Claude King - |
A New "Live" Record
To co-incide with Claude King's induction on the Shreveport's Walk of Fame, a new live record is
out on Goliath. Claude boasts a singing, song-writing, recording and acting career that has spanned
over six decades. His famous "Wolverton Mountain", issued on Coumbia and co-written with another
Shreveport native, Merle Kilgore, was a big hit in 1962 and stayed on the Billboard charts for 26
weeks. But the story doesn't start in the 60's as Claude was already a confirmed performer.
Born in February 1923, in Louisiana, Claude spent most of his childhood on the farm where he learned
to love hunting and fishing. He still takes care of his vegetables garden and enjoys it. His love
for music was evident at an early age and he bought his first guitar at the age of twelve. After
Pearl Harbor in 1941, Claude and his three brothers eagerly joined US Navy and fought in the
He started to work with his friend Tillman Franks in 1946 and they staged the Big D Jamboree. They
quickly joined with Harmie Smith, know as the Ozark Mountaineer, on KWKH. In that band you can find Buddy
Attaway and Harry Todd too. In 1948, for a short time, Claude and Buddy left Shreveport and went to
work on Houston, TX calling themselves "The Attaway Boys". The appeared on KLEE radio and worked on a used car
lot by day.
Hank Williams Sr, one time Shreveport resident, really loved Claude's singing and even
young Faron Young loaned him some of his "Going Steady" melody. A record on "President" (Flyin'
Saucers/I Want to be Loved) followed, in 1949, by records on "Pacemaker" and "Gotham". In 1952,
Tillman Franks secured with Stan Lewis a deal with "Specialty" Records. That R'n'B label, like
"Chess" later, wanted to try their hands to Country music. The recordings were done in KWKH studio by
night and four records were issued. Claude is also a prolific song writer. His work was recorded
by stars as Kitty Wells (A Wedding Ring Ago) or Webb Pierce (That Heart Belong to Me).
During his Hayride days, Claude worked on one of Hank Williams last tours, as his driver and opening
act. In 1952, Fabor Robinson brought Johnny Horton on the Louisiana Hayride. Johnny and Claude
became close friends and big fishing buddies. Johnny recorded quite a few Claude's compositions
as "She Knows Why", "I Don't Like I Did" and "Take me Like I Am". However, after a Rockabilly
oriented record on Dee-Jay label (Run Baby Run/Not Sure of You) in 1957, Claude ended up quitting
the music business. He went to work as carpenter for his brother at Southern Builder. Tillman and
Johnny Horton tried unsuccessfully to get him in back in the business.
When Johnny Horton got killed, Claude was waiting for him for duck hunting. On the way for Johnny's
funeral, Claude told Tillman he knew Johnny wanted him back in music business and he was ready for
it. Tillman secured him a contract with Columbia via Don Law. The first song recorded for that
label, "Big River, Big Man", found his way on the charts for 16 weeks.
His next record, "Comancheros"
(a song written by Tillman Franks), was used in John Wayne's movie and stayed 15 week on the charts.
From then came "Wolverton Mountain" that went to number one on the country charts and was nominated song of
the year for 1962. More hits followed as "The Burning of Atlanta", "Sheepskin Valley", "Hey Lucille"
or "Sam Hill". He recorded also a great version of Johnny Horton's "All for the Love of A Girl"
before parting company with Columbia in 1973. More records would follow on Cinnamon Records, True
Records and Gusto with the last charts entry in 1977 with "Cotton Dan".
A nice CD titled "A Cowboy in the White House" (a song co-written with Tillman and Brother Joe
Price) came out in 2003 on "Sun" record. Here you will find true country music with fiddle and steel
guitar. That's the kind of music liked by Bill Mack, the Satellite Cowboy, and all those who like
spirited, heartful and sincere country songs. Far away from the fast video products and the "one
shoot" raising cable TV stars. Of course, shades of Johnny Horton are here with "Sink The Bismark"
and "North To Alaska".
As an artist, Claude King performed with some of the Country most talented performers including
David Houston, Red Sovine, The Carlisles, Jimmy and Johnny, Wanda Jackson, Buck Owens or Slim
Whitman. At 84 years old, he was back on Municipal Auditorium in Shreveport on February 11th for a
special Louisiana Jamboree. It was a welcome tribute to him 'cause he should have been better off if
he would have moved to Nashville. But, he told, he just couldn't leave Shreveport. It's his home and
he loves that town. Just like his old friend Tillman Franks who passed away on October 26, 2006.
That brand new record presented you is Claude King live on stage with the Cotton Dan band. That show was
recorded at the biggest country music radio show in the world "Jamboree USA - WWVA", on February
1983, at Wheeling, West Virginia. A real great live show with many of his classic songs mixed with
great renditions of Johnny Horton's "Honky Tonk Man", "North To Alaska" and "All For The Love of A
Girl". "This is a good product ... enjoy" wrote Frank Page, original announcer on KWKH. What can I
add? Get that record that pays tribute to a great performer as soon as you can. Claude King's songs
will live in the hearts and souls of all country music lovers.
That record can be find courtesy Goliath Sales - 314 Wilder Place - Shreveport - LA 71104.
Interesting links: www.claudeking.net
Dominique "Imperial" ANGLARES
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