Dick Curless

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Dick Curless
Dick Curless promo photo.jpg
Background information
Birth name Richard William Curless
Born (1932-03-17)March 17, 1932
Origin Fort Fairfield, Maine
Died May 25, 1995(1995-05-25) (aged 63)
Genres Country
Occupations Singer-songwriter
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1959–1974
Labels Tower, Capitol

Richard William Curless (March 17, 1932 – May 25, 1995) was an American country-music singer, a pioneer of the trucking music genre, commonly known as the "Baron of Country Music." He was easily distinguished because of the patch he usually wore over his right eye.

Biography[edit]

Curless was born in Fort Fairfield, Maine, and moved with his family to Massachusetts at the age of eight. Curless began his music career in 1948, in Ware, Massachusetts, where he hosted a radio show and toured with a local band called the "Trail Blazers." He married his wife, Pauline, in 1951, and only six months after the wedding, he was drafted into the United States Army. He served in the Korean War from 1952 to 1954 first as a truck driver and later as a radio host with the stage name "Rice Paddy Ranger."

He returned home to Maine in 1954 and continued performing on radio shows, but he spent much of the following year, 1955, in the privacy of his home due to a chronic illness. In 1956, Curless returned to the public spotlight and appeared on the CBS television show Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts. He spent much of the late 1950s performing in clubs in California and Las Vegas but occasionally returned home to Maine to recover from periods of illness and fatigue.

In 1965, Curless recorded one of the biggest hits of his career, "A Tombstone Every Mile," which cracked the top-5 on the Billboard country charts and propelled him to national fame. From 1966 to 1968, he toured the nation with the Buck Owens All American Show. The pinnacle of his career came in the late 1960s with eleven top-40 hits, including "Six Times a Day (the Trains Came Down)." Altogether, he recorded twenty-two Billboard top-40 hits throughout his career.

After his success in 1970 with the hits "Big Wheel Cannonball" and "Hard, Hard Traveling Man," he recorded infrequently until he released the albums Welcome To My World and It Just A Matter Of Time in Norway in 1987. The albums were successful in Europe, especially in Norway and Germany.

Curless recorded an album with German country musician Tom Astor in 1991. During the later part of his life, he performed often at the Cristy Lane Theater in Branson, Missouri. He died of stomach cancer in 1995.

His song "Bury the Bottle With Me" is referenced in the 1975 Stephen King novel Salem's Lot. Curless was referenced in the comic, Ghost Rider, when a demonic trucker, with a striking resemblance to Curless himself, plays a 8-track of "A Tombstone Every Mile" while battling one of the Ghost Riders.

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Year Album US Country Label
1959 Songs of the Open Country Tiffany
1961 Singing Just for Fun
1962 I Love to Tell the Story
1965 A Tombstone Every Mile 12 Tower
Hymns
1966 The Soul of Dick Curless
Travelin' Man
At Home with Dick Curless
A Devil Like Me Needs an Angel Like You (w/ Kay Adams) 16
1967 All of Me Belongs to You
Ramblin' Country
1968 The Long Lonesome Road 43
The Wild Side of Town
1970 Hard, Hard Traveling Man Capitol
1971 Doggin' It 42
Comin' On Country 43
1972 Stonin' Around
1973 Live at the Wheeling Truck Driver's Jamboree 37
The Last Blues Song
1974 End of the Road Hilltop

Singles[edit]

Year Single Chart Positions Album
US Country CAN Country
1965 "A Tombstone Every Mile" 5 A Tombstone Every Mile
"Six Times a Day (The Trains Come Down)" 12
"'Tater Raisin' Man" 42 Travelin' Man
1966 "Travelin' Man" 44
"Highway Man" single only
"A Devil Like Me Needs an Angel Like You" (w/ Kay Adams) A Devil Like Me Needs an Angel Like You
"The Baron" 63 All of Me Belongs to You
1967 "All of Me Belongs to You" 28
"House of Memories" 72
"Big Foot" 70 Ramblin' Country
1968 "Bury the Bottle with Me" 55 The Long Lonesome Road
"I Ain't Got Nobody" 34
"All I Need Is You" single only
1969 "The Wild Side of Town" The Wild Side of Town
1970 "Big Wheel Cannonball" 27 18 Hard, Hard Traveling Man
"Hard, Hard Traveling Man" 31
"Drag 'Em Off the Interstate, Sock It to 'Em, J.P. Blues" 29
1971 "Juke Box Man" 41 Doggin' It
"Loser's Cocktail" 36 Comin' On Country
"Snap Your Fingers" 40
1972 "January, April and Me" 34 Stonin' Around
"Stonin' Around" 31 35
"She Called Me Baby" 55
1973 "Chick Inspector (That's Where My Money Goes)" 54 Live at the Wheeling Truck Driver's Jamboree
"China Nights (Shina No Yoru)" 80 Stonin' Around
"The Last Blues Song" 65 The Last Blues Song
1974 "Swingin' Preacher"
"Brand New Bed of Roses" single only

External links[edit]

  • Dick Curless: Allmusic Overview
  • Bill Russo. "Dick Curless: The Forgotten Baron of Country Music." (http://billrrrr.hubpages.com/hub/The-Forgotten-Baron-of-Country-Music-Dick-Curless)