Jerry Clower: The Mouth of the Mississippi
As a youngster, I had several Jerry Clower records, then later, cassette tapes. A story-teller extraordinaire! His tales would have you laughing until your stomach hurt. I had just about forgotten about old Jerry until a friend sent me a clip he’d stumbled onto on the internet. I got such a kick out of listening to it again, I decided I needed to spread the love. I posted a few of my favorites here.
Knock Em Out John
Howard Gerald “Jerry” Clower was born on September 28, 1926. He passed away on August 24, 1998. An American stand-up comedian from the Southern United States, Clower was best known for his tales of the rural South. He became affectionately known as “The Mouth of Mississippi.”
The New Bull
Jerry Clower studied agriculture at Mississippi State University, where he played college football and was a member of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity. After finishing school in 1951, Clower worked as a county agent and later as a seed salesman. He became a fertilizer salesman for Mississippi Chemical in 1954. By 1954, Jerry had developed a reputation for telling funny stories to boost his sales. Edwin “Big Ed” Wilkes and Bud Andrews in Lubbock, Texas heard some tapes of Clower’s speaking engagements, and they were quite impressed. They had him make a better-quality recording, which they promoted. The Coon Hunt earned a platinum record for sales above $1 million at the retail level.
Wanna Buy A Possum
Jerry Clower made 27 full-length recordings over his 27-year career as a professional entertainer. This total does not include “best of” compilations. With one exception, all the recordings were released by MCA. The exception was Ain’t God Good, which Clower recorded with MCA’s blessing at a worship service. Word Records promoted and distributed this title in 1977.
The She Coon of Women’s Lib
In 1973, Clower joined the Grand Ole Opry and continued to perform there regularly until his death. He also co-hosted a radio show called Country Crossroads with Bill Mack and Leroy Van Dyke, aired in syndication for 40 years. A television version of the program was also produced beginning in 1993.
The Last Piece of Chicken
Clower died in August 1998 following heart bypass surgery; he was 71 years old. He had been married to Homerline (née Wells) Clower (1926-2018) since August 1947. He was survived by a son, Ray (1953–2011), three daughters, Amy, Sue, Katy, and seven grandchildren.
The Lion In The Yard
Jerry Clower was a comedian from the days when comedians were actually funny, rather than just resorting to using obscenities or political name-calling to embarrass you into laughing. Sometimes, I sure miss the good old days.
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4 thoughts on “Knock Em Out John”
Just goes to show that it is not the story that is funny, it is how you tell it! Great post, Mr. G!
I forgot about him! That ‘possum story. Working on Leora’s Depression Era stories. I was surprised that her family had roast ‘coon and roast ‘possum during that time. Not often, as they usually ate squirrel or rabbit, or canned meat from the government. They had some tough years, even before those war years.
It is humor from another time, isn’t it?