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Cal Smith in 1974
|Birth name||Calvin Grant Shofner|
April 7, 1932|
Gans, Oklahoma, United States
October 10, 2013 (aged 81)|
Branson, Missouri, United States
|Labels||Kapp, Decca, MCA, Soundwaves, Step One|
|Associated acts||Ernest Tubb|
Calvin Grant Shofner was born on April 7, 1932, in Gans, Oklahoma, as the youngest of three sons of James "Otto" and Ethel (Quinn) Shofner. During the Great Depression, the Smiths headed west and settled in Oakland, California, and he grew up in San Jose, California. Smith began his music career performing at the Remember Me Cafe in San Francisco at the age of 15, but he was not financially successful at first. Throughout the 1950s, he was not able to continue his music career, so he worked at various other jobs, including truck driving and bronco busting. He appeared on the California Hayride television show in the mid-1950s before serving two years in the military.
After his discharge, he began playing in a band in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1961, country music legend Ernest Tubb heard the band play and, after an audition, hired Smith to play guitar for the Texas Troubadours. Thus, Smith is heard playing in most of Tubb's 1960s recordings. His first solo single was 'Tear Stained Pillow/Eleven Long Years on the local Plaid label. Smith's stage name began to catch on after he released his second solo single, "I'll Just Go Home", in 1966 for Kapp Records, and he first cracked the Billboard charts with his second single, "The Only Thing I Want".
Smith permanently parted ways with Tubb and the Texas Troubadours in 1969 and he released his first solo album, Drinking Champagne, in 1969. The album's title track had reached the Top 40 on the country charts the previous year, and was later a Top 10 hit for George Strait in 1990.
In 1970, Smith signed with Decca Records, and his popularity quickly soared, starting off with his 1972 Top 10 hit, "I've Found Someone of My Own". He began recording songs written by some of the biggest names in the industry; for instance, in March 1973, his rendition of Bill Anderson's "The Lord Knows I'm Drinking" became his first number-one country hit. When Decca became MCA Records in 1973, Cal enjoyed his biggest successes. In 1974, he recorded two of his greatest hits, "It's Time to Pay the Fiddler" and "Country Bumpkin", which received Song of the Year Awards from both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association.
Smith continued to have success with MCA Records into the late 70's including the Top 20 singles "Between Lust And Watching TV" (1974), "She Talked A Lot About Texas" (1975), "I Just Came Home To Count The Memories" (1977), and "Come See About Me" (1977). After this he continued to have minor successes that included "The Rise And Fall Of The Roman Empire" in 1979.
In 1977, Smith joined entrepreneur Larry Schmittou and other country music stars, such as Conway Twitty, Jerry Reed, Larry Gatlin, and Richard Sterban, as investors in the Nashville Sounds, a minor league baseball team of the Double-A Southern League that began play in 1978.
Smith died in Branson on October 10, 2013. He is survived by Darlene, his son Calvin, five grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a son, Jimmie Todd.
|1966||All the World Is Lonely Now||40||—||Kapp|
|1967||Goin' to Cal's Place||31||—|
|At Home with Cal||—||—|
|1969||Cal Smith Sings||34||170|
|1970||Country Hit Parade||—||—|
|1971||The Best of Cal Smith||41||—|
|1972||I've Found Someone of My Own||5||191||Decca|
|1975||It's Time to Pay the Fiddler||8||—|
|My Kind of Country||17||—|
|1977||I Just Came Home to Count the Memories||38||—|
|1986||Stories of Life||—||—||Step One|
|1998||Cal Smith||—||—||First Generation|
|US Country||CAN Country|
|1966||"Silver Dew On the Bluegrass Tonight"||—||—||single only|
|1967||"The Only Thing I Want"||58||—||All the World Is Lonely Now|
|"I'll Never Be Lonesome with You"||61||—||Goin' to Cal's Place|
|"I'll Sail My Ship Alone"||—||—|
|1968||"Destination Atlanta G.A."||60||—||Travelin' Man|
|"Jacksonville"||58||—||At Home with Cal|
|"Drinking Champagne"||35||—||Drinking Champagne|
|"It Takes All Night Long"||51||—||Cal Smith Sings|
|"You Can't Housebreak a Tomcat"||55||—||The Best of Cal Smith|
|1970||"Heaven Is Just a Touch Away"||47||—|
|"The Difference Between Going and Really Gone"||70||—|
|1971||"That's What It's Like to Be Lonesome"||58||41||I've Found Someone of My Own|
|"Free Streets"||—||—||singles only|
|"Save My Wife"||—||—|
|1972||"I've Found Someone of My Own"||4||13||I've Found Someone of My Own|
|"For My Baby"||58||—|
|1973||"The Lord Knows I'm Drinking"A||1||2|
|"I Can Feel the Leavin' Coming On"||25||39||Cal Smith|
|"I've Loved You All Over the World"||flip||—|
|"An Hour and a Six-Pack"||flip||95|
|1974||"Country Bumpkin"||1||2||Country Bumpkin|
|"Between Lust and Watching TV"||11||15|
|1975||"It's Time to Pay the Fiddler"||1||1||It's Time to Pay the Fiddler|
|"She Talked a Lot About Texas"||13||5|
|"Jason's Farm"||12||7||Jason's Farm|
|"Woman Don't Try to Sing My Song"||38||—||I Just Came Home to Count the Memories|
|1977||"I Just Came Home to Count the Memories"||15||10|
|"Come See About Me"||23||47|
|1978||"Throwin' Memories On the Fire"||51||—|
|"I'm Just a Farmer"||73||—|
|"Bits and Pieces of Life"||68||—|
|1979||"The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire"||71||—|
|"One Little Skinny Rib"||91||42|
|"The Room at the Top of the Stairs"||92||—|
|1982||"If I Ever Need a Lady" (w/ Billy Parker)||53||—|
|"Too Many Irons in the Fire" (w/ Billy Parker)||68||—|
|1986||"I Know It's Not Over"||—||—||Stories of Life|
|1998||"The Arizona Whiz"||—||—||Cal Smith|
- 1974 — Academy of Country Music - Song of the Year
- 1974 — Country Music Association - Song of the Year
- 1974 — Country Music Association - Single of the Year
- Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 385. ISBN 0-89820-177-2.
- Dauphin, Chuck (October 11, 2013). "'Country Bumpkin' Singer Cal Smith Dies at 81". Billboard. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
- "Cal Smith, voice of 'Country Bumpkin' and other hits, dies at age 81". The Tennessean. Retrieved 2013-10-15.
- Ragusa, Tammy (October 11, 2013). "'Country Bumpkin' Singer Cal Smith Dies at 81". Country Weekly. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
- Cooper, Peter (October 11, 2013). "Cal Smith, voice of 'Country Bumpkin,' dies at age 81". USA Today. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
- Manheim, James. "Cal Smith biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
- Woody, Larry (1996), Schmittou: A Grand Slam in Baseball, Business, And Life, Nashville: Eggmann Publishing Company, pp. 64–65, ISBN 1886371334
- "Country Singer Cal Smith Dies". OzarksFirst.com. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2013.