She was born Argolda Voncile Hill on January 11th, 1933 in Karnes City, Texas and I wish I could tell you the story behind that name; it’s really something. If you’ve heard of her at all though it’s as Goldie Hill, The Golden Hillbilly.
Her older brother Tommy sang country music and in 1952 he brought her along to a recording session where the bandleader told him he wanted a girl singer who could play the upright bass. Country music historians Mary Bufwack and Robert K. Oermann write in their great book Finding Her Voice: Women In Country Music that Goldie was soon standing with a bass guitar in her hands for the first time in her life.
She had a handful of hits, but only one number one record. It was the answer song to Slim Willet’s huge hit Don’t Let the Stars Get In Your Eyes aptly titled I Let the Stars Get In My Eyes. A shameless cash-in of a popular song, but that’s nothing new. What I love about this one though is Slim wrote it too.
I Let the Stars Get In My Eyes, Goldie Hill
Don’t Let the Stars Get In Your Eyes, Slim Willet
Goldie married honkytonker Carl Smith in 1957 and aside from a handful of recordings more-or-less retired after that to their Nashville farm. She claimed to have never missed the show biz life and apparently even turned Hollywood down when they came calling.
Twice As Blue, Goldie Hill
It’s not really all that surprising. A country music career was hard in the 1950s, especially if you were a girl singer. You wouldn’t get the best songs or the best spots. It was a fight every inch of the way.
Driftwood On the River, Goldie Hill
Goldie sang during a time when country music A&R men didn’t think women could have a big of a hit as a man – never mind singers like Kitty Wells and Patsy Montana were continually proving them wrong. Like Kitty Wells, many of Goldie’s early songs were answer songs to other big hits. Here’s a a few of them just for kicks:
Yesterday’s Girl, Hank Thompson
I’m Yesterday’s Girl, Goldie Hill
Jambalaya (On the Bayou), Hank Williams
I’m Yvonne (From the Bayou), Goldie Hill
Don’t dwell too long on how many female singers the world missed out on during the early and mid 20th century, it’ll break your heart.