Appalachia Music

I’ll Be All Smiles Tonight

Pap 1970 something

I’ve been enjoying a video of Pap and Paul singing the old song I’ll Be All Smiles Tonight for the last few months. Paul discovered the video on an old VHS film from 2002 and we uploaded it to Youtube back in September. The love song tells of the awkwardness and sorrow of being present while the object of your love appears with another suitor and you try to hide your feelings.

The Traditional Tune Archive has this to say about the song:

I’LL BE ALL SMILES TONIGHT. American, Waltz. C Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. Popularized by the 1934 Carter Family recording, however, the tune is considerably older, with words and music written in 1879 by T.B. Ranson. Many recordings of the song predate the Carter Family as well, including Luther B. Clark and the Blue Ridge Highballers (1926); Mac and Bob (1927); Allen Brothers (1928); Reed Children (1928); Jenkins and Whitworth (1929); Bradley Kincaid (1929); and Linda Parker and The Cumberland Ridge Runners (1933)

The Louvin Brothers also recorded I’ll Be All Smiles Tonight and I’m guessing that’s where Pap and Paul learned it.

The video became slightly distorted when we converted it from a VHS file to a digital one. It features a high lead by Pap and a harmony by Paul underneath. In the key of D, the song is high and difficult to sing, yet it sounds like a sweet lullaby to me.

I hope you enjoyed the video as much as I do. The voices and guitars take me straight back to childhood and make me feel safe and loved. In fact I like the video so much that I took a clip of it and turned it into my phone’s ringtone. Now every time someone calls me I get to hear Pap and Paul’s lovely sweet harmony.


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  • Reply
    Don Byers
    November 17, 2019 at 8:15 am

    Have always loved this song…..and a great job….nothing wrong…..Pap didn’t need an orchestra.

    • Reply
      Marshall Whitaker
      July 10, 2020 at 6:13 am

      This has always been a favorite song of mine and the harmony here is just heavenly.

  • Reply
    betty stephenson
    May 16, 2019 at 3:02 pm

    awesome jobs thanks

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    April 5, 2019 at 8:36 pm

    Have always loved this song!

  • Reply
    April 3, 2019 at 9:29 pm

    I wish I had a audio clip of my dad singing. He sang a lot but not as good as your Pap and Paul. So precious. Also, my dad called his dad Pap. <3

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 5, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    The only thing I saw or heard wrong was it’s lack of a bass line (bass the voice not the fish.) I added it in on my end and we sounded good together. I’m not sure if anyone would have agreed had I been there for the original.

  • Reply
    June Jolley
    March 5, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    Just beautiful. I sure wish I could have met Pap.

  • Reply
    March 5, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    I heard Donna Lynn on our Christian Radio Station this evening and called to request a song. After several Gospel songs she announced “this next song is going out to a special guest, The Pressley Girls singing on of their own, “He Is Real.”
    Donna’s been out for several days with something wrong with her talking. I don’t like to get that voice bug, and I can just imagine what it’s like for a DJ. …Ken

  • Reply
    March 5, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    Beautifully done…

  • Reply
    George Pettie
    March 5, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Always loved that song, and the poignancy of lost love it evokes.

  • Reply
    March 5, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    I can see now why you had that ringtone. Pap does that song just wonderful! Matter of fact, I really enjoy Paul and Pap singing and playing together, almost as much as them beautiful Pressley Girls.
    By the way, Carolina Tarheels beat Dook in basketball last night…Woopie! …Ken

  • Reply
    Pat mccusker
    March 5, 2017 at 11:51 am

    A truely brilliant brillian version thank you

  • Reply
    March 5, 2017 at 8:27 am

    Very well done as always. Glad to see the healing process of loosing a love one. All tho, the healing begins the empty is never filled in this life , but one day it will, according to the promise.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    March 5, 2017 at 8:05 am

    What a nice memento to carry with you every day. Your Mom and Dad sure crafted a close family and you all are carrying it on. Somehow I think you all made a lot of smiling nights. It makes me smile to think so.
    Have a blessed Sunday everyone.

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