Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Tompall Glaser, Outlaw Country Artist, dies aged 79

Tompall Glaser (September 3, 1933 - August 13, 2013)

Tompall Glaser (Sept 3, 1933 - Aug 13, 2013)
Tribute Collage CLICK TO ENLARGE

Tompall Glaser, a charter member of Nashville's Outlaw movement, country music singer, publisher and one of country music’s original Outlaws, has died at 79 (Tues August 13, 2013) after fighting a prolonged undisclosed illness, his nephew Louis Glaser  told the Associated Press. He died at his home in Nashville.
  • Tompall got his start in country music with his two younger brothers Chuck and Jim backing up Marty Robbins. They went on to form Tompall & The Glaser Brothers and eventually became members of the Grand Ole Opry.
  • The family band released 10 albums and had 9 charting singles before breaking up.
  • Glaser would never achieve the success of contemporaries like Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings but was a key player in the Outlaw rebellion they started against Music Row in the early 1970s
  • Glaser achieved success as a songwriter co-penning Bobby Bare's hit "The Streets Of Baltimore" with Harlan Howard.(Video : Zurich Live Country Music Festival).  Other artists who've covered the song about losing a woman to the charms of "Charm City" include Gram Parsons (audio), The Little Willies and The Lemonheads.

Tompall Glaser Timeline

Born: Thomas Paul Glaser September 3, 1933, in Spalding, Nebraska. The son of Louis and Alice Marie Glaser. He was the oldest of the three singing Glaser brothers, though the Glaser family included five brothers and a sister. The Glaser’s grew up on a 1,200-acre corn and cattle farm, and the family endured tough times during the Depression years, with such calamities as drought, fire and tornadoes testing their resolve and, perhaps, strengthening their desire to become successful musicians.

Glaser began his musical career performing with his brothers Chuck and Jim in the 1950s.
1956 - 1957 While Tompall was in the military, Jim and Chuck had a radio show in Hastings, NE and their father Louis helped his boys score spots in local shows.
1957 - Won Arthur Godfrey’s TV talent show, which led country star Marty Robbins. They were persuaded to move to Nashville by Robbins who signed them to his Robbins Record label and hired them to sing backup for him.
1959 - The Glasers were signed to Decca and began recording.

After Chuck Glaser returned from a stint in the Army (1959-1961) Johnny Cash hired the group as a supporting touring act.
They sang on his 1962 album “The Sound of Johnny Cash,” including his hit single “Ring of Fire.”
1966 - The Glaser Brothers got their first hit with "Gone, On The Other Hand," reaching No.24 on Billboard (the first of a dozen top 40 records through 1972)
1969 - With Tompall usually singing lead, the Glasers recorded with producer Jack Clement in the ‘60s. With Clement’s idiosyncratic but smooth production providing strings and other uptown accouterments to their basic sound, the Glasers hit with No.11 “California Girl (And the Tennessee Square)” and a version of Clement’s “Gone, On the Other Hand.”

1970 - Signed to MGM Records, Tompall & the Glaser Brothers were the winners of the Vocal Group of the Year trophy from the Country Music Association.
1971 - The Glaser Brothers’ single "Rings" (a cover of a light AM pop hit by Cymarron) peaked at No.7 on Billboard Country Songs.
Mid 70’s - Feeling restrained artistically by the Nashville business system, the brothers went their separate ways.
Tompall began to chart with solo releases, with the biggest being 1975's Shel Silverstein-written "Put Another Log On The Fire (Male Chauvinist National Anthem)," which peaked at No. 21 (Later appeared on album "Wanted")

1973 - The Glaser Brothers disbanded for the first time. Tompall started his own group, which he called the Outlaw Band. He reunited briefly with his brothers in 1979.
1973 – Tompall’s solo album CHARLIE (MGM) was released and is still prized by country enthusiasts.

1974 – “Hillbilly Central” (christened by a New York-based music writer) was the brain child of Tompall. It was a two-story stucco office building / studio located two blocks from Nashville’s infamous Music Row at 916 19th Avenue South (later acquired by the artist Alison Brown as her home for the Compass Records label). As a member of the Glaser Brothers Tompall took the money they earned from some success in the country music business to build their own studio
With the shutters on the windows always closed, and a cast of motley characters entering and emerging at all times day or night, “Hillbilly Central” became this mythical place in Nashville where the country music revolution happened.
Their publishing company had success with songs such as "Gentle On My Mind" (John Hartford) and "Woman, Woman." Many artists began to use the studios for their own recordings – much to the ire of the powers-that-be in Nashville.
One of the many notable albums that was recorded there was Waylon Jennings' first No.1 and Gold Certified album "Dreaming My Dreams" (produced by the now late "Cowboy" Jack Clement). Jennings' crusade to record there rather than at RCA studios was central in his rebellion against the Nashville establishment. Jennings discovered that he and Tompall were kindred spirits who liked to keep their own hours, raise hell, drink whiskey and play pinball. Jennings and Glaser personally clashed -- over money, some friends said. They never spoke to each other again.
Other acts that used Hillbilly Central were Bobby Bare, Kinky Friedman & the Texas Jewboys and Billy Joe Shaver.

1975 - This spirit led to the album Wanted! The Outlaws (RCA), the first RIAA platinum certified, million-selling album in country music history. It featured tracks by Glaser, Nelson, Jennings and Jessi Colter. It held the #1 on the country album chart for six weeks and reached #10 on the overall pop album chart on its way to surpassing double platinum.
While Glaser was part of the legendary album that seemed to cement Jennings, Nelson, Colter, and himself as rebels in Music City, he had arguably had more of an impact behind the scenes than he did with his own recordings.
1978 - Glaser Brothers signed with Elektra's new Nashville branch.

Early 1980s - Tompall reunited with his brothers as Tompall and The Glaser Brothers.
1981 - They scored their biggest success with "Lovin' Her Was Easier Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again," (Kris Kristofferson) which reached No.2. They hit the charts together for the final time in 1982 with "Maria Consuela."
1982 – Jim Glaser left to pursue a solo career. Chuck and Tompall briefly replaced him with Shaun Nielsen, a veteran of Elvis Presley's supporting group the Imperials. Finally the band called it quits.
1986 - Tompall released one last solo album, the slick NIGHTS ON THE BORDERLINE, containing revivals of both "Streets of Baltimore" and "Put Another Log on the Fire"

2013 - Jim Glaser told director Mike VanBuren in this year's DVD documentary film From Nebraska Ranchers to Nashville Rebels: The Story of the Glaser Brothers, “Tompall just had this fire in him to play music. I’ve never really known anyone quite like that, that had that much fire. I don’t even know if I’d be in the music business had it not been for that drive of his.”
Suffering from ill health for several years before his death, Tompall was known as much for his outsized personality as his first-rate voice and business acumen. Jim Glaser said:  “Tompall had a very shy side to him. I guess I always felt that was the bravado Tompall, the face he put on when he didn’t want to be the shy Tompall any more. It was just the name he gave himself. It was ‘The Great Tompall.’”


Wembley International Country Festival 

1970 (March 28th) Tompall & The Glaser Brothers
1973 (April 21st & 22nd) Tompall & The Glaser Brothers & The Nashville Studio Band
1974 (Saturday, April 13th) - Tompall Glaser
1978 (Monday, March 27th) -Tompall Glaser
1980 - Tompall & The Glaser Brothers
1983 (Sunday, April 3rd) - Tompall & The Glaser Brothers
1985 - Tompall & The Glaser Brothers

Wembley Line Up - Click to Enlarge
Mervyn Conn "Cockney King of Country music" the man who was responsible for launching the careers of an array of huge stars in the 60’s and 70’s including Don Williams and Johnny Cash who invented the Wembley International Festival Of Country Music described Tompall Glaser & The Glaser Brothers as "a great act".

During one tour Conn spilled: 
That same tour we had this act, Tompall Glaser, who was playing up because he thought he
was a bigger star than he was. He refused to go on stage so Dolly strode into his dressing room and gave him what for. She said, ‘You’ll never be as big as Kenny Rogers, now get out there and get on stage.’ He did as he was told after that.”

Tompall & The Glaser Brothers Recorded Live From Wembley - Medley 
From Rotterdam AHOY 1978 Country Festival Tompall Glaser sings: "It Never Crossed My Mind - What A Town" (Buddy Emmons on Pedal Steel Guitar)
Tompall & the Glaser Brothers Last Performance - "Lovin Her Was Easier"

Chart Success

Tompall Glaser (solo)
As a solo artist he only placed eight singles on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart between 1973 and 1978, with only two rising to the top 40.

Albums  (Billboard Country Album Chart)
1976 The Great Tompall and His Outlaw Band #13
1977 Tompall Glaser & His Outlaw Band #38

Singles (Billboard Country Songs Chart)
1975 "Put Another Log on the Fire (Male Chauvinist National Anthem)" #21
(From the Album: Tompall (Sings the Songs of Shel Silverstein))
1976 "T for Texas" #36 (From the Album: Wanted! The Outlaws)

Tompall & the Glaser Brothers
Between 1960 and 1975, the trio recorded ten studio albums, and charted nine singles on the Billboard Hot Country Singles
The Glasers became members of the Grand Ole Opry in the 1960s.

Notable Albums (Billboard Country Album Chart)
1968 Through the Eyes of Love #18
1972 Rings and Things #33
1981 Lovin' Her Was Easier #36

Notable Singles (Billboard Country Songs Chart)
1981 "Lovin' Her Was Easier”(Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again) #2 (Title track)
1971 "Rings" #7 (From the Album Rings and Things)
1969 California Girl (And the Tennessee Square) #11 (From the Album Now Country)
1972 "Ain't It All Worth Living For" (with The Nashville Studio Band) #15
1981 "Just One Time" #17 (From the Album Lovin' Her Was Easier)
1982 "It'll Be Her" #19 (From the Album Lovin' Her Was Easier)
1966 "Gone, On the Other Hand" #24 (First hit: From the Album Tompall & the Glaser Brothers)

Tompall Glaser Records and CDs -
The Best of Tompall Glaser and the Glaser Brothers - Amazon UK
Tompall & The Glaser Brothers - The Award Winners / Rings And Things [2-ON-1 CD] Amazon UK
(Alan Cackett of Maverick Magazine provided the liner notes)
Their hallmark sound was a masterpiece of country-pop production, possessing a rich blend of folk storytelling, country melody and superb three-part harmonies. Their two classic albums, 'The Award Winners' and Rings And Things', were originally released in 1971 & 1972. They have now been digitally re-mastered from the original production tapes and reissued together on CD for the first time. The accompanying 16 page booklet includes photos, extensive liner notes and full lyrics to every featured track.

From Nebraska Ranchers to Nashville Rebels: The Story of Tompall & the Glaser Brothers (told by friends)
The Glaser Brothers are widely recognized for their fine vocals and soaring harmonies. But they were much more than talented singers.  They were savvy businessmen and innovative pioneers in the music industry.
The youngest of six children born to Louis and Alice Marie Glaser, the three brothers learned the value of hard work and self-reliance
Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only) Included are comments by Glaser family members, and various musicians, songwriters, music producers and others, such as Cowboy Jack Clement, Kyle Lehning, Ronny Robbins, Gordon Stoker, Marshall Chapman, Kinky Friedman, Gary Puckett, Bobby Bare and more. 

Released in 2013 it is a 90-minute oral history DVD about Tompall & the Glaser Brothers.  Please note that this video does not contain a lot of original recorded music by the Glasers, but it tells a compelling story about their lives and careers as told by assorted friends, family members, business associates and music industry insiders.
View a short promo for this video. 
Price $26 (incl shipping to the UK using PayPal) from

"It's excellently produced and constructed, providing great insight into this unique trio's career." - Tony Byworth (UK)
"It's exellent and I shall be saying so in ... the UK's top-selling country journal." 
- David Allan (Country Music People)
Tompall & the Glaser Brothers have always been know to be the very best in the business. Nobody has ever had purer and better harmonies” - Dolly Parton

Listen to “A Girl Like You” (1973) which charted at No.46

R.I.P Tompall Glaser

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