About The Artist
Roy Drusky was a native of Atlanta, Georgia. In his childhood, he took to playing the drums in his kindergarten class. In later years of school, he learned to play the piano and clarinet.
He attended Roosevelt High School and had dreams of becoming a professional baseball player. A 1960 magazine article indicated that he had some talent - he was voted onto the Atlanta All-Star team after graduation. He was offered a minor leage contract with the Cleveland Indians farm system.
Roy was in the Navy for a bit, where he took up playing the guitar. When he got out, he went back to Atlanta and attended Emory University. And the music bug kept biting him and he tried to get into the hillbilly music entertainment field.
In 1956, he was doing four television shows a week over WLWA-TV and a daily transcribed radio program over radio station WEAS, a 50,000 watt radio station out of Decatur, Georgia.
At that time, he was also playing the Circle "H" Ranch club with his band, the Southern Ranch Boys. His show that aired on Tuesday nights from 8:00 to 8:30pm was called "Hillbilly Hits". His Saturday show that aired from 12:15pm to 1:00pm was "Hoedown Matinee". He also had the "Atlanta Jubilee" show from 7:00 to 7:30pm on Saturdays, too. Roy also had a 15-minute drive time show from 5:00 to 5:15pm each afternoon. In late 1955, he had just signed with RCA Victor and his fan club was headed by Phyllis Martin in Atlanta, Georgia.
His first record was "What Am I Worth?" b/w "Baby Come Back and Love Me". Later, his Starday recording of "Such A Fool" got the interest of the record buying public. That lead to Bill Lowery helping Roy obtain a two year recording contract with Columbia records. Later, he hooked up with Decca records and Owen Bradley.
The August 1955 issue of Country & Western Jamboree in their short reviews of recently released records back then, wrote this about his Starday record of "Such a Fool" b/w "Mumbling to Myself": "He's such a fool for trustingher but he can't help himself. Well, his gal's gone and he's mumbling to himself."
The Winter 1957 issue of the same magazine offered another angle in reviewing Roy's latest Columbia release then, "Walkin'" b/w "I Walk to Heaven". "If this one is a hit, it'll beat tradition, for there never seems to be hits on records where the same important word or words are used in both song titles. However, Drusky's own "Walkin'" is a good up-tempo blues, while the reverse is an extremely strong ballad with good assistance from a gal singing obligato."
His songwriting got the attention of other country music stars. Faron Young first recorded his tune "Alone With You" and later "Country Girl" and "I'll Be All Right". That led to Roy's songs being recorded by such stars as Webb Pierce, Red Sovine, Kitty Wells and George Morgan.
His Decca recording of "Another" was said to be in the Country Music Top 50 charts for over 20 weeks.
Some of the tunes he was listed as songwriter over the years:
A 1960 Country Song Roundup feature article on Roy provides some insight into Roy's approach to writing a song:
"I never force myself to write a song, and by this I mean that unless the words more or less fall into place, I just quite and wait till some other time. As a rule, if a song is hard to write, it will also be hard for the public to grasp the true meaning right off and this they need to do, if a song is to be a hit. The first thing I do is select my title. I get titles from things people say, from TV and radio programs, etc. After getting my title, I try to build my song toward the the title line so the song will readh a climax, constantly building. I write my melody and lyric at the same time as I go along."
A 1961 article mentions that one of Roy's big breaks as a performer and singer was during his time in Minneapolis. Lester Vanadore happened to meet Roy and hear him sing and contacted his associate, Hubert Long. Things moved along and Hubert must have liked what he heard - he brought Roy to Nashville and soon Roy was with Decca Records, Owen Bradley and soon afterwards, the Grand Ole Opry.
An article by Mae Axton notes he was a stock car driver and airplane pilot, owning his own plane to get to personal appearances. He used his stock car expertise to win a "Country Music Stock Car Race" back in 1965. He competed with Faron Young, Bobboy Lord, George Jones, Willie Nelson, Hubert Long, Jim Ed Brown, The Glaser Brothers, and Charlie Dick (Patsy Cline's husband) in that race.
He appeared on such shows as the Jimmy Dean television show.
Judy Hedy wrote of her interview with Roy Drusky in 1980 - a time when he had to undergo some lifestyle changes as an over two pack a day smoking habit for over 32 years had taken its toll on him then. Already a devoutly religious person, raised a Baptist, but later a Seventh Day Adventist, he told of the many times he had promised God he'd quit smoking if only he'd get through a bad spell or the next day. But all too often, those promises got broken in the endless string of personal appearances that wreak havoc on an artists' personal life and habits.
Roy was impressed by an article about Mother Teresa back then after she had won the Nobel Peace Prize. She noted, "My church has no walls". Roy noted, "She didn't care whether you were a Baptists, a Catholic or whatever. She didn't need to be labeled." As part of this reflective period, he decided he would not work on Fridays anymore. Some of his music friends thought it might have been akin to committing career suicide. But Ms. Hedy pointed out, Roy indicated with a smile that it had indeed not.
Ms. Hedy posed Roy the question that defies answering even in today's market. Then, as perhaps now, Many of the Grand Ole Opry performers ... are recording stars without a record label. Why? Their previous records still sold well, they continue to make personal appearances, but yet, they had no recording contract.Roy didn't really have an answer - perhaps more philosophical about it. He noted "...That's like if we could piack a hit song, we'd all stay in the charts. I guess its like a roulette wheel, you just spint it and ever so often, your number comes up. For some, like some gamblers, it never comes up. You just keep spinning." Roy at that time had just signed with the Plantation Records with his producer Shelby Singleton.
Mae Axton wrote of Roy in her 1965 article:
"Our Mr. Drusky is a kodacolor of greatnewss. He is kind; and a gentleman. His sould walks upon all paths and unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals, unfolding for the people who know his heart, and love him for his goodness.
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