Classic Tracks ~ Don't Let Me Cross Over (Carl & Pearl Butler)
Album: Don't Let Me Cross Over, Columbia CS-8802 (Feb. 1963)
Single: Don't Let Me Cross Over, Columbia CS-42593 (No. 1, 1962)
Song Writer: Penny Jay
Producers: Don Law & Frank Jones
Recorded: Columbia Recording Studio, Nashville, Tennessee
Session Personnel: Unknown
Don't Let Me Cross Over spent eleven weeks at Billboard No. 1 and was the biggest song in country in 1962. The song catapulted the Butler's into the country music spotlight and they remained one of country music's most popular duos for the next two decades. The song was Carl's first recordings that featured Pear, who sang harmony on the chorus.
Carl Butler blended the popular honky-tonk style prevalent in the '50s with the mountain harmony of his Tennessee heritage. Though his early recordings were as a solo act, most of his popular material was performed with his wife, Pearl. In 1950, Butler began singing as a solo act at a Knoxville radio station. One year later, he signed with Capitol and began recording in his bluegrass style, but later changed to a honky-tonk sound inspired by Lefty Frizzell, Ray Price and Hank Williams, who were then dominating the charts. Butler recorded solo output for Capitol Records from (1951 to 1953) and Columbia from 1953 to the 1961. Though the sides weren't commercially successful, he did meet Pearl Dee Jones at the time and they were married by 1952.
During the 1950s, warbled-voiced Butler was a successful songwriter, having penned an assortment of big hits. However, by the end of the '50s, Carl still hadn't produced his own charting single, though he had recorded steadily for almost a decade. Finally, in late 1961, he finally cracked the Billboard chart with his single Honky Tonkitis, which made it to No. 25. The Butlers joined the Grand Ole Opry the following year and the exposure helped them push Don't Let Me Cross Over to No. 1. Their first single as a duo, it spent almost three months at the top of the charts and led to an appearance in the film Second Fiddle to a Steel Guitar in 1963. By the end of the 1960s, their chart activity had stopped, but they continued to record for Chart and CMH. Carl Butler wrote Guilty Conscience and If Teardrops Were Pennies (Carl Smith) and Crying My Heart Out Over You (Ricky Skaggs). Pearl too was a songwriter, one of her songs being, Kisses Don't Lie (Carl Smith).
About Columbia Records: is an American record label, owned by Sony Music Entertainment, and operates as an imprint of the Columbia/Epic Label Group. It was founded in 1888, evolving from an earlier enterprise, the American Graphophone. Columbia is the oldest brand name in pre-recorded sound. Columbia Records went on to release records by an array of notable singers, instrumentalists and groups.
About Don Law: As the head of Columbia Records' country music division through most of the 1950s and 1960s, Don Law was one of the most important and successful producers, not only in the annals of country music, but of popular music in general. Among the top- selling artists he worked with at Columbia were Lefty Frizzell, Ray Price, Marty Robbins, Johnny Horton and Johnny Cash.
About Frank Jones: Frank Jones was among the most important and successful producers for Columbia Records. Among the top-selling artists he worked with at Columbia were Johnny Cash, John Anderson, Marty Robbins, Ray Price, Carl Smith, Lefty Frizzell and Others, to name but a few.
~RJB: Country Music Historian, April, 2011. References: Record Research: Country Music Singles 1944 -- 1993; Billboard Magazine; RJB: Original Country Music Chronicles.