The classic hit “Daddy Sang Bass” has been covered by many artists over the years. It was originally written by Carl Perkins, a member of Johnny Cash‘s traveling show. The two were friends and eventually, Johnny sang the song. The song is about families who sing together after a hard day of work.
While Carl wrote and later performed the song, Johnny recorded it in 1968. It is included in several of his albums including “The Holy Land.” According to Wikipedia, Dick Nolan, Kitty Wells, The Statler Brothers, Glenn Campbell, Mell Tillis, The Oak Ridge Boys, Pinkard & Bowden, and Leon Russell have also recorded the song.
Learn the history of “Daddy Sang Bass”
Carl and Johnny became friends in 1954 when Carl auditioned for Sun records. This was at the very start of Johnny’s career. In Johnny’s autobiography, he said that both he and Carl were alcoholics and drug addicts. Johnny used faith to get out of his addictions and later helped Carl do the same. This experience was another that inspired the song “Daddy Sang Bass.”
Some artists including Don Reid and Lew DeWitt of the Statler Brothers are said to sing “me and little Brother” in the song. It was sung in honor of Jack, Johnny Cash’s brother who passed away when they were both young.
Reminisce with some of the lyrics, and then listen to the full Johnny Cash version:
I remember when I was a lad,
times were hard and things were bad.
But there’s a silver lining behind every cloud.
Just poor people, that’s all we were.
Trying to make a living out of black land dirt.
We’d get together in a family circle singing loud.
Daddy sang bass,
Mama sang tenor.
Me and little brother would join right in there.
Singing seems to help a troubled soul.
One of these days and it won’t be long.
I’ll rejoin them in a song.
I’m gonna join the family circle at the Throne.
No, the circle won’t be broken.
By and by, Lord, by and by.