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Cal Smith

Cal Smith

Cal Smith.jpg


Status: Deceased
Origin: San Francisco, California
Current Home: Branson, Missouri
Genre: CountryHonky-Tonk
Years Active: 19471955-19571966-19791986
Labels: Plaid • Kapp • Decca • MCA • Step One • First Generation
Associated Acts: Ernest Tubb
Other Names:


Current Members:
Former Members:
Live Members:
Former Live Members:



Cal Smith was a solo artist originally from Gans, Oklahoma.

1940s: Early Beginnings[edit]

During the Great Depression, Cal Smith's family headed west and settled in Oakland, California, and he grew up in San Jose, California. Smith began his music career performing at the Remember Me Cafe in San Francisco at the age of 15, but he was not financially successful at first.

1950s: Second Beginnings[edit]

Throughout the 1950s, he was not able to continue his music career, so he worked at various other jobs, including truck driving and bronco busting. He appeared on the California Hayride television show in the mid-1950s before serving two years in the military.

1960s: Third Beginnings and Drinking Champagne[edit]

After his discharge, he began playing in a band in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1961, country music legend Ernest Tubb heard the band play and, after an audition, hired Smith to play guitar for the Texas Troubadours. Thus, Smith is heard playing in most of Tubb's 1960s recordings.

His first solo single was 'Tear Stained Pillow/Eleven Long Years on the local Plaid label. Smith's stage name began to catch on after he released his second solo single, "I'll Just Go Home", in 1966 for Kapp Records, and he first cracked the Billboard charts with his second single, "The Only Thing I Want".

Smith permanently parted ways with Tubb and the Texas Troubadours in 1969 and he released his first solo album, Drinking Champagne, in 1969. The album's title track had reached the Top 40 on the country charts the previous year, and was later a Top 10 hit for George Strait in 1990.

1970s: Fame[edit]

In 1970, Smith signed with Decca Records, and his popularity quickly soared, starting off with his 1972 Top 10 hit, "I've Found Someone of My Own".

He began recording songs written by some of the biggest names in the industry; for instance, in March 1973, his rendition of Bill Anderson's "The Lord Knows I'm Drinking" became his first number-one country hit. When Decca became MCA Records in 1973, Cal enjoyed his biggest successes.

In 1974, he recorded two of his greatest hits, "It's Time to Pay the Fiddler" and "Country Bumpkin", which received Song of the Year Awards from both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association.

Smith continued to have success with MCA Records into the late 70's including the Top 20 singles "Between Lust and Watching TV" (1974), "She Talked a Lot About Texas" (1975), "I Just Came Home to Count the Memories" (1977), and "Come See About Me" (1977). After this, he continued to have minor successes that included "The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire" in 1979.

1980s: Stories of Life by Cal Smith[edit]

Smith released his last album, Stories of Life by Cal Smith, in 1986 on Step One Records, where he scored a minor hit that year with "King Lear".



Studio Albums: 16
Live Albums:
Remix Albums:
Compilations: 2
Other Appearances:


Studio Albums[edit]


Selected Awards and Honors[edit]

Academy of Country Music[edit]

  • 1974 — Song of the Year — "Country Bumpkin"

Country Music Association[edit]

  • 1974 — Song of the Year — "Country Bumpkin"
  • 1974 — Single of the Year — "Country Bumpkin"

External Links[edit]