Today brings another new (to us) holiday tune from the stacks. This one comes from Zeke Clements, aka The Dixie Yodeler, who penned “Smoke on the Water” (not the Deep Purple version). Of Cherokee descent, Clements was born and raised in Alabama. He recorded with hillbilly string bands and Western Swing ensembles, developing his own unique style of hillbilly rock and boogie. After a few years on the WSM Grand Ole Opry, Clements became a singing cowboy, appearing in several westerns and eventually landing a role as the voice of Bashful in Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Here we have a Clements holiday gospel original, “I Dreamed I Spent Christmas in Heaven,” from call no. 78-1468. Clements and his Western Swing Gang recorded the side for Bullet Records out of Nashville, TN, a label started by veteran WSM promoter and early Sun Records investor, Jim Bulleit, along with C. V. Hitchcock.
We also dug into the Southern Folklife Collection Artist Name Files, collection #30005 to find the song transcribed as part of a 1942 Zeke Clements songbook (which cost 1 1/2 cents to mail from Nashville to Barron, Wisconsin where I am sure Peter Peterson was happy to find it when he opened Box.79 one morning). One last holiday record tomorrow. Any requests?