The Pool Shark

Album: The Pool Shark (1970)

Songfacts®:

  • The origin of this song is related in The Billboard Book of #1 Country Hits. Songwriter Tom T. Hall was partly inspired by the classic 1961 Oscar winning Paul Newman film The Hustler, and also appears to have had his fingers burned while shooting pool himself, probably when he was young and foolish. According to Tom Roland's book, "The song told the story of a would-be hustler who meets up with a pro and loses his shirt", and topped the Country Chart in May 1970.
  • A "shark" or "hustler" is a player, not necessarily a pool player, who challenges someone to a game and deliberately loses. As soon as there is money on the table, or when the stakes are raised, his play improves. In The Hustler, Paul Newman's character "Fast Eddie" had his thumbs broken by a group of men who took umbrage to his ripping off an unwitting local.
  • When Hall recorded the demo for the song he was suffering from laryngitis - which added authenticity to it; unaware of this, Dudley appears to have adapted his voice. "The Pool Shark" was produced by Jerry Kennedy. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 3

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