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Although Andy Griffith is usually thought of as comedic TV actor, “Andy Griffith Sings Favorite Old Time Songs” showcases his roots as a Bluegrass and Southern Gospel singer.
Andy Griffith first rose to prominence in the movies (A Face in the Crowd) and on record, where his down home twangings about everything from Shakespeare to football made for some hilarious bits. It was these successes that led to the formulation of the Andy Taylor character, from The Andy Griffith Show. Griffith also had several music-only recordings, among them 1997’s Andy Griffith Sings Favorite Old-Time Songs.
Griffith was born in Mount Airy, North Carolina, the only child of Carl Lee Griffith and his wife, Geneva. As a baby, Griffith lived with relatives until his parents could afford to buy a home. With neither a crib nor a bed, he slept in dresser drawers for several months, but in 1929, when Griffith was three, his father began working as a carpenter and purchased a home in Mount Airy’s “blue-collar” south side, which today is a popular Bed & Breakfast.
Griffith grew up listening to music. By the time he entered school, he was well aware that he was from what many considered the “wrong side of the tracks”. He was a shy student, but once he found a way to make his peers laugh, he began to come out of his shell and come into his own. As a student at Mount Airy High School, Griffith cultivated an interest in the arts, and a growing love of music, would change his life.
Griffith was raised Baptist, and looked up to Ed Mickey, a minister at the Grace Moravian Church, who led the brass band and taught Griffith to sing and play the trombone. Mickey nurtured Griffith’s talent throughout high school until graduation in 1944, after which he attended the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and graduated with a bachelor of music degree in 1949. He began college studying to be a Moravian preacher, but he changed his major to music and became president of the UNC chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, America’s oldest fraternity for men in music. While still in college he also played roles in several student operettas.
After graduation, he taught music and drama for a few years at Goldsboro High School in Goldsboro NC before launching his movie and TV career. The rest is history.
Here is the full track list included on “Andy Griffith Sings Favorite Old Time Songs”:
1 – The Fishin’ Hole
2 – Don’t Look Back
3 – Sourwood Mountain
4 – Police Department Blues
5 – Cindy
6 – The Crawdad Song
7 – The Midnight Special
8 – Flop-Eared Mule
9 – How Long, How Long Blues
10 – Pick A Bale Of Cotton