2007   NOVEMBER 24   #328

Teddy Bear Trilogy

Here's a collection of three songs about a little crippled boy and the truck drivers who loved him. The CB radio craze conspired with Red Sovine's penchant for mawkish 18-wheeler-oriented recitations to make this one of the surprise hits of the mid-70s. Even more surprisingly, Diana Williams' amateurish sequel was picked up by a major label and became an international hit. John Texas Rocker unsuccessfully attempted to jump on the TB bandwagon with his unauthorized sequel, but seemed to be too preoccupied with having Teddy Bear interact with the star of a previous Sovine hit, "Phantom 309," to advance the story in a meaningful way. At least we get to find out that (1.) Gawd himself has a CB and (2.) he doesn't mind letting little Teddy Bear use it to stay in touch with his gear-jammin' buddies.

1. Red Sovine - Teddy Bear (5:13)
Gusto Records 45 SD-142 (1976)
2. Diana Williams - Teddy Bear's Last Ride (4:11)
Capitol Records 45 4317 (1976)
3. John Texas Rocker - Teddy Bears' Epitaph (4:51)
CGS/Beck Records 45 CGS-1002 (Date Unknown)

Pardon the surface noise. My copy of "Teddy Bear" isn't in bad shape, but the sequels are pretty rough. I think, however, that the scratches add something to the listening experience. And lest this little collection of maudlin tripe reflect too poorly on the South (which has a rich and varied cultural history of which the majority of its current residents are blissfully unaware), bear in mind that "Teddy Bear's Last Ride" was also a huge hit in the U.K. Not only is bad taste timeless, it's also apparently universal.

- Contributed by: Perry Amberson

Images: Red Sovine, Diana Williams, John Texas Rocker