A super rare video from the Folk era, Huron College 1964 with appreciation to Bill Salter for the update.
Mercury 6400. Anti Communist song. Myrtle Eleanor Cooper (December 24, 1913–February 8, 1999) and Scott Greene Wiseman (November 8, 1908–January 31, 1981), known professionally as Lulu Belle and Scotty, were one of the major country music acts of the 1930s and 1940s, dubbed The Sweethearts of Country Music.
Cooper was born in Boone, North Carolina; Wiseman was from Spruce Pine, North Carolina. Lulu Belle and Scotty enjoyed enormous national popularity thanks to their regular appearances on National Barn Dance on WLS-AM in Chicago, a rival to WSM-AM’s Grand Ole Opry. Barn Dance enjoyed a large radio audience in the 1930s and early 1940s with some 20 million Americans regularly tuning in.
The duo married on December 13, 1934, one year after Wiseman became a regular on Barn Dance (Cooper had been a solo performer there since 1932). The duo is best known for their self-penned classic “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?”, which became one of the first country songs to attract major attention in pop circles and was recorded by many artists in both genres. Cooper was the somewhat dominant half of the duo with a comic persona as a wisecracking country girl. Her most famous novelty number was “Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It’s Flavor On The Bedpost”. In 1938, she was named Favorite Female Radio Star by the readers of Radio Guide magazine, an unusual recognition for a country performer.
Lulu Belle and Scotty recorded for record labels including Vocalion Records, Columbia Records, Bluebird Records; and Starday Records, in their final sessions during the 1960s reprising their old hits. They were among the first country music stars to venture into feature motion pictures, appearing in such films as Shine on Harvest Moon (1938), County Fair (1941) and The National Barn Dance (1944).
The couple retired from show business in 1958, excepting occasional appearances, going on to new careers in teaching (Wiseman) and politics (Cooper). Cooper served two terms in the North Carolina House of Representatives as the Democratic representative for three counties. In 1977, she gave a memorable speech in which she revealed that she had been raped on the country music circuit.
Wiseman was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1971. After his death in 1981 from a heart attack in Gainesville, Florida, Cooper married Ernest Stamey in 1983; and in 1985 recorded her first album in 20 years for a small traditional music label.
From Songfacts.com ~ Tom Shipley explained: “When we wrote ‘One Toke Over the Line,’ I think we were one toke over the line. I considered marijuana a sort of a sacrament… If you listen to the lyrics of that song, ‘one toke’ was just a metaphor. It’s a song about excess. Too much of anything will probably kill you.”
Brewer says of the song’s origin: “We wrote that one night in the dressing room of a coffee house. We were literally just entertaining ourselves. The next day we got together to do some picking and said, ‘What was that we were messing with last night?’ We remembered it, and in about an hour, we’d written ‘One Toke Over the Line.’ Just making ourselves laugh, really. We had no idea that it would ever even be considered as a single, because it was just another song to us. Actually Tom and I always thought that our ballads were our forte.” (quotes from brewerandshipley.com)
Some radio stations refused to play this song because of the drug references, but not everyone got this meaning. In 1971 the song was performed on the Lawrence Welk Show by a wholesome looking couple Gail Farrell and Dick Dale, who clearly had NO clue what a toke was. Welk, at the conclusion of the performance of the song, remarked, without any hint of humor, “there you’ve heard a modern spiritual by Gail and Dale.” Brewer & Shipley heard about the performance and searched for the footage, but didn’t see it until the clip showed up on YouTube in 2007.