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Longtime Grand Ole Opry Member "Little" Jimmy Dickens Has Died

Posted by Billyjam, January 3, 2015 03:45pm | Post a Comment

According to several published reports today, country singing legend and longtime regular at the Grand Ole Opry "Little" Jimmy Dickens has died. With the cause listed as cardiac arrest (following being hospitalized from suffering a stroke a week ago), Dickens died yesterday in a Nashville-area hospital at age 94. According to a press release issued by the Grand Ole Opry, he was the last living member of the Grand Ole Opry who was actually older than the radio show itself. In his long lifetime, "Little" Jimmy Dickens became famous for his novelty hit records beginning with 1949's "Take An Old Cold Tater (And Wait)," "I'm Little but I'm Loud," "Sleeping At The Foot of the Bed," and "May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose" - the latter of which (a 1965 number one hit single) was reportedly inspired by Johnny Carson's Tonight Show sketch "Carnac the Magnificent." See the video interview below in which he talks about the mixed blessing of becoming known primarily for his novelty songs, as well as other topics such as what he wanted to be remembered for in life.

"Little" Jimmy Dickens, who earned his name for his diminutive stature (he stood 4' 11"), was a man with a self-deprecating sense of humor and would routinely get laughs by drawing attention to his own height with such witty catchphrases as calling himself "Willie Nelson after taxes."  Dickens first joined the Opry cast in 1948 and would stay with them right up the end making his final appearance on the Opry stage just two weeks ago on December 20th, 2014 - the day after his 94th birthday. Dickens, who was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1983, leaves behind a back catalog of music spanning several decades as many record labels and including a few dozen singles and twelve albums in addition to a string of various artist compilations he appeared on. Look for Dickens' material at Amoeba online as well as in the Amoeba stores.

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Don Helms 1927 - 2008

Posted by Whitmore, August 14, 2008 08:47am | Post a Comment


Don Helms
, steel guitarist and the last surviving member of Hank Williams' band, the Drifting Cowboys, died Monday in Nashville of a heart attack. He was 81. Helms played with Williams on and off for about decade, from 1943 until 1953 when Hank Williams died from just living too fast at the age of 29 on New Year's Day, in Canton, Ohio. Helms is featured on over a hundred Hank Williams recordings -- actually 104 to be exact. His steel guitar sound added a heart breaking mournfulness to many of Williams' ballads, songs like “Your Cheatin' Heart,” “I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry,” and “Cold, Cold Heart,” but Helms could also add a touch of playfulness on up-tempo tracks such as “Jambalaya” and "Hey, Good Lookin'."

Donald Hugh Helms was born Feb. 28, 1927, in New Brockton, Ala. He got his first steel guitar when he was 15, and by 18 he was playing with Williams in juke joints around the south. After serving in the army during World War II, Helms re-joined the Drifting Cowboys when Williams became a star on the Grand Ole Opry in 1949.

After Williams' death, Helms stayed in demand as a session player and went onto play on dozens of classic recordings such as Patsy Cline's “Walkin' After Midnight,” Lefty Frizzell's “Long Black Veil,” Ernest Tubb's “Letters Have No Arms,” and Stonewall Jackson's "Waterloo." Helms recorded with most every great Country-Western star of the day, including Ray Price, Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Webb Pierce, Ferlin Husky, Chet Atkins, Cal Smith, the Wilburn Brothers, and Jim Reeves. According to legend, Helms wrote Brenda Lee's first number one hit “Fool Number One” in exchange for getting Loretta Lynn a recording contract with Decca Records.

In recent years, Helms continued to provide his signature steel guitar sound on sessions with artists Rascal Flatts, Bon Jovi, Martina McBride, Taylor Swift, and Kid Rock. During his lifetime Helms continued to play with all the Williams': Hank Jr., Hank Williams III, and even recorded with Jett Williams, the daughter of Hank Sr. who was born a few days after Williams’ death.

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