Comedian and banjo player Benjamin Francis “Whitey” Ford (b. 1901 in DeSoto, Missouri), aka the “Duke of Paducah,” appeared on the Grand Ole Opry from 1942 to 1959. Ford originally developed the Duke character on the air of KWK-AM, St. Louis in the early 1930s and carried the character over to his own show with Red Foley in 1937, the Renfro Valley Barn Dance. Ford’s brand of folksy one-liners reached beyond fans of country music and he was just as popular on tours with stars of early Rock and Roll like Elvis Presley. The image above features the Duke’s signature tagline: “I’m going back to the wagon, these shoes are killing me.” The poster, call no. XOP-30021/144, is part of collection #30021: Southern Folklife Collection Posters, circa 1847-2008.
Capitol Records released Glenn Campbell’s hit song, “Galveston,” on March 17, 1969 so we pulled out a version from the Lawrence Welk radio series, Guest Spot, show number LW70-36, distributed to radio stations as transcription discs. Guest Spot was one of many syndicated radio shows sponsored by the
United States Armed Forces, the U. S. Navy and Naval Reserves for this series.
The copy in the Southern Folklife Collection, call no. TR-12/504, is part of the extensive and always fascinating Eugene Earle Collection (#20376). Track list and liner notes are included to the left. The modulation in the last verse and the sound of the telecaster in the guitar solo where the string sounds so loose that it might fall off just gets us every time. The first clip below is the introduction to the show itself, the second is a sample of “Galveston.”
“Intro” Lawrence Welk–Guest Spot
“Galveston” by Glen Campbell
A young Porter Wagoner, standing in the in the spotlight wearing one of his many stylish “Nudie Suits,” gazes up at himself on the cover of this songbook from his first year on the Grand Ole Opry. Featuring “the songs he loves best,” including the excellent, “Let’s Squiggle,” this 1957 songbook, call no. FL-503, is part of collection #30006: Southern Folklife Collection Song Folios, circa 1882-1983.
Porter Wagoner: Country Music Favorites
Hill and Range Songs, Inc. New York, N.Y. 1957.
41 p. of music and illustrations.
“Eat, Drink, and Be Merry (Tomorrow You’ll Cry)”
“Itchin’ for My Baby”
“I Should Be with You”
“I’m Day Dreamin’ Tonight”
“Tricks of the Trade”
“Love at First Sight”
“I Can’t Live with You (I Can’t Live without You)”
“I’m Counting on You”
“Be Glad That You Ain’t Me”
“My Everything (You’re My Everything)”