Almost 10 years ago, a hit HBO comedy featured a song of Greenwood rockabilly singer/songwriter Mack Allen Smith.
This weekend, another HBO comedy will feature a second song of Smith’s.
“I never suspected to get one, let alone two,” Smith said. “I feel good about it. I never thought I’d have anything on TV.”
Smith’s song, “Memphis, You Ain’t Nothing But the Best,” will be featured in this Sunday’s episode of “The Righteous Gemstones.” The episode will then be available on HBO’s streaming platform.
The song, which Smith wrote in 1979 and recorded in 1982, is an homage to Memphis, where he lived for three years while playing various gigs in the 1960s.
Smith’s first song that appeared on HBO, “I’m Not Drunk I’m Just Drinking,” was used in the show “Eastbound and Down” in March 2012.
“The Righteous Gemstones” is a comedy about an influential but dysfunctional family of televangelists.
The first season focused on the family’s efforts to open a church in a shopping mall while one of the Gemstones is blackmailed with video of him involved in scandalous behavior. The current season focuses on the troubled past of family patriarch Dr. Eli Gemstone, which included a stint as a professional wrestler in Memphis, and how it comes back to haunt him.
Smith, 83, said he doesn’t have HBO and hasn’t seen “The Righteous Gemstones,” although one of his adult children will show him the series later.
Both that show and “Eastbound and Down” were created by actor Danny McBride, the star of both shows.
Cindy Smith Brown, Smith’s daughter, said she received a call in November from a woman who does licensing for the show.
Initially, Brown thought the call was just HBO contacting her to subscribe. When she listened to her voicemail, however, she realized that HBO wanted to use another of Smith’s songs.
Neither Smith nor his children know why HBO wanted to use another of his songs, but they speculated that “Memphis, You Ain’t Nothing But the Best” was found suitable for the second season of “The Righteous Gemstones.”
Smith was born and raised in Carroll County and graduated from J.Z. George High School in 1956. That year he formed a band that later became known as Mack Allen Smith and the Flames.
He has had a long music career including several albums and tours across the country as well as a two-week tour in England in 1979.
A Mississippi historical marker commemorating Mack Allen Smith and the Flames, installed in front of the Community House in Carrollton, was unveiled last September during the Carrollton Pilgrimage and Pioneer Day Festival. The band performed following the unveiling.
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