Monday, March 09, 2009

Tennessee Ernie Ford

I've always had a soft spot for Tennessee Ernie through my exposure to him via I Love Lucy and The Lucy Show though it was only recently that I actually sat down and listened to his stuff, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked his voice. On the shows, he is in full form as the hillbilly cousin Ernie, and his voice is notably different from his singing voice, which is rich and deep. Ernie Ford has stars in radio, television, and records on the Walk of Fame, and was an entertainer of the classic type. He had a major hit with Merle Travis' "Sixteen Tons," which includes the great line, "Saint Peter, don't you call me, 'cause I can't go;/I owe my soul to the company store." His version is great; the sparse arrangement and Ernie's vocals perfectly complement the fatalistic swagger of the lyrics and music.

While the ambitiously-named "Proper Introduction" seems to be missing "Sixteen Tons," it looks to be a good collection of songs (though the focus is more on the pop/country western stuff than his gospel songs.) Big hits included are "Shotgun Boogie" and "Smokey Mountain Boogie." There's also "Mule Train" and "Hey Good Lookin'," with Helen O'Connell. "Bright Lights and Blond Haired Women" makes me want to call Ernie the crooner of country-western. Check it out!


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