My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Classic Rewind: Roy Clark – ‘The Lawrence Welk Hee Haw Counter Revolution Polka’

5 responses to “Classic Rewind: Roy Clark – ‘The Lawrence Welk Hee Haw Counter Revolution Polka’

  1. Ken Johnson January 10, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Without question one of the worst recordings that Roy Clark ever made. I could never understand why it was released as a single. The song was written to criticize the ABC and CBS Television Network suits for cancelling The Lawrence Welk Show and Hee-Haw at the end of the 1970-71 television season. The networks claimed that they wanted to replace those shows with programming that could attract a younger or less rural audience. (On CBS “The Beverly Hillbillies” & “Green Acres” also received pink slips that year) However in the fall of 1971 both Welk & Hee-Haw rose from the ashes in syndication with brand new episodes. Therefore in most TV markets across the U.S. viewers of both programs could still watch those shows every week. For the most part it was an “inside the industry” story that the general public did not fully participate in as neither show went off the air for a prolonged period of time. Both programs just changed time slots and in some cases moved to a different TV channel.

    What was really odd about this record is that it was not released until a full year after all of this had occurred (August 1972) By that time the whole scenario had been forgotten by fans of both programs who were still faithfully watching their favorite shows every week. The record barely crept into the top ten (peaking at #9) and then vanished because most country radio stations never bothered playing it as an “oldie.” In all of the years I’ve worked in country radio I can’t ever recall the song being requested by a listener.

    As seen above it is a fun song for Roy & the Hee Haw gang to sing on TV but would you really want to hear it multiple times each day on the radio? Also fans of Lawrence Welk were not necessarily fans of Hee-Haw and vice-versa. I watched Hee-Haw primarily to hear the Buck Owens songs and see the country music guest stars. Lawrence Welk was a show that my grandma watched. My first question when I heard this song was: “Why is Roy Clark singing about Lawrence Welk?”

    Roy’s best work was his ballads “Yesterday When I Was Young,” and “Come Live With Me” and his amazing musicianship.

    • Paul W Dennis January 10, 2012 at 6:49 pm

      Ken – as much as we tend to agree on things, I will disagree with you on this one. I liked this song, it was a much requested song in the Orlando area, and I did hear it played as an oldie with some frequency untl about 1984 or thereabouts.

      In Central Florida, where I have lived since 1970 and in the Tidewater Virginia area where my folks lived, the audiences for Lawrence Welk and Hee Haw were not necessarily separate and distinct from each other. My parents would watch both shows , and Lawrence Welk often featured country songs and country-flavored singers such as Ava Barber, Guy & Ralna, Lynn Anderson. He also had steel guitar/guitar player Buddy Merrill as part of his show for some years.

      This record barely crept into the top ten because Roy’s records rarely crept into the top ten – only nine of Roy’s fifty-two charted records ever cracked the top ten. The four Roy Clark singles before this one all failed to crack the top thirty; even “Magnificent Sanctuary Band” died at #39, easily the most successful of the four previous records . This record actually kicked off Roy’s strongest chart run as he saw four of the next five singles hit the top ten.

      By Roy’s standards, this was a pretty big record , and he was always good at humorous stuff. I saw Roy perform live a couple of years ago. He has lost most of his vocal chops, but when he did this song, the old Roy reappeared, if only briefly.

      Roy Clark is/was a magnificent guitar player,(actually I think Roy could play anything, and play it well) humorist, and entertainer. What he wasn’t was a big recording star.

  2. Razor X January 10, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    That was actually a lot better than I was expecting. I never cared much for Roy Clark as a singer, but he is an outstanding musician.

    What’s with the chick in the back wearing the Coke bottle glasses? That’s something you’d never see on TV today.

  3. luckyoldsun January 10, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    Sounds like “Okie From Muskogee” meets “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer.”

  4. country music singer nashville May 16, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Spot on with this write-up, I truly think this site needs far more attention. I’ll probably be back again to read through more, thanks for the information!

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