ERNEST TUBB ON TELEVISION
Bear Family Release Historic 1960s Shows on DVD Take a trip back in time and see country music as it was on television in the mid 1960s. No big spectacular production, no glitzy sets – just honest-to-goodness country music the way the fans liked it. Country music was no stranger to television and, throughout the previous decade, had been presented in the “barn dance” setting that was already a proven winner with radio audiences – a large regular cast, some guests and often shot in a large auditorium. But things changed when Porter Wagoner arrived on the small screen in 1961, with his show focused on the star and his band, a few guests and recorded in a studio with minimal props. The viewers loved it and other artists looking to broaden their audience horizons quickly followed suite, among them Buck Owens, the Wilburn Brothers, Billy Walker, Del Reeves and Flatt & Scruggs.
There was also Ernest Tubb. His show was launched in 1965 – a truly memorable year for the Texas Troubadour as, after over 30 years in the business (and 25 on Decca Records) - he became the sixth inductee into
Nashville’s prestigious Country Music Hall of Fame.
The show was produced by Hal Smith (Tubb’s manager and co-founder of Pamper Music) with shows filmed four-at-a-time at the WSIX-TV studios in Nashville. Accompanying Tubb and the regular guests were The Texas Troubadours, going through their hottest period with the much acclaimed line-up of Buddy Charleton (steel guitar), Jack Drake (bass), Leon Rhodes (guitar). Jack Greene (drums) and Cal Smith (guitar), the last two on the threshold of their own solo careers. At the start of 1967 Steve Chapman replaced Rhodes who went on to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry house band as well as working numerous recording sessions.
The regular cast of the show comprised veteran fiddler/vocalist Wade Ray; Lois Johnson, who would be charting records by the end of the decade; pop/gospel quartet The Johnson Sisters; and, for a spot of Southern comedy, Bun Wilson. The show also had a co-host – a clean shaven, smartly attired singer/songwriter named Willie Nelson. But it wasn’t a role that particularly suited him as Ernest Tubb later recalled in an interview with Hairl Hensley. “Willie was my co-star on that show, and the producer kept after me to get Willie to say something. I said ‘you get him to say something, I can’t’. Willie’s a great singer but he didn’t have just a whole lot of exuberance on TV”.
He left the show in 1967 and, rather than seeking a replacement, more time was given to Greene and Smith. Although bootleg copies of the series have been in circulation over the years, eight episodes are now officially released by Bear Family Records (artist and song details are listed below) on two DVDs.
Shot on a single stage, and with the camera focussing square on the artist (with the occasional tracking to band members), The Ernest Tubb Show was no flashy production. It was the music that counted!
The main attraction, of course, is ET himself and, during the course of these two DVDs, gets to sing 18 songs including his chart successes Waltz Across Texas, Thanks A Lot, Have You Ever Been Lonely and Seaman’s Blues, alongside classics Your Cheating Heart and In The Jailhouse Now, the latter being associated with Jimmie Rodgers, the legend that was Tubb's inspiration. On one show he also introduced his 9 year old son Tinker Tubb and, between the music, finds time for a spot of humourous conversation with Bun Wilson who, incidentally, was the Troubadours’ first official drummer back in 1960.
In addition to backing their bossman, and the other artists, The Texas Troubadours feature in their own rights, with spotlight turned upon steelman Buddy Charleton presenting an instrumental or Leon Rhodes showing his vocal skills while uprising stars Jack Greene and Cal Smith's performances include There Goes My Everything and All The World Is Lonely Now in their respective repertoires.
Willie Nelson might not have been a talkative co-host but he had no problem with his distinctive singing styling on the shows that he appeared, conjuring up images of his native Texas with such as San Antonio Rose and My Window Faces The South as well performing One Day At A Time and Lonely Little Mansion among his original material. Wade Ray, the "old pug nosed fidder" who began his career in the 1920s, had headed up his own western swing band and, after the tv shows, joined Nelson's band as a bass player. Here he shows off his considerable talents as both fiddler and vocalist.
Lois Johnson, yet to achieve hit status, performed classics like A Legend in my Time and Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain, or joining forces with the Johnson Sisters (no relation) on Ride Ride Ride among other songs. The sisters also had their own spots as well as providing the occasional vocal backup to the other artists. And, like the majority of country shows, there was always a gospel song included.
The Ernest Tubb Show ceased production in 1968 after 139 episodes, although it continued in re-runs for several years. Details of the show’s history, together with mini-biographies and photographs of the artists, is told in the full colour 16 page booklet that accompanies each DVD. The text is penned by Nashville journalist Randy Fox.
Other Ernest Tubb releases available from Bear Family Records:Walking the floor Over You (complete recordings 1939-47) (8 cd box set with 40 page book) – BCD 15853 HILet’s say Goodbye Like We Said Hello (complete recordings 1947-53) (5 cd box set with 32 page book) – BCD 15498 EHThe Yellow Rose of Texas (complete recordings 1954-60) (5 cd box set with 32 page book) – BCD 15688 EIWaltz Across Texas (complete recordings 1961-66) (6 cd box set with 44 page book) – BCD 15929 FIAnother Story (complete records 1966-75) (6 cd box set with 40 page book) – BCD 15935 FIThirty Days: Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight (cd with 32 page booklet) – BCD 16866 AH
For more information on these and other Bear Family releases, please contact Yvonne Saunders at Rollercoaster Records, Rock House, London Road, St. Mary’s, Stroud, Glos GL6 8PU. phone: 01453 886252; fax: 01453 885361; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Please note that Bear Family Records are imports and product is made available for media use at a special price. For more details, please contact Rollercoaster (as above).
Complete artist and song track listing on The Ernest Tubb TV Shows:
WALKING THE FLOOR OVER YOU: THE ERNEST TUBB SHOWS (Part 1) (Bear Family DVD - BCD 20123 AT)SHOW #62 – Theme: Walking The Floor Over You • Ernest Tubb: There's No Room In My Heart (For The Blues) • Jack Greene & The Johnson Sisters: There Goes My Everything • Wade Ray: Ragtime Annie • Willie Nelson & The Johnson Sisters: One Day At A Time • Bun Wilson: Comedy • Leon Rhodes: Honey Fingers • Lois Johnson: A Legend In My Time • Ernest Tubb: Your Cheatin' Heart • Willie Nelson: I Never Cared For You • Wade Ray & The Johnson Sisters: Wonderful Words Of Life SHOW #64 – Theme: Walking The Floor Over You • Ernest Tubb: Thanks A Lot • Wade Ray: (Won't You Ride In) My Little Red Wagon • Willie Nelson: My Window Faces The South • Bun Wilson: Comedy • Buddy Charleton: Cool It • Lois Johnson: Lovin' Lies • Ernest Tubb: Another Story, Another Time, Another Place • Tinker Tubb: Come On And Sing • Willie Nelson: You Left Me A Long, Long Time Ago • Jack Greene: King Of KingsSHOW #67 – Theme: Walking The Floor Over You • Ernest Tubb: Need Attention Bad • Lois Johnson: Walk On By • Willie Nelson: You Made Me Live, Love And Die • Bun Wilson: Comedy • Wade Ray: Ole Joe Clark • Ernest Tubb: Thoughts Of A Fool • Johnson Sisters: Muskrat Ramble • Cal Smith: Time Changes Everything • Willie Nelson & The Johnson Sisters: Who At My Door Is Standing SHOW #82 – Theme: Walking The Floor Over You • Ernest Tubb: Seaman's Blues • Cal Smith: All The World is Lonely Now • Wade Ray: Arkansas Traveler * Jack Greene & The Johnson Sisters: The Fugitive • Bun Wilson: Comedy • The Texas Troubadours: Clam Blues • Lois Johnson: Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain • Ernest Tubb: Just One More • Johnson Sisters: A Thing Called Sadness Wade Ray: Higher Ground
WALKING THE FLOOR OVER YOU: THE ERNEST TUBB SHOWS (Part 2) (Bear Family DVD - BCD 20124 AT)SHOW #69 – Theme: Walking The Floor Over You • Ernest Tubb: Till My Getup And Go Has Got Up And Gone • Lois Johnson & The Johnson Sisters: Who Cares (For Me) • Willie Nelson: San Antonio Rose • Bun Wilson: Comedy • Buddy Charleton: Buddy's Boogie • Ernest Tubb: Waltz Across Texas • Willie Nelson & The Johnson Sisters: Making Believe • Wade Ray: Walk Softly • Ernest Tubb: Lonesome Valley SHOW #68 – Theme: Walking The Floor Over You • Ernest Tubb: Jealous Loving Heart • Wade Ray: Anytime • Willie Nelson: Something To Think About • Bun Wilson: Comedy • Leon Rhodes: Walking The Floor Over You • Lois Johnson: Touch My Heart • Ernest Tubb: Beggar To A King * Willie Nelson & The Johnson Sisters: Lonely Little Mansion • Cal Smith: Wait A Little Longer Please Jesus SHOW #85 – Theme: Walking The Floor Over You • Ernest Tubb: In The Jailhouse Now • Lois Johnson & The Johnson Sisters: Ride, Ride, Ride • Jack Greene & The Johnson Sisters: I Can't Help It • Bun Wilson: Comedy • The Texas Troubadours: Honey Fingers • Ernest Tubb: Waltz Across Texas • The Johnson Sisters: Every Day Of My Life • Wade Ray: Have I Told You Lately That I Love You • Ernest Tubb: When It's Prayer Meetin' Time In The Hollow SHOW #88 – Theme: Walking The Floor Over You • Ernest Tubb: Have You Ever Been Lonely • Wade Ray: Take An Old Cold 'Tater (And Wait) • Jack Greene & The Johnson Sisters: Crazy • Bun Wilson: Comedy • The Texas Troubadours: Panhandle Rag • Lois Johnson: Legend In My Time • Ernest Tubb: Another Story, Another Time, Another Place • The Johnson Sisters: Cotton Fields • Cal Smith: Family Bible
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