The Grascals' Terry Eldredge Discuss Mayberry & More
By: Chuck Dauphin
The latest project from The Grascals, Dance Till Your Stockings Are Hot And Ravelin,’ was truly a labor of love for the group. It combines two of their biggest loves----music and The Andy Griffith Show. The album is a collection of songs that were performed or inspired by Sheriff Andy and the citizens of Mayberry. Longtime member Terry Eldredge (Seated on Bottom Right of the image next to this article) explains how the project came about in an exclusive interview with Roughstock.com
“A couple of years back, we had dealings with this food company out of Nashville called Mayberry’s Finest. They do recipes from ‘The Andy Griffith Show.’ They sponsored us, and helped us with a bus. That’s how it all got started, and then a couple of years ago, an executive from Mayberry’s Finest came to us with an idea because 2010 is the 50th anniversary of ‘The Andy Griffith Show.’ They wanted to put an album out with the songs from the show. About a third of the episodes had music on them. We totally wanted to do it. He took the idea to Andy because anything that has to do with ‘The Andy Griffith Show,’ Andy is still in control of it. He took it to Andy, and told him he was going to have us do it. He said, “Yes, do it, and I want the Grascals to do it.’ So we got the go-ahead from the man himself,” he says proudly.
As big a fan of the show as Eldredge is, he says he has yet to come face to face with the man who served not only as keeper of the law in Mayberry, but newspaper editor and Justice of the Peace.
“I’ve seen him once, backstage at the Grand Ole Opry. He was actually there to induct Earl Scruggs into the North Carolina Hall of Fame, and I got to see him, but I didn’t get to meet him. I would love to meet him. I got to meet Don Knotts, Betty Lynn, Maggie Peterson, and James Best, so we’ve got to meet quite a few of them, but we haven’t got to meet Andy.”
As many in the group are fans of the show, recording these songs was like a trip down memory lane---or better yet, over to Morelli’s in Mt. Pilot. “It was so much fun,” Terry said. We were in the studio recording them, and they would bring back memories of the episodes the songs were on. We’d talk about the episodes and such, and just laugh about them.
Eldredge says the appeal of the show is timeless, even five decades later. “I think it’s the best television series of all time, I really honestly do. Each episode had a moral to the story. I think they should teach it in college, I think it would teach people to get along better and respect each other, and how to treat people better.”
Five of the seven songs from the disc were from the show, while two were inspired by it, such as the CD’s bonus cut, “Boy, Giraffes Are Selfish.” Eldredge said that song was inspired by one of the series’ most memorable episodes. “That was from ‘Dogs, Dogs, Dogs.’ If you remember, Opie brought all the dogs in. They were at the courthouse, and the inspector was coming. Barney took them out in the woods in this big field, and a big storm came up. Opie was all worried about the dogs. Barney told Opie, “No, the dogs will be fine, Opie. They’re built low to the ground’ and then he brought up giraffes. He said ‘Dogs look after each other, but giraffes don’t care nothing but number one.’ Then he comes up with the line ‘Boy, Giraffes are selfish.’They wanted us to write a jingle or theme for one of the episodes. So, we thought of that line.
Also included is the jingle for the Mayberry’s Finest food line. “Yeah, we did that a couple of years ago when we were involved with the food company . That’s how Andy knew of us. He had to ok that jingle. Then, when they went to him with the album, he said he wanted the Grascals to do it.”
How did it feel to have Griffith suggest them for the job? Pretty good, according to Eldredge. “When one of your heroes and mentors wants you to get involved with something that he was involved in, that made us all feel really good.
The show has been an integral part of Terry’s life for years, he says. “I’m 48 years old, and have been watching it as long as I can remember. I’ve probably seen each episode probably 40 times.”
Dance Till Your Stockings Are Hot And Ravelin’ is the second Grascals release this year, and there’s more coming down the pike. Eldredge says the band hasn’t slowed down in a while, and that’s the way the band prefers it. “We’ve got new management, new P.R. people, and they have us working, even when we’re at home. They’ve got us doing interviews or something. We are also working hard on a couple of albums, as well. We’ve started our own label, Blue Grascal Records,” he confirms.
The band is on the road constantly, and you can take a look at their schedule at www.Grascals.com. “We’ve been playing the Grand Ole Opry a lot as of late too,” Eldredge says. Would the group like to become members of the WSM Radio institution? Absolutely, says Terry. “Hopefully, that will happen down the line,” he says hopefully. Pete Fisher, are you listening??