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Jerry Clower

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Howard Gerald “Jerry” Clower (b. September 28, 1926, Liberty, Mississippi - d. August 24, 1998) was a popular comedian best known for his stories of the rural South.

Clower began a stint in the Navy immediately after graduating high school, then studied agriculture at Mississippi State University, where he played college football and was a member of Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity. After finishing school, Clower worked as a county agent and later as a seed salesman. He became a fertilizer salesman for Mississippi Chemical in 1954. By this time, he had developed a reputation for telling funny stories to boost his sales.

It was while speaking to the Alabama Dairy Convention in Point Clear, Alabama in 1970 that an attendee enthusiastically told Clower he might have a future in . Thinking there might be some potential in that area, Clower taped his next few speaking engagements. The “Coon Huntin’ Story” that would launch his career was first taped in Corpus Christi at the state Farmer’s Cooperative Convention. Eventually, Clower’s tapes wound up in the hands of “Big Ed” Wilkes in Lubbock, Texas, who had Clower make a better quality recording and began promoting it.

At first, Clower was just taking orders at his speaking engagements. He sold 8000 copies this way on the Lemon record label. In time, Wilkes sent a copy to Grant Turner at WSM radio in Nashville, and when Turner played it on the air, Clower said “that thing busted loose”. MCA was soon knocking on Clower’s door offering him a contract. Once MCA began distribution in 1971, Jerry Clower from Yazoo City, Mississippi Talkin’ retailed more than a million dollars over ten months and stayed in the Top 20 on the country charts for 30 weeks.

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