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Cal Smith

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Cal Smith
Cal Smith in 1974
Cal Smith in 1974
Background information
Birth nameCalvin Grant Shofner
Born(1932-04-07)April 7, 1932
Gans, Oklahoma, U.S.
DiedOctober 10, 2013(2013-10-10) (aged 81)
Branson, Missouri, U.S.
Instrument(s)Guitar, vocals
Years active1955-1957-1966-2013
LabelsKapp, Decca, MCA, Soundwaves, Step One

Calvin Grant Shofner (April 7, 1932 – October 10, 2013),[1] known professionally as Cal Smith, was an American country musician, most famous for his 1974 hits "Country Bumpkin" and "It's Time to Pay the Fiddler".


Calvin Grant Shofner was born on April 7, 1932, in Gans, Oklahoma,[2][3][4][5] 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,[3] and he grew up in San Jose, California.[4][5][6] 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.[7]

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 chart with his second single, "The Only Thing I Want".[2]

Smith permanently parted ways with Tubb and the Texas Troubadours in 1969 and he released his first solo album, Drinking Champagne, in 1969.[8] The album's title track had reached the Top 40 on the country chart 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".[8] 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.[8] When Decca became MCA Records in 1973, he enjoyed his biggest successes. In 1974, he recorded two of his greatest hits, "It's Time to Pay the Fiddler" and "Country Bumpkin",[8] which received Song of the Year Awards from both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association.

Later career[edit]

Smith continued to have success with MCA Records into the late 1970s 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).[8] After this he continued to have minor successes that included "The Rise And Fall Of The Roman Empire" in 1979.[2]

Smith released his last album, Stories of Life by Cal Smith, in 1986 on Step One Records,[8] where he scored a minor hit that year with "King Lear".[2]

Personal life[edit]

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.[9]

Smith and his wife, Darlene, lived in the Branson, Missouri area.

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.[1]



Year Album Chart Positions Label
US Country US AUS[10]
1966 All the World Is Lonely Now 40 Kapp
1967 Goin' to Cal's Place 31
1968 Travelin' Man 34
At Home with Cal
Drinking Champagne 33
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
1973 Cal Smith 20 MCA
1974 Country Bumpkin 4 50
1975 It's Time to Pay the Fiddler 8
My Kind of Country 17
1976 Jason's Farm 16
1977 I Just Came Home to Count the Memories 38
1986 Stories of Life Step One
1998 Cal Smith First Generation


Year Single Chart Positions Album
US Country[2] CAN Country AUS[10]
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
1969 "Empty Arms"
"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
"Bleep You" 63
"An Hour and a Six-Pack" flip 95
1974 "Country Bumpkin" 1 2 23 Country Bumpkin
"Between Lust and Watching TV" 11 15 62
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
1976 "Thunderstorms" 33 22
"MacArthur's Hand" 43 47
"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
"Helen" 53 singles only
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
"King Lear" 75
1998 "The Arizona Whiz" Cal Smith

Awards and nominations[edit]

Music City News Country Awards[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1968 Cal Smith Most Promising Male Artist Won

Academy of Country Music Awards[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1975 "Country Bumpkin" Single Record of the Year Won
Song of the Year Won
Cal Smith Top Male Vocalist of the Year Nominated
Country Bumpkin Album of the Year Nominated

Country Music Association Awards[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1973 "The Lord Knows I'm Drinking" Single of the Year Nominated
1974 "Country Bumpkin" Won
Country Bumpkin Album of the Year Nominated
Cal Smith Male Vocalist of the Year Nominated


  1. ^ a b "Country Singer Cal Smith Dies". OzarksFirst.com. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 385. ISBN 978-0-89820-177-2.
  3. ^ a b Dauphin, Chuck (October 11, 2013). "'Country Bumpkin' Singer Cal Smith Dies at 81". Billboard. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Cal Smith, voice of 'Country Bumpkin' and other hits, dies at age 81". The Tennessean. Archived from the original on 2013-10-14. Retrieved 2013-10-15.
  5. ^ a b Ragusa, Tammy (October 11, 2013). "'Country Bumpkin' Singer Cal Smith Dies at 81". Country Weekly. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
  6. ^ Cooper, Peter (October 11, 2013). "Cal Smith, voice of 'Country Bumpkin,' dies at age 81". USA Today. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
  7. ^ Manheim, James. "Cal Smith biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Colin Larkin, ed. (1993). The Guinness Who's Who of Country Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. pp. 377/8. ISBN 0-85112-726-6.
  9. ^ Woody, Larry (1996), Schmittou: A Grand Slam in Baseball, Business, And Life, Nashville: Eggmann Publishing Company, pp. 64–65, ISBN 1886371334
  10. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 278. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.

External links[edit]