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Red Sovine

Though he had a long, distinguished career in country music, singer/songwriter and guitarist Red Sovine is best remembered for his earnest, funny, and at times highly sentimental recitations that took the cab of an over-the-road truck for their settings. Born Woodrow Wilson Sovine into an impoverished family in Charleston, WV, he was inspired as a child by WCHS radio musicians Buddy Starcher and Frank Welling. Sovine and his childhood friend Johnnie Bailes joined Jim Pike's Carolina Tar Heels and performed as "Smiley and Red, the Singing Sailors." They appeared briefly on the powerhouse WWVA Jamboree in Wheeling, but Sovine returned to Charleston to get married and took a factory job. He continued to sing on Charleston radio, but his friend Johnnie went on to greater renown as one half of the Bailes Brothers.

Bailes continued to encourage Sovine's efforts, however, and in 1947 he assembled a band called the Echo Valley Boys. After a year of performing in West Virginia Sovine moved to Shreveport, LA, where the Bailes Brothers were performing on KWKH. Sovine's own early morning show snared few listeners, but among his stagemates on the station's Louisiana Hayride show was Hank Williams, who steered Sovine toward a better time slot at WFSA in Montgomery, AL, and toward a contract with MGM Records in 1949. Over the next four years he recorded 28 singles, mostly following in Williams' honky tonk footsteps, that didn't make much of a dent on the charts but did establish him as a solid performer.

Sovine continued to perform on the Hayride and made another valuable friend in fellow performer Webb Pierce, who in the early '50s was just at the beginning of a long string of Top Ten country hits. Pierce convinced Sovine to lead his Wondering Boys band and helped him along toward a contract with Decca in 1954. The following year Sovine cut a duet with Goldie Hill, "Are You Mine?," which peaked in the Top 15, and in 1956 he had his first number one hit when he duetted with Pierce on a cover of George Jones' "Why Baby Why." Sovine had two other Top Five singles that year and joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry. After recording close to 50 sides with Decca by 1959, Sovine signed to Starday and began touring the club circuit as a solo act. In Montana in 1963 Sovine passed on the helping hand given him by older performers when he heard the singing of African-American minor-league baseball player Charley Pride and suggested that he move to Nashville. Sovine opened doors for Pride at Pierce's Cedarwood publishing house, but his own career hit a lull. "Dream House for Sale," which reached number 22 in 1964, came nearly eight years after his last hit.

The genre of the spoken word truck driving song dated back to the late '40s, and Starday featured several specialists on its own roster, but it took several albums before Sovine's emotive baritone voice was paired with trucker material. In 1965, Sovine at last found his niche when he recorded "Giddy-Up Go," which, like most of his other trucker hits, was co-written (with Tommy Hill) by Sovine himself. That story of a father-son truck-stop reunion spent six weeks atop the country charts and even crossed over to become a minor pop hit. Subsequent truck driving hits included the ghost story "Phantom 309" and a tearjerker tale of a disabled child's CB-radio relationship with caring truckers, "Teddy Bear." The last-named song became Sovine's biggest hit since "Giddy-Up Go," spending three weeks at the top of the country charts in 1976 and reaching number 40 on the pop charts. Sovine followed up "Teddy Bear" with "Little Joe," a tale of a blinded trucker and his devoted canine friend which became his last big hit. Sovine died in 1980 after suffering a heart attack while driving his van. ~ James Manheim, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

I remember my Mom picking me up after school at Blanchard Elementary and taking me to Hope Hughes Grocery Store to hear Red Sovine and the Syrup Soppers sponsored by Johnny Fair Syrup. Hard to get the classic country stations to get past on 2-3 of this records
gjokaj2255
One of the best country musicians out there!
I remember Red Sovine's songs I would play them all the time when I drove over the road back in the 70's. He was a true artist.
My grandmother played his music every day as I was small boy and I still l play his music when I can .
he's good
My Uncle who was a truck driver for many years of my life used to let me listen to his tapes and Red was my ultimate favorite...s a d l y my uncle passed from Cancer and these songs always take me back to sitten in his lap and listening to Teddy bear. Or daddy's girl.
wish you had a station that played only red sovine
Red Sovine was simply the BEST!!!
This is the heart and soul of real country music.
Giddy up go is my favorite song but it is sad
slw3115
Reds songs always make me thing of younger years sitting around the table drinking hamms beer, playing tonk and playing spoons!!!!
a1983heartbe a t 1
Red you shall always be missed as one of the greats of country music who didn't get the credit you deserved here on earth. But I bet in heaven you are singing your heart out and everyone is loveing it.
These songs always capture the spirit of the heart!
Red always hits the heart!!!!!
i like him
ds2465
www.sterling m o v i e f a c t o r y . c o m
dadsrr
I have always liked Red's songs. I think that I not only like him for his story telling but also because his voice sounds exactly like my Dad's. When my Dad tells a story, it sounds like one of Red's stories. I find that I think of Dad when I hear one of Red's songs. And yes, tears form in my eyes.
one of the few good memories of my dad that I have are the trucker songs he'd play. especially red sovine. dad is still alive just dont have anything to do with each other.
Red is THE MAN!!!!
one of the best songs from red sovine "teddy Bear"
Love that " Freightliner Fever."
Red Sovine's "Daddy I Love You" is playing at a good time on Pandora
carouselchic k 0 6 8
My dad use to love listening to Red sovine and in time got to know his songs aswell and there are so many that I like but the one that is dearest to my heart I'd say Is Daddy's Girl
phipps.josep h 7
I have been a red sovine fan since i was a little boy he is the best at making you feel sad at your best my hole family drives trucks and he got me threw a lot of long nights.
jeffmxwell
Giddy up go Daddy Giddy Up Go
jphowell2001
This is one of the best artists ever.I love his songs.
The music from RED keeps me company when I'm driving my big rig around.
Little ROSA IS MY FAVORIT SINCE I WAS A LITTLE BOY, ONE OF THE GREATEST SINGER OF ALL TIMES.
THANKS FOR THE WONDERFULL SONGS.
one of the best county artist. he'll make you cry with the purity of true life stories.
mcnapper1
I can remember the big eight track tapes that I carried in the cab of my truck forty years ago. One of them was my favorite... you guessed it, Red Sovine. Man I loved Phantom 309, and Teddy Bear made me cry almost everytime that I played it. I just retired from the field of teaching May 31, 2010 and the song that I was thinking about was...Giddy Up Go. hehehe. I had an old 1951 LJ Mack dressed up to the hilt. Believe me when I say that both stacks would draw fire and blow black smoke... Every
red sovine is the greatest storyteller every. remembering the stories he told as we were driving down the road was one of the best parts of road trip vacations
I remember being a little girl and going over the road with him and listening to Red Sovine... good ol days : )
Phantom 309 is one of the greatest songs ever done & no one better to do it than Red Sovine. A1++++++++++ + + + + + + +
The king of the sentimental story song. No one better.
what an artist...... . . . . . . . . . . . . .
I love Red Sovine's song Teddy Bear. What an artist!
Every Song that Red Sovine sings has a meaning to it. I love the song "Teddy Bear" I love all of his songs. He puts lots of feeling in them.
great songs this man sings---
Damm Good
Thank you for your time, to help us old truckers go back in time with ours long ago days of driving. God Bless you frend.
I love every song I have heard Red Sovine sing, He is awsome
Say what you will,but in my opinion Phantom 309 was his best.
granpawsgirl
i love red sovine
snickerdoodl e s 5 7 says most all of his music touches a chord.
i believe he is the best sad song singer ever, he knows how to tell a story with music.
lizbiz_97756
I would like to listen to a single by Red Sovine called "My Little Rat". Does anyone know how I/where I could listen to this?
who wouldn't like a song named for them?...good job Red

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