Gene Watson Speaks of Connie Smith’s First Recording Contract: Tuesday 4 August 2020

On Tuesday 4 August 2020, Gene Watson spoke about Connie Smith, whom he regards as one of his favourite singers.

Connie Smith & Gene Watson backstage at The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville on Friday 25 July 2008

‘I read, that it was on this day (4 August) in 1963, that one of the very best singers, Connie Smith, won a talent contest in Columbus, Ohio, which brought her to the attention of Bill Anderson, who helped her get her first recording contract’

While performing near Columbus, Ohio in 1963, Bill Anderson first heard her and offered his help in gaining Connie Smith a recording contract.

Shortly after discovering Connie Smith, Bill Anderson invited her to perform on ‘Ernest Tubb’s Record Shop Live Show’ in 1964.

Two months later, Connie Smith made demo recordings written by Bill Anderson recordings which included his song ‘Once A Day’.

After hearing the demos, producer Chet Atkins (Friday 20 June 1924 – Saturday 30 June 2001) signed Connie Smith to RCA Victor Records in Nashville; because Chet Atkins was working with too many artists during Connie Smith‘s first years at RCA Victor Records, Bob Ferguson (Friday 30 December 1927 – Sunday 22 July 2001) served as her producer.

Under the guidance of RCA Victor Records producer Bob Ferguson (Friday 30 December 1927 – Sunday 22 July 2001), Connie Smith enjoyed a string of hit singles.

Connie Smith‘s first hit single, ‘Once A Day’ (written by Bill Anderson), was at No.1 on the Billboard country music singles chart for eight weeks, commencing Saturday 28 November 1964; the track remained on the charts for twenty-seven weeks and took Connie Smith into the record books as the first female country singer to reach No.1 on the Billboard country music singles chart with her first country music release.

In March 1965, Connie Smith saw the release of her debut album, ‘Connie Smith’ (RCA Victor Records, 1965), which was produced by Bob Ferguson (Friday 30 December 1927 – Sunday 22 July 2001), and remained on the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart for thirty weeks, seven of those weeks at No.1.

By the end of 1964, ‘Once A Day’ (written by Bill Anderson) had become one of the biggest country songs of the year.

Connie Smith‘s debut album, ‘Connie Smith’ (RCA Victor Records, 1965), included three tracks, which were hit singles on the Billboard country music singles chart:

‘Once A Day’ (written by Bill Anderson) (No.1 for eight weeks between November 1964 and January 1965)
‘Then & Only Then’ (written by Bill Anderson) (No.4, 1965)
‘Tiny Blue Transistor Radio’ (written by Bill Anderson) (No.25, 1965)

Connie Smith‘s debut album, ‘Connie Smith’ (RCA Victor Records, 1965), also included the following tracks:

‘Other Side of You’ (written by William Broadwell Morgan)
‘Hinges On The Door’, which was written by Thomas Baker Knight Jr. (Tuesday 4 July 1933 – Wednesday 12 October 2005)
‘Don’t Forget I Still Love You’ (written by Guy Louis)
‘Darling, Are You Ever Coming Home’, which was written by Hank Cochran (Friday 2 August 1935 – Thursday 15 July 2010) and Willie Nelson
‘The Threshold’ (written by Bill Anderson)
‘It’s Just My Luck’ (written by Betty Sue Perry)
‘I’m Ashamed of You’ (written by Bill Anderson)
‘I Don’t Love You Anymore’ (written by Bill Anderson)
‘Tell Another Lie’, which was written by Christian Bruhn, Randy Startt and Fred Wise (Thursday 27 May 1915 – Tuesday 18 January 1966)

Personnel involved in the recording of Connie Smith‘s debut album, ‘Connie Smith’ (RCA Victor Records, 1965), included the following:

Harold Bradley (Saturday 2 January 1926 – Thursday 31 January 2019), Ray Edenton, Jerry Kennedy and Jimmy Lance (guitar)
Floyd Taylor Chance (Monday 21 December 1925 – Monday 11 April 2005) (bass)
Dorothy Dillard, Dolores Edgin, Karl Garvin, Priscilla Ann Reed Hubbard (1941 – Wednesday 24 September 2014), Anita Kerr, Louis Nunley (Thursday 15 October 1931 – Friday 26 October 2012), Harold Ragsdale and William Wright (background vocals)
Leonard Miller (drums)
Weldon Myrick (Monday 10 April 1939 – Monday 2 June 2014) (steel guitar)
Hargus ‘Pig’ Robbins (piano)
Connie Smith (lead vocals)

Connie Smith‘s debut album, ‘Connie Smith’ (RCA Victor Records, 1965), reached No.1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart in 1965, where it remained for seven weeks.

On Monday 27 March 2006, England’s Hux Records released Connie Smith‘s ‘Connie Smith’ (RCA Victor Records, 1965), along with Connie Smith‘s ‘Cute ‘N’ Country’ (RCA Victor Records, 1965), as a special 2-for-1 CD set (HUX 076).

Source
‚ÄĘ Gene Watson on Facebook