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Arthur 'Guitar Boogie' Smith
and His Cracker-Jacks
Born:  April 1, 1921
Died:  April 3, 2014
WBT Carolina Hayride
WCOS Columbia, SC
WSPA Spartansburg, SC
WBT Charlotte, NC (1945)

About The Artist

Arthur Smith and his Crackerjacks got their careers started as a family group while in high school in Kershaw, South Carolina. They got their inspiration from their dad - who on Sundays was the director of a big brass band that was the pride of Kershaw. They often tell of the fact that their dad hoped they could play music every day of the week, not just on Sundays. Arthur Smith and the Crackerjacks did that and some.

When World War II began, the group split up. Arthur was in Naval Transportation, Sonny Smith was a radar man, Ralph Smith was an Army master sergeant. Even while in the service, they kept up their musical aspirations, for on leaves they would meet up in Washington to do some recordings. One of those sessions resulted in "Guitar Boogie". You might say that became a hit - it sold over 3,000,000 copies. They pressed a silver platter for the Library of Congress.

At the end of World War II, the group came to Charlotte and had done over a 1,000 television shows, over 2,000 radio broadcasts, 2,500 personal appearances and 130 recordings! They decided to join radio station WBT when they got out of the service around 1946. Three years later, WBTV was on the air, too.

The family group hired a fellow by the name of Tommy Faile who Arthur spoke highly of in 1947. The group had heard him on the radio and over a phone call, they hired him. And that began the "Crossroads Quartet".

The band was pretty versatile in the instruments each could play and the various roles they took as part of the act. Tommy Faile and Ralph Smith were known as "Brother Ralph and Cousin Phud" in the comedy segments of their act. The program even included a Sunday school lesson by Arthur and a hymn by the entire group.

In early 1956, Arthur Smith and his Crackerjacks signed a three year recording contract renewal with MGM records, which made them the dean of the artists on the label at the time. MGM had also asked the group to tour Europe as their recordings were popular in England, France, Australia and Italy and even got a few toes tapping on the Gold Coast of Africa.

Timeline and Trivia Notes

Group Members included:

  • Arthur Smith, fiddle, banjo, mandolin, guitar, bass and trumpet
  • Ralph Smith
  • Sonny Smith
  • Tommy Faile

Credits & Sources

  • Country Song Roundup; Issue No. 10; February 1951; Charlton Pub. Corp., Inc.; Derby, CT
  • Country Song Roundup No. 43; April 1956; American Folk Publications, Inc.; Derby, CT

Get The Music

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Recordings (78rpm/45rpm)

Rec. No. Side Song Title
  1426 A Beautiful Brown Eyes
  1426 B Train Whistle Blues
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  10333 A Foolish Questions
  10333 B Rain Drops And Tear Drops
  10791 A Conversation With A Mule
  10791 B Mandolin Boogie
  10829 A Mr. Stalin You're Eatin Too High On The Hog
  10829 B Banjo Buster
  11879 A Truck Stop Boogie
  11879 B Hi Lo Boogie
  11945 A You're Hooked
  11945 B Midnight Rag
Montgomery Ward
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  7735 A Old Santa Claus Is Leavin' Just Because (w/Carolina Crackerjacks)
  7735 B I'm Going Back To Old Carolina (w/Carolina Crackerjacks)
  7736 A There Are No Disappointments In Heaven (w/Carolina Crackerjacks)
  7736 B Your Soul Never Dies (w/Carolina Crackerjacks)
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  576 A Guitar Boogie Twist
  576 B Napoleon's Retreat
  590 A Heartaches
  590 B Foolish Questions - Silly Answers
  615 A Hospitality Blues
  615 B Philadelphia Guitar
  634 A Master Of The Game
  634 B Travelin' Blues
  642 A Tie My Hunting Dogs Down, Jed
  642 B Guitar Hop
  656 A The Stuttering Song
  656 B Back To His Hole He Went
  701 A I Like Lasses
  701 B Flat Top Hari Kari
  824 A British Backbeat
  824 B Lynn's Gone
  861 A What Is An American?
  861 B Psychoanalysis
  868 A Guitar Unlimited
  868 B Summer Theme

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