Thursday, December 29, 2011

Country Music's Final Notes of 2011

Category:  Tribute

Here is a list of the people in the world of country music for whom the final curtain fell in 2011.

Harley Allen (lung cancer, March 30, age 55):  the son of bluegrass great Red Allen was a singer and songwriter on his own, having penned such songs as Dierks Bentley's "My Last Name," John Michael Montgomery's "The Little Girl" and Alan Jackson's "Between the Devil and Me."

Liz Anderson (heart and lung disease, October 28, age 81):  Lynn Anderson's mother had a career as a singer ("Mama Spank," "The Game of Triangles") and a songwriter ("(All My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers," her daughter's hit "If I Kiss You (Will You Go Away)," and Homer & Jethro's "I Crept Into the Crypt and Cried").

Kenny Baker (stroke, July 8, age 85):  he was Bill Monroe's fiddler for a quarter century, and some would argue that he was the best fiddler bluegrass ever saw.

Carl Bunch (complications of diabetes, March 26, age 71):  As a 19-year-old he was on tour as Buddy Holly's drummer and found himself in the hospital suffering from frostbite when Holly lost his life.  In the 60s he played drums with Hank Williams Jr. and Roy Orbison before retiring to the ministry.

Patsi Bale Cox (emphysema, November 5, age 66):  a gifted writer with a passion for country music, she wrote her own books (The Garth Factor) and collaborated with the likes of Loretta Lynn (Still Woman Enough), Tanya Tucker (Nickel Dreams) and Ralph Emery (50 Years Down a Country Road).

Jack Barlow (long illness, July 29, age 87):  a singer/songwriter with hits such as "I Love Country Music" and "Catch the Wind," he also recorded a novelty song, "The Man on Page 602," under the pseudonym Zoot Fenster.

Todd Cerney (cancer, March 14, age 57):  Songwriter behind the 2002 hit "Good Morning Beautiful" and "I'll Still Be Loving You."

Buddy Charleton (lung cancer, January 25, age 72):  No one needed Ernest Tubb to say, "Ah, Buddy now," when Charleton took a steel guitar break in an Ernest Tubb song because we all knew that distinctive sound that made songs such as "Waltz Across Texas" the classics they are.

Wilma Lee Cooper (natural causes, September 13, age 90):  100% pure country mountain music from start to finish, Wilma Lee started with husband Stoney and continued on the Opry after his death until a 2001 stroke left her unable to perform.

Charlie Craig (lung cancer, July 1, age 73):  Songwriter behind "She's Single Again" by Janie Fricke and "Wanted" by Alan Jackson.

Hazel Dickens (pneumonia, April 22, age 75):  A recipient of IBMA's Distinguished Achievement award, Hazel was the child of hard times in West Virginia who could articulate those emotions in song, then deliver them, like no one else.

Joel "Taz" DiGregorio (car wreck, October 12, age 67):  Charlie Daniel's keyboard player and songwriting partner for nearly 40 years, he wrote the fan favorite "The Devil Went Down to Georgia."

Charlie Douglas (ne Douglas China, unknown cause, November 24, age 78):  Charlie invented a new format for radio: the overnight "trucker" show.  He was a staple on New Orleans' WWL and Nashville's WSM.

Lamar Fike (non-Hodgken's lymphoma, January 21, age 75):  The second-longest tenured member of Elvis' "Memphis Mafia," he co-wrote Elvis and the Memphis Mafia.  He also served as Brenda Lee's road manager in the 60s and was a Capitol Records executive under Jimmy Bowen.

Billy Grammer (long illness, August 10, age 85):  A guitar designer and well-loved session man, he scored a huge hit in 1959 with "Gotta Travel On."

Marshall Grant (brain aneurysm, August 6, age 83):  The final member of Johnny Cash's seminal original backing band the Tennessee Two, he was stricken while preparing to perform at a show in Arkansas to raise money to preserve Cash's boyhood home.

Carlton Haney (stroke, March 16, age 82):  The name may not ring a bell, but every bluegrass fan is indebted to Haney.  He is credited with organizing bluegrass music's first festival.  He was also the booking agent for the likes of Bill Monroe and Reno & Smiley.

Warren Hellman (leukemia, December 18, age 77):  San Francisco businessman who founded and helped finance the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, which, with line-ups that included everyone from Elvis Costello to Hazel Dickens and the New Coon Creek Girls, was exactly what the name implied.

Ferlin Husky (colon cancer/congestive heart failure, March 17, age 85):  Simon Crum's best friend gave the world two massive crossover hits:  1957's "Gone" and 1960's "Wings of a Dove."  He died shortly after it was announced that his "A Dear John Letter" singing partner, Jean Shepard, was being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, an honor Husky received in 2010.

Gene Kurtz (cancer, October 24, age 68):  Co-writer of the hit "Treat Her Right," Kurtz spent many years playing in the Austin alt-country scene.

Charlie Louvin (pancreatic cancer, January 26, age 83):  The Louvin Brothers didn't invent harmony, they just made it sound that way.  After Ira's death in 1965 Charlie continued on a solo career that he once said was more commercially successful than the Louvin Brothers', but it's the unbelievable harmonies he made with Ira that will keep him forever in our hearts.

Wade Mainer (congestive heart failure, September 12, age 104):  Jethro Burns said in 1984 that Mainer belonged in the Hall of Fame because he was a true pioneer in the world of country music.  He was older than country music and served it faithfully for over 70 years.

Johnny Mathis (pneumonia, September 27, age 80):  Before there was a pop singer there was Country Johnny Mathis.  His partnership with Johnny Lee Fautheree as Jimmy & Johnny yielded the smash "If You Don't Somebody Else Will."  Songs he wrote were recorded by the likes of Ray Price, Johnny Paycheck, and George Jones.

Mel McDaniel (lung cancer, March 31, age 68):  Country singer and Opry member who had a string of hits in the 1980s including "Louisiana Saturday Night," "Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On," and "Big Ole Brew."

Huey Meaux (illness, April 23, age 82):  In addition to discovering the Sir Douglas Quintet he owned Sugar Hill Studios and introduced the world to "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" by Freddy Fender.

Ralph Mooney (kidney cancer, March 20, age 82):  One of country music's greatest steel guitarists, he wrote Ray Price's classic "Crazy Arms" and played with the likes of Wynn Stewart,  Buck Owens and Waylon Jennings.

Joe Paul Nichols (Lou Gehrig's Disease, July 27, age 69):  One of the die-hard traditional country performers on the Heart of Texas label, he was also a member of the International Country Gospel Music Association.

Roger Nichols (pancreatic cancer, April 9, age 66):  Steely Dan listed him as "the immortal" on their albums in the 1970s, but Nichols also worked with country acts including Rosanne Cash and John Denver (with whom he won a Grammy).

James O'Gwynn (pneumonia, January 19, age 82):  Known as "the Smiling Irishman of Country Music," his best-known songs were "House of Blue Lovers" and "My Name is Mud."

Bobby Poe (blood clot, January 22, age 77):  Rockabilly performer who began his career as a member of Wanda Jackson's band.

Johnny Preston (heart failure, March 4, age 71):  His massive 1959 smash "Running Bear" (which was later covered by Sonny James) featured backing vocals and guitar work by George Jones and was written by "Beggar to a King" songwriter J.P. (Big Bopper) Richardson.

Jody Rainwater (ne Charles Johnson; complications of heart attack and other ailments, December 24, age 92):  The one-time bass player for Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs was also a longtime and well-loved disc jockey on WSVS in Virginia.

Billie Jo Spears (cancer, December 14, age 74):  Gifted singer with hits over three decades such as "Mr. Walker, It's All Over" and "Blanket on the Ground."

Dan "Bee" Spears (exposure after falling outside his home, December 8, age 62):  Willie Nelson's bassist for over four decades and the backbone of his band.

Joe Taylor (heart disease, March 24, age 89):  A Hoosier native who was content to play his music in Indiana instead of seeking national fame, he nevertheless found it when his song "He's a Cowboy Auctioneer" was recorded by Tex Ritter.

Buster Turner (unknown causes, March 3, age 82):  An east Tennessee-based country, bluegrass and gospel performer who gave us the classic song "Beautiful Altar of Prayer."

Don Wayne (illness, September 12, age 78):  Songwriter who wrote the classics "Country Bumpkin" and "Saginaw, Michigan."

Margaret Whiting (natural causes, January 11, age 86):  Primarily known as a pop singer, she hit the country charts numerous times as Jimmy Wakely's duet partner on hits like "Slippin' Around."

Doc Williams (natural causes, January 31, age 96):  A longtime member of the Wheeling Jamboree and influence on countless West Virginia country musicians such as Brad Paisley.

Jim Williamson (COPD, January 24, age 75):  Longtime recording engineer who worked on songs like "Coal Miner's Daughter," "Stand By Your Man" and "Rose Garden."

Randy Wood (complications of a fall, April 9, age 94):  The man who gave us Dot Records, early home of acts such as Mac Wiseman, Bonnie Guitar, Roy Clark and Barbara Mandrell.

Johnnie Wright (natural causes, September 27, age 97):  Mr. Kitty Wells had a long career with duet partner Jack Anglin as Johnnie & Jack as well as a successful solo career.

Paul Yandell (cancer, November 21, age 76):  A skinny kid who idolized Chet Atkins joined the Louvin Brothers' band in the 50s and eventually became Chet's right-hand guitarist and the last person to be designated a Certified Guitar Picker.

Farewell, and thank you for the music.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dates of Note in Country Music, December 16-31

Category: News

(Country Music Hall of Famers in bold)

December 16:

Jim Glaser of the Glaser Brothers born in Spalding, Nebraska, 1937 (now 74)
Jeff Carson born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1964 (now 47)
Shelby Singleton born in Waskom, Texas, 1931 (died 2009)
Jenny Lou Carson died in Torrance, California (unknown causes), 1978 (was 63)
Martha Carson died in Nashville, Tennessee (natural causes), 2004 (was 83)
Gary Stewart died in Fort Pierce, Florida (suicide [gunshot]), 2003 (was 58)
Dan Fogelberg died in Deer Island, Maine (cancer), 2007 (was 56)

December 17:

Frankie Miller born in Victoria, Texas, 1930 (now 81)
Sharon White Skaggs born in Wichita Falls, Texas, 1953 (now 58) 
Tracy Byrd born in Vidor, Texas, 1966 (now 45)
Karl Davis born in Mount Vernon, Kentucky, 1905 (died 1979)
Spade Cooley born in Grand, Oklahoma, 1910 (died 1969)
Nat Stuckey born in Cass County, Texas, 1933 (died 1988)
Roy Huskey Jr. born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1956 (died 1997)
Rex Allen Sr. died in Tuscon, Arizona (accidentally run over by car), 1999 (was 77)
Commercial plane carrying Doug Stone crash-lands in Chicago, 1999. Stone was uninjured.

December 18:

Cledus T. Judd (real name: James Poole) born in Crowe Springs, Georgia, 1964 (now 47)
Wilf Carter (Montana Slim) born in Port Hilford, Nova Scotia, 1904 (died 1996)
The first recording session for the Louvin Brothers (they recorded "Alabama") at Castle Studios, Nashville, 1947

December 19:

Little Jimmy Dickens born in Bolt, West Virginia, 1920 (now 91)
John McEuen of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Bang born in Long Beach, California, 1945 (now 66)
Janie Fricke born in South Whitney, Indiana, 1947 (now 64)
Jumpin' Bill Carlisle born in Wakefield, Kentucky, 1908 (died 2003)
Marion Worth died in Madison, Tennessee (emphysema), 1999 (was 69)
Hank Williams' last show, given at the Skyline Club, Austin, Texas, 1952
Johnny Paycheck shot a man outside a bar in Greenfield, Ohio, 1985

December 20:

Skeeter Willis of the Willis Brothers born in Colton, Oklahoma, 1917 (died 1976)
Jack Stapp died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 1980 (was 68)
Don Law died in LaMarque, Texas (unknown cause), 1982 (was 80)

Hank Snow died in Nashville, Tennessee (various illnesses), 1999 (was 85)

December 21:

Freddie Hart born in Lockapoke, Alabama, 1926 (now 85)
Lee Roy Parnell born in Abilene, Texas, 1956 (now 55)
Christy Forrester of the Forester Sisters born in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, 1962 (now 49)
Vito Pellettieri born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1889 (died 1977)
Floyd "Lightnin'" Chance born in Como, Mississippi, 1925 (died 2005)

Natchee the Indian (ne Lester Vernon Storer) died in Santa Clara, California (unknown cause), 1970 (was 54)
John Bailes of the Bailes brothers died (unknown cause), 1989 (was 71)
Harold Morrison died in Springfield, Missouri (illness), 1993 (was 62)

December 22:

Red Stegall born in Gainesville, Texas, 1937 (now 74)
Chuck Mead of BR5-49 born in Nevada, Missouri, 1960 (now 51)
Paul Martin of Exile born in Winchester, Kentucky, 1962 (now 49)
Harold "Hawkshaw" Hawkins born in Huntington, West Virginia, 1921 (died 1963)
Dave Dudley died in Danbury, Wisconsin (heart attack), 2003 (was 75)

December 23:

Murray "Buddy" Harman born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1928 (died 2008)

December 24:

Lulu Belle Wiseman born in Boone, North Carolina, 1913 (died 1999)
Jake Hess born in Limestone County, Alabama, 1927 (died 2004)
Stoney Edwards born in Seminole, Oklahoma, 1929 (died 1997)
Charlie Moore died in Maryland (illness), 1979 (was 44)

December 25:

J.R. "Curly" Seckler born in China Grove, North Carolina, 1919 (now 92)
Jimmy Buffett born in Pascagoula, Mississippi, 1946 (now 65)

Barbara Mandrell born in Houston, Texas, 1948 (now 63)
Steve Wariner born in Noblesville, Indiana, 1954 (now 57)
Alton Delmore born in Elkmont, Alabama, 1908 (died 1964)
Billy Nelson, Willie Nelson's son, died in Nashville, Tennessee (suicide [hanged self]), 1991 (was 33)
Johnny Cash and family robbed and held at gunpoint in their Jamaica home, 1982

December 26:

Ronnie Prophet born in Calument, Quebec, 1938 (now 73)
Bob Carpenter of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1946 (now 65)

Audrey Wiggins born in Asheville, North Carolina, 1967 (now 44)
Beecher Ray "Pete" "Bashful Brother Oswald" Kirby born in Sevier County, Tennessee, 1911 (died 2002)
Harry Choates born in Rayne, Louisiana, 1911 (died 1951)
Jimmie Osborne died in Louisville, Kentucky (suicide), 1957 (was 34)
Red Foley and wife Sally injured in a fire in their apartment in Nashhville, 1964

December 27:

Scotty Moore born in Gadsden, Tennessee, 1931 (now 80)
Les Taylor of Exile born in Oneida, Kentucky, 1948 (now 63)
Darrin Vincent of Dailey & Vincent born in Kirkville, Missouri, 1969 (now 42)

Bob Luman died in Nashville, Tennessee (pneumonia), 1978 (was 41)
Vestal Goodman died in Celebration, Florida (complications from the flu), 2003 (was 74)
Hank "Sugarfoot" Garland died in Orange Park, Florida (staph infection), 2004 (was 74)

December 28:

Joe Diffie born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1958 (now 53)
Mike McGuire of Shenandoah born in Haleyville, Alabama, 1958 (now 53)
Marty Roe of Diamond Rio born in Lebanon, Ohio, 1960 (now 51)
Dorsey Burnette born in Memphis, Tennessee, 1932 (died 1979)
Hank Williams Jr.'s first recording session at age 14, 1963

December 29:

Rose Lee Maphis born in Baltimore, Maryland, 1922 (now 89)
Ed Bruce born in Keiser, Arkansas, 1940 (now 71)

December 30:

Melvin Goins born in Bramwell, West Virginia, 1933 (now 77)
Mike Auldridge born in Washington, DC, 1938 (now 73)
Suzy Bogguss born in Aledo, Illinois, 1956 (now 54)
Bob Ferguson born in Willow Spring, Missouri, 1927 (died 2001)
Skeeter Davis (nee Mary Frances Penick) born in Dry Ridge, Kentucky, 1931 (died 2004)
John Hartford born in New York, New York, 1937 (died 2001)

December 31:

Rex Allen Sr. born in Wilcox, Arizona, 1920 (died 1999)
Dale Noe born in New Boston, Ohio, 1927 (died 2005)
John Denver born in Roswell, New Mexico, 1943 (died 1997)
Rick Nelson died in DeKalb, Texas (plane crash), 1985 (was 45)
Floyd Cramer died in Nashville, Tennessee (lung cancer), 1997 (was 64)
Jim McReynolds of Jim & Jesse died in Gallatin, Tennessee (cancer), 2002 (was 75)
Charlie Louvin injured in car accident near Manchester, Tennessee, 2001
The old Country Music Hall of Fame closed, 2000

Mr. Walker, It's All Over

Category:  News/Obituary

Your sweetheart in personnel said I should give her written notice like the rest
So I wrote "goodbye" with my brightest lipstick right across her big expensive desk
(From "Mr. Walker, It's All Over")

You just can't beat a song with a line like that.  It was one of Billie Jo Spear's early hits, from 1969.  She would later become best known for that wonderful slice of "let's act like we're still single" romp "Blanket on the Ground."

Billie Jo Spears died Wednesday (12/14) of cancer at her home in Vidor, Texas.

Although her career began in the 1960s the Academy of Country Music named her 1976's "most promising female vocalist" after the massive success of "Blanket on the Ground."  For a time she proved this a good choice, as she had a top 20 hit with a remake of "Misty Blue," which was also enjoying a revival on the pop charts thanks to a different version by one-hit wonder Dorothy Moore.

Spears was active in music until the very end, having toured overseas earlier in 2011.

Billie Jo Spears was 74.

Sick Call: Wade Hayes

Category:  News

Country singer Wade Hayes, 42, has been diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer.  The performer underwent surgery on December 8 in Nashville.  Reports indicate that the disease had spread to his liver by the time it was discovered in November.  He is scheduled to undergo further treatment at Vanderbilt Medical Center.

Hayes is best-known for his 1995 hit "Old Enough to Know Better," which went to #1 on the Billboard charts.  

Please keep Wade Hayes in your prayers -- and if you're over 50 or have a family history of colon cancer, please get a colon cancer screen.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dates of Note in Country Music, December 1-15

Category: News

(Country Music Hall of Famers in bold)

December 1:

Darryl Ellis born in Norfolk, Virginia, 1964 (now 47)
Silm Willet born in Dublin, Texas, 1919 (died 1966)
Jim Nesbitt born in Bishopville, South Carolina, 1931 (died 2007)
Fred Rose died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart failure), 1954 (was 57)
Carter Stanley died in Bristol, Tennessee (cirrhosis of the liver), 1966 (was 41)

December 2:

John Wesley Ryles born in Bastrop, Louisiana, 1950 (now 61)
Herman Crook born in Scottsboro, Tennessee, 1898 (died 1988)
Marvin Hughes died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 1986 (was 75)
"Tennessee Waltz" recorded by Pee Wee King and Redd Stewart, 1947

December 3:

Paul Gregg of Restless Heart born in New York, New York, 1954 (now 57)
Ferlin Husky born in Flat River, Missouri, 1927 (died 2011)
Rabon Delmore born in Dothan, Alabama, 1916 (died 1952)
Hubert Long born in Poteet, Texas, 1923 (died 1972)
Lew Childre died in Foley, Albama (various health issues), 1961 (was 60)
Grady Martin died (heart attack), 2001 (was 72)
Bob Wills recorded his last song, a Cindy Walker number, "What Makes Bob Holler," 1973

December 4:

Chris Hillman born in Los Angeles, California, 1944 (now 67)
Rabon Delmore died in Athens, Alabama (lung cancer), 1952 (was 36)
Connie B. Gay died in Fairfax, Virginia (cancer), 1989 (was 75)
Eddy Arnold's first record session as a solo artist, 1944
Sun Records' "Million Dollar Quartet" of Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis record together, 1956
Connie B. Gay elected inaugural president of the Country Music Association, 1958

December 5:

Don Robertson born in Peking, China, 1922 (now 89)
Jim Messina of Poco born in Harlingen, Texas, 1947 (now 64)
Ty England born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 1963 (now 48)
Molly O'Day died in Huntington, West Virginia (cancer), 1987 (was 64)
Wilf Carter (Montana Slim) died in Scottsdale, Arizona (stomach cancer), 1996 (was 91)
The soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou released, 2000

December 6:

Helen Cornelius born in Hannibal, Missouri, 1941 (now 70)
Bill Lloyd of Foster & Lloyd born in Ft. Hood, Texas, 1955 (now 56)
Hugh Farr born in Llano, Texas, 1903 (died 1980)
Jim Eanes born in Mountain Valley, Virginia, 1923 (died 1995)
Roy Orbison died in Hendersonville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1989 (was 52)

December 7:

Bobby Osborne born in Hyden, Kentucky, 1931 (now 80)
Hugh X. Lewis born in Yeaddiss, Kentucky, 1932 (now 79)
Gary Morris born in Fort Worth, Texas, 1948 (now 63)
Ronnie Sessions born in Henrietta, Oklahoma, 1948 (now 63)
Slim Bryant born in Atlanta, Georgia, 1908 (died 2010)
Darrell Glenn born in Waco, Texas, 1935 (died 1990)
Bill Boyd died in Dallas, Texas (unknown cause), 1977 (was 67)

December 8:

Marty Raybon born in Stanford, Florida, 1959 (now 52)
Jack Stapp born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1912 (died 1980)
Floyd Tillman born in Ryan, Oklahoma, 1914 (died 2003)
Marty Robbins died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1982 (was 57)

December 9:

Billy Edd Wheeler born in Whitesville, Virginia, 1932 (now 79)
David Kersh born in Humble, Texas, 1970 (now 41)

David Houston born in Bossier City, Louisiana, 1938 (died 1993)
Tommy Jackson died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 1979 (was 53)

December 10:

Johnny Rodriguez born in Sabinal, Texas, 1951 (now 60)
Kevin Sharp born in Weiser, Idaho, 1970 (now 41)
Eddie Miller born in Camargo, Oklahoma, 1919 (died 1977)
John Duffey of the Seldom Scene died (heart attack), 1996 (was 62)
Faron Young died in Nashville, Tennessee (suicide [gunshot]), 1996 (was 64)
Jimmy Riddle died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 1982 (was 64)
Before the evening's WSM Barn Dance began, announcer George D. Hay commented, "For the past hour, you've been listening to selections taken from grand opera. Now we present Grand Ole Opry," 1927.

December 11:

Brenda Lee born in Atlanta, Georgia, 1944 (now 67)
Charles Whitstein born in Colfax, Louisiana, 1945 (now 66)
Arthur Q. Smith (ne James Arthur Pritchett) born in Griffin, Georgia, 1909 (died 1963)
Cousin Jody (ne James Summey) born in Sevierville, Tennessee, 1914 (died 1975)
Fiddlin' John Carson died in Atlanta, Georgia (natural causes), 1949 (was 81)
Commercial plane with Tex Ritter aboard as a passenger hijacked to Cuba, 1968

December 12:

LaCosta Tucker born in Seminole, Texas, 1951 (now 60)
Hank Williams III born in Houston, Texas, 1972 (now 39)
Clifton Chenier died in Lafayette, Louisiana (kidney disease related to diabetes), 1987 (was 62)

December 13:

Buck White born in Oklahoma, 1930 (now 81)
Randy Owen of Alabama born in Fort Payne, Alabama, 1949 (now 62)
John Anderson born in Orlando, Florida, 1954 (now 57)
Wesley Tuttle born in Lamar, Colorado, 1917 (died 2003)
Lulu Belle and Scotty Wiseman wed, 1934

December 14:

DeFord Bailey born in Smith County, Tennessee, 1899 (died 1982)
Charlie Rich born in Forest City, Arkansas, 1932 (died 1995)

December 15:

Doug Phelps of Kentucky Headhunters born in Leachville, Arkansas, 1960 (now 51)

Alvin Pleasant Carter born in Maces Spring, Virginia, 1891 (died 1960)
Jerry Wallace born in Guilford, Missouri, 1928 (died 2008)
Ernie Ashworth born in Huntsville, Alabama, 1928 (died 2009)
Nudie Cohn (ne Nuta Kotlyarenko) born in Kiev, Ukraine, 1902 (died 1984)
William Eugene "Red" Rector born in Marshall, North Carolina, 1929 (died 1990)

Hank Williams married Audrey Guy, 1944

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dates of Note in Country Music, November 16-30

Category: News

(Country Music Hall of Famers in bold)

November 16:

Troy Seals born in Bill Hill, Kentucky, 1938 (now 73)
Larry Cordel born in Cordell, Kentucky, 1949 (now 62)
Will Goleman of the Cactus Brothers born in Shreveport, Louisiana, 1963 (now 48)
Ernest Tubb biographer Ronnie Pugh born in Texas, year unknown
Earl Bolick born in Hickory, North Carolina, 1919 (died 1998)
J.D. Sumner died in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (heart attack), 1998 (was 73)

November 17:

Gordon Lightfoot born in Orilla, Ontario, Canada, 1938 (now 73). The legendary folk singer has written such hits as Marty Robbins' "Ribbon of Darkness" and Bill Anderson's "Did She Mention My Name," and a number of his own recordings have made the country chart.
Eva Foley (Red Foley's wife) died in Nashville, Tennessee (suicide), 1951 (was 33)
Don Gibson died in Nashville, Tennessee (natural causes), 2003 (was 75)

November 18:

John McFee of Southern Pacific born in Santa Cruz, California, 1953 (now 58)
Jessi Alexander born in Jackson, Tennessee, 1976 (now 35)
Doug Sahm died in Taos, New Mexico (heart attack), 1999 (was 58)

November 19:

Jerry Foster born in Tallapoosa, Missouri, 1935 (now 76)
Billy Currington born in Savannah, Georgia, 1973 (now 38)
Joe Falcon died (unknown cause), 1965 (was 65). Falcon is credited with making the first recording of a Cajun song in 1928 with "Allons a Lafayette."
Bobby Russell died in Nicholasville, Kentucky (coronary artery disease), 1992 (was 52)

November 20:

Curly Putman born in Princeton, Alabama, 1930 (now 81)
George Grantham of Poco and Ricky Skaggs' band born in Cordell, Oklahoma, 1947 (now 64)
Dierks Bentley born in Phoenix, Arizona, 1975 (now 36)
Josh Turner born in Hannah, South Carolina, 1977 (now 34)
Judy Canova born in Starke, Florida, 1913 (died 1983)
Eck Robertson born in Madison County, Arkansas, 1897 (died 1975)
RCA buys the contract of Elvis Presley from Sun Records for $35,000, 1955

November 21:

Jean Shepard born in Paul Valley, Oklahoma, 1933 (now 78)
Joe Carson born in Holliday, Texas, 1936 (died 1964)

Jim Eanes died in Martinsville, Virginia (congestive heart failure), 1995 (was 71)
Charlie Daniels pulls out of "Country Freedom Concert" after being told not to perform "This Ain't No Rag, It's a Flag," 2001

November 22:

Wiley Post born in Grand Saline, Texas, 1899 (died 1935)
Doye O'Dell born in Plainview, Texas, 1912 (died 2001)
First Disc Jockey Convention held in Nashville, 1952
Keith Whitley and Lorrie Morgan married, 1986

November 23:

Jerry Sullivan born in Wagarville, Alabama, 1933 (now 78)
Charlie Sizemore born in Richmond, Kentucky, 1960 (now 51)
Spade Cooley died in Oakland, California (heart attack), 1969 (was 58)
Grady Nutt died in Vinemont, Alabama (plane crash), 1982 (was 48)
Roy Acuff died in Nashville, Tennessee (congestive heart failure), 1992 (was 89)
Smokey Rogers died (unknown cause), 1993 (was 76)

November 24:

Johnny Carver born in Jackson, Mississippi, 1940 (now 71)
Stoney Edwards born in Seminole, Oklahoma, 1929 (died 1997)
Teddy Wilburn died in Nashville, Tennessee (congestive heart failure), 2003 (was 71)
Wanted! The Outlaws by Waylon JenningsWillie Nelson, Tompall Glaser, and Jessi Colter certified platinum, making it the first certified platinum album in country music

November 25:

Amy Grant born in Augusta, Georgia, 1960 (now 51)
Eddie Stubbs born in Gaithersburg, Maryland, 1961 (now 50)
Biff Collie born in Little Rock, Arkansas, 1926 (died 1992)
Ralph Emery debuts on WSM in overnight slot, 1957

November 26:

Joe Nichols born in Rogers, Arkansas, 1976 (now 35)

November 27:

Eddie Rabbitt born in Brooklyn, New York, 1941 (died 1998)
Charlene Arthur died in Idaho (atherosclerosis), 1987 (was 58)

November 28:

WSM Barn Dance (later known as the Grand Ole Opry) born, 1925 (now 86)
Carrie Rodgers, widow of Jimmie Rodgers, died in San Antonio, Texas (cancer), 1961

November 29:

Joel Whitburn born in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, 1938 (now 73)
Jody Miller born in Phoenix, Arizona, 1941 (now 70)
Merle Travis born in Rosewood, Kentucky, 1917 (died 1983)
Jim Nesbitt died in Florence, South Carolina (heart ailment), 2007 (was 75)

November 30:

Bob Moore born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1932 (now 79)
Jeannie Kendall born in St. Louis, Missouri, 1954 (now 57)
Mindy McCready born in Ft. Myers, Florida, 1975 (now 36)
Teddy Wilburn born in Hardy, Arkansas, 1931 (died 2003)
Jack Reno born in Bloomfield, Iowa, 1935 (died 2008)

David Houston died in Bossier City, Louisiana (brain aneurysm), 1993 (was 54)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Singing and Serving

Category: Tribute

Veterans Day originated as Armistice Day in 1938 to honor the "Great War" (what we now call World War I) veterans on the anniversary of the signing of the armistice ending the first world war.  In 1954 the name of the holiday was changed to "Veterans Day" to honor the veterans of both world wars as well as Korea and peacetime veterans.

Many of the greats in country music served in the military before (and in a few cases, during) their career.  So on Veterans Day, here is a list of some of the members of the world of country music who served in the armed forces, and the wars in which they fought (if applicable).

Hall of Famers in bold.


Jules Verne Allen (World War I)
Jack Anglin (World War II)
Bob Atcher (World War II)
Bobby Bare
Jim Ed Brown
Tom Brumley
Horace "Aytchie" Burns (World War II) 
Kenneth "Jethro" Burns (World War II)
Tommy Cash
Harold "Curly" Chalker
Hank Cochran
Earl Thomas Conley
Tommy Duncan (World War II)
Bob Ferguson (also served in the Marines)
Jack Greene
Tom T. Hall
Henry "Homer" Haynes (World War II)
Fairley Holden (World War II)
Doyle Holly
Harlan Howard
Stonewall Jackson (primarily served in the Navy; briefly in Army but discharged after it was discovered he lied about his age)
Louis "Grandpa" Jones (World War II)
Doug Kershaw
Rusty Kershaw
Kris Kristofferson
Charlie Louvin (Korea; was in the Army Air Corps during WW II)
Ira Louvin (World War II)
Darrell McCall
Del McCoury
Skeets McDonald
Jesse McReynolds (Korea)
Jim McReynolds (Korea)
Roger Miller
George Morgan
Webb Pierce
Elvis Presley
John Prine
Boots Randolph
Jerry Reed
Don Reno (World War II)
Hal Smith (World War II)
Ralph Stanley (World War II)
George Strait
Nat Stuckey (Korea)
Conway Twitty
T. Texas Tyler (real name: David Myrick) (World War II)
Charlie Walker
Doyle Wilburn (Korea)
Teddy Wilburn (Korea)
Bob Wills (World War II)
Faron Young


Hoyt Axton
Archie Campbell (World War II)
Cy Coben (World War II)
Larry Cordle
Roy Drusky
Benjamin "Whitey" Ford (Duke of Paducah) (World War I)
Ferlin Husky (Merchant Marines) (World War II)
Harold "Shot" Jackson
Stonewall Jackson (also briefly served in the Army but was discharged after it was discovered he lied about his age to enlist)
Johnny Lee (Vietnam)
Leon McAuliffe (World War II)
Bill Nettles (World War I)
Dale Noe (World War II)
Johnny Paycheck
Don Pierce (World War II)
Ray Pillow
Claude "Curly" Putman
Marty Robbins (World War II)
Carl Smith
Hank Thompson (World War II)
Slim Whitman (World War II)

Air Force/Army Air Corps:

Randy Atcher (World War II)
Gene Autry (World War II)
Rod Brasfield (World War II)
Johnny Cash
Jimmy Dean
Tennessee Ernie Ford (World War II)
Kendall Hayes
Tommy Jackson (World War II)
Charlie Louvin (World War II, was in the Army in Korea)
O.B. McClinton
Willie Nelson
Mike Nesmith
Del Reeves
Charlie Rich
Carter Stanley (World War II)
Mel Tillis


Wendy Bagwell (World War II)
Jack Clement
Tommy Collins
Don Everly
Phil Everly
Freddy Fender
Bob Ferguson (Korea) (also served in the Army)
Josh Garcin
Freddie Hart (World War II)
George Jones
Ray Price (World War II)
Charles Whitstein
Robert Whitstein (Vietnam)

Thank you for your service.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

The Battling Bickersons, 2011 Style

Category:  News

Sometimes you have to wonder what good it does you to pay a lawyer to write a will.  Nearly 50 years after his death, the rights to the monetary legacy of Jim Reeves will be decided by a Nashville probate court judge.

The Reeves saga takes more twists and turns than the "Tail of the Dragon" in Deals Gap, North Carolina.  According to interview tapes that the now-defunct Jim Reeves Museum sold, Mary Reeves claimed that Jim didn't believe in life insurance, stating that one time he pointed to a stack of demo tapes and proclaimed, "There's your insurance."  And he was right.  According to an article in the Nashville Tennessean, the annual royalties from the sales of Jim Reeves records runs somewhere in the $100,000 - $400,000 range.  Yes, that's per year -- for a singer who died in 1964.

And, needless to say, when you're talking about that much money the leeches come out of the woodwork.  

In 1969 Mary Reeves remarried, this time to a Baptist minister by the name of Terry Davis.  Allegations of abuse have abounded since Mary died of Alzheimer's in November 1999.  A handwritten will surfaced years after the original will was filed, giving Davis more of the estate money.  Throw in over six million dollars owed the estate by Ed Gregory (he used to sponsor a number of carnival package tours for Opry stars) and it makes the old Battling Bickersons radio show look tame by comparison.

The probate court date is tentatively scheduled for January 23, 2012.  It was originally scheduled for last month but was postponed.

Also in the Jim Reeves news department, Larry Jordan's book Jim Reeves:  His Untold Story has finally been released.  It is available on Amazon (and other places) and presents a far more detailed and balanced look at Reeves' life than the 1997 biography that was harshly criticized by many of Reeves' friends, co-workers and associates.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dates of Note in Country Music, November 1-15

Category: News

(Country Music Hall of Famers in bold)

November 1:

Bill Anderson born in Columbia, South Carolina, 1937 (now 74)
Keith Stegall born in Wichita Falls, Texas, 1954 (now 57)
Lyle Lovett born in Klein, Texas, 1957 (now 54)
Lew Childre born in Opp, Alabama, 1901 (died 1961)
Buddy Killen died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 2006 (was 73)
Jack Reno died in Florence, Kentucky (brain cancer), 2008 (was 72)

November 2:

John David Souther born in Detroit, Michigan, 1945 (now 66)
Earl Yager of the Johnson Mountain Boys born in Gordonsville, Virginia, 1953 (now 58)
k.d. lang born in Consort, Alberta, 1961 (now 50)
Charlie Walker born in Copeville, Texas, 1926 (died 2008)
Elaine Tubb, former wife of Ernest Tubb and subject of the song "Blue-Eyed Elaine," died in Nashville, Tennessee, 2001 (was 85)

November 3:

Ray Edenton born in Mineral, Virginia, 1926 (now 85)
Fabor Robison born in Beebe, Arkansas, 1911 (died 1986)
Leon Huff born in Whitesboro, Texas, 1912 (died 1952)
John Maddox of the Maddox Brothers & Rose born in Boaz, Alabama, 1915 (died 1968)
Jimmie RodgersFred Rose, and Hank Williams become the first inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame, 1961
Merle Haggard granted parole from San Quentin prison, 1960

November 4:

Kim Forrester born in Oglethorpe, Georgia, 1960 (now 51)
Will Rogers born near Oologah, Oklahoma, 1879 (died 1935)
Audrey Williams died in Nashville, Tennessee (illness), 1975 (was 52)
Dale Noe died in Phoenix, Arizona (unknown cause), 2004 (was 76)

November 5:

Billy Sherrill born in Phil Campbell, Alabama, 1936 (now 75)
Lowell Blanchard born in Palmer, Illinois, 1910 (died 1968). Blanchard was the program director at WNOX in the 1930s and began the Midday Merry-Go-Round.
Roy Rogers (Leonard Slye) born in Cincinnati, Ohio, 1911 (died 1998)
Roy Horton born in Broad Top, Pennsylvania, 1914 (died 2003)
Gram Parsons born in Winter Haven, Florida, 1946 (died 1973)
Johnny Horton died in Milano, Texas (car wreck), 1960 (was 35)
Jimmie Davis died in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (natural causes), 2000 (was 101)
Dorothy Southworth Ritter died in Woodland Hills, California (natural causes), 2003 (was 88)

November 6:

Stonewall Jackson born in Emerson, North Carolina, 1932 (now 79)
Guy Clark born in Monahan, Texas, 1941 (now 70)
Glenn Frey of the Eagles born in Detroit, Michigan, 1948 (now 63)
Doug Sahm born in San Antonio, Texas, 1941 (died 1999)
Hank Thompson died in Fort Worth, Texas (lung cancer), 2007 (was 82)
Elvis Presley became a member of Louisiana Hayride, 1954

November 7:

Robin Lee born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1953 (now 57)
Red Ingle born in Toledo, Ohio, 1906 (died 1965)

Archie Campbell born in Bull's Gap, Tennessee, 1914 (died 1987)
A.P. Carter died in Kingsport, Tennessee (illness), 1960 (was 68)
Gene Wooten died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 2001 (was 49)
Red Foley's daughter, Shirley, married Pat Boone, 1953
Marty Robbins participated in his final NASCAR race, 1982

November 8:

Patti Page (Clara Fowler) born in Claremore, Oklahoma, 1927 (now 84)
Scotty Wiseman born in Ingalls, North Carolina, 1909 (died 1981)
Ivory Joe Hunter died in Memphis, Tennessee (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 (Yvonne Vaughn) born in Mount Airy, North Carolina, 1940 (now 71)
Pat Severs of Pirates of the Mississippi born in Elmira, New York, 1952 (now 59)
Paul Cohen born in Chicago, Illinois, 1908 (died 1970)
Onie Wheeler born in Senath, Missouri, 1921 (died 1984)
Dave "Stringbean" Akeman died in Ridgetop, Tennessee (murdered), 1973 (was 58)
Arnim "Curly" Fox died in Graysville, Tennessee (natural causes), 1995 (was 85)
The Edmund Fitzgerald sank 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 73)
Hank "Sugarfoot" Garland born in Cow Pens, South Carolina, 1930 (died 2004)
Wade Ray died in Sparta, Illinois (illness), 1998 (was 85)

Mary Reeves Davis, widow of Jim Reeves and manager of Jim Reeves Enterprises and the Jim Reeves Museum, died in Nashville, Tennessee (Alzheimer's disease), 1999 (was 70)

November 12:

Barbara Fairchild born in Lafe, Arkansas, 1950 (now 61)
Jo Stafford born in Coalinga, California, 1917 (died 2008). The pop singer was the girl singer on Red Ingle & Natural Seven hit "Tem-Tay-Shun."
John Lair, Renfro Valley Barn Dance founder, died in Mount Vernon, Kentucky (natural causes), 1985 (was 91)
Homer and Jethro's legendary live album At the Country Club recorded in Nashville, 1959

Groundbreaking ceremonies held for construction of the Grand Ole Opry House (current home of the Opry), 1971
The IRS confiscated Willie Nelson's belongings as payment for his tax bill, 1990

November 13:

Ray Wylie Hubbard born in Soper, Oklahoma, 1946 (now 65)
Jack Guthrie born in Olive, Oklahoma, 1915 (died 1948)
Buddy Killen born in Florence, South Carolina, 1932 (died 2006)
Jerry Lee Lewis Jr. died near Hernando, Mississippi (car wreck), 1973 (was 20)
Alvin "Junior" Samples died in Cumming, Georgia (heart attack), 1983 (was 57)

November 14:

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

November 15:

William Fries (C.W. McCall) born in Audubon, Iowa, 1928 (now 83)
Jack Ingram born in Houston, Texas, 1970 (now 41)
Albert E. Brumley died in Powell, Missouri (unknown cause), 1977 (was 72)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

On the Mend: Loretta Lynn

Category:  News

Loretta Lynn is out of an Ashland, Kentucky hospital and back home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee following what she termed "one scary night" battling pneumonia.

Lynn, 76, was scheduled to perform in the eastern Kentucky town Saturday (10/22); however, the show was canceled after Lynn was admitted to the hospital complaining of shortness of breath.  She was diagnosed with pneumonia.  Following her release from the hospital she returned home to "take it easy for a couple of weeks."

News reports state that the Hall of Famer plans to resume her tour schedule on November 3 in Knoxville.  She assured the media she feels fine, but keep this living legend in your prayers.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dates of Note in Country Music, October 16-31

Category: News

(Country Music Hall of Famers in bold)

October 16:

Jim Ed Norman born in Ft. Myers, Florida, 1948 (now 63)
Stoney Cooper born in Harman, West Virginia, 1918 (died 1977)
Doyle Wilburn died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 1982 (was 52)
Don Reno died in Charlottesville, Virginia(post-operative complications), 1984 (was 58)
Danny Dill died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 2008 (was 84)
Naomi Judd retired from touring because of health issues, 1990

Ralph Stanley Museum opened, 2004

October 17:

Earl Thomas Conley born in Portsmouth, Ohio, 1941 (now 70)
Alan Jackson born in Newman, Georgia, 1958 (now 53)
Tennessee Ernie Ford died in Reston, Virginia (liver disease), 1991 (was 72)
Jay Livingston died in Los Angeles, California (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 in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 2002 (was 90)

October 18:

Chuck Berry born in San Jose, California, 1926 (now 85). 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 59)
Harty Taylor of Karl & Harty died (stroke), 1963 (was 58)
Don Hecht died in Miami, Florida (heart attack), 2002 (was 72)
Hank Williams married Billie Jean Jones in Minden, Louisiana, 1952. After Williams' death, she would marry Johnny Horton.

October 19:

Don Parmley of the Bluegrass Cardinals born in Oliver Springs, Tennessee, 1933 (now 78)
Ebo Walker (ne Harry Shelor) of Bluegrass Alliance and New Grass Revival born in Louisville, Kentucky, 1941 (now 70)
Jeannie C. Riley born in Anson, Texas, 1945 (now 66)
Charlie Chase born in Rogersville, Tennessee, 1952 (now 59)
Arthur E. "Uncle Art" Satherley born in Bristol, England, 1889 (died 1986)
Grant Turner died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart failure), 1991 (was 79)
The first CMA Awards were held in Nashville, 1967. The awards show was not televised.

October 20:

Wanda Jackson born in Maud, Oklahoma, 1937 (now 74)
Stuart Hamblin born in Kellyville, Texas, 1908 (died 1989)
Grandpa Jones born in Niagara, Kentucky, 1913 (died 1998)
Merle Travis died in Tahlequah, Oklahoma (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 in Memphis, Tennessee (brain tumor), 1965 (was 39)
Mel Street born in Grundy, Virginia, 1933 (died 1978)
Mel Street died in Hendersonville, Tennessee (suicide), 1978 (45th birthday)
Sonny Burns died in Nacogdoches, Texas (unknown cause), 1992 (was 62)
Leona Johnson Atkins, member of WLW's Johnson Twins and widow of Chet Atkins, died in Nashville, Tennessee (illness), 2009 (was 85)

October 22:

Shelby Lynn born in Quantico, Virginia, 1968 (now 43)
Leon Chappelear died in Gladewater, Texas (suicide), 1962 (was 53)
Dorothy Shay, the "Park Avenue Hillbillie," died in Santa Monica, California (heart attack), 1978 (was 57)

October 23:

Dwight Yoakam born in Pikeville, Kentucky, 1956 (now 55)
Junior Bryant of Ricochet born in Pecos, Texas, 1968 (now 43)
Mother Maybelle Carter died in Nashville, Tennessee (respiratory arrest), 1978 (was 68)
Merle Watson died in Caldwell County, North Carolina (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 in New Orleans, Louisiana (heart attack), 2001 (was 63)

October 24:

Mark Gray (former member of Exile) born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, 1952 (now 59)
Jiles Perry "The Big Bopper" Richardson born in Sabine Pass, Texas, 1930 (died 1959). Among his songwriter credits are "White Lightnin'" by friend George Jones and Hank Snow's "Beggar to a King."
Kirk McGee died in Nashville, Tennessee (natural causes), 1983 (was 83)
Rosey Nix Adams, daughter of June Carter Cash, died in Montgomery County, Tennessee (carbon monoxide poisoning), 2003 (was 45)

October 25:

Jeanne Black born in Pomona, California, 1937 (now 74)
Mark Miller (Sawyer Brown) born in Dayton, Ohio, 1958 (now 53)
Chely Wright born in Kansas City, Missouri, 1970 (now 41)
Cousin Minnie Pearl (Sarah Ophelia Colley Canon) born in Grinders Switch (actually, Centerville), Tennessee, 1912 (died 1996)
Roger Miller died in Los Angeles, California (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 44)
Hoyt Axton died in Victor, Montana (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 72)
Lee Greenwood born in Southgate, California, 1942 (now 69)
Snuffy Jenkins born in Harris, North Carolina, 1908 (died 1990)
Floyd Cramer born in Campti, Louisiana, 1933 (died 1997)
Ruby Wright born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1939 (died 2009)
Allan "Rocky" Lane died in Woodland Hills, California (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
The Anaheim Angels won game seven of the World Series and their first (and to date, only) World Series title, 2002.  The Angels were owned by Gene Autry, and the team dedicated the championship to his memory.

October 28:

Mitchell Torok born in Houston, Texas, 1929 (now 82)
Charlie Daniels born in Wilmington, North Carolina, 1936 (now 75)

Brad Paisley born in Glen Dale, West Virginia, 1972 (now 39)
Bill Bolick of the Blue Sky Boys born in Hickory, North Carolina, 1917 (died 2008)
Jimmy Skinner died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1979 (was 70)
Mel Foree died (cancer), 1990 (age unknown)
Porter Wagoner died in Nashville, Tennessee (lung cancer), 2007 (was 80)

October 29:

Sonny Osborne born in Hyden, Kentucky, 1937 (now 74)
Charlie Monk born in Noma, Florida, 1938 (now 73)

Albert E. Brumley born in Spiro, Oklahoma, 1905 (died 1977)
Ramblin' Jimmie Dolan born in Gardena, California, 1916 (died 1994)
Fred Maddox died in Fresno, California (heart disease), 1992 (was 73)

October 30:

Timothy B. Schmit of Poco and the Eagles born in Sacramento, California, 1947 (now 64)
T. Graham Brown born in Atlanta, Georgia, 1954 (now 57)
Patsy Montana (nee Ruby Rose Blevins) born in Hope, Arkansas, 1908 (died 1996)
Clifton Clowers born in Wolverton Mountain, Conway County, Arkansas, 1891 (died 1994)
Kitty Wells and Johnnie Wright wed, 1937 

October 31:

Anita Kerr born in Memphis, Tennessee, 1927 (now 84)
Richard "Kinky" Friedman born in Chicago, Illinois, 1944 (now 67)

Dale Evans born in Uvalde, Texas, 1912 (died 2001)
Carl Belew died in Salina, Oklahoma (cancer), 1990 (was 59)
Bob Atcher died in Prospect, Kentucky (unknown causes), 1993 (was 79)