Mississippi’s Country Comedian, Jerry Clower, described himself as having “backed into showbusiness.” Clower began his career as an assistant county agent in Oxford before taking a job selling seed corn and then fertilizer for Mississippi Chemical Corporation. It was while calling on customers, he began telling stories about his rural upbringing in East Fork, Mississippi. The homespun humor, combined with Clower’s gregarious personality, led to more and more speaking opportunities at churches, trade shows, and civic clubs until finally, he was convinced to cut a record in 1970. The unlikely success of that recording, sold by mail order and out of the trunk of Clower’s car, and the airplay it received by supporters like country DJ Big Ed Wilkes, led to a recording contract with MCA. By the time Clower was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1973, he was appearing on television programs nationwide and performing live at rodeos and state fairs.
In this episode, his daughter, Katy Clower Johnson shares her memories of the man she called Daddy. She recalls being introduced to the audience of the Grand Ole Opry at the age of three by country music legend, Roy Acuff. At the peak of his career, Clower performed over two hundred shows per year. Johnson remembers travelling with her father and how he used those trips as educational opportunities.
During his twenty-seven year career, Clower amassed a large collection of memorabilia. Johnson and her mother, Homerline Clower discuss their decision to open a Jerry Clower Museum. Johnson also considers her father’s legacy and how it compares to the man she knew.