“Daddy Sang Bass” Performed by Johnny Cash (1968) & The Statler Brothers

June 6, 2011


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“Daddy Sang Bass” was composed for Johnny Cash by Rockabilly musician and artist  Carl Perkins in 1968. Cash had a smash hit single on the song: Released in October 1968, it reached #1 on the Country charts, #42 Pop,  and remained on the charts for 19 weeks — 6 of those weeks at #1!

The live performance of “Daddy Sang Bass” appeared on the LP “Johnny Cash at San Quentin” recorded in February 1969  that charted #1 on both the Country and Pop LP Charts.  This set  was the sequel to 1968′s live outing LP “At Folsom Prison” that charted #1 Country and #13 Pop.

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I am a long time Johnny Cash fan, but I really wasn’t familiar with him until “A Boy Named Sue”  and “Get Rhythm” came out.  So it follows that the version of “Daddy Sang Bass” that I grew up to love happens to be the Statler Brothers cover.

I love gospel quartets and gospel harmonies. My Dad sang in a gospel group during my formative years so this music was a part of my early life.

The Statler Brothers started out as a church trio from Staunton, Virginia and the three were not blood brothers. But when a fourth was added to the group he was, coincidentally,  the younger brother of one of the existing members.

I so love listening to this group’s harmonies in song — don’t you?  Plus the addition of a familiar gospel classic thrown into the mix doesn’t hurt either. : -)

“Daddy Sang Bass” Composed by Carl Perkins

Times were hard and things were bad
But there’s a silver linin’ behind every cloud
Just poor people that’s all we were
Tryin’ to make a livin’ out of blackland earth
But we’d get together in a family circle singin’ loud …

CHORUS
Daddy sang bass, Mama sang tenor
Me and little brother would join right in there
Singin’ seems to help a troubled soul

One of these days and it won’t be long
I’ll rejoin them in a song
I’m gonna join the family circle at the throne …

No, the circle won’t be broken
Bye and bye, Lord, bye and bye …
Daddy’ll sing bass, Mama’ll sing tenor
Me and little brother will join right in there
In the sky, Lord, in the sky.

Now I remember after work,
Mama would call in all of us
You could hear us singin’ for a country mile
Now little brother has done gone on
But I’ll rejoin him in a song
We’ll be together again up yonder in a little while.

CHORUS
Daddy sang bass, Mama sang tenor
Me and little brother would join right in there
Singin’ seems to help a troubled soul

One of these days and it won’t be long
I’ll rejoin them in a song
I’m gonna join the family circle at the throne …

No, the circle won’t be broken
Bye and bye, Lord, bye and bye …
Daddy’ll sing bass, Mama’ll sing tenor
Me and little brother will join right in there
In the sky, Lord, in the sky.
In the sky, Lord, in the sky.

Here is a young Johnny Cash performing his hit classic with the backing of The Carter Family.

Here is a more mature Johnny Cash performing the song with a mature  Statler Brothers grouping. Enjoy the music and then tell me your favorite of the two or write in your favorite of the many cover versions of this great “Daddy” song.

Musically Yours,

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Filed under:All About Daddy,Carl Perkins Composer,Columbia,Country,Country Crossover,Daddy Sang Bass,Guy Groups,Johnny Cash,Magnificent Male Vocalists,Number Ones,Sixties,The Statler Brothers

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 John Savlove June 11, 2011 at 10:00 am

Your song studies are a real treat. I’m commenting on this one because it’s all about the sheer joy of singing. I like the original Statler Brothers version you grew up with best because it’s the least hokey. Johnny Cash can getcha every time with that quaver in his voice, and the grandstanding between playing the guitar or just ordaining the moment in the first TV clip is what being a front man is all about – but he does’t own this number!

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2 SonDan June 11, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Welcome to OSML John. I am so glad you enjoy your visit(s).
So that makes two of us in favor of the Statler Bros version of “Daddy Sang Bass.” Whoo Hooo!
Now lets hear from the Johnny Cash fans out there. John S. and I are waiting ;-)

And thank you again John for your participation. It is most appreciated.

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