Cash offered Smith a spot on his show, but Smith turned it down, seeing himself as a headliner, not a supporting player. Smith continued to make rockabilly records for Sun, including a cover version of Slim Harpo's "Got Love If You Want It" recorded in Octoberbut these records did not do well commercially.
His reception in England boosted his spirits and, upon his return to the United States, he began to perform with newfound vigor. By the time of his discharge from the service, he had decided to make a career of music.
Their nascent country roster featured such writers turned vocalists as Hank Cochran and Willie Nelson. They were among the few people in the music business that Warren Smith shared with me. He continued to appear in clubs out there and tried to get his career going again.
He made several attempts to restart his career, first with a small, virtually amateur label called Skill Records, and then with Mercury Recordsbut addictions to pills and alcohol held him back. It was in this climate that Warren Smith's career with Ssalsa casino Records was born.
It is hard to imagine the song becoming dated, as Barbara Mandrell's subsequent hit version strongly attests. This record and subsequent Liberty releases were produced by Joe Allison and featured one of California's best country session musicians, Ralph Mooneyon pedal steel guitar. By the standards of the day, Warren Smith made some very country records.
We could take a pop studio and produce country music. He hoped something would come of it but nothing happened. Our pickers were first rate.
I Don't Believe was a showpiece for everybody on the session, from Warren's smooth baritone, to Ralph Mooney's seamless steel picking, to the twin fiddles of Bobby Bruce and Harold Hensley.
Shortly before his death inWarren told journalist Adam Komorowski, "What I really wanted to do all my life was to cut something you could call country. Essentially a pop label since its inception inLiberty enjoyed great success with David Seville and his endless parade of Chipmunk novelty records.
Instant chords for any song
This track showed that Warren Smith was one of the few artists carrying on the legacy of Ray Price's stylings from the previous decade. Ned Miller's composition Cave In must have been one of the more bizarre competitors for the country charts inultimately yielding to the broader appeal of its flipside.
His credentials as a first rate country singer were firmly established and his records found the marketplace they deserved. Records were selling in unprecedented quantities, but the arrangements were slipping into mainstream banality.
It was pretty disappointing. He wasn't willing to play second fiddle for anybody, which is how he saw Johnny's offer. A small group of composers and pickers all but had the town sewn up. Cash was working steadily and it would have meant a regular income, not to mention wide exposure for his music, but Warren Smith declined the offer. Joe Allison, Liberty's liaison with the country folks, signed Warren Smith with the assurance that he would finally be free to be a country singer.
Ironically, the flipside Cave In was the target of promotional efforts when the single was released, but its more conventional flipside soon took over airplay and garnered all the attention.
Little wonder individuality was a rare commodity. Although a resounding artistic success, this record did not sell as well as Smith's debut. He was raised by his maternal grandparents in Louise, Mississippiwhere they had a small farm and dry goods store.