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Carl Smith

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. Nevertheless, 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 up-tempo 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!" -- appearing 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.

Smith was born and raised in Maynardsville, TN, which was also the hometown of Roy Acuff. As a child, Smith idolized Acuff, Ernest Tubb, and Bill Monroe. When he was a teenager, he taught himself how to play guitar. According to legend, he bought his first guitar with money he earned by selling flower seeds. At the age of 15, he was singing in the San Francisco-based country band Kitty Dibble and Her Dude Ranch Ranglers. Two years later, he learned to play string bass and spent his summer vacation working at WROL, a radio station in Knoxville. After Smith finished high school, he briefly served in the U.S. Navy before heading back home.

Once he returned to Tennessee, he continued to perform at WROL, usually playing bass for Skeets Williamson and Molly O'Day. Eventually, he began singing as well, and one of his colleagues at the station sent an acetate of Smith's singing to WSM in Nashville. WSM signed Smith to a contract, and he began working for the station and singing at the Grand Ole Opry. By 1950, Columbia Records signed Smith to a recording contract. His first hit, "Let's Live a Little," arrived in 1951, climbing all the way to number two. Over the course of the year, he racked up no less than three other hits, including the classic "If Teardrops Were Pennies" and his first number one single, "Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way." Also that year, he married June Carter, the daughter of Maybelle Carter; the two would later divorce, yet they had a daughter named Carlene that would become a musician in her own right during the '70s.

Throughout the '50s, Smith was a consistent presence in the country charts, racking up no less than 31 Top Ten singles during the course of the decade. In addition to recording, he began appearing in Western movies, like 1957's The Badge of Marshal Brennan. In 1956, he resigned from the Grand Ole Opry and joined a package tour organized by Phillip Morris. In 1957, he married country singer Goldie Hill, best-known for the number one hit "I Let the Stars Get in My Eyes."

As the '50s ended, Smith was no longer as dominant in the upper reaches of the country charts as he was earlier in the decade, but he never stopped having hits. During the '60s, he consistently charted in the Top 40, which was indicative of his status as a country music statesman. In 1961, he appeared on ABC's country television series, Four Star Jubilee, and a few years later, he began hosting Carl Smith's Country Music Hall for Canadian television; the series also was syndicated in America. Throughout the '60s and early '70s, he began to incorporate more Western swing into his repertoire, especially on his albums. Smith continued to release albums and singles on Columbia Records until 1975, when he signed with Hickory. After having a handful of minor hits for the label -- including several that were released on ABC/Hickory -- he decided to retire in the late '70s.

Though he recorded an album of his greatest hits in the early '80s, Smith retreated from the spotlight after his 1979 retirement. He and his wife, Goldie, lived on their horse farm outside of Franklin, TN, and the two began to show horses professionally. Hill died in 2005, and Smith followed her early in 2010 after suffering a stroke. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Satisfaction Guaranteed

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Track List: Tudor Organ Music

Composer: John Redford
Title: Exultet Cellum Laudibus, With A Meane (from The Mulliner Book)
Title: Sermone Blando Angelus (from The Mulliner Book)
Composer: John Blitheman
Title: Eterne Rerum For Keyboard From The Mulliner Book, No 51
Title: Christe Qui Lux, For Keyboard (from The Mulliner Book)
Composer: John Redford
Title: Angulare Fundamentum, For Keyboard (from The Mulliner Book)
Title: Te Lucis Ante Terminum, For Keyboard (from The Mulliner Book)
Composer: John Blitheman
Title: Settings (6) Of Gloria Tibi Trinitas, For Keyboard (From The Mulliner Book)
Composer: Anonymous
Title: La Mi La Sol La Mi Gia Vol À 4
Composer: Thomas Tallis
Title: Clarifica Me Pater (I), For Keyboard
Title: Gloria Tibi Trinitas, For Organ
Title: Clarifica Me Pater (II), For Keyboard
Title: Iste Confessor, For Keyboard
Title: Clarifica Me Pater (III), For Keyboard
Composer: Thomas Tomkins
Title: Miserere, For Organ
Title: Clarifica Me Pater, For Keyboard
Title: In Nomine, For Organ
Composer: Anonymous
Title: Felix Namque, For Organ
Title: A Solis Ortus, For Keyboard (from The Mulliner Book)
Composer: John Redford
Title: Primo Dierum Omnium, For Keyboard (from The Mulliner Book)
Title: Settings (3) Of Lucem Tuam, For Keyboard (from The Mulliner Book)

Comments

Always a favourite of ours
I like the music that Carl Smith sing
I thinks it is awesome that he can sing
Hey pandora,if my thumb has so much power ,why have I hit thumbs up 3 times for this song and it still hasn't registered ? Try again my a**!
What a great voice!
I love carl smith.
I was raised up on Carl Smith's music, Also, Webb, Hank, Lefty back when country music was real, This stuff today is no good, I saw Carl in Houston when he was in his Hayday , Thanks Pandora for this good music
Carl Smith is one of the BEST!
1 of the best country singers ever to live
Carl Smith
Is the best
Of of male singers

YOUR FRIEND
WALTER L. McKinnerney


Carl Smith
Is great man
And a great singer

Your friend
Walter L. McKinnerney

I went to see Carl Smith sing I think it was around 1954 and he broke a string on his Guitar. He was a great singer thru his life. I was 18 years old when I saw him. REST IN PEACE CARL.
I didn't know he was drinking buddies with Cash til i read Cash's profile. These guys were before my time. All i have to go off of is Walk the Line and hollywood screws up everything.
abkoep2
thank you for real country music not the garbage that is presented as good old down home today!
alsites2001
Carl, Webb & Hank were my faverett I grew up listing to them Got Carl ,Hay Joe on 78 ,that has the original sound..To days country changed me over to bluegrass..C a n n o t forgot Kitty ,moms faveritt..
I remember when all three of these singers carl smith, faron young, and marty robbins and oh yes, that young sionger elvis startered singing hit after hit and i don't want to forget hank snow ray3
I Liked Carl since I was stationed in Alaska in the fifties.my favoriteIf teardrops were Pennies Did not know he had passed, may he and Goldie rest in peace, I'll miss them.
I've enjoyed Carl's music since a kid on the farm listening to the radio. I really like the fact Pandora allows us to read up on the voices that up until now were just heard and not seen.' His voice is easy to listen to. Today's country should mimic more of the old stars.
garrygerober t s
I've listened to Carl Smith for sixty years and still enjoy his old hits.
Got it all, everything Carl did, lots of 8 track and nothing to play them on. Thanks Pandora, I can hear then here, keep original country going. Awright.
ldean926
Thank you all for your comments on my parents, Carl and Goldie. As long as you keep listening, their memory keeps on. Thank you again.
carl smith, cal smith, charlie walker, billy walker are some of the best true country music ever recorded. The Junk coming out of Nashville is so far from tru ountry that it will never be as listenable as true country. Thank Pandora for taking us back to those joyous good old days. Wetonak Dude.
Ilove tjis radio station. Brings back alot of memories
mschermer1
I knew as a child that Country music was for me. My whole family now listens to country including my 4 and 7 Yr. old grandkids. There is just none other. But the old tunes are still the best.
GOOD OLE MUSIC
I remember listening to the Opry and hearing Carl Smith when I was just a kid. He was hilarious and a super singer and musician and had the best steel guitar player whose first name was Johnny. He and Lefty Frizell and Hank Williams were either one, two or three on every chart at the same time. If you think about that, it puts him in pretty illustrious company. God Bless both Goldie and Carl
balerick42
Carl and Goldie were both on the Grand Ole Opry TV show that was on during the 50's. My parents have the set of episodes in a large boxed dvd set. I don't remember carl and Goldie singing together, but they did appear on several episodes together. He was married to June Carter during that time. We can only guess what may have happened with that love triangle.
balerick42
He was my mother's favorite honky-tonk singer. I grew up on this music. My favorites of his are Hey Joe and There She Goes.
No, Connie Smith isn't Carl's daughter. I believe her maiden name was Meador. Fantastic singer nonetheless.
Never heard a thing on the passing of Carl, what awesome music, thank-you Pandora for letting me hear it all again and again, I agree with Richard, we need to bring this music back
O my gosh , i just finished reading Carl Smith biography, i was so shocked when i read Goldie had died & more schocked to read he died in 2010, I never read nothing about their death, Iloved both of them since the early fifties, i was thinking about writing to them,Ilove his songs , All the great ones are leaving us, loved Faron Young too , Iguess i am telling my age , 75, Love the old 50,s , country music, thanks for a great station , Nancy Harvey
I didn't hear of his passing. May he rest in peace.
We need to bring this music back. Half of Nashville music is way out in left field anymore. As you probably know, Carl passed two weeks ago.
owenrustyfen n e l l 6
Carl Smith lets you appreciate REAL country music.

Is Connie Carl Smith's Daughter?
Carl was my favorite along with Johnny Cash. I wish we had some artist today with this kind of music. Nashville music today is not for me....
Great!
good old-fashione d slow dancing music
I think so to, love the tunes.
He was great, and his daughter is great also.
jakuntz
Love Carl Smith and would like to hear Goldie sing with him, did she ever?Thanks J.K.
one of my favorite singer's---

and your station is the best.
back in the late 40 s and 50s carl smith was one of the sound,s on the juke box though was beer dranking day,s and thay where the best day,s and still is. keep them around .

thank you
kivmaki_3
Carl is one of the greatest. I grew up on his music.
One of our great country stars
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