Tuesday, January 19, 2010
CARL SMITH, SINGER & FATHER TO CARLENE CARTER
Carl Smith (March 15, 1927-January 16, 2010) is loved by fans of rockabilly and country swing for his 50's hits including "Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way," which began climbing to #1 on the C&W charts in 1951.
1951 was the same year the Tennessee native married June Carter. Many more best-selling songs followed, including "Are You Teasing Me" (1952), "Hey Joe" (1953), "Back Up Buddy" (1954), "Don't Tease Me" and his last track to hit #1, "Loose Talk" (1955). Carl was savvy enough to grab a piece of the music publishing business by starting up Cedarwood/Driftwood Music. In 1955 Carl and June welcomed their daughter into the world, Rebecca Carlene Smith (name-changed to Carlene Carter when she began recording for Warners in the late 70's).
In 1956 Carl took the family to California, hoping for film and TV work. Hollywood did have an impact; his marriage to June ended in 1957. He wed singer Goldie Hill, and that marriage endured until her death in 2005. June Carter went on to marry Johnny Cash.
Carl Smith had some sporadic singles charting in the late 50's and 60's, including "Ten Thousand Drums," "Air Mail to Heaven" and "Deep Water," and had enough fan support to keep Columbia signing him until 1975. After hanging on for a while at Hickory Records, where he just managed to make it into the Top 100 with singles such as "If You Don't Somebody Else Will" and "Show Me a Brick Wall" in 1977, Carl realized he'd hit a wall and it was time to retire. He literally went out to pasture, raising horses on his Nashville farm. He made a brief curtain call in 1983 for the Gusto label, but without success. By that time, Carlene Carter was a pretty big name, as was her husband Nick Lowe (they were married through the 80's).
As the photo above shows, Carlene and her father Carl were always close. For those who only have a distant memory of the man's name, and can't whistle any of his tunes, the download below should help. It's 15 vintage tracks including: Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way, Are You Teasing Me, Don't Tease Me, Hey Joe, Oh No, Oh Stop, Go Boy Go, Satisfaction Guaranteed, Losse Talk, Time's a Wastin', Washing my Dreams in Tears, I Just Don't Care Anymore, No I Don't Believe I Will, If You Want it I've Got it and No Trespassing.
15 from CARL SMITH