«

»

THIS OLE HOUSE (Rosemary Clooney)

This Ole House – 1954

“This Ole House” (sometimes written “This Old House”) is a popular song written by Stuart Hamblen, and published in 1954. Rosemary Clooney’s version reached the top of the popular music charts in both the US and the UK in 1954. The song again topped the UK chart in 1981 in a recording by Shakin’ Stevens.

Hamblen was supposedly out on a hunting expedition when he and his fellow hunter, actor John Wayne, came across a hut in the mountains. Inside was the body of a man, and the man’s dog was still there, guarding the building. This inspired Hamblen to write “This Ole House”. The lyric picks up a standard Gospel theme of the “old house” – the mortal body – being left behind when the believer goes to “meet the saints”.

Recordings

The recorded version of “This Ole House” by Rosemary Clooney, featuring bass vocals by Thurl Ravenscroft, reached No. 1 on the Billboard on chart in 1954 as the flip side to her previous No. 1 song, “Hey There.” Clooney’s version also topped the UK Singles Chart, although there were other UK hit versions around by Billie Anthony and Alma Cogan, both recorded in 1954. The recording by Alma Cogan with Felix King, piano and orchestra was made in London on September 2, 1954. The song was released by EMI on the His Master’s Voice label as catalogue numbers B 10761 and 7M 269. The flip side was “Skokiaan.”

In March 1981, Shakin’ Stevens took the song back to No. 1 for three weeks in the United Kingdom. His version was re-released in 2005 after his appearance in the TV show Hit Me Baby One More Time and reached No. 20 in the UK Singles Chart.

The song was also covered by the Cathedral Quartet and Hovie Lister and the Statesmen. Both groups often made the song a medley with “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

The song was recorded by Bette Midler (in ballad form) on her 2003 tribute to Rosemary Clooney, “Bette Midler Sings the Rosemary Clooney Songbook,” and included on her compilation “Jackpot: The Best Bette” in 2008.

Other notable recordings

1954: Billie Anthony
1956: Stuart Hamblen on It Is No Secret
1960: Wilma Lee Cooper & Stoney Cooper on 7″ b/w ‘Heartbreak Street’
1962: Hovie Lister& The Statesmen Quartet on Stop, Look & Listen for the Lord
1963: Jimmy Dean Everybody’s Favorite
1964: Johnny Tillotson on The Tillotson Touch
1965: Cathedral Quartet on The Cathedral Quartet With Strings
1965: Wilf Carter 32 Wonderful Years
1966: The Statler Brothers on Flowers on the Wall
1967: Mrs. Miller on The Country Soul of Mrs. Miller
1977: Bill Gaither Trio on My Heart Can Sing – The Inspiring Songs of Stuart Hamblen
1979: NRBQ on Kick Me Hard
1981: The Shadows on Hits Right Up Your Street (Instrumental)
1984: Carl Perkins on Disciple in Blue Suede Shoes
1995: The Mom and Dads on Love Letters in the Sand
1998: Brian Setzer Orchestra on The Dirty Boogie
2000: George Younce on Out Front
2002: Jessica King on Where Angels Are
2004: Loretta Lynn on Van Lear Rose
2006: Allison Durham Speer on This Old House
2007: Brenda Lee & Dolly Parton on Gospel Duets with Treasured Friends
2010: Ernie Haase & Signature Sound on A Tribute to the Cathedral Quartet
2016: Ray Stevens on Just a Closer Walk with Thee/Gospel Favorites