If he were still with us, Ernest Tubb would be celebrating his 97th birthday today. Tubb, one of the most reliably consistent honky-tonkers in the history of country music, died in 1984 after succumbing to emphysema.
Behind the scenes, Tubb could be a handful especially when the occasional extended drinking bout brought his truculent side to the surface. Fans, however, loved him for his genial warmth and good humor so it's not terribly surprising that some tribute records emerged in the aftermath of his death. Fittingly, Tubb's own recording career, launched in 1936, began with a pair of Jimmie Rodgers tribute tunes: The Passing Of Jimmie Rodgers b/w The Last Thoughts Of Jimmie Rodgers. Before he developed his own style, Tubb was enormously influenced by The Singing Brakeman. In fact, that's Jimmie Rodgers' guitar that Tubb's posing with in the photo above.
B. Bob Akers - Tubb Song (3:18)
Ernest Tubb - The Texas Troubadour (2:23) Written by Tubb's good friend Porter Wagoner, this longtime favorite could just as easily have been titled "Ernest Tubb Vs. The NYC Hippies." I think you know what side of the debate I come down on.