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Date News Posted: March 23, 2010

Carl Smith is gone at 82, One of the top singers of those great 50’s years.

In California Freddie Hart was pretty much of an unknown at the time when he recorded “Loose Talk” but it was starting to take off for him when Carl recorded it and zippppppppppp Carl took it all the way up the ladder but surprisingly it really gave Freddie’s career a boost.  Carl was born in Maynardsville, Tennessee March the 15th 1927.  Carl Charted nationally over the years 69 times from June 1951 to February 1972>>”Loose Talk” as we mentioned before stayed in the charts for 32 straight weeks.  Always looking sharp and well dressed on the Grand Ole Opry as were most of the others and not a hair out of place, that was Carl Smith.

I believe a lot of today’s artists shop at Goodwill or wear hand me downs.  When I turn on Crook & Chase and one of their guests is wearing shower shoes and holes in the knees of their jeans it makes me believe they are too far above normal people to even think about impressing anyone.  I just turn um off, I don’t care if they can sing like Merle Haggard (which nobody can do that anyway) but you know what I mean.

Now let’s get back to the “Goodwill” for a second.  I sure never meant to insinuate they are not a good store, I shop there myself, I sit on the floor of our “Goodwill” store for hours sometimes looking through old records, I sat there one day for 4 hours and all I found was a Gordon Terry album, and it was sure worth it, I loved ole Gordon’s music.

I can tell you this, anyone that would pay from forty dollars to a hundred and twenty dollars a show to see anyone on the stage dressed like a rag man are crazier than me. All I ever saw of Jean Shepard when she was on stage was a pretty face, most of today’s girl singers are showing me stuff my mamma would have slapped the poop outa me if she caught me looking at something like that.  When my little grandson is over here watching TV with me, I put a bag over his head.

I wanna’ tell ye folks, I am really proud of Carolina Cotton’s daughter, she has searched the world and found cuts on her Mom and has just released the second album on the “Blond Bombshell” Carolina Cotton.

Some of the cuts are from Carolina’s radio days, others with her ‘in studio’ recordings, others are with her singing in some of those great old cowboy movies, our old friend Eddie Dean thought Carolina Cotton was the cats meow, she was a pretty lady that sure knew how to sing and yodel .

Now inside the CD case is a booklet where Sharon Marie (Carolina’s daughter) has done her best to put as much information as she could find about every cut in the album, this Volume 2 album has 21 cuts so if you buy it you will get your money’s worth.  You can find Sharon Marie’s and Carolina Cotton’s web site at  

Here is a story no one reading this will believe. Most of us old country boys love pork and beans especially after just watching an old western when all them boys were sitting around a camp fire with a big pot of beans simmering on the fire, um-um.

Well of all the pork and beans I have ever bought and ate not once ‘till yesterday did I ever find any pork in them beans, BUT yesterday I pulled the lid off a can, threw them over the fire (now days called a microwave oven) and got um good and hot.  I was down almost to the last bite (and this is the part you ain’t gonna believe) right there under the last two beans was the best lookin’ little piece of pork you ever did see, now mind ye it was not big enough to make a sandwich out of but just the thrill of seeing it there made my day.

During the 70s years when we did a lot of record promoting,  playlists and radio top fifty charts came to us from all of the U.S. and Canada.  We would get letters for Lefty Frizzell records, Red Simpson records, Freddie Hart Records  and just about ever other artist that worked from the west coast.  The charts like we said came from Texas to Canada and from California to New York, North Carolina, Alabama and Georgia, and after all these years we have kept hundreds of them in a file cabinet.

Here are a few of them.

From CKGY in Alberta Canada “My Woman’s Man” Freddie Hart January the 26th 1975. #1.

#11 was Cal Smith & “It’s Time To Pay The Fiddler”

“Singing In The Kitchen” was #15 with Bobby Bear

And #20 was Red Steagall  with “Someone Cares For You” 

These and everything in between was solid country.

From KPOK in Portland, Oregon on February the 17th 1975 the number one song was, Jeanne Pruett and “Just Like Your Daddy”

The number 7 song went to one of our all time favorite singers Kenny Price and “Easy Look”

#14 was “The Bargain Store” with Dolly Parton

& Bob Luman was coming up the charts at # 37 with “Proud Of You Baby” 

In those days we knew what was coming when the needle hit the vinyl but the DJ always said before or after the song he played & sometimes both, here is Hank Snow and “Movin’ On” (or whatever it was) now days it’s just one record after the other and since they all sound alike these days if you ‘did’ hear something you liked and might buy you wouldn’t know who it was because the DJ ain’t a gonna tell ye, he has to get another song playin’ because that’s what they advertise .... twenty songs an hour non-stop, figure out for yourself who it is.      

Oh well, go dig out your old records, throw another log on the fire and listen to Johnny and Jack.

I guess I figured it out, they are not playing Country Music these days for you and me, watch the front rows of concerts these young guys and gals are doing these days, what do you see and hear? Young people screaming and jumping up and down like it was the Rolling Stones. When Hank Williams walked out on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry you could hear a pin drop when he finished it was like thunder had hit, I think the word would be “Respect”.

RFD TV and the “Family Reunion” show is the only show in modern day times that a person who really loves “Country Music” can enjoy, can smile, can cry and feel a chill in your bones when Little Jimmy Dickens sings “Ragged Ann”.

Bart Connell and Russell Sims have got a few things planed for the next few weeks. Russ who has been in the country music business before popcorn was invented has got one hot artist working by the name of Steve Warner who is already booked up for months to come.

If the good Lord willin’ and the creeks don’t rise we are hoping he can do the same with Bart.

Bart is just an outstanding ‘real’ country music singer,  his album is second to none and we know everything in the future will be right up there with the best of the best.

For all of those who have asked us how to get in touch with Ivan Jessie Curtis’ family, the answer is I don’t know, we tried calling all of the numbers we have but, “nothing”.  This is a real shame because so many of you would still like to buy his paintings (or copies thereof) that it would not only bring in a few dollars for the family but expose Ivan’s art work to more and more people.

Anyway who has ever seen one of Ivan’s pictures knows they are holding a piece of western history in their hands, our old friend Walter Brennan Jr. who is a great artist in his own right said about Ivan Jessie “He is one of the best I have ever seen". Ivan had a way to make the old west and all the great old cowboys come alive, SO ‘till our phone rings and one of the family members call us with a new number we don’t have a clue.

Somebody that really loves “Country Music” had better start figuring out a way to make Bill Mack live forever, you need to reach doctors all over the world, we know that some of the good foreign countries have discovered ways to heal people, have discovered ways for longer life and some say they have the answer to healing cancer, and I am not saying Bill has cancer I am saying make him live longer, say to about a hundred and sixty, otherwise you can grab both ankles and kiss your butt and country music goodbye, you might want to add Willie Nelson to the longer life page because his radio station and ole Willie still singing real country music is about the caboose on the train.

Packing old country records the other day really brought back some great names and memories, names that today’s country music DJs wouldn’t know if it was tattooed on their arms, names like Autry Inman. Jack Reno, Bobby Austin, Bill Carter, Glen Shirley, Dick Feller, Fred Carter JR, Harlan Sanders, Warner Mack, Johnny Seay  and we could make this list a mile long and they still never heard of these guys and wouldn’t play them if the did, that’s why you need to find a long life pill for Bill Mack.

I thought last year when I had my operation that all was going to work out and we (my brother and I) could make the move to Kentucky with the record store and museum without any more problems, so we started looking for a truck big enough to haul it all at least most of it and if another trip was necessary then so be it, and things were looking good.

I was looking for a truck in California, my brother was looking in Washington, he found one, it had been a bread truck, clean as a whistle and big enough to haul a lot of records, we bought it, he drove it to California where I was going to start loading it.

The next day after he got here he had a stroke, twenty minutes later we had him in the hospital where he stayed for a week, they finally released him but the doctors said he could not fly so we got him a berth on the train straight up the coast to Tacoma and his stop in Lacey, no problems. Then two days later he went to see his doctor in Puyallup for a check up and they told him he had cancer, at 3:45 today March the 23rd. 2010 he will be at the hospital in Puyallup and will know the extent of the cancer, what happens today will make or break our move to Kentucky.

Moving all of our records, pictures, posters, country art, a few suits, and everything else we collected in our life time back to our little hometown in Kentucky has been a dream of both my brother and myself for many years. We have a nice building right on the highway bought and paid for, and at this point in our life if God doesn’t open the door then we will never enter the building again.

Cal Smith called the other day, we talked for about a half hour or so. At the time, when Cal had songs on every country music chart in the world and I would have known him better back then I would have promoted him forever for free, I have never known another more caring or loving man in this world then Cal Smith.  He doesn’t sing much anymore but he has a world of music in his heart and is enjoying life with the sweetest lady you could ever meet, her name is Darlene, she thinks my brother is funny (I thought I was). 

Anyway if you really like Country Music stop by a record store this week and ask them to order a Cal Smith CD for you or I am sure you can find several Cal Smith Albums on Amazon and never leave your house so order one and a few days later (Amazon is fast) Cal Smith (or you could just call him the Country Bumpkin)  will be at your front door.  We love ye Cal & Darlene.

That’s going to do it for now, needless to say I have got a lot on my mind and I pray it all works out.  So we’ll see ye later but just in case we don’t, take care of yourself.


Don Bradley

Country Classics


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