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.

5 comments:

Rich said...

Wow ... a GTO with Grady Nutt! I see the album come up from time to time on e-bay and some of the other spots mentioned on my Grady Nutt page (a Gospel link I believe). If you need more help tracking it down, e-mail me from my web site at
www.the-cartoonist.com.

Byron said...

I'm listening to that Grady Nutt album with the Kingsmen right now. I found it at a Goodwill store here in my hometown of Knoxville, TN. It's a great album!

Rich said...

Great! Glad you were able to track one down! That is a good one.

You would probably also like his routine on Tuning the Tiple from his album "Flip Sides of Grady Nutt" ... also a very good album/tape!

beth dye said...

i would love to know which album his stories of the blind man and his dog was on. i used to have that one but through the years it is gone and i want to find it and buy it once again

Rich said...

Beth. I'm not familiar with that one. Maybe someone else is. The list of albums and story titles is on my Grady Nutt tribute page at http://www.the-cartoonist.com/Nutt/Nutt.html. Do any of those sound close?