Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

“Big Blue Diamonds”: Early 70s Resurgence

I first encountered the song, “Big Blue Diamonds,” as covered by Little Willie John in 1962, from a Starday-King cassette entitled Country Tunes Done R&B.

Country Tunes Done R&B.jpg

“Big Blue Diamonds” (plural) was penned by EarlKitCarson and first issued on a 1950 King 78 sung by Red PerkinsTex Ritter also put out a version that very same year.  Jimmy Dean covered it in the mid-50s, Sam the Sham & the Pharoahs in the mid-60s.

And then in the early 70s, a relative flurry of versions:  Arthur Prysock and Gene Summer both put out singles in 1971, while Mel Street and Ernest Tubb released honky tonk versions the following year.  1972 also saw the release of Jacky Ward‘s country top 40 hit (singular) version on the Target label – check out the naff piano, pedal steel & vibraslap opening:

Big Blue Diamond

Jacky Ward (1972)

Jacky Ward‘s 1972 recording — his first appearance on the charts (#39 Billboard Country) —would be issued in the US, UK, and Australia.  “Big Blue Diamond” is also the kick-off (and title) track of Ward’s 1972 album for Target Records that was arranged and conducted by Don Tweedy.

Jerry Lee Lewis would also see fit to include his version on 1973’s Southern Roots album.


LINK to Honky Tonk on Zero to 180

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