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A Wolverton Mountain Vacation: Claude King and Clifton Clowers

claude king

As I work on some ‘new media’ of my own, I thought I’d highlight some of that good ol’ vinyl media for everyone to enjoy. Of course, we’re in the era of Web 2.0 [!], so I’ve got YouTube videos for all of it.

First, take a listen to Claude King’s “Wolverton Mountain,” the 1962 #1 hit that launched King’s career. The singer is smitten with a beautiful girl on Wolverton Mountain in Arkansas, but he’s been warned: that girl’s father – Clifton Clowers – is a mean one. That’s why “They say don’t go on Wolverton Mountain / If you’re looking for a wife.”

Clifton’s “mighty handy with a gun and a knife” and employs a cadre of spies ["the bears and the birds"] who inform him if strangers come onto the mountain.

Lured by true love, our hero decides to go anyway – “though Clifton Clowers / He might take my life.”

After all, ” her tender lips are sweeter than honey,” so who can blame him?

“But I don’t care about Clifton Clowers
I’m gonna climb up on his mountain
I’ma gonna take the girl I love
I don’t care about Clifton Clowers
I’ma gonna climb up on that mountain
And I’ll get the one I love
I don’t care about Clifton Clowers…

Here’s the original Claude King recording [click here if reading in RSS]:

Many a country musician has paid homage to both King and Clowers by referencing pieces of “Wolverton Mountain.” Hank Williams, Jr. comes to mind; in “If The South Woulda Won,” a candid take on Southern life and lore, he says:

I’d have all the fiddles made in Virginia
‘Cause they sure can make ‘em sound so fine
I’m goin’ up on Wolverton Mountain and see ol’ Clifton Clowers
And have a sip of his good ol’ Arkansas wine

But few know that Clifton Clowers of Woolverton Mountain, Arkansas, was a real person. [Y'all pointy-headed academics call that historicity.]

Born on October 30, 1891, Clifton T. Clowers lived nearly 103 years. He was a veteran of World War I and served as a deacon in the Mountain Baptist Church. He’s buried in Conway County’s Woolverton Mountain Cemetary.

Here’s Clifton on his 101st birthday [1992] sitting on his porch as Mike Redmond plays/sings “Wolverton Mountain” to him, Part I [click here if reading in RSS]:

And Part II, in which Mike plays Hank Williams, Sr.’s “Jambalaya” and “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” as well as Lefty Frizzell’s “Mom and Dad’s Waltz” [click here if reading in RSS].

Fascinating stuff, that local history. [Hat tip: Miss Profe for reminding me of that post and Tyler for appreciating this one]

11 Responses to “A Wolverton Mountain Vacation: Claude King and Clifton Clowers”

  1. I`m the Great Granddaughter of William Wooverton, and also related to Mr Clowers. by marriage. Truly,Shirley

  2. dustin williams says:

    i am the great grandson of clifton clowers any ?? just email me at the address above

  3. Marcia Jones says:

    I am a great great niece of Clifton Clowers. My father and grandfather were born on the moutain. My Grandfather was Allen Clowers, and my father was Marvin Clowers.

    Marcia Clowers Jones
    Currently of Houston Tx

  4. Charles Ray says:

    Dear Sir: I have been a fan of the song since it first came out. Could you please give me directions to the Woolverton Mountain cemetery? I will surely appreciate it and so will my friends. Thank you, Charles Ray charlesray@arkwest.com

  5. Any one related to the Arkansas woverton family please feel free to email me. would like to hear from you. no matter what State you live in. Shirley

  6. Ramona Clower says:

    My Daddy was Ira Clower Jr. and he always said we were kin to the Clifton Clowers of Woverton Mountain. I never knew how but that is what he always said and my Grandma, Gracy May Clower said the same thing. I would love to know how. – Ramona Clower

  7. Jamie Bell says:

    My Great Great Grandmother who passed away today was born on Wolverton Mountain and was married to Arlie Clowers.

  8. My name is Janie Parrish. My Mother is Maxine Clowers Patterson. Her Father was Allen Clowers of Wardell, Missouri. Clifton Clowers was my Grandpa’s (Allen Clowers) Uncle. Marcia Jones, if you see this, email me.

  9. Marcia Clowers Jones says:

    Janie here is my email address. the links do not seem to work.
    marcia.jones@sbcglobal.net

  10. eva says:

    I am a Wolverton in California, straight descended from Charles, who came from Wolverton, England. My aunt was Mormon and spent decades teaching all the branches of our name! Love to chat with my kin :)

  11. Wolverton Mountain Man (Larry W Jones 03/20/2013) (song#6679)

    Well, I was just a young lad going with the flow
    When I first heard Claude King sing on the radio
    I was at a soda fountain in Louisian
    Listnin’ ‘bout a big bad Wolverton Mountain man

    Now, old man Clowers made good hard liquor brandy
    With a gun and a knife he was mighty handy
    He had a pretty young daughter with raven hair
    But Wolverton bears and birds protected her there

    (instrumental)

    Now I’m an older man and time goes marching on
    And it was in March when I heard Claude King was gone
    I wonder if he ever kissed Clifton’s daughter’s sweet lips
    Or if he married that girl on one of his trips

    I know Claude King climbed up on Wolverton Mountain
    Cause all of his dreams were with that young girl he loved
    He took his chances up on Wolverton Mountain
    It was too lonesome down below than up above

    Well, I was just a young lad going with the flow
    When I first heard Claude King sing on the radio
    Up on that Wolverton Mountain he loved her so

    http://kingwoodkowboy.com/WolvertonMountainMan.html

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