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Passings: Cal Smith (1932 - 2013)

Country singer Cal Smith, who topped the country charts three times in the 70's, died on Thursday (October 10) in Branson, MO.  He was 81.

Smith played in various venues around San Francisco in the 50's, supporting himself with side jobs. After completing military service, he was spotted in a band by singer Ernest Tubb who made him rhythm guitarist in his Texas Troubadours in 1962.

While still with Tubb, he began recording under his own name, hitting the charts for the first time with his second single, I'll Just Go Home (1967 / #58 country). He had nine more singles on the lower portion of the Country Singles until he signed with Decca records and finally hit big with I've Found Someone Of My Own (1972 / #4 Country). Smith followed with three number ones, Bill Anderson's The Lord Knows I'm Drinking (1973), Country Bumpkin (1974) and It's Time to Pay the Fiddler (1975).  Bumpkin won the Single of the Year at both the ACM's and the CMA's.

As the 70's ended, so did Smith's regular hits. He continued to record but his last album was 1986's Stories of Life by Cal Smith.

Later in life, Smith settled down in Branson, MO.

He is survived by his wife, Darlene, five children and 15 great-grandchildren.