The following is an excerpt from PATHWAYS, a book about growing up Southern in the Fifties and Sixties.
A strange pathway I follow. Despite having imbibed no distilled spirits of any type, I find myself following a mental path involving snuff, Arthur Smith, my Great-Grandmother Griffin and trying not to lose my cookies on a sideline in Spartanburg. Where do memories like this come from?
I grew up with Arthur Smith. Anyone remember Arthur Smith and the Crackerjacks? I would understand if you had never heard of him, but you need to do a little research…look up Arthur Smith. I always thought he was just some old guy with a country group who sang through their noses. He hosted a radio program on WBT in Charlotte Carolina Calling and later the first country-western television program to be syndicated nationwide for thirty-two years.
Smith hosted a morning show first on WBT Radio and then on WBTV. Through this medium I was forced fed “old time” country music by my grandmother and parents. They listened as if it were a religious experience. Country music of the Fifties included the likes of Red Foley, Ernest Tubbs, Bill Monroe, Hank Williams along with Arthur Smith and the Crackerjacks. It is as far from what we call country music today as liberals are politically from conservatives. What I believed to be a “regional” country music “wannabe” celebrity was quite successful on a national stage and even helped to pen “Dueling Banjos” from the movie Deliverance.
What do I remember about him? A commercial tune for Tube Rose Snuff. “If your snuff’s too strong it’s wrong, Try Tube Rose, Try Tube Rose.” For some reason all I hear in my mind’s ear is Arthur, Brother Ralph and sidekick Tommy Faile singing the commercial. Later in the early Seventies, I sat on a quilt at an open air “hippy fest” listening to Sweet Baby James Taylor humorously singing the same tune. Weird what you remember…
Should you desire to read the end of this, and other stories PATHWAYS may be purchased in book form or downloaded using the following link http://goo.gl/6yB5Ei