RED SOVINE ‘Teddy Bear’
RCA 1976 cat# LSA3286
Ah, Red Sovine. Some of you may know this corn-poned, beer and hardluck spattered gentleman from Tom Waits cover of ‘Big Joe and Phantom 309′ on Nighthawks at the Diner. Even with that pedigree I can’t get my girlfriend to listen to this. Well, Red specialized in those sad, country story songs. You know, Little Timmy’s legs is broke and Daddy left him and Momma with nuthin’ and it’s Christmas and all Timmy wants for Christmas is a ride in a big rig. These are not so much sung as they are spoken, with Red’s voice breaking into a maudlin quaver at several key points. Yes, it’s hilarious. Red himself has an interesting story. He was a true Nashville country stalwart, just muling away out there from honky-tonk to honky-tonk, and though this record actually hit #1 on the US Country chart in 1976, he never seemed to find fame. Instead his story ended with him having a heart attack while driving his van in Nashville. The combination of heart failure and injuries proved too much, so on April 4, 1980, Red threw it into low for the last time and rolled his rig up into that great truck-stop in the sky.
There are other records with better known Sovine songs, but the cover on this one just puts it over the top. Still, you can’t beat titles like ‘Does Steppin’ Out Mean Daddy Took a Walk?’. Getting this record was a bit of a project. It’s funny. I’m three hours from Nashville, but I had to buy this from a guy in England.