Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dates of Note in Country Music, April 1-15

Category: News
(Country Music Hall of Famers in bold)

April 1:
Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith born in Clinton, South Carolina, 1921 (now 90)
Jim Ed Brown born in Sparkman, Arkansas, 1934 (now 77)
Jules Verne Allen born in Waxahachie, Texas, 1883 (died 1945)
Jimmy Logsdon born in Panther, Kentucky, 1922 (died 2001)
CMA President Paul Cohen died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 1970 (was 71)
Rachel Veach joined Roy Acuff's Smoky Mountain Boys, 1939. 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 original Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum opened, 1967

April 2:
Warner Mack born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1935 (now 76)
Sonny Throckmorton born in Carlsbad, New Mexico, 1941 (now 70)
Emmylou Harris born in Birmingham, Alabama, 1947 (now 64)
Dean Townson of Pirates of the Mississippi born in Battle Creek, Michigan, 1959 (now 52)
Billy Dean born in Quincy, Florida, 1962 (now 49)
Mose Rager born in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, 1911 (died 1986). The guitarist was a significant influence on the thumbpicking style of another guitarist from the region, Merle Travis.
Cliff Carlisle died in Lexington, Kentucky(unknown cause), 1983 (was 78)
Former Country Gentleman Doyle Lawson formed Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, 1979

April 3:
Billy Joe Royal born in Valdosta, Georgia, 1942 (now 69)
Richard Thompson born in Notting Hill, London, 1949 (now 61).  The legendary folk-rock singer/songwriter and guitarist wrote and originally recorded "1952 Vincent Black Lightning," later a bluegrass hit for Del McCoury, as well as Jo-El Sonnier's biggest hit, "Tear-Stained Letter" (which was also covered by Faith Hill).
Curtis Stone of Highway 101 (and son of Cliffie Stone) born in North Hollywood, California, 1950 (now 61)
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 in Dayton, Ohio (cancer), 1993 (was 63)
Starday Records owner Don Pierce died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 2005 (was 89)
Louisiana Hayride debuted 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 73)
Steve Gatlin of the Gatlin Brothers born in Olney, Texas, 1951 (now 60)
Troy Gentry of Montgomery-Gentry born in Lexington, Kentucky, 1967 (now 44)
Cy Coben born in Jersey City, New Jersey, 1919 (died 2006)
Red Sovine died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack while driving), 1980 (was 61)

April 5:
Jack Clement born in Whitehaven, Tennessee, 1931 (now 80)
Bill Clifton (ne William August Marburg) born in Riverwood, Maryland, 1931 (now 80). In addition to being a bluegrass performer, the 2008 Bluegrass Hall of Fame inductee 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 72)
Tommy Cash born in Dyess, Arkansas, 1940 (now 71)
Bob McDill born in Beaumont, Texas, 1944 (now 67)
Pat Green born in San Antonio, Texas, 1972 (now 39)

Charlie Collins of Roy Acuff's Smoky Mountain Boys born i Caryville, Tennessee, 1933 (died 2012)
Frenchy "Stoney" Edwards died in Oklahoma (stomach cancer), 1997 (was 67)
Gene Pitney died in Cardiff, Wales (heart disease), 2006 (was 65). In addition to his rock hits, Pitney recorded two albums of duets with George Jones.

April 6:
Merle Haggard born in Bakersfield, California, 1937 (now 74)
Vernon Dalhart (ne Marion Try Slaughter) born in Marion County, Texas, 1883 (died 1948)
Wade Ray born in Griffin, Indiana, 1913 (died 1998)
Tammy Wynette died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart failure attributed to blood clot), 1998 (was 55)
Grand Ole Opry shows were canceled due to rioting in the wake of Martin Luther King's assassination earlier in the week, 1968

April 7:
Cal Smith born in Gans, Oklahoma, 1932 (now 79)
Bobby Bare born in Ironton, Ohio, 1935 (now 76)
John Dittrich of Restless Heart born in New York, New York, 1951 (now 60)
Leon "Pappy" Selph born in Houston, Texas, 1914 (died 1999)
Clyde Moody died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 1989 (was 73)
Steel guitarist Jeff Newman died in Watertown, Tennessee (plane crash), 2004 (was 62)

April 8:
John Schneider born in Mount Kisco, New York, 1960 (now 51)
Jimmy Osborne born in Winchester, Kentucky, 1923 (died 1957)

April 9:
Margo Smith born in Dayton, Ohio, 1942 (now 69)
Con Hunley born in Fountain City, Tennessee, 1945 (now 66)
Hal Ketchum born in Greenwich, New York, 1953 (now 58)
Mark Roberts of the Red Clay Ramblers born in Wareham, Massachusetts, 1957 (now 54)
Dave Innis of Restless Heart born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, 1959 (now 52)
Carl Perkins born in Tiptonville, Tennessee, 1932 (died 1998)
Darrell Glenn died in Fort Worth, Texas (cancer), 1990 (was 54)
Mae Boren Axton died in Nashville, Tennessee (natural causes), 1997 (was 82)

April 10:
Weldon Myrick born in Jayton, Texas, 1938 (now 73). 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. Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees owned the house at the time of the fire.

April 11:
Jim Lauderdale born in Troutman, North Carolina, 1957 (now 54)
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 in Nashville, Tennessee (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 in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer/Alzheimer's), 2005 (was 79)
Jerry Byrd died in Honolulu, Hawaii (complications of Parkinson's disease), 2005 (was 85)

April 12:
Ned Miller born in Raines, Utah, 1925 (now 86)
Vince Gill born in Norman, Oklahoma, 1957 (now 54)
Ernie Lee born in Berea, Kentucky, 1916 (died 1991)
Judy Lynn born in Boise, Idaho, 1936 (died 2010)
Lewis Crook of the Crook Brothers died in Nashville, Tennessee (natural causes), 1997 (was 87)
Boxcar Willie died in Branson, Missouri (leukemia), 1999 (was 67)

April 13:
Sam Bush born in Bowling Green, Kentucky, 1952 (now 59)
Bob Nolan of the Sons of the Pioneers born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1908 (died 1980)
Guy Willis of the Willis Brothers died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 1981 (was 65)
Johnny Dollar died in Nashville, Tennessee (suicide), 1986 (was 53)

April 14:
Loretta Lynn born in Butcher Holler, Kentucky, 1935 (now 76)
Stuart Duncan of the Nashville Bluegrass Band born in Quantico, Virginia, 1964 (now 47)
Vito Pelletteri died in Nashville, Tennessee (complications from a stroke), 1977 (was 87)
Burl Ives died in Anacortes, Washington (throat cancer), 1995 (was 85)

April 15:
Roy Clark born in Meherrin, Virginia, 1933 (now 78)
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 in Ashland, Oregon (kidney failure), 1998 (was 72)
Otto Kitsinger died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1998 (was 54). Otto was the historian and writer for CMT's Opry Backstage.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

What I'd Give for the Lifetime I've Wasted

Category:  News/Obituary

If you look at the lyrics of the song "Gone" there's not much on the page.  In total, just seventy-one words.  What made those words come to life, and etched them eternally in the minds of country music fans, was the gut-wrenching emotion Ferlin Husky poured into every syllable of that song.

Ferlin Husky died today (March 17), two days after being released from a Hendersonville hospital into hospice care.

Husky's career began inauspiciously.  Record company executives thought the name "Ferlin Husky" was too hokey and artificial, so he first recorded "Gone" under the pseudonym Terry Preston.  The recording went nowhere.  Meanwhile, Husky made a name for himself as a first-rate impressionist of country singers.  He recorded a song, "Hank's Song," featuring lyrics comprised of Hank Williams song titles while doing an impersonation of Williams that was so good it was scary.

Husky's career took off when Capitol teamed him with a female newcomer, Jean Shepard, on a lost-love song that was quite topical at the time (during the Korean War):  "A Dear John Letter."  The hit put both on the road to success that would eventually end at the Country Music Hall of Fame (Shepard this year, Husky last year).

After the massive success of "Gone" Husky allowed his "good friend" Simon Crum to enter the studio for an album (The Unpredictable Simon Crum).  The tracks included "My Gallina" (which included a pronunciation guide ["pronounced 'Guy-EE-na'"] on the 45 label), a Mel Tillis composition "Stand Up, Sit Down, Shut Your Mouth," and the hilarious "Little Red Webb," which featured Husky Crum impersonating Red Sovine and Webb Pierce while skewering the horridly smarmy "Little Rosa."

Husky gave the country music world one other classic, the 1960 crossover gospel number "Wings of a Dove."  The song was one of only four tunes to hit #1 on the country charts in 1960 (the others being "El Paso," "He'll Have to Go," and "Please Help Me, I'm Falling") while also making a successful stay on the pop charts.

Husky dealt with heart problems for decades.  According to one Nashville obituary, he endured seven heart bypass operations.  In recent years he had been frequently in and out of hospitals because of congestive heart failure, pneumonia and infections.  He was recently diagnosed with colon cancer as well.

Oh, what I'd give for the lifetime I've wasted
The love that I tasted
I was wrong
Now you've gone

Ferlin Husky was 85.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sick Call: Ferlin Husky

Category:  News

Country Music Hall of Famer Ferlin Husky has left a Nashville-area hospital and has been placed in hospice care.

According to Nashville station WSMV's web site, Husky has, among other things, colon cancer and congestive heart failure.   Husky has been hospitalized numerous times over the past two years for pneumonia, infections, and other problems related to his congestive heart failure.

Last year the Country Music Association inducted Husky into the Hall of Fame along with Jimmy Dean (who passed away before his official induction ceremony), Don Williams, and Billy Sherrill.

Keep this legendary performer in your prayers.

Ferlin Husky Placed in Hospice Care

Dates of Note in Country Music, March 16-31

Category: News

(Country Music Hall of Famers in bold)

March 16:

Jerry Jeff Walker (ne Ronald Clyde Crosby) born in Oneonta, New York, 1942 (now 69)
Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1951 (now 60)
Tim O'Brien born in Wheeling, West Virginia, 1954 (now 57)
Stan Thorn of Shenandoah born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, 1959 (now 52)
Ronnie McCoury born in York County, Pennsylvania, 1967 (now 44)
Robert Whitstein born in Colfax, Louisiana, 1944 (died 2001)
Plane crash at Otay Mountain near San Diego, California kills Reba McEntire band members Chris Austin, Kirk Capello, Joey Cigainero, Paula Kaye Evans, Terry Jackson, Michael Thomas, and Tony Saputo 1991

March 17:

Jim Weatherly born in Pontotoc, Mississippi, 1943 (now 68)
Paul Overstreet born in Newton, Mississippi, 1955 (now 56)
Dick Curless born in Fort Fairfield, Maine, 1932 (died 1995)
Hugh Farr died in Casper, Wyoming (unknown causes), 1980 (was 77)
Jimmy Gately died in Madison, Tennessee (unknown causes), 1985 (was 53)
Sammy Pruett died in Birmingham, Alabama (unknown causes), 1988 (was 61)
Terry Stafford died in Amarillo, Texas (liver failure), 1996 (was 55)
Bill Carlisle died in Nashville, Tennessee (natural causes), 2003 (was 94)

March 18:

Billy Armstrong born in Streator, Illinois, 1930 (now 81)
Charley Pride born in Sledge, Mississippi, 1938 (now 73)
Margie Bowes born in Roxboro, North Carolina, 1941 (now 70)
James McMurty born in Fort Worth, Texas, 1962 (now 49)
Smiley Burnette born in Summum, Illinois, 1911 (died 1967)
John Phillips of the Mamas and Papas died in Los Angeles, California (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 in Nashville, Tennessee (natural causes), 2000 (was 84)
Randall Hylton died in Nashville, Tennessee (brain aneurysm), 2001 (was 55)
Tootsie's Orchid Lounge opened in Nashville, 1960

March 20:

Tommy Hunter born in London, Ontario, 1937 (now 74)
Douglas B. Green (Ranger Doug) of Riders in the Sky born in Great Lakes, Illinois, 1946 (now 65)
Jim Seales of Shenandoah born in Hamilton, Alabama, 1954 (now 57)
Jerry Reed born in Atlanta, Georgia, 1937 (died 2008)

March 21:

Carol Lee Cooper born in West Virginia, 1942 (now 71)
Tommy Hill died in Nashville, Tennessee (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 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee (illness), 1952 (was 81)
Stoney Cooper died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1977 (was 59)
Carl Perkins injured in automobile accident near Wilmington, Delaware, 1956

March 23:
David Grisman born in Passaic, New Jersey, 1945 (now 66)
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 in Crowley, Louisiana (complications from heart bypass surgery), 1996 (was 73)
James Roy "Pop" Lewis of the Lewis Family died in Lincoln County, Georgia (natural causes), 2004 (was 98)
Cindy Walker died in Mexia, Texas (natural causes), 2006 (was 88)

March 24:

Peggy Sue Webb born in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, 1947 (now 64)
Carson Robison died in Poughkeepsie, New York (unknown causes), 1957 (was 66)
Howard Dixon died in East Rockingham, North Carolina (unknown - possible work accident), 1961 (was 57)
Henson Cargill died in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (complications from surgery), 2007 (was 66)

March 25:

Bonnie Guitar born in Seattle, Washington, 1923 (now 88)
Robbie Fulks born in York, Pennsylvania, 1963 (now 48)

Natchee the Indian (ne Lester Vernon Storer) born in Peebles, Ohio, 1916 (died 1970)
Hoyt Axton born in Duncan, Oklahoma, 1938 (died 1999)
Jack Kapp died in New York, New York (cerebral hemorrhage), 1949 (was 47)
Buck Owens died in Bakersfield, California (heart attack), 2006 (was 76)

March 26:

Bud Isaacs born in Bedford, Indiana, 1928 (now 83)
Vicki Lawrence born in Inglewood, California, 1949 (now 62). 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 61)
Michael Bonagura of Baillie & the Boys born in Newark, New Jersey, 1953 (now 58)
Dean Dillon born in Lake City, Tennessee, 1955 (now 56)
Charly McClain born in Jackson, Tennessee, 1956 (now 55)
Kenny Chesney born in Lutrell, Tennessee, 1968 (now 43)

March 27:

Bill Callahan of the Callahan Brothers born in Madison County, North Carolina, 1912 (died 2002)
David Rogers born in Houston, Texas, 1936 (died 1993)

March 28:

Roy Dean Webb of the Dillards born in Independence, Missouri, 1937 (now 74)
Charlie McCoy born in Oak Hill, West Virginia, 1941 (now 70)
Reba McEntire born in Chockie, Oklahoma, 1955 (now 56)
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.
Farrell "Rusty" Draper died in Bellevue, Washington (heart disease/throat cancer), 2003 (was 80)
Glenn Barber died in Gallatin, Tennessee (heart ailment), 2008 (was 73)

March 29:

Brady Seals of Little Texas born in Hamilton, Ohio, 1969 (now 42)
Moon Mullican born in Corrigan, Texas, 1909 (died 1967)
Jerry Byrd born in Lima, Ohio, 1920 (died 2005)
Texas Ruby died in Nashville, Tennessee (house fire), 1963 (was 54)
Opry announcer Hal Durham died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 2009 (was 77)

March 30:

Bobby Wright born in Charleston, West Virginia, 1942 (now 69)
Connie Cato born in Carlinville, Illinois, 1955 (now 56)

March 31:

John D. Loudermilk born in Durham, North Carolina, 1934 (now 77)
Greg Martin of the Kentucky Headhunters born in Louisville, Kentucky, 1954 (now 57)
Howdy Forrester born in Vernon, Tennessee, 1922 (died 1987)
Tommy Jackson born in Birmingham, Alabama, 1926 (died 1979)
William O. "Lefty" Frizzell born in Corsicana, Texas, 1928 (died 1975)
Anita Carter born in Maces Springs, Virginia, 1933 (died 1999)
Skeets McDonald died in Inglewood, California (heart attack), 1968 (was 52)
Carl Story died in Greer, South Carolina (complications from heart bypass surgery), 1995 (was 78)

Thursday, March 03, 2011

I'm Tellin' Ya, Country Music is DEAD

Category:  News

The Doobie Brothers play the Opry.

But Stonewall Jackson has to sue them to get on a program he's been a member of for 54 years.

Am I the only person who sees something horribly wrong with this picture?

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Answering the Call From the Hall

Category:  News

The Country Music Hall of Fame class of 2011 was announced today via live webcast hosted by Kix Brooks.  The three new inductees will be:

Reba McEntire (modern):  One of the most popular female artists in country music history, Reba was discovered singing at a rodeo by Red Steagall.  She hasn't looked back since.

Jean Shepard (classic):  How fitting, just days before the 48th anniversary of the death of her husband Hawkshaw Hawkins, the grandest "grand lady of the Grand Ole Opry" is told she will be inducted this year.  Proudly, unashamedly country, her career spans nearly 60 years, going all the way back to a duet with last year's inductee Ferlin Husky, "A Dear John Letter."

Bobby Braddock (songwriter):  He began as Marty Robbins' piano player.  He ended up on the short list of people termed "songwriters' songwriter," thanks to songs ranging from the funny "Bleep You" by Cal Smith or "I Wanna Talk About Me" by Toby Keith to the heartbreaking "He Stopped Loving Her Today" by George Jones or "Time Marches On" by Tracy Lawrence to the sobering, frightening "Revelation" by Waylon Jennings.

Congratulations to the Hall of Fame class of 2011!