He didn’t think he could sing very well, so country/pop entertainer Jim Stafford concentrated on writing and performing novelty songs that would gain him international attention. His strategy worked, as he hit the top of the charts in the 1970’s with his pop single “Spiders and Snakes.”
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Stafford’s musical roots are anchored in a musical family, and by the time he was 14, he had joined his first band, playng guitar. Upon graduation from high school, he headed to Nashville to play backup for Jumpin’ Bill Carlisle. When his drummer unexpectedly quit during a recording session, Stafford found himself performing solo as a “one-man band,” which is legendary among country fans. As he developed his songwriting talent, he worked playing in dance clubs, and became known for his comedic performances. During this time, he wrote a song called “Swamp Witch,” and asked his friend Lobo to perform it. Lobo talked Stafford into performing it himself, and his singing career took off. “Swamp Witch” gained him respect from MGM Records, and it was released on that label in 1973, becoming an instant Top 40 hit on the pop charts. Next came his famed “Spiders and Snakes,” landing on both the pop and country charts and turning gold in 1974. Other hits followed, including “My Girl Bill, “Wildwood Weed,” and “Your Bulldog Drinks Champagne,” all of which delivered a good measure of quirky humor.
Stafford’s next step as a performer was naturally television. He hosted The Jim Stafford Show which gave him a chance to shine as a guitar-player beyond his comedic showmanship. Stafford had several hits during this time and into the early 80’s, including “I Got Stoned and Missed It” and the later “Cow Patti.” He also entered the world of film with his acting debut in Clint Eastwood’s comedy feature film, Any Which Way You Can. In 1982, he was back on the television screen, co-hosting with Rex Allen, Jr. and Sue Powell on Nashville On the Road. He eventually became a popular entertainer in Las Vegas, small venues, and county fairs
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