Woodrow Wilson Sovine (July 17, 1918 – April 4, 1980), better known as Red Sovine, was an American country music singer associated with truck driving songs, particularly those recited as narratives but set to music. The most famous example was his 1976 number one hit "Teddy Bear".
Born in 1918 in Charleston, West Virginia, Sovine was taught to play guitar by his mother. His first venture into music was with his childhood friend Johnnie Bailes, with whom he performed as "Smiley and Red, the Singing Sailors" in the country music revue Jim Pike's Carolina Tar Heels on WWVA-AM in Wheeling, West Virginia. Faced with limited success, Bailes left to perform as part of The Bailes Brothers. Sovine got married, and continued to sing on Charleston radio, while holding down a job as a supervisor of a hosiery factory. With the encouragement of Bailes, Sovine formed The Echo Valley Boys.
After a year of performing in West Virginia, Sovine moved to Shreveport, Louisiana, where the Bailes Brothers were performing on KWKH-AM. Sovine's own early morning show wasn't very popular, but he gained greater exposure performing on the famed KWKH radio program, Louisiana Hayride. One of his co-stars was Hank Williams, who steered Sovine toward a better time slot at WSFA in Montgomery, Alabama, and toward a contract with MGM Records in 1949. That same year, Sovine replaced Williams on Louisiana Hayride when Williams jumped to the Grand Ole Opry. Over the next four years he recorded 28 singles, mostly following in Williams' honky tonk footsteps, that didn't make much of a dent on the charts but did establish him as a solid performer.
In 1965 Sovine found his niche when he recorded "Giddyup Go", which, like most of his other trucker hits, he co-wrote with Tommy Hill. It is spoken, rather than sung, as the words of an older long-distance truck driver who rediscovers his long-lost son driving another truck on the same highway. Minnie Pearl released an answer song titled "Giddy-Up Go Answer". Sovine's version of the song spent six weeks atop the country charts and crossed over to the pop charts. Other truck-driving hits followed, including:
"Phantom 309", a tale of a hitchhiker who hops a ride from a trucker who turns out to be the ghost of a man who died years ago giving his life to save a school bus full of children from a horrible collision with his rig. This story was later adapted by singer-songwriter Tom Waits, who performed "Big Joe And Phantom 309" during his Nighthawks At The Diner recordings. Waits' version of this song was covered by Archers of Loaf on the 1995 tribute album, Step Right Up: The Songs of Tom Waits. Musician Steve Flett named a recording project after the song. The song was originally written and recorded by Tommy Faile.
"Teddy Bear", the tale of a disabled boy who lost his truck driver father in a highway accident and keeps his CB radio base as his only companion.
"Little Joe", a tale of a trucker and his devoted canine friend which became his last big hit.
Sovine was also remembered for his Christmas tear-jerkers, which included "Here It Is Christmas" (a divorcee's holiday lament), "Faith In Santa" (a dialog between a poor, runaway boy and a sidewalk Santa), and "What Does Christmas Look Like?" (a little blind girl asks her father to describe the Christmas she cannot see). He scored another sentimental hit with "Little Rosa" in which a Mexican-American railroad employee tells a stranger, in broken English, about getting a bouquet to place on the grave of his small daughter who was killed by a train while he was away.
On April 4, 1980, Sovine suffered a heart attack while driving his Ford van in Nashville, which caused him to crash. The injuries and his heart attack were fatal. For many years after his death, his greatest hits collection (The Best Of Red Sovine) was advertised on television, exposing his music to a new generation of fans.
Because this tape is sealed new and we cannot inspect for play-ability, we offer no warranty or guarantees on how well this tape will perform once it is opened and removed from the cellophane package. Because this sealed new 8-track tape is very old, the foam pad and glue on the foil splice most often has a tendency to deteriorate over many years of time. Always inspect and replace if necessary those items before playing any sealed new 8-track tape, or damage to the tape and player may occur.
If you would like this new sealed tape gently opened and inspected for play-ability with a new pad and foil splice added, please go to "New 8-track tape repair" in the New 8-track tape category and we will gladly perform the work for you. Be sure to select the number of repairs needed for the amount of sealed tapes you are purchasing.