Wednesday, September 9, 2009

In the Boombox, volume 1

Before I went to work this morning, I put my Walkman and some cassettes into my duffel bag, so I'd have something to listen to on the bus going to and from my job. Today, I popped in a 1996 Southern Gospel tape, "I Love to Tell The Story". The artist may be a surprise to some of you. No less an icon---in television moreso than music---than Andy Griffith.

I remember seeing commercials promoting the album--or at least one along the same line--via mail order. I tried to picture in my mind Griffith covering traditional hymns like "Sweet Hour of Prayer" and "How Great Thou Art". I played the tape, and it was, dare I say it, a revelation. Griffith's rendition of "How Great" is up there with Tennessee Ernie Ford, for example, a highlight of the set.

Most of Griffith's albums back in the day were culled from his stand-up comedy routines, but I'm not sure if there was any music mixed in. Not only that, but on his self-titled sitcom in the 60's, Griffith was known to pull out a guitar to do some pickin' at the end of an episode every now and then, most notably jamming with the "Darling family", a group of guest actors, including a pre-Dukes of Hazzard Denver Pyle, whose characters were also a jug band. I think he also slipped in some guitar playing on Matlock during its run. While Griffith still does some acting periodically, I'd not be surprised to find him turning up on TBN somewhere down the road. As for the album? It's a treasure.

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