JUSTIN TUBB (By Shaun Mather)

Born Justin Wayne Tubb, 20 August 1935, San Antonio, Texas
Died 24 January 1998, Nashville, Tennessee Justin Tubb was born into country music, being the eldest son of the legendary Texas Troubadour Ernest Tubb. The kid soaked up the aura that surrounded his father and naturally enough became infatuated by the sounds of country music. During his school holidays he toured with his father and regularly appeared on his WSM radio show. He even made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry at the age of nine. By the time he graduated from Brackenridge High School in San Antonio he was an accomplished guitarist, singer and songwriter. Before you know it, it's 1952 and Justin is a bit bored with the business (veteran that he was!) and acutely aware that everyone was comparing him to his father (those were big boots to fill in 1952), he decided enter the University of Texas at Austin, studying journalism.

Perhaps the calling was just to strong though, and he ended up quitting university when he was offered a job as a disc jockey on WHIN Gallatin. He began singing his own songs on air and was soon picked up by Decca Records. He gained his first US country chart hit in 1954 when "Looking Back To See", a duet with Goldie Hill, reached number 4. The duo went to # 11 the following year with Sure Fire Kisses. Later in 1955 he hit the top 10 with I Gotta Go Get My Baby and became the youngest ever regular member of the Grand Ole Opry.

The hits dried up for a few years during the rock 'n' roll era, although he had a few stabs at the genre himself, including Pepper Hot Baby in 1955. Always firmly in the rockabilly as opposed to rock 'n' roll style, the most regular among the reissues since the '70s is Rock It On Down To My House, a jumped up hillbilly item with plenty to enjoy, not least the Nashville pickers cutting loose. By the 60s, Ernest's health was on the decline and Justin began to take an interest in his father's many business ventures, eventually becoming manager of the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree radio show and record shops. He had solo Top 10s with "I Gotta Go Get My Baby" and "Take A Letter Miss Gray", and further duet successes with Lorene Mann with "Hurry, Mr Peters" (the answer song to the Roy Drusky-Priscilla Mitchell hit "Yes, Mr Peters") and "We've Gone Too Far Again". He also enjoyed some success as a writer, including "Keeping Up With The Joneses" (Faron Young-Margie Singleton), "Love Is No Excuse" (Jim Reeves-Dottie West) and the great "Lonesome 7-7203" (Hawkshaw Hawkins).

Over the years he continued in the business, recording for several labels, including Starday, Challenge and RCA Records. He toured all over the USA, Canada and Europe as well as appearing on most major US television shows. Worth mentioning is the story that he wrote about his disgust at the way country music was changing, "What's Wrong With The Way That We're Doing It Now", which won him five standing ovations for encores on the first occasion that he sang it on the Grand Ole Opry. If ever that song needed a re-release, it's now. Alan Jackson where are you. He sang the song regularly on the Opry right up to his death, as well as his tribute to Ernest, "Thanks Troubadour, Thanks". CD: Rock It Down To My House - Bear Family BCD 15761. 2 CD-set, with 60 tracks, now deleted.

These pages were originally published as "This Is My Story" in the
Yahoo Group "Shakin' All Over". For comments or information
please contact Dik de Heer at

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