Dewayne Grissom's Sucker Day Song

Sucker Day is the name of a festival held every year in the town of Wetumka, Oklahoma celebrating the fact that they were once "suckered" by a flim-flam man selling tickets to a non-existent circus. Seems that back in 1950, a man named "F. Bam Morrison" entered the town of Wetumka and persuaded the residents there to put up the money to bring a circus to town. Morrison sold advance tickets while the citizens prepared for the crowds with the purchase of food, beverages, and souvenirs. And so, on the morning the parade was scheduled to happen, the citizens of the town lined up on the sides of Main Street, waiting for the show to start. But it never happened. Morrison had left the town the night before with the money in his pocket, leaving the citizens to learn that they had been swindled. But instead of taking the swindle to heart, Wetumka turned disappointment into amusement. Armed with the food and decorations they had prepared for the circus, Wetumka decided to celebrate anyway. In 2023, Wetumka celebrated its 73rd Sucker Day. These days, the festival includes arts and crafts, music, and various activities. The annual Sucker Day poker run is a popular attraction. Food ranges from burgers and hot dogs to a variety of ethnic dishes.

And so here's where the song comes in. My friend Dewayne Grissom grew up on a farm outside of Wetumka, so as a child, he attended many of those Sucker Day festivals. Dewayne eventually became a songwriter, and he ended up writing the song Sucker Day. This was sometime before 1977. I know that because I moved to Oklahoma City in the fall of 1977 to join up with the New World Band (of which Dewayne was a founding member) and he had already written the song by that time.

New World played a lot of original material. Most of the band's songs were written by either Dewayne or else guitarist Bob Edwards. (Drummer Bill Shelton also wrote a couple of the band's original tunes.) A few of Dewayne’s songs from that time period included (among others) Better Days, If That Ain't Love, and Thinkin' 'Bout You. Although Dewayne had already written the song Sucker Day, he really didn't feel it fit the band's overall motif, so the song fell by the wayside. He and I used to play it off to the side from time to time, but it wasn't part of the band's regular repertoire.

Shortly after I joined the band, Dewayne and I started co-writing much of the band's material, and those songs included (among others) Lonely Days, You Better Think Twice, Big L.A., Walk Out No More, Crazy 'Bout You, New Love, and many others.

But we also wrote songs that we thought were too quaint for New World. Years later, several of those tunes wound up on our very first Mandolin Wind Project album, released in 2003. This would include Autumn Wind, Autumn Days, Don't Hide Your Love, Three Roses, and Austin. There's more. Another of our New World songs, You Better Think Twice, made its way onto The Big Idea album we recorded in 2005.

New World disbanded in April of 1982, and Dewayne and I moved on to other projects, eventually co-founding the band Rumors in 1985. That band kept us busy for a long long time. By 1998, I had LSR Studios up and running and that began to occupy a lot of my time. (Rumors lasted until 2004.)

In 2000, Dewayne and I decided to record Sucker Day for the upcoming festival of that name held in Wetumka every year, and the rest is history. The song quickly became the festival's theme.

We recorded Sucker Day in my studio. Dewayne played mandolin, and he sang the lead vocals. I played acoustic guitar and Dobro, and I also programmed the bass and drum parts. Beatrice Cole was the lead singer in Rumors at the time and she sang backing vocals on the song along with Dewayne. We decided to bring in world fiddling champion Byron Berline for the violin (fiddle) parts and he did a really fine job.

One last item: Dewayne originally wrote the lyrics with the line "in 1949" - but after we learned that the year was actually 1950 we changed the lyrics to say "around 1949".

We released Sucker Day as a CD single in the year 2000, but I am currently offering it as a free digital download.

Left click on the link below in order to listen to the song, or else right click on the link to download the file and save it.

Sucker Day Song

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Sucker Day Written by Nelson Dewayne Grissom, Copyright © 2000, 2024 Wingspread Music (BMI)
Recording & Soundclip © Copyright 2000, 2024 Wingspread Recording Ltd. Co.
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