released 1973 Produced by Ronny Light songs: A Hillbilly Song [Skeeter Davis] Color of the Blues [George Jones- Lawton Williams] You Done Me Wrong [Ray Price- S Jones] Making Believe [Roscoe Reid- Joe Hobson] Try Jesus [Skeeter Davis] Crazy Arms [Ralph Mooney- Charles Seals] My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You [Ross- Wills] It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels [J D Miller] Half a Mind [Roger Miller] How Long Has It Been [Mosie Lister]
THE HILLBILLY SINGER
Produced by Ronny Light
"I WAS BORN IN OLE KENTUCKY
I ALWAYS LOVED THE HILLS
AND I ALWAYS SUNG MY HILLBILLY SONGS"
Yeah, I was born in Dry Ridge, Kentucky, in a little cabin about midnight on December thirtieth. Mother and Daddy both say I came into the world singing so loud they didn't have to send birth announcements. The neighbors all heard and knew that I had arrived!
We didn't get to stay in that little cabin very long 'cause I was just the first of seven. There was to be six more, and after the birth of the fifth one, we moved to a big farm house, which turned out to be my favorite place growing up. We were poor so we didn't have a moving van. We moved all of our belongings with a sled and a team of horses. It was in March and the snow was on the ground. I rode on the sled each trip after each load (it was about four or five miles) and I loved it! It was an experience I'll never forget. (I'm trying to find me a sled or sleigh now - I ain't moving- I just want it for my farm I have now in Tennessee.)
It was at this home that I kind of became the baby sitter when Mother had to go to town and Daddy was working. I had to think of something to keep the kids half-way happy and easy to watch, so I found the best way was to recite little poems, tell stories or sing. I was a one-girl show!
I worked in the fields on the farm and usually the work was from sun-up till time to milk the cows. I always tried to have my chores done in time to listen to a fifteen minute program on the radio by the Carter Family. They came on singing Keep On the Sunny Side and sung two or three more, and Mother Maybelle picked Wildwood Flower and they sung it and that was my first taste of hillbilly music. I loved it. I was about eleven years old, and it was about this time that I started dreaming of being a hillbilly singer and being on the radio one day. Also, it was at this time that the neighbors gathered to hear the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night- but me and the rest of the kids were put to bed after eating our cornbread and milk, 'cause our living room wasn't big enough to hold the neighbors plus all of us kids!
I also heard Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys which consisted of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs at this time. I really loved them and still do. It's a dream or ambition of mine to sing with Bill Monroe on the Grand Ole Opry one day, and I've told him about it so if I walk out on the stage one Saturday night and start singing with him he won't be completely shocked.
As I got a little older and got to stay up a little later, I listened to a station in Cincinnati, Ohio. Nelson King played hillbilly music all night. This was when I was still on the farm. Later when I was sixteen we moved to a suburb of Covington, Kentucky. And it was here in school that I met Betty Jack Davis. She loved my kind of music and we started to sing together. We sung at churches, schools and on radio and television shows. We finally saved enough money to go to New York to audition for RCA Records. When they asked us what we did, we said, "We play guitar and sing hillbilly songs." We were called The Davis Sisters.
We made our first record, I Forgot More (Than You'll Ever Know About Him), for RCA in 1953. Unfortunately we had an accident and she was killed, and after four or five years I made my first solo record for RCA. I worked with Chet Atkins as my producer, and I can't praise him enough for what he did for me. I had about seven or eight top ten records in the charts in the late fifties and early sixties- and then all of a sudden in 1963 I had a number one record in the pop charts as well as the country charts. It was called The End of the World. I got a gold record from South Africa and a silver record from Norway and various other awards that I'm proud of- but because of this record and some other records that followed getting in the pop charts as well as country, some folks thought I wasn't country anymore. But I've stayed with the Grand Ole Opry since joining in 1959 which proves that my heart's in the country.
My producer Ronny Light has tried to find good country songs for me, and we've had a few- I'm a Lover (Not a Fighter) and Bus Fare to Kentucky, which got us a BMI award this year. But I've been criticized a few times because my songs sounded too pop. Well, I ain't never done anything but try to make a good record.
The other day I met a truck driver and he said, "Are you Skeeter Davis?"
I said, "Yes."
He said, "The hillbilly singer?"
And I said, "Yes."
He said, "Well, I can't believe I'm meeting Skeeter Davis, the hillbilly singer."
And I said, "Well, that's me!"
I hope that truck driver hears this album and likes it 'cause he was the cause of me sitting down thinking and realizing that after all the records I've had (and there have been a few throughout the years) pop-country- whatever you choose to call them- whatever chart they make- and after all the ways they've tried to change the name of our music by calling it countrypolitan- metropolitan- uptown- downtown- American and other numerous categories, it's really just good hillbilly music, and I'm really "Skeeter Davis- The Hillbilly Singer."
S k e e t e r