I’ve added to my collection of campaign albums of which I’ve mainly focused on Mississippi campaigns. So I’m excited to have added “JP’s The Man” from J.P. Coleman. Coleman served in the MS House of Representatives, as a circuit court judge, on the Mississippi Supreme Court, as MS Attorney General, MS Governor and as a justice on the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. He ran for governor twice: successfully in 1955, and unsuccessfully in 1963.
“J.P.’s The Man” was written and performed by Mississippian Jimmy Gilreath who saw some commercial success as a singer and songwriter. Per Wikipedia, in 1963, he released “Little Band of Gold” on Statue Records of Tupelo, Mississippi. It reached #21 on the U.S. pop chart and #19 on the R&B chart and #29 on the UK Singles Chart and was covered by Whispering Bill Anderson, Vince Hill, Boots Randolph, The Hep Stars, The Tennessee Guitars, Paul Martin and was #5 hit on the country music chart in 1975 for Sonny James. Gilreath’s “Why Not Tonight” reached #5 on the R&B charts for Jimmy Hughes in 1967.
From Alabama comes “Bill Baxley Theme (He Is The Man Bill Baxley)” and “I’ll Fly Away” (on which the candidate Bill Baxley sings) from Baxley’s 1978 gubernatorial campaign. Baxley was elected Attorney General at age 27 and served two terms before running for governor in 1978. He lost but was elected lieutenant governor in 1982. Baxley was an aggressive prosecutor of the Ku Klux Klan. The record was pressed by Break Time Music and the songs performed by Lower Forty Grass.
George Wallace, Governor of Alabama, ran for President of the United states in 1968 on the American Independent Party ticket. This album pressed by Red White & Blue Records of Fort Worth, Texas, features the “Wallace Cannonball” and the “American Party Song” both performed by Chuck Aherns & The Cannonballs. You know you have a problem when your campaign song has the words “a racist he is not” as one of the lines.
Jan McCall performed “Let’s Carry Barry to the White House” on this 1964 presidential campaign album pressed by RJM Records of Los Angeles, California for Republican Barry Goldwater. Here is some background from McCall on how the song came about. Also, the Library of Congress has this archive of other presidential songs.
Here are some previous posts with other historic campaign songs.