Cal Smith Biography

Calvin Grant Shofner, 7 April 1932, Gans, Oklahoma, USA. The Shofner family moved to California, where Calvin met the rodeo-rider Todd Mason, becoming his stooge for knife and bullwhip tricks. Mason taught him how to play the guitar and at the age of 15 he was a vocalist with the San Francisco country band Kitty Dibble And Her Dude Ranch Wranglers. After military service, he played bass for Bill Drake, whose brother Jack was a prominent member of Ernest Tubb’s Texas Troubadours. This led to him becoming master of ceremonies under the name of Grant Shofner, for Ernest Tubb and the Texas Troubadours from 1962-68. His first appearance on one of Tubb’s recordings was ‘The Great Speckled Bird’ in 1963. Tubb arranged a record contract with Kapp Records and Smith’s first record on the US country charts was ‘The Only Thing I Want’ in 1967. Two years with Decca Records followed and he finally broke through with ‘I’ve Found Someone Of My Own’ and a chart-topping Bill Anderson song, ‘The Lord Knows I’m Drinking’. He joined MCA in 1973 and had further chart-toppers with the Don Wayne songs ‘Country Bumpkin’ and ‘It’s Time To Pay The Fiddler’. A 1974 hit, also written by Bill Anderson, was called ‘Between Lust And Watching TV’ and he recorded a popular ‘mother’ song, ‘Mama’s Face’. His last Top 20 hit on the US country charts was ‘I Just Came Home To Count The Memories’ in 1977. Although Smith has a good voice, he was often presented with mediocre material and subsequently left the business for several years. He joined Ernest Tubb on his double album The Legend And The Legacy, although it is bizarre to hear two men singing ‘Our Baby’s Book’.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.