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Bob Ferguson (music)

Bob Ferguson (music)

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Robert Bruce "Bob" Ferguson Sr (December 30, 1927 – July 22, 2001) was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 songwriter
Songwriter
A songwriter is an individual who writes both the lyrics and music to a song. Someone who solely writes lyrics may be called a lyricist, and someone who only writes music may be called a composer...

, record producer
Record producer
A record producer is an individual working within the music industry, whose job is to oversee and manage the recording of an artist's music...

 who was instrumental in establishing Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville is the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee and the county seat of Davidson County. It is located on the Cumberland River in Davidson County, in the north-central part of the state. The city is a center for the health care, publishing, banking and transportation industries, and is home...

 as a center of country music; movie producer, and Choctaw
Choctaw
The Choctaw are a Native American people originally from the Southeastern United States...

 Indian historian
Historian
A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is...

. Ferguson wrote the bestselling songs "On the Wings of a Dove" and "The Carroll County Accident
The Carroll County Accident
"The Carroll County Accident" is a 1968 country song written by Bob Ferguson, and recorded by Porter Wagoner. It was a hit for Wagoner and became one of his signature songs.-Content:...

". The "Carroll County Accident" won the Country Music Association
Country Music Association
The Country Music Association was founded in 1958 in Nashville, Tennessee. It originally consisted of only 233 members and was the first trade organization formed to promote a music genre...

 Song of the Year in 1969. In 1983, "Wings of a Dove
Wings of a Dove (Bob Ferguson song)
"Wings of a Dove is a gospel song written by Bob Ferguson. "Wings of a Dove" was most popular when it was recorded by Ferlin Husky in 1960. The Ferlin Husky recording went to number one on the country charts for ten non consecutive weeks. It became Ferlin Husky's third and final number one on the...

" was featured in the movie Tender Mercies
Tender Mercies
Tender Mercies is a 1983 American drama film directed by Bruce Beresford. The screenplay by Horton Foote focuses on Mac Sledge, a recovering alcoholic country music singer who seeks to turn his life around through his relationship with a young widow and her son in rural Texas...

starring Robert Duvall
Robert Duvall
Robert Selden Duvall is an American actor and director. He has won an Academy Award, two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards and a BAFTA over the course of his career....

. In 1987, Broadcast Music Incorporated
Broadcast Music Incorporated
Broadcast Music, Inc. is one of three United States performing rights organizations, along with ASCAP and SESAC. It collects license fees on behalf of songwriters, composers, and music publishers and distributes them as royalties to those members whose works have been performed...

 (BMI) awarded Ferguson with the "million air" plays for the "Wings of a Dove."

The country song "Carroll County Accident", recorded by Porter Wagoner, made No. 2 on the Billboard country singles chart (No. 92 pop) and No. 1 on the Cash Box country singles chart. The tune was also recorded by Wagoner's longtime duet partner Dolly Parton. He was 73. Ferguson married twice, first to Harvie June Van
Harvie June Van
Harvie June Van is country music singer. She was born in Monterey, Tennessee. She first broke into the music scene in 1954 when she was only 13 by Syd Nathan of King Records. She came from a family of musicians, and her father had a local radio show in Ohio.-Personal life:She married her manager...

 (1950s/60s) and then later Martha Jean Lewis (1970 to 2001).

Early life and education


Ferguson was born in Willow Springs, Missouri
Willow Springs, Missouri
Willow Springs is a city in Howell County, Missouri, in the Ozark Mountains of the United States. The population was 2,147 at the 2000 census.- History :...

, the third son of John Carl and Mary Willie Boles Ferguson.

While in high school, Ferguson was a typesetter at the local newspaper, a fire tower lookout for the U.S. Forest Service, and a member of the Missouri State Guard during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. After graduating from high school in 1945, he entered the U.S. Army. He attained the rank of sergeant and served as a radioman for two winters in Alaska. He tested military equipment under Arctic conditions. He went on to study at Southwestern Missouri State University
Missouri State University
Missouri State University is a public university located in Springfield, Missouri, United States and founded in 1905. It is the state's second largest university, with an official enrollment of 20,802 in fall 2011...

.

After discharge from the Army, Ferguson went out West and worked for the U.S. Forest Service as a fire tower lookout and trail crew boss. He also worked as a laborer in the wheat fields and a typesetter for the newspaper in Moses Lake, Washington
Moses Lake, Washington
Moses Lake is a city in Grant County, Washington, United States. The population was 20,366 as of the 2010 census. Moses Lake is the largest city in Grant County.-Background:...

. He led the Boy Scout Troop from that city to the Boy Scout Jamboree at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania
Valley Forge, Pennsylvania
The Village of Valley Forge is an unincorporated settlement located on the west side of Valley Forge National Historical Park at the confluence of Valley Creek and the Schuylkill River in Pennsylvania, United States. The remaining village is in Schuylkill Township of Chester County, but once...

, in 1950.

Ferguson then entered Washington State College, Pullman, Washington
Pullman, Washington
Pullman is the largest city in Whitman County, Washington, United States. The population was 24,675 at the 2000 census and 29,799 according to the 2010 census...

, under the GI Bill and earned a BS in Speech. He specialized in radio and television production.

While in college, Ferguson joined a U.S. Marine Reserve unit. He was called to duty during the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 (1950–1952). Ferguson served as a Drill Instructor at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego
Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego
Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego is a United States Marine Corps military installation in San Diego, California. It lies between San Diego Bay and Interstate 5, adjacent to San Diego International Airport and the former Naval Training Center San Diego...

 and producer of Marine training motion pictures.

Tennessee Game and Fish Commission


From about 1955-1961, Ferguson worked at the Tennessee Game and Fish Commission, headquartered in Nashville, where he produced films for the agency. In 1959, Ferguson was to produce for the commission a 39 segment series on hunting, fishing, and wildlife subjects. In 1960, the North American Wildlife Conservation Association named his production The World Outdoors the "Best Motion Picture of the Year." The World Outdoors influenced many wildlife television shows, most notably Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom series.

While working there, Ferguson also started in the music business. In 1958 he wrote his first multi-million seller song "On the Wings of a Dove". It was recorded by Ferlin Husky
Ferlin Husky
Ferlin Eugene Husky was an early American country music singer who was equally adept at the genres of traditional honky honk, ballads, spoken recitations, and rockabilly pop tunes...

 whom Ferguson met in El Cajon, California
El Cajon, California
-History:El Cajon is located on the Rancho El Cajon Mexican land grant made in 1845 to María Antonia Estudillo, wife of Miguel Pedrorena. In 1876 Amaziah Lord Knox , a New Englander who had recently moved to California, established a hotel there to serve the growing number of people traveling...

. It has since been recorded by many artists and in many languages around the world. It was featured in the movie Tender Mercies
Tender Mercies
Tender Mercies is a 1983 American drama film directed by Bruce Beresford. The screenplay by Horton Foote focuses on Mac Sledge, a recovering alcoholic country music singer who seeks to turn his life around through his relationship with a young widow and her son in rural Texas...

(1983), starring Robert Duvall
Robert Duvall
Robert Selden Duvall is an American actor and director. He has won an Academy Award, two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards and a BAFTA over the course of his career....

. In 1987, "Wings of a Dove" received BMI
Broadcast Music Incorporated
Broadcast Music, Inc. is one of three United States performing rights organizations, along with ASCAP and SESAC. It collects license fees on behalf of songwriters, composers, and music publishers and distributes them as royalties to those members whose works have been performed...

's "One million airplays" Award.

Performing with Husky, Ferguson played a character called Eli Possumtrout in The Good Old Days, a motion picture produced by the Tennessee Game and Fish Commission.

Nashville record producer


After graduation from college, Ferguson moved to Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville is the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee and the county seat of Davidson County. It is located on the Cumberland River in Davidson County, in the north-central part of the state. The city is a center for the health care, publishing, banking and transportation industries, and is home...

, as manager for Ferlin Husky
Ferlin Husky
Ferlin Eugene Husky was an early American country music singer who was equally adept at the genres of traditional honky honk, ballads, spoken recitations, and rockabilly pop tunes...

.
The success of his song "On the Wings of a Dove" enabled Ferguson to turn full time to music. He became a senior producer with RCA
RCA
RCA Corporation, founded as the Radio Corporation of America, was an American electronics company in existence from 1919 to 1986. The RCA trademark is currently owned by the French conglomerate Technicolor SA through RCA Trademark Management S.A., a company owned by Technicolor...

 Music Corporation, where he helped create the Nashville Sound
Nashville sound
The Nashville sound originated during the late 1950s as a sub-genre of American country music, replacing the chart dominance of honky tonk music which was most popular in the 1940s and 1950s...

 of the 1950s and 1960s. He served as executive assistant to Chet Atkins
Chet Atkins
Chester Burton Atkins , known as Chet Atkins, was an American guitarist and record producer who, along with Owen Bradley, created the smoother country music style known as the Nashville sound, which expanded country's appeal to adult pop music fans as well.Atkins's picking style, inspired by Merle...

 until his retirement. While there, he produced records, many in RCA Studio B
RCA Studio B
RCA Studio B is a noted recording studio in Nashville, Tennessee. Situated at 30 Music Square W and originally known simply as RCA Studios, it became famous in the 1960s for being a part of what many refer to as the Nashville Sound...

. He particularly worked with producing the acts of Porter Wagoner
Porter Wagoner
Porter Wayne Wagoner was a popular American country music singer known for his flashy Nudie and Manuel suits and blond pompadour. He introduced the young Dolly Parton near the beginning of her career on his long-running television show, and they were a well-known duet throughout the late 1960s and...

, Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton
Dolly Rebecca Parton is an American singer-songwriter, author, multi-instrumentalist, actress and philanthropist, best known for her work in country music. Dolly Parton has appeared in movies like 9 to 5, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Steel Magnolias and Straight Talk...

, and Connie Smith
Connie Smith
Connie Smith is an American country music artist. She began her career in 1963 after winning a local talent contest near Columbus, Ohio, which attracted the attention of country songwriter Bill Anderson...

. He also produced records by Floyd Cramer
Floyd Cramer
Floyd Cramer was an American Hall of Fame pianist who was one of the architects of the "Nashville sound." He popularized the "slip note" piano style where an out-of-tune note slides effortlessly into the correct note...

, Danny Davis
Danny Davis (country musician)
Danny Davis was a band leader, trumpet player, vocalist and producer and founder/leader of the Nashville Brass.-Early life and career:...

, The Browns
The Browns
The Browns were an American country and folk music vocal trio best known for their 1959 Grammy-nominated hit, "The Three Bells". The group, composed of Jim Ed Brown and his sisters Maxine and Bonnie Brown, had a close, smooth harmony characteristic of the Nashville sound, though their music also...

, Helen Cornelius
Helen Cornelius
Helen Cornelius is an American country singer-songwriter and actress, best remembered for a series of hit duets with Jim Ed Brown, many of which reached the U.S...

, Lester Flatt
Lester Flatt
Lester Raymond Flatt was a bluegrass musician and guitarist and mandolinist, best known for his membership in the Bluegrass duo The Foggy Mountain Boys, also known as "Flatt and Scruggs," with banjo picker Earl Scruggs. Flatt's career spanned multiple decades; besides his work with Scruggs, he...

, Homer and Jethro
Homer and Jethro
Homer and Jethro were the stage names of American country music duo Henry D. Haynes and Kenneth C. Burns , popular from the 1940s through the 1960s on radio and television for their satirical versions of popular songs...

, Charlie Pride and many others. With Atkins, he played a major role in the development of what was to become known as the Nashville Sound
Nashville sound
The Nashville sound originated during the late 1950s as a sub-genre of American country music, replacing the chart dominance of honky tonk music which was most popular in the 1940s and 1950s...

 and elevated Nashville as the country music
Country music
Country music is a popular American musical style that began in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from Western cowboy and folk music...

 capital of the world. He also played a major role in developing the Country Music Association
Country Music Association
The Country Music Association was founded in 1958 in Nashville, Tennessee. It originally consisted of only 233 members and was the first trade organization formed to promote a music genre...

. His first successful single was with the Avons.

Ferguson developed a comedy role as "Grandpappy Eli Possumtrot", a name which he took from a crossroad community near his childhood home in the Ozarks
The Ozarks
The Ozarks are a physiographic and geologic highland region of the central United States. It covers much of the southern half of Missouri and an extensive portion of northwestern and north central Arkansas...

. In that role, he recorded his own song, "Eli's Blue", a lament about a man who accidentally shot his dog.

Ferguson wrote several other songs, including the million seller, "Carroll County Accident", first recorded by Porter Wagoner. In 1969 it received a Country Music Award for the "Song of the Year". In the 1960s Ferguson also wrote "Natividad", a Christmas song, and "Choctaw Saturday Night", a tribute to Choctaw
Choctaw
The Choctaw are a Native American people originally from the Southeastern United States...

 Native Americans.

The country song "Carroll County Accident" was written when Ferguson passed through Carroll County when driving from Nashville to a concert for the Choctaw Indians in Philadelphia, Miss., according to an interview Ferguson granted with Steve Eng for the Wagoner biography "A Satisfied Mind." He recounted that he passed a sign for Carroll County in Tennessee, which inspired the song's title, and when he saw a sign for Carroll County in Mississippi the song was a finished work. Wagoner took the song to No. 2 on the Billboard country singles chart (No. 92 pop) and No. 1 on the Cash Box country singles chart. The tune was also recorded by Wagoner's longtime duet partner Dolly Parton.

Writer


With Jesse Burt as co-author, Ferguson wrote two books: So You Want to be in Music and Southeastern Indians: Then and Now.

So You Want to be in Music is a book about the music industry for aspiring songwriting and recording professionals. Southeastern Indians: Then and Now is a general-interest book about Native Americans
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 of the Deep South
Deep South
The Deep South is a descriptive category of the cultural and geographic subregions in the American South. Historically, it is differentiated from the "Upper South" as being the states which were most dependent on plantation type agriculture during the pre-Civil War period...

, covering the Choctaw
Choctaw
The Choctaw are a Native American people originally from the Southeastern United States...

, Cherokee
Cherokee
The Cherokee are a Native American people historically settled in the Southeastern United States . Linguistically, they are part of the Iroquoian language family...

, Creek, Chickasaw
Chickasaw
The Chickasaw are Native American people originally from the region that would become the Southeastern United States...

, and Seminole
Seminole
The Seminole are a Native American people originally of Florida, who now reside primarily in that state and Oklahoma. The Seminole nation emerged in a process of ethnogenesis out of groups of Native Americans, most significantly Creeks from what is now Georgia and Alabama, who settled in Florida in...

 tribes.

Anthropology


While working at RCA, Ferguson earned a Master's Degree in anthropology
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

 from Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt University is a private research university located in Nashville, Tennessee, United States. Founded in 1873, the university is named for shipping and rail magnate "Commodore" Cornelius Vanderbilt, who provided Vanderbilt its initial $1 million endowment despite having never been to the...

. He served as volunteer Project Director and President of Southeastern Indian Antiquities Survey. He served as volunteer Project Director and President of Southeastern Indian Antiquities Survey and in that role oversaw the survey, recovery, and preservation of remains and artifacts unearthed during construction in the Nashville area. One startling discovery was the remains of the first saber-toothed tiger found east of the Mississippi River. It was found during construction of the Regions Center, former First American Bank building, in downtown Nashville. On September 25, 1997, the newly established hockey team, the Nashville Predators
Nashville Predators
The Nashville Predators are a professional ice hockey team based in Nashville, Tennessee. They are members of the Central Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League...

, adopted the head of a saber-toothed tiger as their logo.

Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians


After his retirement from RCA, Ferguson moved his family to live near the reservation of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is one of three federally recognized tribes of Choctaw Indians. On April 20, 1945, the tribe organized under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. Also in 1945 the Choctaw Indian Reservation was created in Neshoba and surrounding counties...

 in Philadelphia, Mississippi
Philadelphia, Mississippi
Philadelphia is a city in and the county seat of Neshoba County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 7,303 at the 2000 census.- History :...

. He had worked in various capacities with the tribe since the 1950s. There he served as editor of the Choctaw Times, and historian and audio- visual producer for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is one of three federally recognized tribes of Choctaw Indians. On April 20, 1945, the tribe organized under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. Also in 1945 the Choctaw Indian Reservation was created in Neshoba and surrounding counties...

. In that role, he helped establish the Museum of the Southern Indian (Choctaw Museum) in 1981. He also worked part-time as promotional director of the Chucalissa Prehistoric Indian Village in Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis is a city in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers....

. In 1983, he created the foundation for Choctaw Video Productions and created numerous tribal productions.

In 1987, Ferguson established WHTV as local cable service for Pearl River/Philadelphia, Mississippi. He retired from that position in 1998, when he was also named Tribal Historian Emeritus. He established the tribe's organic gardening program in 1978.

Robert Bruce "Bob" Ferguson, Sr. died Sunday, July 22, 2001 at 1:05 a.m. in the University of Mississippi
University of Mississippi
The University of Mississippi, also known as Ole Miss, is a public, coeducational research university located in Oxford, Mississippi. Founded in 1844, the school is composed of the main campus in Oxford, four branch campuses located in Booneville, Grenada, Tupelo, and Southaven as well as the...

 Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi
Jackson, Mississippi
Jackson is the capital and the most populous city of the US state of Mississippi. It is one of two county seats of Hinds County ,. The population of the city declined from 184,256 at the 2000 census to 173,514 at the 2010 census...

. The cause of death was cancer
Cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

. He was buried at Phillip's Cemetery in rural Neshoba County near Philadelphia, MS.

Legacy and honors


Ferguson was the recipient of many awards and recognitions during his multiple careers. He was also a member of Mensa
Mensa International
Mensa is the largest and oldest high-IQ society in the world. It is a non-profit organization open to people who score at the 98th percentile or higher on a standardised, supervised IQ or other approved intelligence test...

, a society of people with high I.Q.s.
  • 1960, the North American Wildlife Conservation Association named his production The World Outdoors the "Best Motion Picture of the Year."
  • 1969, "Carroll County Accident", Country Music Award for the "Song of the Year".
  • 1987, "Wings of a Dove" received BMI's "One million airplays" Award.
  • 1987, receives the Iron Eyes Cody Peace Medal. Only 48 medals were made and awarded.

Selection of singles/albums


Ferguson worked for nearly 30 years at RCA's Studio B producing hundreds of albums for artists such as Chet Atkins, Dolly Parton, and Porter Wagoner.
  • Just Between You And Me - Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton
  • When You Are Here - Harvie June Van
    Harvie June Van
    Harvie June Van is country music singer. She was born in Monterey, Tennessee. She first broke into the music scene in 1954 when she was only 13 by Syd Nathan of King Records. She came from a family of musicians, and her father had a local radio show in Ohio.-Personal life:She married her manager...

    , Produced by Chet Atkins
  • Jolene (album)
    Jolene (album)
    -Personnel:*Dolly Parton – vocals, guitar*Jimmy Colvard – guitar*Dave Kirby – guitar*Bobby Thompson – guitar*Chip Young – guitar*Pete Drake – pedal steel guitar*Stu Basore – pedal steel guitar*Bobby Dyson – bass*Jerry Carrigan – drums*Larrie Londin – drums...

    - Dolly Parton
  • The Open Mind of John D. Loudermilk - John D. Loudermilk
  • Connie Smith
    Connie Smith (album)
    - Personnel :* Steve Arnold – bass* Marl Casstevens – guitar* Stuart Duncan – fiddle* Gary Hogue – steel guitar* Larry Marrs – background vocals, bass* Michael Rhodes – bass* Connie Smith – lead vocals* Gary W...

    - Connie Smith
  • My Favorite Songwriter: Porter Wagoner
    My Favorite Songwriter: Porter Wagoner
    -External links:* at dollyon-line.com...

    - Dolly Parton
  • Coast Country - George Hamilton IV
  • Jerry Reed Explores Guitar Country - Jerry Reed

External links