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April 13

Why today? The song, second in a string of six hit novelty numbers by proto-Bakersfieldian Tommy Collins, was recorded on this date in history.

About the record: Capitol F2891, recorded April 13, 1954, at Capitol’s studio on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. Released in August of that year, reaching No. 4 on Billboard‘s country chart. Also appeared on This Is Tommy Collins, Capitol T 1196, released in 1959.

About the artist: If you’re familiar with Merle Haggard’s “Leonard” from the 1970s, it’s Tommy Collins he’s talking about.
His real name was Leonard Sipes, and he hailed from Oklahoma. He had a knack for writing silly but memorable songs, which morphed into some serious and talented balladeering. His was the original Bakersfield sound, influencing its most famous purveyors — Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, who, when their fame eclipsed his, hired him to open for them on the road. (Back in ’54, Owens was playing guitar in Collins’ band, and he’s the lead axeman on this record.)

Those are some career highlights; let The 9513’s resident expert on forgotten artists, Paul W. Dennis, take it from there.

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