Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dates of Note in Country Music, November 1-15

Category: News

(Hall of Fame members in bold)

November 1:

Bill Anderson born in Columbia, South Carolina, 1937 (now 71)
Lyle Lovett born in Klein, Texas, 1957 (now 51)
Keith Stegall born in Wichita Falls, Texas, 1954 (now 54)
Lew Childre born in Opp, Alabama, 1901 (died 1961)
Buddy Killen died (cancer), 2006 (was 73)

November 2:

k.d. lang born in Consort, Alberta, 1961 (now 47)
John David Souther born in Detroit, Michigan, 1945 (now 63)
Charlie Walker born in Copeville, Texas, 1926 (died 2008)
Elaine Tubb, wife of Ernest and subject of the song "Blue-Eyed Elaine," died, 2001 (was 85)

November 3:

Fabor Robison born in Beebe, Arkansas, 1911 (died 1986)
Leon Huff born in Whitesboro, Texas, 1912 (died 1952)
John Maddox (Maddox Brothers & Rose) born in Boaz, Alabama, 1915 (died 1968)
Jimmie Rodgers, Fred Rose, and Hank Williams become the first inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame, 1961
Merle Haggard granted parole from San Quentin, 1960

November 4:

Kim Forrester born in Oglethorpe, Georgia, 1960 (now 48)
Will Rogers born near Oologah, Oklahoma, 1879 (died 1935)
Audrey Williams died (illness), 1975 (was 52)
Dale Noe died (unknown cause), 2004 (was 76)

November 5:

Billy Sherrill born in Phil Campbell, Alabama, 1936 (now 72)
Gram Parsons born in Winter Haven, Florida, 1946 (died 1973)
Roy Rogers born in Cincinnati, Ohio, 1911 (died 1998)
Roy Horton born in Broad Top, Pennsylvania, 1914 (died 2003)
Johnny Horton died (car wreck), 1960 (was 35)
Jimmie Davis died (natural causes), 2000 (was 101)
Dorothy Southworth Ritter died (natural causes), 2003 (was 88)

November 6:

Stonewall Jackson born in Emerson, North Carolina, 1932 (now 76)
Guy Clark born in Monahan, Texas, 1941 (now 67)
Glenn Frey of the Eagles born in Detroit, Michigan, 1948 (now 60)
Hank Thompson died (lung cancer), 2007 (was 82)
Elvis Presley becomes member of Louisiana Hayride, 1954

November 7:

Robin Lee born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1953 (now 55)
Archie Campell born in Bull's Gap, Tennessee, 1914 (died 1987)
A.P. Carter died (illness), 1960 (was 68)
Red Foley's daughter, Shirley, married Pat Boone, 1953
Gene Wooten died (cancer), 2001 (was 49)

November 8:

Patti Page born in Claremore, Oklahoma, 1927 (now 81)
Scotty Wiseman born in Ingalls, North Carolina, 1909 (died 1981)
Ivory Joe Hunter died (lung cancer), 1974 (was 60). A number of the R&B singer/songwriter's songs were turned into country hits by Sonny James, including "Since I Met You, Baby" and "Empty Arms."

November 9:

George D. Hay born in Attica, Indiana, 1895 (died 1968)
Curly Fox born in Graysville, Tennessee, 1910 (died 1995)
James "Spider" Rich, co-writer of "Yakety Sax," died (unknown cause), 2003 (was 80)

November 10:

Donna Fargo born in Mount Airy, North Carolina, 1940 (now 68)
Pat Severs of Pirates of the Mississippi born in Elmira, New York, 1952 (now 56)
Paul Cohen born in Chicago, Illinois, 1908 (died 1970)
Onie Wheeler born in Senath, Missouri, 1921 (died 1984)
Dave "Stringbean" Akeman died (murdered), 1973 (was 58)
Curly Fox died (natural causes), 1995 (was 85)
The Edmund Fitzgerald sinks in Lake Superior, killing all 29 aboard, 1975. The accident inspired Gordon Lightfoot's 1976 pop/country/folk hit "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald."

November 11:

Narvel Felts born near Keiser, Arkansas, 1938 (now 70)
Hank "Sugarfoot" Garland born in Cow Pens, South Carolina, 1930 (died 2004)

November 12:

Barbara Fairchild born in Lafe, Arkansas, 1950 (now 58)
John Lair, Renfro Valley Barn Dance founder, died (natural causes), 1985 (was 91)
Ground broken for construction of the Grand Ole Opry House (current home of the Opry), 1971

November 13:

Jack Guthrie born in Olive, Oklahoma, 1915 (died 1948)
Buddy Killen born in Florence, South Carolina, 1932 (died 2006)
Jerry Lee Lewis Jr. died (car wreck), 1973 (was 20)
Junior Samples died (heart attack), 1983 (was 57)

November 14:

Ken Carson born in Coalgate, Oklahoma, 1914 (died 1994)
Robert Whitstein died (heart attack), 2001 (was 57)

November 15:

William Fries (C.W. McCall) born in Audubon, Iowa, 1928 (now 80)
Jack Ingram born in Houston, Texas, 1970 (now 38)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ten Years Ago, On a Cold Dark Night...

Category: Obituary

Country music has lost one of its greatest songwriters.

So has folk music and rock and roll.

Danny (Hoarce Eldred) Dill died October 16th at a Nashville hospital. No cause of death was given.

Bill Anderson said of Danny Dill, "If all he'd done was help write 'The Long Black Veil,' he'd still go down as one of the all-time great songwriters." Ain't it the truth.

Danny Dill, along with the late Marijohn Wilkin, composed the song about a man who went to his death on the gallows rather than confess his affair with the wife of his best friend. The song is legendary, thanks in no small part to Lefty Frizzell's haunting recording in 1959.

Since Frizzell's hit, artists ranging from the Country Gentlemen to Johnny Cash to the Band to Jason & the Scorchers to Burl Ives to the Kingston Trio to Joan Baez have covered the song. Without question, one of the most ambitous versions was by the Edisons, a band based in Tennessee who wrote an album of original songs based on the song, covering the events mentioned in the original tune from different perspectives (e.g., the judge who condemned the man to death, the hangman, the jury, etc.).

Fortunately for country music, "The Long Black Veil" was not Dill's only contribution to country music. He also co-wrote "Detroit City," one of Bobby Bare's classic songs. He wrote another tale of murder, "Partners," which Jim Reeves recorded (and Eddy Arnold later covered). Other Danny Dill compositions include "The Comeback" (Faron Young), "Let Me Talk to You" (Ray Price), and "So Wrong" (Patsy Cline).

Danny Dill was 84.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dates of Note in Country Music, October 16-31

Category: News

(Hall of Fame members in bold)

October 16:

Jim Ed Norman born in Ft. Myers, Florida, 1948 (now 60)
Stoney Cooper born in Harman, West Virginia, 1918 (died 1977)
Doyle Wilburn died (cancer), 1982 (was 52)
Don Reno died (post-operative complications), 1984 (was 58)
Ralph Stanley Museum opened, 2004

October 17:

Earl Thomas Conley born in Portsmouth, Ohio, 1941 (now 67)
Alan Jackson born in Newman, Georgia, 1958 (now 50)
Tennessee Ernie Ford died (liver disease), 1991 (was 72)
Jay Livingston died (pneumonia), 2001 (was 86). Among the songwriter's many credits were "Bonanza!," which Johnny Cash recorded, and "The Hanging Tree," which Marty Robbins recorded.
Bashful Brother Oswald (Beecher Ray Kirby) died (cancer), 2002 (was 90)

October 18:

Chuck Berry born in San Jose, California, 1926 (now 82). Among the rock and roll legend's hits that have made it to the country chart are "Memphis" (#10 hit for Fred Knoblock, 1981), "Brown Eyed Handsome Man" (#3 hit for Waylon Jennings, 1970), "The Promised Land" (#3 hit for Freddy Weller, 1970), and "Johnny B. Goode" (#1 hit for Buck Owens, 1969).
Keith Knudsen of Southern Pacific born in Ames, Iowa, 1952 (now 56)
Harty Taylor of Karl & Harty died (stroke), 1963 (was 58)
Hank Williams married Billie Jean Jones, 1952. After Williams' death, she would marry Johnny Horton.
Don Hecht died (heart attack), 2002 (was 72)

October 19:

Charlie Chase born in Rogersville, Tennessee, 1952 (now 56)
Don Parmley of the Bluegrass Cardinals born in Oliver Springs, Tennessee, 1933 (now 75)
Ebo Walker (ne Harry Shelor) of Bluegrass Alliance and New Grass Revival born in Louisville, Kentucky, 1941 (now 67)
Jeannie C. Riley born in Anson, Texas, 1945 (now 63)
Arthur E. "Uncle Art" Satherley born in Bristol, England, 1889 (died 1986)
Grant Turner died (heart failure), 1991 (was 79)
The first CMA Awards program was held, 1967. It was not televised.

October 20:

Wanda Jackson born in Maud, Oklahoma, 1937 (now 71)
Stuart Hamblin born in Kellyville, Texas, 1908 (died 1989)
Grandpa Jones born in Niagara, Kentucky, 1913 (died 1998)
Merle Travis died (heart attack), 1983 (was 65)
Rounder Records founded by Ken Irwin, Bill Nowlin, and Marian Leighton, 1970. Mr. Nowlin says this "birth" of Rounder is based on the date of their first invoice.

October 21:

Owen Bradley born in Westmoreland, Tennessee, 1915 (died 1998)
Bill Black died (brain tumor), 1965 (was 39)
Mel Street born in Grundy, Virginia, 1933 (died 1978)
Mel Street died (suicide), 1978 (45th birthday)

October 22:

Leon Chappelear died (suicide), 1962 (was 53)
Shelby Lynn born in Quantico, Virginia, 1968 (now 39)
Dorothy Shay, the "Park Avenue Hillbillie," died (heart attack), 1978 (was 57)

October 23:

Dwight Yoakam born in Pikeville, Kentucky, 1956 (now 52)
Junior Bryant of Ricochet born in Pecos, Texas, 1968 (now 40)
Mother Maybelle Carter died (respiratory arrest), 1978 (was 68)
Merle Watson died (tractor accident), 1985 (was 36). His father Doc's long-lasting tribute to his late son is the annual bluegrass event known as "MerleFest."
Rusty Kershaw died (heart attack), 2001 (was 63)

October 24:

Mark Gray (former member of Exile) born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, 1952 (now 56)
Jiles Perry "The Big Bopper" Richardson born in Sabine Pass, Texas, 1930 (died 1959). Among his songwriter credits is "White Lightnin'" by friend George Jones and Hank Snow's "Beggar to a King."
Kirk McGee died (natural causes), 1983 (was 83)
Rosey Nix Adams, daughter of June Carter Cash, died (carbon monoxide poisoning), 2003 (was 45)

October 25:

Mark Miller (Sawyer Brown) born in Dayton, Ohio, 1958 (now 50)
Jeanne Black born in Pomona, California, 1937 (now 71)
Chely Wright born in Kansas City, Missouri, 1970 (now 38)
Cousin Minnie Pearl born in Grinders Switch (actually, Centerville), Tennessee, 1912 (died 1996)
Roger Miller died (throat cancer), 1992 (was 56)
Johnnie Lee Willis died (heart ailment), 1984 (was 72)
Johnny Cash's last concert performance, Flint Michigan, 1997

October 26:

Keith Urban born in Whangarei, New Zeland, 1967 (now 41)
Hoyt Axton died (heart attack), 1999 (was 62)
Statler Brothers' final concert in their hometown of Salem, Virginia, 2002

October 27:

Dallas Frazier born in Spiro, Oklahoma, 1939 (now 69)
Ruby Wright born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1939 (now 69)
Lee Greenwood born in Southgate, California, 1942 (now 66)
Snuffy Jenkins born in Harris, North Carolina, 1908 (died 1990)
Floyd Cramer born in Campti, Louisiana, 1933 (died 1997)
Allan "Rocky" Lane died (cancer), 1973 (was 72). He is mentioned in the Statler Brothers' "Whatever Happened to Randolph Scott."
Grand Ole Opry moves to the Hillsboro Theater, 1934

October 28:

Charlie Daniels born in Wilmington, North Carolina, 1936 (now 72)
Brad Paisley born in Glen Dale, West Virginia, 1972 (now 36)
Bill Bolick of the Blue Sky Boys born in Hickory, North Carolina, 1917 (died 2008)
Jimmy Skinner died (heart attack), 1979 (was 70)
Mel Foree died (cancer), 1990 (age unknown)
Porter Wagoner died (lung cancer), 2007 (was 80)

October 29:

Sonny Osborne born in Hyden, Kentucky, 1937 (now 71)
Charlie Monk born in Noma, Florida, 1938 (now 70)
Albert E. Brumley born in Spiro, Oklahoma, 1905 (died 1977)
Ramblin' Jimmie Dolan born in Gardena, California, 1916 (died 1994)
Fred Maddox died (heart disease), 1992 (was 73)

October 30:

Timothy B. Schmit of Poco and the Eagles born in Sacramento, California, 1947 (now 61)
T. Graham Brown born in Atlanta, Georgia, 1954 (now 54)
Patsy Montana born in Hope, Arkansas, 1908 (died 1996)
Clifton Clowers born in Wolverton Mountain, Conway County, Arkansas, 1891 (died 1994)
Kitty Wells and Johnnie Wright married, 1937 (71 years!!)

October 31:

Kinky Friedman born in Chicago, Illinois, 1944 (now 63)
Dale Evans born in Uvalde, Texas, 1912 (died 2001)
Carl Belew died (cancer), 1990 (was 59)
Bob Atcher died (unknown causes), 1993 (was 79)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Update on Hank Cochran

Category: News

With all the bad news that comes after a cancer diagnosis (as evident by the passing of Porter Wagoner and Hank Thompson last year), I am delighted to pass on some GREAT news.

Hank Cochran, the legendary songwriter (and singer -- remember he had a hit with his song, "Sally Was a Good Ol' Girl"), has received excellent news regarding his recent pancreatic cancer diagnosis. According to his publicist, Martha Moore, Cochran is out of the hospital and received an "all clear" on a CT scan last week. He is scheduled to start chemotherapy this week (don't think that's bad news: it's standard to give chemo or radiation to people who have had surgery for cancer, even when the doctors declare they "got it all" during the operation).

The great Hank Cochran

Cochran said, "This is the best news we could hope for." He offers his thanks for the prayers and well-wishes from country music fans around the world, saying, "It's what kept me going."

Continue to pray for this should-be-Hall-of-Fame legend as he continues his treatment. Most of us have been touched by cancer (either a family or a friend or, God forbid, a personal bout), and we know what a devil that horrid disease can be.