Sunday, February 17, 2013

It's About That Time....

Category:  Opinion

The 2013 inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame will be announced in March.  And, as usual, I'm endangering my life by holding my breath (not recommended for asthmatics) to see if finally some decades-long overlooked people will make it.

My annual plea looks like this:

Modern Era:  Keith Whitley or Ricky Skaggs.  Given what Garth Brooks said in his speech when his induction was announced last March -- he felt it was wrong that he was going into the Hall of Fame ahead of the 80's trailblazers like Whitley and Skaggs -- I'm inclined to believe that one of the two will be inducted this year.

We can also hope for:  Gene Watson or Ronnie Milsap.  Both are worthy performers with the credentials to merit an induction.  Milsap, in particular, was the first country performer to have a video make it to MTV.

Please NO!:  Billy Ray or Shania.  If either of these two are inducted it will be, as a friend of mine once said, based upon what they have done TO country music instead of what they have done for country music.

Veterans Era:  Cowboy Copas.  Any other year I would be pulling for the Wilburn Brothers to finally make it, but March 5 marks the 50th anniversary of Copas' death in a plane crash.  There would be no better way to commemorate this terrible loss than to put this legendary act into the Hall of Fame.

We can also hope for:  the list is way too long.  The Browns, the aforementioned Wilburns, the Maddox Brothers and Rose, Jerry Reed, Hank Locklin, Archie Campbell, Ray Stevens, etc. etc. etc.

Please NO!:  just one inductee this year.  The backlog of worthy veterans is so long that something has to be done to play "catch-up" before the grandchildren of deserving acts like Elton Britt and Al Dexter die off.  Induct two.  Better still, induct five.  That'll reduce the list of overdue acts by about .01%.

Rotating Category - Non-Performer:  Syd Nathan.  Syd didn't do very much for country music, he just founded the very first all-country music label in history (King Records) and introduced the world to Grandpa Jones, Homer & Jethro, Cowboy Copas, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Wayne Raney, Bill Carlisle, Moon Mullican, and re-introduced us to the Delmore Brothers. 

We can also hope for:  the late, great historian Charles K. Wolfe, author of dozens of books on the history of country music; or Lowell Blanchard, the WNOX program director who founded the Mid-Day Merry-Go-Round where Roy Acuff, Archie Campbell, Homer & Jethro, Don Gibson, Johnnie & Jack, Kitty Wells and the Louvin Brothers (among others) got their start.

Please NO!:  a Nashville-based executive.  The CMA has caught a lot of flack for appearing too self-serving through the years for giving their retiring president Hall of Fame induction instead of a gold watch.  It's very difficult to find an industry inductee who wasn't based in Nashville (Ken Nelson is one of the few).  Prove those nay-sayers wrong and induct someone outside of metro Nashville (and by that I do not mean it's okay if they live in Franklin or Hendersonville) for a change!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Dates of Note in Country Music, February 16-28

Category: News

(Hall of Fame members in bold on birth/death date, followed by hall[s] of fame in which they are enshrined and the year enshrined.  CM=Country Music; BG=Bluegrass; NS=Nashville Songwriter; SG=Southern Gospel)

February 16:

Jo-Walker Meador (CM 95) born in Orlinda, Tennessee, 1924 (now 89)
Ronnie Milsap born in Robbinsville, North Carolina, 1944 (now 69)
Jimmy Wakely born in Mineola, Arkansas, 1914 (died 1982)
Smiley Burnette (NS 71) died in Encino, California (leukemia), 1967 (was 55)

February 17:

Johnny Bush born in Houston, Texas, 1935 (now 78)
Buck Trent born in Spartanburg, South Carolina, 1938 (now 75)
Jon Randall born in Dallas, Texas, 1969 (now 44)
Bryan White born in Shellman, Georgia, 1974 (now 39)
Billy Byrd born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1920 (died 2001)
Gene Pitney born in Hartford, Connecticut, 1940 (died 2006). The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer recorded two albums of duets with George Jones.
Uncle Jimmy Thompson died in Laguardo, Tennessee (natural causes), 1931 (was 82)
Eck Robertson died in Borger, Texas (natural causes), 1975 (was 87)
Gus Hardin died near Claremore, Oklahoma (car wreck), 1996 (was 50)

February 18:

Juice Newton born in Lakehurst Naval Station, New Jersey, 1952 (now 61)
Dudley Connell born in Scheer, West Virginia, 1956 (now 57)
Julius Frank "Pee Wee" King (ne Kuczynski) (CM 74, NS 70) born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1914 (died 2000)
Tootsie Bess, owner of Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 1978 (was 61)
Johnny Paycheck died in Nashville, Tennessee (emphysema), 2003 (was 64)

February 19:

Lorianne Crook born in Wichita, Kansas, 1957 (now 56)
Cedric Rainwater (real name: Howard Watts) (BG 07) born in Monticello, Florida, 1913 (died 1970)
Lowell Blanchard died in Knoxville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1968 (was 57)
Grandpa Jones (CM 78) died in Nashville, Tennessee (stroke), 1998 (was 84)
Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton officially break up their act, 1974

February 20:

Kathie Baillie of Baillie & the Boys born in Morristown, New Jersey, 1951 (now 61)
Claire Lynch born in Albany, New York, 1954 (now 59)

February 21:

Mary-Chapin Carpenter born in Princeton, New Jersey, 1958 (now 55)
Don Reno (BG 92) born in Spartanburg, South Carolina, 1926 (died 1984)
Carl T. Sprague died in Bryan, Texas (unknown cause), 1979 (was 83)

Ray Whitley (NS 81) died in California (unknown cause), 1979 (was 77)

February 22:

Del Wood born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1920 (died 1989)
During a concert in London, Ontario, Johnny Cash asked June Carter to marry him, 1968

February 23:

Rusty Young of Poco born in Long Beach, California, 1946 (now 67)
Buck Griffin born in Corsicana, Texas, 1923 (died 2009)
Minnie Pearl married Henry Cannon, 1947

February 24:

Little Roy Lewis of the Lewis Family (BG 06) born in Lincoln County, Georgia, 1942 (now 70)
Don Law (CM 01) born in London, England, 1902 (died 1982)
Webb Pierce (CM 01) died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 1991 (was 69)
Goldie Hill Smith died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 2005 (was 72)
Dinah Shore died in Beverly Hills, California (ovarian cancer), 1994 (was 77). The legendary pop singer and TV hostess was part of the family of live performers on WSM radio.

February 25:

Dr. Ralph Stanley (BG 92) born in Stratton, Virginia, 1927 (now 86)
Faron Young (CM 00) born in Shreveport, Louisiana, 1932 (died 1996)

February 26:

Jan Crutchfield born in Paducah, Kentucky, 1936 (now 77)
Billy Jack Wills born in Hall County, Texas, 1926 (died 1991)
Johnny Cash (CM 80, NS 77) born in Kingsland, Arkansas, 1932 (died 2003)

February 27:

Chuck Glaser of the Glaser Brothers born in Spalding, Nebraska, 1936 (now 77)
Joe Carson died in Wichita Falls, Texas (car wreck), 1964 (was 27)
Walter Bailes died in Sevierville, Tennessee (various health problems), 2000 (was 80)

February 28:

Jim Denny (CM 66) born in Silver Point, Tennessee, 1911 (died 1963)
Audrey Williams born in Banks, Alabama, 1923 (died 1975)
Don Helms born in New Brockton, Alabama, 1927 (died 2008)
Joe South (NS 79) born in Atlanta, Georgia, 1940 (died 2012)
Fiddlin' Arthur Smith died (unknown causes), 1971 (was 72)

Leap day, February 29:

Dinah Shore born in Winchester, Tennessee, 1916 (died 1994)
Vaughn Horton (NS 71) died in New Port Ritchey, Florida (heart attack), 1988 (was 76)