Tear Drop Valley

Under Appreciated

Ram Records was the hub of rockabilly music in northern Louisiana and also seemed to be about half women, half men – much rarer in those days.  Guitarist Mira Smithwith help from her cousin Alton Warwick started the Ram Recording Co. in Shreveport; and this was where Thomas Johnson – who became known as the Lonesome Drifter – and his band headed.  Mira gave him a poem called “Tear Drop Valley” that was written by two of her friends, and Johnson set it to music and recorded it at a studio in a small radio station nearby.  Mira later decided to start her own record company called K Records (named for her sister Kathleen Smith).
Thomas Johnson told Mira Smith that he didn’t want his own name on the record.  She asked him what he did want, and he gave her the name the Lonesome Drifter, adapted from the name of Hank Williams’ band The Drifting Cowboys and also another name used by Williams, Luke the Drifter.  So “Eager Boy” was released on the brand new label K Records, though it was actually the flip side “Tear Drop Valley” that finally won the Drifter his spot on the Louisiana Hayride.  
No matter how great they are, the problem with reissuing music from obscure artists like the Lonesome Drifter who have only one or two singles to their name is that there usually aren’t a lot of songs in the vault to pick from.   The Eager Boy album does include three different versions of both sides of his first single, Eager Boy and “Tear Drop Valley”; I might add though that I didn’t mind hearing a one of them.  However, the other 11 songs on the album are equally astonishing and could have easily formed the basis of a colorful career.  
(May 2011)
*       *       *
YouTube has a number of Lonesome Drifter songs on its website.  The flip side of “Eager Boy, “Tear Drop Valley”, is more in the country vein – at www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=-EzLcBWbqaY&feature=endscreen – and gave the man his goal as a recording artist:  a spot on the Louisiana Hayride (a direct predecessor to the Holy Grail of country musicThe Grand Ole Opry).   
(May 2013)
*       *       *

And the flip side of the classic Eager Boy by The Lonesome DrifterTear Drop Valley



(May 2014)


Last edited: March 22, 2021