We were saddened to learn of the passing of Jimmy Dean, the country singer behind the 1961 hit “Big Bad John” and host of the long-running country music showcase The Jimmy Dean Show (he’s pictured here with the show’s frequent guest muppet, Rowlf).
Jimmy Dean was perhaps best known to this generation as a sausage magnate, and it’s clear from this October 7, 1957 Columbia Records press bio that, even before he entered the sausage business, breakfast had always been a central element of his persona:
Possibly the earliest riser in Arlington, Virginia these mornings is a tall, lanky ex-Texan who gets up at 3:30 a.m, makes his own breakfast (a goulash involving a pint of cream, two eggs, some sugar and a dash of vanilla) and rides off to CBS’ Broadcast House Studios in Washington, D.C. to do “The Jimmy Dean Show”. The early riser — and high-rated star — is Jimmy Dean himself.”
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Press release from SFC’s Artist Name File Collection, picture of Dean with “Rowlf the Muppet Hound” from Thurston Moore’s 1965 book The Pictorial History of Country Music.
Goebel Reeves, the Depression-era singer-songwriter better known as “The Texas Drifter”, penned plenty of songs about the hobo life, including his friend Jimmie Rodgers’ hit “Hobo’s Lullaby”. While Reeves certainly crafted his share of songs about the lonely freedom that was the human hobo’s lot in life, he had a soft spot for his four-legged friends, as well.
Reeves wrote at least four songs about dogs, including the heartstring-tugging “The Drifter’s Pup” and “I Love My Dog”. Reeves didn’t shy away from portraying the darker side of canine life, either, as is evident from titles like “The Poisoned Dog”, found on an undated radio transcription disc, and the chilling account of “A Dog for Outer Space”, reproduced here:
Laika the cosmonaut dog was launched into space on Nov. 3, 1957. These lyrics were included in a letter sent to Australian record collector John Edwards on December 10th of that year, and can now be found in the Southern Folklife Collection Artist Name File Collection.
America is suffering a relapse of Beatlemania today, owing to the simultaneous release of a Beatles-themed video game and the latest (and presumably final) CD reissues of the original albums. As you are no doubt aware, the Beatles still consistently show up in surveys as one of the most popular bands in America, 40 years after they made their last record. This 1965 pamphlet, found in the SFC’s Artist Name Files, may help explain the secret to their success:
The Rev. David A. Noebel, Dean of the Christian Crusade Anti-Communist Summer University, explains:
The communists, through their scientists, educators and entertainers, have contrived an elaborate, calculating and scientific technique directed at rendering a generation of American youth useless through nerve-jamming, mental deterioration and retardation.”