Thursday, August 19, 2010


Stuart Hamblen (October 20, 1908-March 8, 1989), was best loved for writing and singing religious songs, including "This Ole House." Born in Texas, where they loved to go walkin' the bass, young Stuart toured the South with his father, an itinerant preacher. Though he earned a college degree, the wanderlust remained. He kept up the life of a touring singer, till he settled in California where he starred on his own radio series "Cowboy Church of the Air" and began to make movies.

Hamblen was such an exponent of pure Americana that in 1952 he ran for President (on the Prohibition Party). A follower of Evangelist preacher Billy Graham, Hamblen favored gospel songs, and his sturdy, rather Disney-esque voice rang out on "The Old Rugged Cross" in 1954 as well as"When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder," and "In the Sweet By and By." He made enough money to buy Errol Flynn's home, which he eventually sold to Rick Nelson circa 1980, when the ole house full of Hamblens had become an emptier nest.

Aside from the religious material, Hamblen recorded cowboy lore, the poems of Robert Service, and tunes about such legends as the feuding Hatfields and McCoys, the subject of the download below. Shootin' a McCoy or a Hatfield? Well, some people need buckshot in their britches or a punch in the snoot, because it's better to knock off a lowdown blood sucker than end up with high blood pressure.

So here's the jolly ditty about the attempt to hang Ol' Zab Hatfield. It's got Stuart's thunderous delivery (the guy must've needed Brawny paper towels during his juicy times in front of a microphone) as well as a goofy bass vocalist of the Thurl Ravenscroft variety and a silly chorus crying "ooh, sadness…ooh sadness…" If you've got a soft spot in your head for Chill Wills, Eddy Arnold or the world of Li'l Abner, you just might find this item from Stu a squinty Dinty stew of all those and more.

Tryin' to Hang Ol' Zab - Stuart Hamblen

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