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(Merle Kilgore, CLAUDE KING)

Columbia 42352

No. 6    July 21, 1962





Claude is known to rural and urban folk alike for his tall tale of a dudes determination to possess a gal

with “lips sweeter than honey” whom he’s never met.   Clifton Clowers, a mean mountain man “mighty

handy with the gun and knife,” has his daughter in storage on  Wolverton Mountain, and there ain’t no

one gonna get her. The outcome of Claude and Clifton’s confrontation is not revealed in the  song’s lyrics.

“Wolverton Mountain” did typecast Claude as a “saga singer,” but for the brief  time that sagas were selling,

King was the monarch of the mound.


Claude was born on a farm in Keithville, Louisiana, on February 5, 1923.  There was no electricity, no gas, no

running water.  Before school bells were ringing for little Claude, his family moved to the wilds of Louisiana.

“There was four of us brothers,” said Claude per liner-note writer Colin Escott.  “We’d have to swim seven

creeks to get to school when the water was up.”    When 12, he bought his first guitar for 50cents from a

neighbor.    He picked at the thing, but it was sports that was young Claude’s passion.      After high school,

Claude severed a year with the  Civilian Conservation Corps., training in metalwork and forestry.


He attended the University of Idaho on a baseball scholarship, but unfortunately, an arm injury snuffed his

baseball dreams.


Upon  his  return to Shreveport, Claude turned to pickin’ and singin’  at local watering holes and on radio

shows.    Appearances  on the “Louisiana Hayride” radio program led to unsuccessful   recordings  for the

Gotham,      Specialty, Dee Jay, and Pacemaker    labels.      At the behest of  country star Johnny Horton,

Columbia Records offered Claude a contract, and with his first release, “Big River, Big Man” (#82, 1961),

King won a position on both the pop   and country charts.   The follow-up, “The Comancheros” (#71, 1961),

did likewise.  But with “Wolverton  Mountain,”  a tune  co-written with country singer/later Hank Williams

Jr. manager Merle Kilgore about a real man and real place in Arkansas, Claude King hit paydirt.


Pop-wise, Claude only had one more  story-song  in  him–“The Burning Of  Atlanta” (#53, 1962)–and   his

reign on the C & W charts throughout the ’60s had its downs and ups,  but mostly the latter.    During the

’70s, though,        his career began to stall.       After six albums and a healthy run of C & W chartings, Claude

and Columbia parted company.


Claude King continued singing to the end of Clifton Clowers, and occasionally recorded further country

tunes.   He has also turned up in a TV mini-series, “The Blue And The Gray” (1982) and obscure flicks like

Swamp Girl and Year of the Wahoo.


Arkansas Governor Frank White declared August 7, 1981, as “Woverton Mountain Day.”     Claude King died

in 1983.   Clifton Clowers–the mean “Woverton Mountain” man–outlived the saga singer a decade plus;

dying August 14, 1994.     He was 102.