Memorabilia donated by Country Boy Eddie Burns is now on display at the Blount County Memorial Museum in Oneonta. Pictures, albums, a guitar, and a cowboy hat are some of the items featured in the showcase.
“I was honored they did that,” Burns said. “I’ve got a whole bunch of more stuff I hopefully will be able to take up there one day.”
For 38 years, Burns awakened households across Alabama during the “Country Boy Eddie Show,” which aired from 4:30 a.m. until 7 a.m. every weekday. Audiences tuned in to hear music, news, and Burns’s famous “mule call.” The show became so popular at one point, that it was playing on 120 cable channels with 72 percent of the television audience watching. The 82-year-old musician and entertainer says the process to how he managed to get his own show started when he was a child.
“I used to listen to the Grand Ole Opry when I was a kid on the battery radio, and I always loved that,” Burns said. “That’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to be on country music radio more than anything, but then I got on radio and television came out, and I got on TV.”
After performing as the house band on the “Tom York Morning Show” on WBRC Channel 6, Burns decided he wanted a show of his own. For six months, Burns walked around the station, approached anyone wearing a suit, and asked them about him having his own show.
“I’d never seen anybody with a suit on,” Burns said. “I thought you had to be a boss if you had a suit.”
After months of asking, Burns found the right guy in the right suit, and he had his own show – the “Country Boy Eddie Show.”
The show featured interviews and/or performances from prominent entertainers like Marilyn Monroe, Chet Atkins, Dizzy Dean, and Emmy Lou Harris, but the main focus of the show was to introduce unknown talent. One special introduction was a hairdresser by the name of Tammy Wynette, who went on to win two Grammys and be named a three-time CMA “Female Vocalist of the Year” winner.
Despite the wealth of talent that appeared on the show, Burns says he was never intimidated or starstruck.
“I really admired a lot of them, but I never was,” he said. “I always looked at everybody as human. I admired what they did, and I kind of wanted to be like them, I guess.”
The “Country Boy Eddie Show” ran from 1957 until 1995, and during filming Burns said every piece was ad-libbed.
“I think that’s why it was good. Everything was spontaneous,” he said. “I never knew who was going to be on until I saw them in the studio.”
It seems Burns knew from the beginning he was destined to entertain in one way or the other. His brother, Carl, says he fondly remembers a statement Eddie made when he was only 13 years old.
“He said he was going to make a living being a fiddler or he’d starve to death,” Carl said.
Burns was born and raised on a 200- acre farm in Blount County, and that is where he continues to live today. He says his health doesn’t allow him to perform as much anymore, but he is still playing his guitar and fiddle in the comfort of his own home.