Cal Smith Was No Country Bumpkin, But ‘Country Bumpkin’ Is A Great Classic Country Hit
I was listening to Keith Bilbry’s ‘Classic Country Today’ one weekend recently on KXRB and heard an interview Keith did with Garth Brooks. He asked Garth what his all time favorite country song was, and Garth replied ‘Country Bumpkin’.
The year was 1974 and Cal Smith was already a country music star. In 1972 he had his first #1 single with ‘The Lord Knows I’m Drinkin”. So this wasn’t some unknown artist that just ‘suddenly appeared’.
But it was 1974′s ‘Country Bumpkin’ that became Cal’s signature song and (like Garth Brooks) the favorite of millions of people around the country and world.
Recorded at the legendary Bradley’s Barn in December, 1973, the single was released in February of 1974 and began a climb up the Country Music chart. By May of ’74 it reached the top spot, replacing Sonny James ‘Is It Wrong (For Loving You)’. After ‘Country Bumpkin’, Melba Montgomery took the peak position with ‘No Charge’.
‘Country Bumpkin’ became the ‘Song Of The Year’ in 1974, awarded that honor by both the Country Music Association and the Academy Of Country Music.
Why is ‘Country Bumpkin’ one of the all time great songs in country music history? Well, it tells a great story. In just three verses, the gentleman meets the lady at a bar (she initially thinks he’s a rural ‘country bumpkin’), they marry and have a baby, and finally some 40 years later she passes away with her 2 country bumpkin’s at her bedside.
Couple that storyline with one of the greatest voice’s in country music history and you have…well…an all-time classic.
Cal followed up ‘Country Bumpkin’ with another great classic. ‘Between Lust and Watching TV’ and several more great hits.
But for Garth Brooks (and many others), ‘Country Bumpkin’ is a favorite country hit.