Remembering Carl Smith

Carl Smith, one of country’s great honky-tonk singers of the 1950s and 1960s, passed away last month. In addition to the tribute to Smith in this issue’s News & Notes, here’s some Carl Smith performances worth remembering.

Carl Smith performs his first number one single, ‘Hey Joe,’ a chart topper from 1953. Johnny Silbert on steel guitar.

Carl Smith, Marty Robbins and Lefty Frizzell, ‘Why Baby Why’
In 1955 Carl Smith released his first album, Carl, Marty & Lefty, with labelmates Marty Robbins and Lefty Frizzell. In this appearance “The Three Musketeers of the West” are introduced by June Carter, who would become Smith’s wife two years later. In the dance at the end Carl cuts a rug with the pioneering female country singer Goldie Hill (she’s in a lavender dress), whom he married after divorcing June Carter. They remained husband and wife until her death in 2005.

Carl Smith, ‘Who’ll Buy My Heartaches’

Carl Smith, ‘Don’t Just Stand There,’ with a typically brilliant Johnny Silbert steel guitar solo to boot

Carl Smith sings the Louvin Brothers’ ‘Are You Teasing Me’

Carl Smith smokes his 1954 #1 single, ‘Loose Talk’

We would be remiss in omitting Smith’s wife, Goldie Hill, from this video tribute. One of the pioneering female country artists, Hill had a #1 single in 1953 with ‘I Let the Stars Get In My Eyes,’ an answer song to Perry Como’s pop hit, ‘Don’t Let the Stars Get In Your Eyes.’ After marrying Smith in 1957, she walked away from her promising country career, recording only sporadically thereafter, and not at all after 1968. From then until her death from cancer in 2005, Hill and Smith tended their horse farm outside Nashville and showed their horses professionally.

Goldie Hill, ‘Why Don’t You Let Me Go,’ a 1955 single

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