Rusty Draper

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Rusty Draper
Draper and Molly Bee as hosts of the country music television program Swingin' Country, 1967
Draper and Molly Bee as hosts of the country music television program Swingin' Country, 1967
Background information
Birth nameFarrell Haliday Draper
Born(1923-01-25)January 25, 1923
Kirksville, Missouri, U.S.
DiedMarch 28, 2003(2003-03-28) (aged 80)
Bellevue, Washington, U.S.
Years active1952–1980

Farrell Haliday "Rusty" Draper (January 25, 1923 – March 28, 2003) was an American country and pop singer who achieved his greatest success in the 1950s.


Born in Kirksville, Missouri and nicknamed "Rusty" for his red hair, he began performing on his uncle's radio show in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the mid-1930s. Draper moved on to work at radio stations in Des Moines, Iowa—sometimes filling in for sports announcer Ronald Reagan—and in Illinois before settling in California. There he began to sing in local clubs, becoming resident singer at the Rumpus Room in San Francisco. By the early 1950s he had begun appearing on national TV shows including The Ed Sullivan Show (CBS) and Ozark Jubilee (ABC).

In 1952, Draper signed to Mercury Records and issued his debut single, "How Could You (Blue Eyes)". The following year, after a national club tour, his cover version of Jim Lowe's "Gambler's Guitar” made No. 6 on both the country and pop charts, and sold a million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.[1] After a series of less successful follow-ups, he made the national charts again in 1955 with "Seventeen" (No. 18), "The Shifting, Whispering Sands" (No. 3) (another million-seller),[1] and "Are You Satisfied?" (No. 11), becoming one of the biggest pop and country crossover stars of the period.

In 1956, he returned to the Top 20 with "In The Middle Of The House" (No. 20), followed up by his version of Chas McDevitt’s UK skiffle hit, "Freight Train" (No. 6). Draper also reached the UK Singles Chart with a rendition of "Mule Skinner Blues."[2]

In 1962, he left Mercury to sign with Monument Records, with diminishing chart success as his style became more old-fashioned. However, he continued to have minor hits in the country charts through the 1960s. He remained a steady concert draw in years to follow, and also appeared in stage musicals and on television, including his duties as one of the hosts of NBC's short-lived 1966 daytime TV series Swingin' Country.

Draper died of pneumonia, in Bellevue, Washington, at the age of 80.[3]


Year Titles (A-side, B-side)
Both sides from same album except where indicated
Chart positions Album
US US AC US Country
1952 "I Gotta Have My Baby Back"
b/w "Sing Baby Sing"
Non-album tracks
"Release Me"
b/w "Wedding Bells"
Both tracks with Patti Page
1953 "No Help Wanted"
b/w "Texarkana Baby" (Non-album track)
10 Songs By Rusty Draper
"Big Mamou"
b/w "Why, Why, Why" (Non-album track)
"Gambler's Guitar"
b/w "Free Home Demonstration" (Non-album track)
6 6
"Lazy River"
b/w "Bummin' Around" (Non-album track)
Songs By Rusty Draper
b/w "I Love To Jump" (Non-album track)
"Native Dancer"
b/w "Lonesome Song" (from Songs By Rusty Draper)
1954 "Peter Rabbit"
b/w "Easter Mornin'"
Non-album tracks
"The Train With The Rhumba Beat"
b/w "Melancholy Baby" (from Songs By Rusty Draper)
"Please, Please"
b/w "The Workshop Of The Lord" (from Songs By Rusty Draper)
Non-album tracks
"The Magic Circle"
b/w "Muskrat Ramble" (from Encores)
"I Got A Hole In Me Sole"
b/w "Watch Your Language"
Both tracks with The Laurie Sisters
1955 "Lookin' Back To See"
b/w "Shame On You"
"The Ballad Of Davy Crockett"
b/w "I've Been Thinkin'"
"Eating Goober Peas"
b/w "That's All I Need" (Non-album track)
b/w "Can't Live Without Them Anymore"
"The Shifting Whispering Sands"
b/w "Time" (Non-album track)
3 Songs By Rusty Draper
"Are You Satisfied?"
b/w "Wabash Cannonball" (from Country Classics)
11 All-Time Hits
1956 "Held For Questioning"
b/w "Forty-Two"
60 Non-album tracks
"The Gun Of Billy The Kid"
b/w "Sometimes You Gotta Lose To Win"
"House Of Cards"
b/w "Rock and Roll Ruby"
"In The Middle Of The House"
b/w "Pink Cadillac"
"Scratch My Back"
b/w "Behind Those Swingin' Doors"
Both tracks with Lola Dee
1957 "Tiger Lily"
b/w "Confidential" (Non-album track)
88 All-Time Hits
"Let's Go Calypso"
b/w "Should I Ever Love Again"
53 Non-album tracks
"Freight Train"
b/w "Seven Come Eleven" (Non-album track)
6 Country Classics
"Good Golly (Pretty Molly)"
b/w "No Huhu (Don't Be Mad)"
Non-album tracks
"Buzz Buzz Buzz"
b/w "I Get The Blues When It Rains"
1958 "That's My Doll"
b/w "Gamblin' Gal"
"June, July and August"
b/w "Chicken-Pickin' Hawk"
"Hip Monkey"
b/w "You Can Depend On Me"
"With This Ring"
b/w "Shoppin' Around"
1959 "Hey Li Lee Li Lee Li"
b/w "The Sun Will Always Shine"
"Don't Forget Your Shoes"
b/w "Next Stop Paradise"
"I Get So Jealous"
b/w "All For The Love Of Flo"
1960 "That Lucky Old Sun"
b/w "Anytime"
Hita That Sold A Million
"Mule Skinner Blues"A / 105 Country & Western Golden Greats
"Please Help Me, I'm Falling" 54
"Luck Of The Irish"
b/w "It's A Little More Like Heaven"
Non-album tracks
"Jealous Heart"
b/w "Ten Thousand Years Ago"
1961 "Another"
b/w "The Meadow" (Non-album track)
Country & Western Golden Greats
"Signed Sealed and Delivered"
b/w "Scared To Go Home" (Non-album track)
91 20
1962 "When I've Learned"
b/w "Tongue Tied Over You" (Non-album track)
Country Classics
"Deep Roots"
b/w "Beggar To A King" (from Country & Western Golden Greats)
1963 "Night Life"
b/w "That's Why I Love You Like I Do" (from Swinging Country)
57 17 Night Life
1964 "The Lady Of The House"
b/w "It Should Be Easier Now" (Non-album track)
"My Baby's Not Here (In Town Tonight)"
b/w "Puppeteer" (Non-album track)
Swinging Country
"I'm Worried About Me"
b/w "When I've Learned" (Non-album track)
1965 "Love Don't Grow On Trees"
b/w "I Got What I Learned" (Non-album track)
"You Can't Be True Dear"
b/w "Folsom Prison Blues"
1966 "Mystery Train"
b/w "Shifting Whispering Sands" (from Rusty Draper's Greatest Hits)
"Love Is Gone For Good"
b/w "You Call Everybody Darling"
1967 "My Elusive Dreams"
b/w "Memory Lane" (from Swinging Country)
70 Non-album tracks
1968 "Buffalo Nickel"
b/w "Make Believe I'm Him"
"California Sunshine"
b/w "The Gypsy"
1969 "Don't Build No Fences For Me"
b/w "Am I That Easy To Forget"
Something Old, Something New
"I Walk Alone"
b/w "Sunshine Man" (Non-album track)
1970 "Two Little Boys"
b/w "It Don't Mean A Thing To Me"
73 Non-album tracks
"Every Man Has A Prison"
b/w "Tie Me To Your Apron Strings Again"
"There She Goes"
b/w "Travelling Song"
1980 "Harbor Lights"
b/w "Ramblin' Man"
  • A " Mule Skinner Blues " also peaked at #39 on UK Singles Charts


  1. ^ a b Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 64. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 168. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  3. ^ "Rusty Draper, Singer of Country and Pop Hits, Dies at 80". The New York Times. Associated Press. April 3, 2003.

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