NOACK, DEARMAND, JR. [EDDIE]
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NOACK, DEARMAND, JR. [EDDIE] (1930–1978). Country/rockabilly singer Eddie Noack, best-remembered as the composer of “These Hands,” was born Dearmand Noack, Jr., in Houston on April 29, 1930. Various sources give his name as D. Armona, Armona A., and Armond A., but the registrar’s office at the University of Houston, from which he graduated with a degree in English and journalism in 1954, confirms his name as Dearmand Noack, Jr.
Noack reportedly won an amateur talent contest in Baytown in 1947, and his first recording, a version of “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” came out on the Gold Star label in 1949. During the 1950s he recorded for a number of labels, including 4 Star, TNT, and Dixie. He had a hit, “Too Hot to Handle,” on TNT in 1951. He signed with Pappy Daily on the Starday label about 1954 and then with Daily’s D Records in 1958. Noack also recorded several rockabilly songs under the pseudonym Tommy Wood, including “Can’t Play Hookey”/“My Steady Dream” (1958), which was included on the 2000 rockabilly compilation That’ll Flat Git It, Vol. 19, on the Bear Family label.
Noack’s own recordings enjoyed moderate success at best, but “These Hands” became a Number 5 country hit for Hank Snow in 1956 and also appeared on Johnny Cash’s 1970 live album The Johnny Cash Show. The song has been called an “inspirational classic,” but Noack claimed that he intended it as a tribute to the working man. He wrote the song in 1955, while serving in the United States Army in El Paso, and was influenced by the World War II-era song “This Is Worth Fighting For.” Other artists who recorded Noack’s songs included Ernest Tubb, Lefty Frizzell, and especially George Jones, whose recordings included versions of “No Blues is Good News,” “Barbara Jay,” and “For Mama.”
Noack had moderate success with “Have Blues Will Travel,” which reached Number 15 for D Records in 1958, but in 1960 gave up performing to concentrate on writing songs. In the 1960s he moved to Nashville and worked for Daily, Lefty Frizzell, and others in the publishing field. He made several comeback attempts as a performer, notably in 1968, when his version of Leon Payne’s murder ballad “Psycho” became something of a cult hit (it was later covered by Elvis Costello and the Australian band the Beasts of Bourbon), and in 1972, when his album Remembering Jimmie Rodgers garnered strong reviews, though it failed to make an impact on the charts.
Andy Bradley and Roger Wood, House of Hits: The Story of Houston’s Gold Star/SugarHill Recording Studios (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2010). Richard Carlin, Country Music: A Biographical Dictionary (New York: Routledge, 2003). Paul Kingsbury, ed., The Encyclopedia of Country Music: The Ultimate Guide to the Music (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998). Barry McCloud, Definitive Country: The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Country Music and Its Performers (New York: Perigee, 1995).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Martin Donell Kohout, "NOACK, DEARMAND, JR. [EDDIE]," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fno30), accessed November 27, 2015. Uploaded on June 18, 2015. Modified on October 25, 2015. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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