Tony Goodacre

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Country music may have had its origins in America (with some lesser but significant contributions from Canada), but it has successfully taken root around the world -- that's how England comes to have…
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Country music may have had its origins in America (with some lesser but significant contributions from Canada), but it has successfully taken root around the world -- that's how England comes to have a performer who can claim the designation of "Britain's Mr. Country Music." Tony Goodacre was born in Leeds, England, in 1938. He took up the guitar in his teens, originally studying classical and Spanish guitar technique, but he was drawn toward folk and country music instead, initially through the music of Burl Ives. The skiffle boom hit while he was serving in the Royal Air Force, and Goodacre formed his own skiffle band, the Tigers. They were getting enough bookings to make the future look promising, and Goodacre started getting approached as a solo artist. He was suddenly sidetracked into a new field when he was booked into the Cavendish Hotel in Felixstowe during September of 1956, to play a night of country & western music -- he was forced to adjust his repertory on the spot, and the audience response was enthusiastic. The group continued to do skiffle music, but Goodacre slowly found himself drawn to country music, and was able to borrow American records from U.S. servicemen that he met who were stationed in England. By the time he left the service, he had plunged into the music, all while holding down a day job -- beginning as a solo guitarist/singer in 1960, by 1964 he'd formed a duo with Arthur Layfield, and three years later had a full band, Goodacre Country.

They were at the core of a country music boom in England, and in 1973 Goodacre won the Record Mirror Award as the Top Solo Country Act in England. He also made his first appearance in Nashville that year, appearing with George Hamilton IV on the Arthur Smith television show. His first album, Roaming Around Nashville, was recorded and released on the Outlet Records label in 1974, and he cut follow-up albums for the same label over the next five years. He made his first appearance at the Grand Ole Opry in 1977, which was followed by an appearance on the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree. He was getting regular bookings in America during the late '70s and his career was focused far beyond England, encompassing the United States, Canada, Australia and the Pacific Rim, and the European continent. In the early '80s, he formed his own label as an outlet for other artists. He occupied a unique niche in country music, winning popularity awards in Holland and other European countries. He later narrated memorial shows devoted to Jim Reeves, and at the start of the 21st century -- opening his fifth decade in music -- was more active than ever.