Robert Bruce "Bob" Ferguson Sr (December 30, 1927 – July 22, 2001) was an American songwriter, record producer, and historian. Ferguson wrote the songs "On the Wings of a Dove" and "The Carroll County Accident". The "Carroll County Accident" won the Country Music Association Song of the Year in 1969. In 1983, "Wings of a Dove" was featured in the movie Tender Mercies starring Robert Duvall. In 1987, Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) awarded Ferguson with the "million air" plays for the "Wings of a Dove."
The country song "Carroll County Accident," a hit for and now one of the signature songs of Porter Wagoner, was written when Ferguson passed through Carroll County when driving from Nashville to a concert for the Choctaw Indians in Philadelphia, Miss., according to an interview Ferguson granted with Steve Eng for the Wagoner biography "A Satisfied Mind." He recounted that he passed a sign for Carroll County in Tennessee, which inspired the song's title, and when he saw a sign for Carroll County in Mississippi the song was a finished work. Wagoner took the song to No. 2 on the Billboard country singles chart (No. 92 pop) and No. 1 on the Cash Box country singles chart. The tune was also recorded by Wagoner's longtime duet partner Dolly Parton.
After the military, he attended Washington State University where he got a degree in speech. For a time, he was Ferlin Husky's manager. Ferguson produced records for Chet Atkins, Porter Wagoner, Charley Pride, Dolly Parton, and many others. Ferguson's alter stage ego was Eli Possumtrot.
While in high school, Ferguson was a typesetter at the local newspaper, a Fire Tower Lookout for the U.S. Forest Service and a member of the Missouri State Guard during World War II. After graduating from high school in 1945, he entered the U.S. Army where he attained the rank of Sergeant and served as a radioman for two winters in Alaska on Task Force Frigid testing military equipment under Arctic condition.
After discharge from the Army, Ferguson went out West and worked for the U.S. Forest Service as a fire tower lookout and trail crew boss and as a laborer in the wheat fields. While working as a typesetter for the newspaper in Moses Lake, WA, he led the Boy Scout Troop from that city to the Boy Scout Jamboree at Valley Forge, PA, in 1950.
Ferguson then entered Washington State College, Pullman. WA, and secured his BS in Speech, specializing in Radio and Television Production. While in college, he joined a U.S. Marine Reserve Unit and was called to duty during the Korean War. He served as a Cpl. in the 3rd Division as a Recruit Company Commander and Producer of Marine training motion pictures.
Ferguson then returned to Nashville as a Senior Producer with RCA Music Corporation and served as assistant to Chet Atkins and served in that position until his retirement. While there, he produced records, many in RCA Studio B, for Atkins, Porter Wagoner, Dolly Parton, Connie Smith, Floyd Cramer, Danny Davis, The Browns, Helen Cornelius, Lester Flatt, Homer and Jethro, Charlie Pride and many others. With Atkins, he played a major role in the development of what was to become known as the Nashville Sound and elevated Nashville as the country music capital of the world. He also played a major role in developing the Country Music Association.
He performed infrequently in his comedy role as Grandpappy Possumtrot, a name that he took from a crossroad community near his home in the Ozarks. In that role, he recorded his own song, "Eli's Blue", a lament about a man who accidentally shot his own coonhound. In that role he also performed with Ferlin Huskey, playing his Simon Crum character, in "The Good Old Days", a motion picture produced by the Tennessee Game and Fish Commission.
He wrote several other songs including another million seller, "Carroll County Accident" which was first recorded by Porter Waggoner and for which he received a Country Music Award for the "Song of the Year" for 1969. His first successful single was with the Avons. He temporarily served as an assistant to Elvis' manager.
Ferguson was the author of two books with Jesse Burt acting as Co-Author-- "So You Want to be in Music" and "Southeastern Indians: Then and Now". "So You Want to be in Music" is a book about the music industry for aspiring songwriting and recording professionals. "Southeastern Indians: Then and Now" is a book about the Native Americans of the American Deep South covering the Choctaw, Cherokee, Creek, Chickasaw, and Seminole tribes.
After his retirement from RCA, Ferguson served as Historian and Audio-Visual Producer for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. In that role, he also helped develop the Museum of the Southern Indian (Choctaw Museum) in 1981. In 1983, he created the foundation for Choctaw Video Productions and created numerous tribal productions. In 1987, he established WHTV as local cable service for Pearl River/Philadelphia (MS). He retired from that position in 1998 and was awarded Tribal Historian Emeritus. He also established the tribe's organic gardening program. Ferguson was the recipient of many awards and recognitions during his multiple careers. He was also a member of Mensa, the high I.Q. society.
Robert Bruce "Bob" Ferguson Sr. died Sunday, July 22, 2001 at 1:05 a.m. in the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. Cause of death is attributed to Cancer. He is buried at Phillip's Cemetery in rural Neshoba County near Philadelphia, MS. He was 73.
Jolene (album) - Dolly Parton
The Open Mind of John D. Loudermilk - John D. Loudermilk
My Favorite Songwriter: Porter Wagoner - Porter Wagoner
Coast Country - George Hamilton IV
Jerry Reed explores guitar country - Jerry Reed