Skeeters I Have Known

As I’ve written before, I’ve never been a big fan of mosquitoes. But I did once know a girl who had the nickname ‘Skeeter’, which is one of the many slang terms that have been applied to the blood-sucking insects. However, as far as I know she wasn’t actually a blood-sucker — unless she was secretly a vampire. (A definite possibility.)

A different Skeeter — and one who might be familiar to fans of music from an earlier era — was a lady who went by the name Skeeter Davis. For several decades beginning in the 1950s, her records made a lot of appearances on country music charts, and a few crossed over into pop territory too. Although her best known song was probably “The End Of The World,” she had dozens of other best-sellers, too.

Born as Mary Frances Penick in rural Kentucky, she broke into music as part of a singing duet she formed with high-school friend Betty Jack Davis. Calling themselves the Davis Sisters (and with Mary now known as Skeeter) they worked their way up through regional radio, and by 1953 had hit high on the charts with “I Forgot More Than You’ll Ever Know.”

Unfortunately, a car accident the same year proved fatal for Betty Jack, and Skeeter was badly injured in the same wreck. Even though she tried to continue the Davis Sisters with Betty Jack’s sister Georgie, Skeeter would eventually move on and become a solo star.

Most of her early success came on the country side with songs like “Set Him Free” and “(I Can’t Help You) I’m Falling Too,” which was an ‘answer song’ to Hank Locklin’s “Please Help Me I’m Falling.” But by the early 1960s she was also showing up on pop charts with teenager-friendly songs like “Gonna Get Along Without Ya Now,” and “I Can’t Stay Mad At You.” In later years Skeeter occasionally partnered up with singers like Bobby Bare and Porter Wagoner, and she also made many appearances on the Grand Ole Opry. By the time of her death at age 72 in 2004, Skeeter Davis was able to look back on a long and successful career.

Skeeter Davis – “(I Can’t Help You) I’m Falling Too”

 

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