Click to listen

Click to listen

Oct. 5: This isn’t the Radney Foster number from several years back. This is the song by Rex Griffin — one of country music’s first singer-songwriters — that was a 1955 hit for Eddy Arnold and recorded by many others. Among them: a 32-year-old Elvis Presley who, in the late summer of 1967, even gave stone country a try as he renewed his interest in the studio after years of formula-movie doldrums.

Elvis cut “Just Call Me Lonesome” in the wee hours of Sept. 11, 1967, closing out the first of three days in RCA Studio B that yielded the superb “Guitar Man,” “Big Boss Man,” “Hi-Heel Sneakers” and “You Don’t Know Me,” along with the ho-hum “Mine” and “Singing Tree,” and the overwrought “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” (That’s sort of the pattern for the ’70s phase of his career, isn’t it?) The master take, which appeared on the Clambake album, was the first one recorded. It was country, but not as country as this version, the last of six takes. At some point, the arrangement moved from a straight country beat to the 4/4 shuffle heard here. Pete Drake handles the steel, and Harold Bradley provides the tasty background licks on electric guitar. Had this take been released as a single, it would have been right at home on country radio and jukeboxes.

Remember, the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll is in the Country Music Hall of Fame.  Here’s his profile page there.

As for Griffin, he died 51 years ago this week at age 47. Learn more about this forgotten great of country music here.

— Kevin Paulk, 3 Chords a Day

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