Greetings from Asheville, where good music is always on the turntable. Today’s Classic 45 features the vocals of Stuart Hamblen. Stuart’s classic “This Old House” became one of the big hits of 1954, as well as his last country hit. Stuart’s career was long and colorful, having enjoyed success as a singer, songwriter, and radio talent. His early days were marked by problems with alcohol and gambling, yet he overcame those issues, after accepting Christ during a Billy Graham Crusade in Los Angeles in 1949. That conversion would influence his later songwriting, when he wrote classics such as “It Is No Secret (What God Can Do)”, “Open Up Your Heart (And Let The Sun Shine In)”, and today’s Single Of The Day.
The story is that Stuart’s classic “This Ole House” was inspired by a hunting trip, in which he and a friend came upon an abandoned cabin, where they discovered a deceased man, who apparently had died from natural causes. Stuart wrote the song from the perspective of the deceased man, reflecting on he and the house’s past together. But now, he no longer needs the old house, as he’s “gettin’ ready to meet the saints”.
Once he wrote the song, Stuart recorded it in March, 1954. The single, released by RCA Victor, both as a 45 and 78 (as were most singles of that era), hit the market in May and debuted on the charts in August. It climbed the charts, all the way up to the number two position in Billboard, while in Cashbox, the single performed just as admirably, peaking at three. The single also made a brief appearance on Billboard’s Pop charts. Any hopes of huge Pop success were likely stymied, though, because of Rosemary Clooney’s version.
Simply put, one of my favorite records, easily one that would be on my list of top five all-time favorites.
Saving vinyl, one record at a time.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike the Country Musicologist is a lifelong music and radio fanatic, model railroader, lover of vintage agriculture, and big sports fan, including the Colts, Reds, Hurricanes, Pacers, Purdue & Butler Universities. He has collected records since childhood, focusing on classic country and top 40 oldies music. He convinced Vincennes University to give him an Associate’s Degree in broadcasting. He’s worked for several stations in Indiana and North Carolina. Be sure to follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.