Sunday, March 30, 2008

Dates of Note in Country Music, April 1-15

Category: News

April 1:

Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith born in Clinton, South Carolina, 1921 (now 87)
Jim Ed Brown born in Sparkman, Arkansas, 1934 (now 74)
Jules Verne Allen born in Waxahachie, Texas, 1883 (died 1945)
Jimmy Logsdon born in Panther, Kentucky, 1922 (died 2001)
CMA President Paul Cohen died (cancer), 1970 (was 71)
Rachel Veach joined Roy Acuff's Smoky Mountain Boys, 1939. She was the only female member in the 55-year history of the group. Her presence gave rise to Pete Kirby's nickname "Bashful Brother Oswald:" a woman traveling with a group of men was scandalous, so Kirby was billed as Veach's "bashful brother" to quell any rumors.
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum opened, 1967

April 2:

Warner Mack born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1935 (now 73)
Sonny Throckmorton born in Carlsbad, New Mexico, 1941 (now 67)
Emmylou Harris born in Birmingham, Alabama, 1947 (now 61)
Dean Townson of Pirates of the Mississippi born in Battle Creek, Michigan, 1959 (now 49)
Billy Dean born in Quincy, Florida, 1962 (now 46)
Cliff Carlisle died (unknown cause), 1983 (was 78)

April 3:

Billy Joe Royal born in Valdosta, Georgia, 1942 (now 66)
Curtis Stone of Highway 101 (and son of Cliffie Stone) born in North Hollywood, California, 1950 (now 58)
Hank Newman of the Georgia Crackers born in Cochran, Georgia, 1905 (died 1978)
Don Gibson born in Shelby, North Carolina, 1928 (died 2003)
Ella Mae Cooley murdered, 1961. Her husband, self-proclaimed "King of Western Swing" Spade Cooley, was convicted of her murder and sentenced to life in prison.
Red Allen died (cancer), 1993 (was 63)
The Louisiana Hayride debuts on KWKH, Shreveport, Louisiana, 1948. Among the artists who performed on the radio show were Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, Johnny Horton, and one-time emcee Jim Reeves.

April 4:

Norro Wilson born in Scottsville, Kentucky, 1938 (now 70)
Steve Gatlin of the Gatlin Brothers born in Olney, Texas, 1951 (now 57)
Troy Gentry of Montgomery-Gentry born in Lexington, Kentucky, 1967 (now 41)
Cy Coben born in Jersey City, New Jersey, 1919 (died 2006)
Red Sovine died (heart attack), 1980 (was 61)

April 5:

Jack Clement born in Whitehaven, Tennessee, 1931 (now 77)
Bill Clifton born in Riverwood, Maryland, 1931 (now 77). In addition to being a bluegrass performer, Clifton is also credited with starting the bluegrass festival, when he organized a July 4, 1961 show in Luray, Virginia.
June Stearns born in Albany, New York, 1939 (now 69)
Tommy Cash born in Dyess, Arkansas, 1940 (now 68)
Bob McDill born in Beaumont, Texas, 1944 (now 64)
Stoney Edwards died (complications from diabetes), 1997 (was 67)
Gene Pitney died (natural causes), 2006 (was 65). In addition to his rock hits, Pitney recorded two albums of duets with George Jones.

April 6:

Vernon Dalhart born in Marion County, Texas, 1883 (died 1948)
Wade Ray born in Griffin, Indiana, 1913 (died 1998)
Merle Haggard born in Bakersfield, California, 1937 (now 71)
Tammy Wynette died (heart failure attributed to blood clot), 1998 (was 55)
The Grand Ole Opry was canceled due to rioting in the wake of Martin Luther King's assassination earlier in the week, 1968. This is the only time in the history of the Opry that a performance was canceled.

April 7:

Cal Smith born in Gans, Oklahoma, 1932 (now 76)
Bobby Bare born in Ironton, Ohio, 1935 (now 73)
John Dittrich of Restless Heart born in New York, New York, 1951 (now 57)
Leon "Pappy" Selph born in Houston, Texas, 1914 (died 1999)
Clyde Moody died (unknown cause), 1989 (was 73)

April 8:

John Schneider born in Mount Kisco, New York, 1960 (now 48)
Jimmy Osborne born in Winchester, Kentucky, 1923 (died 1957)

April 9:

Margo Smith born in Dayton, Ohio, 1942 (now 66)
Con Hunley born in Fountain City, Tennessee, 1945 (now 63)
Hal Ketchum born in Greenwich, New York, 1953 (now 55)
Mark Roberts of the Red Clay Ramblers born in Wareham, Massachusetts, 1957 (now 51)
Dave Innis of Restless Heart born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, 1959 (now 49)
Carl Perkins born in Tiptonville, Tennessee, 1932 (died 1998)
Mae Boren Axton died (natural causes), 1997 (was 82)

April 10:

Weldon Myrick born in Jayton, Texas, 1938 (now 70). The steel guitar great co-wrote the Wilburn Brothers' "Hangin' Around" and suggested the town of Big Spring, Texas to Bill Anderson for the line "If you've never been to Paris, France / Big Spring, Texas will suit you fine" in "At the Time" (a hit for Jean Shepard).
Fiddlin' Arthur Smith born in Bold Spring, Tennessee, 1898 (died 1971)
Sheb Wooley born in Enick, Oklahoma, 1921 (died 2003)
Former home of Johnny and June Cash destroyed by fire, 2007. Bee Gee Barry Gibb owned the house at the time of the fire.

April 11:

Jim Lauderdale born in Troutman, North Carolina, 1957 (now 51)
Harty Taylor of Karl & Harty born in Mount Vernon, Kentucky, 1905 (died 1963)
Millie Good of the Girls of the Golden West born in Mount Carmel, Illinois, 1913 (died 1993)
Eddie Miller died (unknown cause), 1977 (was 83). In addition to writing a number of songs, including "I've Loved and Lost Again" which was recorded by Patsy Cline during her stint on Four Star, Miller co-founded the Nashville Songwriters' Association International.
Lighnin' Chance died (cancer/Alzheimer's), 2005 (was 79)
Jerry Byrd died (complications of Parkinson's disease), 2005 (was 85)

April 12:

Ned Miller born in Raines, Utah, 1925 (now 83)
Judy Lynn born in Boise, Idaho, 1936 (now 72)
Vince Gill born in Norman, Oklahoma, 1957 (now 51)
Ernie Lee born in Berea, Kentucky, 1916 (died 1991)
Lewis Crook of the Crook Brothers died (natural causes), 1997 (was 87)
Boxcar Willie died (leukemia), 1999 (was 67)

April 13:

Sam Bush born in Bowling Green, Kentucky, 1952 (now 56)
Bob Nolan of the Sons of the Pioneers born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1908 (died 1980)
Milton Brown died (injuries received in automobile accident on April 8), 1936 (was 32)
Guy Willis of the Willis Brothers died (unknown cause), 1981 (was 65)
Johnny Dollar died (unknown cause), 1986 (was 53)

April 14:

Loretta Lynn born in Butcher Holler, Kentucky, 1935 (now 73)
Stuart Duncan of the Nashville Bluegrass Band born in Quantico, Virginia, 1964 (now 44)
Vito Pelletteri died (complications from a stroke), 1977 (was 87)
Burl Ives died (cancer), 1995 (was 85)

April 15:

Roy Clark born in Meherrin, Virginia, 1933 (now 75)
J.L. Frank born in Limestone County, Alabama, 1900 (died 1952)
Bob Luman born in Nacogdoches, Texas, 1937 (died 1978)
Junior Barnard of Bob Wills' Texas Playboys died (car wreck), 1951 (was 30)
Rose Maddox died (various illnesses), 1998 (was 72)
Otto Kitsinger died (heart attack), 1998 (was 56). Otto was the historian and writer for Opry Backstage.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The End of an Era of Harmony

Category: News/Obituary

Harmony and family acts are synonymous with country music. One of the best in both categories was the Blue Sky Boys, the duo of brothers Bill and Earl Bolick, who enjoyed great success in the 1930s and 40s.

From Hickory, North Carolina comes the sad news that William "Bill" Bolick has passed away. He died last Friday (March 14th). No cause of death was given.

The Blue Sky Boys started in their home state of North Carolina, performing on radio shows and making public appearances. Their music featured guitar and mandolin with sparse, if any, additional accompaniment. Bill was most unique among mandolin players of his era (or any other): he never played "rhythm" chords, preferring instead to play single notes.

Their music was a combination of sacred tunes ("S-A-V-E-D" is among the best) and ballads that were common in country music. Bill was an excellent songwriter, giving the world what may still be country music's only double suicide song: "Katy Dear."

As music became amplified, the Blue Sky Boys found themselves less and less in demand. They retired from music and went their separate ways, with Earl moving to Atlanta to work for Lockheed while Bill worked for the railway mail service.

Earl Bolick died in 1998, ending any hopes of reunion offers that both brothers vehemently rejected throughout the last years of Earl's life. Now with the passing of Bill, a chapter in country music history -- a simpler time, when the music was more from the heart and less from the wallet -- has closed permanently.

Farewell to the great Bill Bolick, who died March 14 at the age of 90.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Dates of Note in Country Music, March 16-31

Category: News

March 16:

Jerry Jeff Walker born in Oneonta, New York, 1942 (now 66)
Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1951 (now 57)
Tim O'Brien born in Wheeling, West Virginia, 1954 (now 54)
Stan Thorn of Shenandoah born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, 1959 (now 49)
Ronnie McCoury born in York County, Pennsylvania, 1967 (now 41)
Robert Whitstein born in Colfax, Louisiana, 1944 (died 2001)
Plane crash kills Chris Austin, Kirk Capello, Joey Cigainero, Paula Kaye Evans, Terry Jackson, Michael Thomas, and Tony Saputo of Reba McEntire's band, 1991

March 17:

Jim Weatherly born in Pontotoc, Mississippi, 1943 (now 65)
Paul Overstreet born in Newton, Mississippi, 1955 (now 53)
Dick Curless born in Fort Fairfield, Maine, 1932 (died 1995)
Hugh Farr died (unknown causes), 1980 (was 77)
Sammy Pruett died (unknown causes), 1988 (was 61)
Terry Stafford died (liver failure), 1996 (was 55)
Bill Carlisle died (natural causes), 2003 (was 94)

March 18:

Billy Armstrong born in Streator, Illinois, 1930 (now 78)
Charley Pride born in Sledge, Mississippi, 1938 (now 70)
Margie Bowes born in Roxboro, North Carolina, 1941 (now 67)
James McMurty born in Fort Worth, Texas, 1962 (now 46)
Smiley Burnette born in Summum, Illinois, 1911 (died 1967)
John Phillips of the Mamas and Papas died (heart failure), 2001 (was 65). His solo hit, "Mississippi," was a country hit in 1971.

March 19:

Henry "Friendly Henry" Maddox born in Boaz, Alabama, 1928 (died 1974)
Speck Rhodes died (natural causes), 2000 (was 84)
Randall Hylton died (brain aneurysm), 2001 (was 55)
Tootsie's Orchid Lounge opened in Nashville, 1960

March 20:

Tommy Hunter born in London, Ontario, 1937 (now 71)
Jerry Reed born in Atlanta, Georgia, 1937 (now 71)
Douglas B. Green of Riders in the Sky born in Great Lakes, Illinois, 1946 (now 62)
Jim Seales of Shenandoah born in Hamilton, Alabama, 1954 (now 54)

March 21:

Carol Lee Cooper born in West Virginia, 1942 (now 68)
Tommy Hill died (liver and heart ailments), 2002 (was 72)

March 22:

Charlie Poole born in Randolph County, North Carolina, 1892 (died 1931)
Hoyle Nix of the West Texas Cowboys born in Azel, Texas, 1918 (died 1985)
Uncle Dave Macon died (illness), 1952 (was 81)
Stoney Cooper died (heart attack), 1977 (was 59)
Carl Perkins injured in automobile accident, 1956

March 23:
David Grisman born in Passaic, New Jersey, 1945 (now 63)
Fiddlin' John Carson born in Fannin County, Georgia, 1868 (died 1949)
Jim Anglin born in Franklin, Tennessee, 1913 (died 1987)
Smokey Rogers born in McMinnville, Tennessee, 1917 (died 1993)
J.D. Miller died (complications from heart bypass surgery), 1996 (was 73)
Ray "Pop" Lewis of the Lewis Family died (natural causes), 2004 (was 98)
Cindy Walker died (natural causes), 2006 (was 88)

March 24:

Peggy Sue Webb born in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, 1947 (now 61)
Carson Robison died (unknown causes), 1957 (was 66)
Howard Dixon died (unknown - possible work accident), 1961 (was 57)
Henson Cargill died (complications from surgery), 2007 (was 66)

March 25:

Bonnie Guitar born in Seattle, Washington, 1923 (now 85)
Robbie Fulks born in York, Pennsylvania, 1963 (now 45)
Hoyt Axton born in Duncan, Oklahoma, 1938 (died 1999)
Jack Kapp died (cerebral hemorrhage), 1949 (was 47)
Buck Owens died (heart attack), 2006 (was 76)

March 26:

Bud Isaacs born in Bedford, Indiana, 1928 (now 80)
Vicki Lawrence born in Inglewood, California, 1949 (now 59). The Carol Burnett Show actress had one hit, "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia," which made both the pop and country charts.
Ronnie McDowell born in Fountain Head, Tennessee, 1950 (now 58)
Michael Bonagura of Baillie & the Boys born in Newark, New Jersey, 1953 (now 55)
Dean Dillon born in Lake City, Tennessee, 1955 (now 53)
Charly McClain born in Jackson, Tennessee, 1956 (now 52)
Kenny Chesney born in Lutrell, Tennessee, 1968 (now 40)

March 27:

Bill Callahan of the Callahan Brothers born in Madison County, North Carolina, 1912 (now 96)
David Rogers born in Houston, Texas, 1936 (died 1993)

March 28:

Roy Dean Webb of the Dillards born in Independence, Missouri, 1937 (now 71)
Charlie McCoy born in Oak Hill, West Virginia, 1941 (now 67)
Reba McEntire born in Chockie, Oklahoma, 1955 (now 53)
Jay Livingston born in McDonald, Pennsylvania, 1915 (died 2001). The pop songwriter's many hits include "Silver Bells," which has been recorded by many country performers.
Rusty Draper died (heart disease/throat cancer), 2003 (was 80)

March 29:

Brady Seals of Little Texas born in Hamilton, Ohio, 1969 (now 39)
Moon Mullican born in Corrigan, Texas, 1909 (died 1967)
Texas Ruby died (house fire), 1963 (was 54)

March 30:

Bobby Wright born in Charleston, West Virginia, 1942 (now 66)
Connie Cato born in Carlinville, Illinois, 1955 (now 53)

March 31:

John D. Loudermilk born in Durham, North Carolina, 1934 (now 74)
Greg Martin of the Kentucky Headhunters born in Louisville, Kentucky, 1954 (now 54)
Howdy Forrester born in Vernon, Tennessee, 1922 (died 1987)
Tommy Jackson born in Birmingham, Alabama, 1926 (died 1979)
Lefty Frizzell born in Corsicana, Texas, 1928 (died 1975)
Anita Carter born in Maces Springs, Virginia, 1933 (died 1999)
Skeets McDonald died (heart attack), 1968 (was 52)
Carl Story died (complications from heart bypass surgery), 1995 (was 78)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Just a Little Lovin' Sure Went a Long Way

Category: News/Obituary

Sixty six years of marriage ended on March 11 for Eddy Arnold. His wife, Sally, passed away in a hospital in suburban Nashville.

At last year's ICMC, Arnold was the keynote speaker for the Charles Wolfe Memorial Panel on the anniversary of Studio B. He regaled the audience with stories of his recording career and his life as a celebrity. One of the funniest involved him working in his yard when a tourist stopped by.


"Hey what?" Arnold replied.

"Does somebody famous live here?"


"How much do they pay you to do the gardening?"

"Well," Arnold replied, "the owner lets me sleep with his wife!"

Sally Arnold was 87 and had suffered from Alzheimer's Disease and respiratory problems.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Sad News From the Rock/Blues World

Catetory: News

Jeff Healey, the blind Canadian guitarist best-known for his 1988 "Angel Eyes," has died.

Healey was 41 and suffered from various forms of cancer, including retino blastoma, which blinded him as a baby.

My rock/entertainment blog has more details.