularity into the late '70s, during which time he had a charting single for every year except one. Smith had a talent for singing smooth ballads which polished the rough edges of hardcore country. Neverthless, he could sing pure honky tonk with the best of them, and his hardest country was made tougher by the addition of a drum kit.  Smith was one of the very first country artists to regularly perform with a drummer, and though it earned him criticism at the time, the hard-driving sound of those uptempo numbers proved to be influential. Smith also occasionally dabbled in Western Swing, and as he continued to record, he delved deeper into the genre. Since he specialized in honky tonk ballads and western swing, Smith rarely crossed over into the pop audience. Still, he was one of the most popular and best-known country singers of his era, recording several
classics -- including "Let's Live a Little," "Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way," "This Orchard Means Goodbye," "Cut Across Shorty," "Loose Talk," "(When You Feel like You're in Love) Don't Just Stand There" and "Hey Joe!" -- appeaing in a handful of movies, and hosting his own television show. By the time he retired in the early '80s, he had hit the country charts nearly 100 times.

(Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide)

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