Sign up for newsletter
 

Singer Carl Smith dies at 82

Sunday, January 17, 2010 – Carl Smith, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, known as Mr. Country, died Saturday at 82. He was the former husband of June Carter Cash and Goldie Hill. A honky tonker, who also knew his way around a ballad, Smith was one of country's most successful male artists during the 1950s, accumulating 30 Top 10 hits. No further information about the cause of death was available.

Smith was born March 16, 1927 in Maynardsville, Tenn. As a teenager, Smith learned to play string bass and worked at radio station WROL in Knoxville, Tenn. After graduating high school and serving in the Navy, he returned to the station and played bass for country singers Molly O'Day and Skeets Williamson and began his own singing career. A fellow radio station colleague sent a copy of Smith to radio station WSM in Nashville, which soon signed him to perform on the station. In 1950, Smith inked a record deal with Columbia Records.

Smith told the Tennessean newspaper, "My first job at WSM was six or seven days a week at 5:15 in the morning. The announcer would put me on and then just leave. I started being on the Opry pretty regularly. They didn't say you were a 'member' of the Opry back then. You just were on it or you weren't." Smith later would leave the Opry in 1956.

In 1951, he hit number 2 on the chart with Let's Live a Little. The next year, he had three number ones with Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way, (When You Feel Like You're in Love) Don't Just Stand There and Are You Teasing Me. Hey Joe was number 1 in 1953. The hits continued with Back Up Buddy, Loose Talk, You Are the One and others. His last top 10 was Ten Thousand Drums in 1959.

Smith continued recording, but the hits stopped coming. He stayed with Columbia until 1975, leaving for Hickory Records. By the late 1970s, he retired from music, although he recorded again in 1983 for Gusto Records. During his career, Smith also ventured into Western swing.

Smith entered the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2003, an honor that some said was long overdue. "I appreciate it very much. I was afraid I was going to have to die before this happened," Smith said.

On the personal side, Smith married June Carter, the daughter of Maybelle Carter of Carter Family fame. They had a daughter, Carlene Carter, the country singer. Smith and Carter divorced in 1957. That same year, he married singer Goldie Hill, who died in 2005.

More news for Carlene Carter

CD reviews for Carlene Carter

Carter Girl CD review - Carter Girl
It might have been easier, and certainly less emotionally taxing, had Carlene Carter just recorded a batch of Carter Family songs using vocal muscle memory alone. However, as soon as you hear Carter describing the losses of loved ones during "Lonesome Valley," you realize right away this is not just some sort of capitalization on a revered family name. It's a personal testimony. With expert production help from Don Was and a bevy of country stars and top notch Americana »»»
Stronger CD review - Stronger
When Carlene Carter recorded "Musical Shapes" in 1980, country music was woven into her DNA and pop/rock burned in her untamed heart. The daughter of June Carter and Carl Smith, Carter exuded the traditional conviction that was the hallmark of her lineage and the contemporary verve that was exemplified by her marriage to new wave icon Nick Lowe. Ten years later, Carter's brand of rock-scorched country was topping the charts, but in 1980, "Musical Shapes" barely made a dent. »»»
Hindsight 20/20
"...The whole purpose and point of striving to create music," Carlene Carter says in the liner notes to this compilation, "is to remind us all we're alive." Being alive for Carter means rock 'n roll thrill and country candor. In the'80's, traditionalists like Dolly Parton crossed over into rock and landed in disaster, but Carter mixed genres artfully. Her roots are as much in Sun Studios as in Clinch Mountain. She plays with sharp, spunky musicians, and often matches her easy going twang with the »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Making perfect sense of Striking Matches, The Secret Sisters – The pairing of Striking Matches and The Secret Sisters on tour makes perfect sense. Both are duos, although the Matches are male/female and the Secrets truly are sisters (Rogers is the name, not Secret). Both emphasize keen vocal interplay. And perhaps most importantly, they shared a very famous producer, T Bone Burnett. But when it came to the live... »»»
Concert Review: Whitehorse changes gears – Whitehorse, the Canadian husband-and-wife duo of Melissa McClelland and Luke Doucet, has changed gears. In years past, they were more on the roots side, but you would have scratched your head wondering where that went during their show at what is billed as a folk club. Only Whitehorse couldn't be accused of being folk oriented either in a tour... »»»
Subscribe to Country News Digest Country News Digest      Follow Country Standard Time on twitter CST      Visit Country Standard Time on Facebook CST

Elsewhere in the news

Currently at the CST blogs

Moorer gets "Down to Believing" Allison Moorer packed a lot of living in the past five years leading up to the recently released "Down To Believing." The results are evident throughout the effort, like a light at the end of a tunnel. Writing or co-writing 12 of the 13 tracks, Moorer is fearlessly open and autobiographical. "Even when I try to make them about something or someone else, they always end up being about me. I am the subject that I know best." ... »»»
Thanks to Wills, AATW remains the king After over 40 years of touring and recording as the founder, lead guitar and front-man for Western Swing music's standard-bearers, Asleep At The Wheel, Ray Benson has a lot of irons in the fire these days. In fact, with his TV show Texas Music Scene a hit throughout the southwestern U.S. and touring in support of AATW's new release, "Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys," he is as busy now as ever.... »»»
Pug turns writer's block into "Windfall" In his life and career, Joe Pug has never done anything halfway. So when Pug experienced a crippling lack of creative inspiration after his punishing road schedule to promote 2012's "The Great Despiser," he didn't consider the possibility of taking a short break. Joe Pug was on the verge of throwing in the towel.... »»»
Sundown Over Ghost Town CD review - Sundown Over Ghost Town
It's not an overstatement to say that Eilen Jewell is Johnny Cash reincarnate - at least, that's the sound she puts forth on her seventh album, "Sundown Over Ghost Town." Jewell's melancholy vocals and simplistic instrumentation betray just enough to show each song's depth and autobiographical roots. »»»
Monterey CD review - Monterey
The Milk Carton Kids may be one of the most unlikely Americana contenders of the past few years. Relying solely on dual acoustic guitars and close-knit harmonies, they look and sound like an introspective folk duo circa the mid '60s - think Simon and Garfunkel, Peter and Gordon, or Chad and Jeremy »»»
The Malpass Brothers CD review - The Malpass Brothers
The North Carolina-based Malpass Brothers' passion for the classic country of past decades is nicely displayed on their latest self-titled release. Christopher and Taylor Malpass are most effective when they tackle brotherly harmonies as with covers of the Wilburn Brothers' "Which One Is To Blame" and the Louvin Brothers' "Satan and the Saint," »»»
Banditos CD review - Banditos
It takes a certain raw instinct to make music that's as unhinged and unruly as that purveyed by Banditos. Originally from Alabama and now ensconced in Nashville, this scruffy looking bunch of 20-somethings makes a sound that's wholly raw, raucous and unrefined, a perfect anecdote to the polite, plaintive melodies that defines much of what's typecast as Americana these days. »»»
Della Mae CD review - Della Mae
The time has come to drop the label "female bluegrass band" as applied to Della Mae. With their second, self-titled, Rounder Records release, Della Mae is simply one of the most accomplished bluegrass acts on the circuit. The four Dellas (they are down to a quartet with Mark Schatz standing on bass) have total command of their instruments (vocal and otherwise).  »»»
The Traveling Kind CD review - The Traveling Kind
Listening to Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell sing together on "The Traveling Kind," their second recent duet album together, is like visiting with old friends. Crowell is a seasoned songwriter, while Harris is relatively new - but nevertheless a quick study - to the writing game, and the songwriting is strong on this album, from start to finish. »»»