You’re listening to Roy Acuff and his Smoky Mountain Boys with Mule Skinner Blues and…
You’re on the Sound Beat
A muleskinner’s job was not quite as…grim as it sounds. They were mule-drivers, or, in the cheeriest sense, muleteers! However, the skinner part of the title does refer to their ability to whip the animals so hard that the skin was broken. So still kinda grim.
The muleskinner became a sort of a folk icon, like a cowboy. Ok…probably not as cool as a cowboy. But you want an icon? Roy Acuff highlighted the emergence of the lead singer in country music, settled in for a four decade run as a cornerstone of the Grand Ole Opry, and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame while still alive, the first to ever receive that honor.