REPRINTED FROM THE JUNE 2004 ISSUE OF
The Jot 'Em Down Journal:
One of the most obscure pieces of L&A memorabilia is a 45 rpm record titled "Country Music is Here to Stay,"
which was released by Capitol Records in 1958. Inasmuch as all the voices on the recording are performed by
country music legend Ferlin Husky, how does it have any connection with Lum and Abner? Ah, thereby hangs
Actually, "Country Music is Here to Stay" was performed not by Ferlin Husky, but by Simon Crum, who was
actually Ferlin Husky. HUH? Well, for those who are unfamiliar with the fact, in the mid-1950s Husky created the
hillbilly character of Simon Crum to perform comedy and novelty songs, and became so popular by doing so that
Capitol actually signed Simon Crum to a separate recording contract! Husky, a.k.a. Crum, had a hit song called
"Cuz You're So Sweet" in 1955, but his "Country Music is Here to Stay" made it all the way to #2 on the country
music charts three years later. According to one record historian:
This charted in November of '58 at a time when rock 'n' roll seemed to be a big threat to country, with several
country acts dabbling with rock songs. Many thought C&W was in trouble. Simon wanted to reassure them,
"Country music's here to stay." It starts with a Lum and Abner parody (Rum and Lavender) and is delivered in an
series of voices that impersonate most of C&W's big stars of the time.
Yes, Husky/Crum does an admirable impersonation of the Lum and Abner voices, although (prophetically?) his
Lum voice sounds more like the Chet Lauck of the 1970s, when age and health problems had caused Chet to
develop a noticeable tremor in his voice. The routine opens with this bit of dialogue:
RUM: I doggies, Lavender, hand me th' screwdriver.
LAVENDER: Whutyou want it fer, Rum?
RUM: I'm tryin' ta fix the dad blame radio.
LAVENDER: Well, if ya git it fixed ya won't be able to git no country music.
RUM: I don 't know so much about that, Lavender, ther's still a few of us left.
LAVENDER: Yeah, very few at that...
RUM: Now! Hear that, Lavender? By dingies, hit's country music!
The song itself is made up of Husky's impersonations of Ernest Tubb, Kitty Wells, and others who were
beginning to be considered too "hillbilly" for modern listening tastes. The chorus drives home the tune's point:
I can't get enough of that wonderful sound,
I don't care what people say.
Other kinds may come and go,
Includin' rock and roll,
But good ol' country music's here to stay.
After several choruses, the music fades away and we're back with the ersatz L&A. Their conversation is
interrupted by a knock at the door, which turns out to be Husky's imitation of Grand Ole Opry comic Rod
Brasfield. When asked, "What do YOU think o' country music?", he replies, "By Ned, I bleave it's here ta stay!"
(It has been noted elsewhere that after this song's praise of old-time country music, the tune heard on Side B,
"Stand Up, Sit Down, Shut Your Mouth" is a rockabilly number that seems to negate Side A's message. Oh well,
that ther's show bizness.)
What does Ferlin Husky have to do with
Lum and Abner?