Friday, January 5, 2007

Never had the Chance

I never had the chance to see Grady Nutt in person. He died in 1982 when I was 14. I remember watching him as a kid on Hee-Haw and listening to his record albums (yes I am old enough to remember record albums) My favorite is the one he did with the Kingsmen called Give the World a Smile. I bet I listened to that record a thousand times, and I knew it word for word. In fact, it is so bad now that it is not even playable. I had made a copy of it on a cassette tape so I could listen to it in my car. I was probably the only teenage guy ever to cruise around in a GTO with the top down listening to Grady Nutt and the Kingmen. Unfortunately, that tape is long gone. I would love to buy a new copy of that album.

I was raised in a Christian home and thought his mixure of humor and religion was perfect. I have always been accused of being, well, let's call it .... less than serious. In fact, my senior class in high school voted me class clown. I dont' know why. Doesn't everybody know how to make a school desk float four feet in the air? Anyway, I can relate with his childhood stories about his dad listening only to gospel music. My dad listened to it a lot. We had one stereo and a TV with three channels, both in the same room, so there were no other options but to listen. I loved and still do love to listen to the quartets. I have been able to draw from Grady Nutt's influence in a practical way. I was a member of a southern gospel group and used humor during our performances. People tend to listen more to the message when the delivery is interesting. Humor gets people drawn in and they listen more to what you saying and singing. I left that group after a couple of years in order to play with a bluegrass band. We are still playing together and love to play Bluegrass Gospel at churches. I have been working on a medley of old gospel songs like Grady and the Kingsmen did on that album. It is hard to get the guys to play and sing it the way I hear it in my head. I have told them that one day I will find a way for them to hear the great version I am familiar with. What a thrill it would have been to be there when Grady Nutt and the Kingsmen recorded that performance. I really wish I could have had the honor of meeting the man who had such a large influence on me, my personality, and my love of gospel music. Grady Nutt gave the world his smile, and I still smile each time I think of him.

Grady Nutt Lives On In Spoken Word

Grady Nutt, what a comedic fellow...But listen into his stories, comedic yes, but life stories and lessons are contained in each and every one. Can you imagine Jesus using the same style and approach as Grady in preaching his great Parables or the Sermon on the Mount ?.

Grady can capture anyones attention immediately...., From his many stories, that I air on my Sunday Morning Program, many are requested such as "The Roast Is Burning", "When the Roll is Called Up Yonder", "Mrs Middleton Takes The Plunge" among others. Its because of his comedic nature that grabs my listeners attention, but I play them for the life lessons that are taught in those simple monologues. I have all of Gradys recordings captured and cleaned to CD, but long to one get a hold of the tapes made of his appearance here at the grand French Lick Springs Hotel.

I hope that one day, someone in his family will re-issue these gems to CD. Until then I treasure these slices of heaven.

Fan and Listener of Grady Nutt
Randall Hamm Gospel PD WFLQ
French Lick Indiana

Grady at Wayland Baptist College

I met Grady a couple of times when I was a student at Wayland Baptist College in the mid to late 70's. He was a frequent speaker on campus since he had actually attended the school himself quite some time before. He often told stories of his time at Wayland. I heard him speak a number of times and agree that he had an amazing talent for delivering the gospel in a way that would have you wiping tears of laughter one minute and tears of sorrow the next. What a gift for bringing the truth home.

For some reason I don't remember, I was honored to "hostess" one of his visits to the campus. I was responsible to get him to his speaking engagements on campus. We were having several "celebrity" speakers for a number of events one week. There was a meeting of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes one evening and I was also assigned to pick up the "Dallas Cowboy" who had been brought in to address the athletes. When I arrived at the motel, the football player refused to come to the door. We talked through the door and he informed me he had no intention of speaking at the meeting. As it turned out, Grady was in the room next door. He heard the conversation through the door. When I turned to leave, Grady opened his door and said something like "I don't know what that man's problem is, but if you need a speaker for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, I'd be glad to come speak." And he did. I will never forget that.

We used to get tapes of Grady's talks. I think they were from the Southwestern Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. I wonder if they are still available. I own two of his books, The Gospel According to Norton and Agaperos.

I really mourned at the news of his death. He was taken far too young and far too soon. I was ready for more stories.

Thanks again for this site. It was so good to hear his voice again.

Judy L.

My Tribute to Grady Nutt

This BLOG and web page is a small tribute to a man of God and a man of humor. Grady Nutt was, for me, one of the most profound and entertaining speakers/evangelists I've ever heard. His insight into the life and character of Jesus (and us) was unparalleled. He is best known for his role as "the preacher" from the 70's TV Show "Hee Haw," but that was only the tip-of-the-iceberg of his talent and insights.

His stories on the tribute page serve as a good introduction to his humor. If you like them, I hope you are able to track down a whole recording or two. I hope in some way that my Christian cartoons measure up to his insights in a visual-parable sort of way ... but no one I know put it in words as well as he did!

Rich Diesslin
Cartoonist and Illustrator