Damron, Dick

Dick (b Joseph Glenn) Damron. Singer, songwriter, guitarist, banjoist, b Bentley, near Red Deer, Alta, 22 Mar 1934. He was heard early in his career in both country and rock bands, including the Musical Round-Up Gang (on CKDR radio, Red Deer) and the Nightriders. He began recording in 1959 and made two LPs in the 1960s for his own Holiday label. One, Canadiana Folk Collection, from 1967, comprised his songs about historical figures and incidents. It was not until 1970, however, that Damron had his first hit, 'Countryfied,' for Apex; a version by the US singer George Hamilton IV was popular in 1971 and served as the theme song for his syndicated Canadian TV show later in the decade. Damron had further success 1971-7 in turn for MCA, Columbia, Marathon, and Condor with the singles 'Rise 'n' Shine,' 'The Long Green Line,' 'Bitter Sweet Songs,' 'Mother, Love and Country,' 'On the Road,' 'Good Ol' Fashioned Memories,' and 'Susan Flowers'.

By now established as an affable performer in the 'outlaw' style, and as an accomplished writer of songs ranging from 'honky tonk' to gospel, he began recording in 1978 for RCA. His most popular singles included 'Silver and Shine,' 'Whisky Jack,' and 'My Good Woman' (1978), 'High on You' (1979), 'The Ballad of T.J'.s' (1980), 'If You Need Me Lord' (1981), 'Honky Tonk Angels and Good Ol' Boys' and 'Good Ol' Time Country Rock 'n' Roll' (1982), 'Ride Against the Wind' (1986, with Ginny Mitchell), 'Cinderella & the Gingerbread' (1988), and 'Wild Horses' (1991). The Damron discography to 1991 also included more than 25 albums, among them seven for RCA and three of instrumentals, notably Mirage (ATI ATI-0322, CD and cass) issued in 1991.

Damron appeared in 1972 at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and travelled in 1976 and annually 1978-80 and 1982-7 to Europe. He performed in England at the Wembley International Country Music Festival, London, in 1976 and 1978 and also toured in Holland and Germany. In Canada he has been seen on many CBC TV and CTV country music and variety series, and has performed at the Calgary Stampede (among other cowboy functions), in clubs and concerts, and at festivals and fairs. He presented the Dick Damron Country Music Festival in 1977 and 1978 at Bentley and was involved in the early 1980s in the Cattle Country Jam at Brooks, Alta.

Damron received Big Country awards as top country composer in 1976 and country male singer annually 1977-9, and for best country single ('Susan Flowers') in 1977. He won CCMA awards as male vocalist, entertainer, and instrumentalist of the year in 1983, 1985 and 1989 respectively, and for song of the year ('Jesus It's Me Again') in 1984. Damron songs also have been recorded by many other singers including Carroll Baker, Gary Buck, Terry Carisse, Jimmy Arthur Ordge, Orval Prophet ('Eastbound Highway'), the Rhythm Pals, Hank Smith ('Everybody's Going to the Country'), R. Harlan Smith, and several European artists.