Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dates of Note in Country Music, May 1-15

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)

May 1:

Sonny James (ne James Loden) (CM 06) born in Hackleburg, Alabama, 1929 (now 84)
Rita Coolidge born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1944 (now 69). Although primarily a pop singer, Coolidge had a dozen songs chart in country. She is also the former wife of Kris Kristofferson.
Wayne Hancock born in Dallas, Texas, 1965 (now 48)
Sam McGee born in Williamson County, Tennessee, 1894 (died 1975)
Jimmy Gately born in Springfield, Missouri, 1931 (died 1985)
Ott Devine born in Gadsen, Alabama, 1910 (died 1994)
Spike Jones died in Bel Air, California (emphysema), 1965 (was 53). The novelty band leader recorded "Pal-Yat-Chee" with Homer and Jethro, and Red Ingle (of Red Ingle & Natural Seven, of "Temp-Tay-Shun" fame) was once a member of Jones' City Slickers.
Jim Hager of the Hager Twins died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 2008 (was 66)
Elvis Presley married Priscilla Beaulieu in Las Vegas, Nevada, 1967
A six-inch rainstorm hit Nashville, 2010.  The massive flood damaged the Grand Ole Opry House, the Opryland Hotel, the WSM-AM studios, the basement of the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Wildhorse Saloon, the instrument storage business Soundcheck, and a number of country singers' homes. Over 13 inches of rain fell in two days and killed nearly two dozen.

May 2:

R.C. Bannon born in Dallas, Texas, 1945 (now 68)
Larry Gatlin born in Seminole, Texas, 1948 (now 65)
Ty Herndon born in Meridian, Mississippi, 1962 (now 51)
Roy Lee Centers of the Clinch Mountain Boys died in Jackson, Kentucky (shot to death -- details disputed between a fight, "road rage" or murder), 1974 (was 29)
"Slowly" by Webb Pierce hits #1 on the Billboard charts, 1954. It becomes the first #1 song to feature the pedal steel guitar.

May 3:

Jerry Chestnut born in Harlan County, Kentucky, 1931 (now 82)
Cactus Moser of Highway 101 born in Montrose, Colorado, 1957 (now 56)
Bing Crosby born in Tacoma, Washington, 1903 (died 1977). The pop crooner has the distinction of being the performer of the first #1 single in Billboard magazine's "Hillbilly and Western Singles" history with his rendition of Al Dexter's "Pistol Packin' Mama." Dexter's own recording was the second #1 song.
Dave Dudley born in Spencer, Wisconsin, 1928 (died 2003)
Patsy Montana (CM 96) died in San Jancinto, California (unknown cause), 1996 (was 83)
Dollywood theme park opened in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, 1986

May 4:

Stella Parton born in Sevierville, Tennessee, 1949 (now 63)
Robert Ellis Orrall born in Winthrop, Massachusetts, 1955 (now 57)
Randy Travis born in Marshville, North Carolina, 1959 (now 53)
Al Dexter (ne Clarence Albert Poindexter) (NS 71) born in Jacksonville, Texas, 1902 (died 1984)
Bobby Austin born in Wenatchee, Washington, 1933 (died 2002)
Joe L. Frank (CM 67) died in Chicago, Illinois (complications of throat infection), 1952 (was 52)
Leo Jackson died in Nashville, Tennessee (suicide [gunshot]), 2008 (was 73)

May 5:

Ace Cannon born in Grenada, Mississippi, 1934 (now 79)
Roni Stoneman born in Washington, DC, 1938 (now 75)

Wayne Carson (NS 97) born in Denver, Colorado, 1942 (now 71)
Glen Duncan of Lonesome Standard Time born in Columbus, Indiana, 1955 (now 58)
Tammy Wynette (CM 98, NS 09) born in Itawamba County, Mississippi, 1942 (died 1998)
J.D. Miller born in Iota, Louisiana, 1922 (died 1996)
Jerry Wallace died in Corona, California (congestive heart failure), 2008 (was 79)

May 6:

Jimmie Dale Gilmore born in Austin, Texas, 1945 (now 68)
Cliff Carlisle born in Taylorsville, Kentucky, 1904 (died 1983)

Otis Blackwell (NS 86) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 2002 (was 71)
George "Goober" Lindsey died in Nashville, Tennessee (brief illness), 2012 (was 83)

May 7:

Jerry Chesnut (NS 96) born in Loyall, Kentucky, 1931 (now 82)

Lorie Collins of the Collins Kids born in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, 1942 (now 71)
Riley Puckett born in Alpharetta, Georgia, 1894 (died 1946)
Horace "Aytchie" Burns born in Cisco, Georgia, 1918 (died 1974). Aytchie, the older brother of Jethro Burns, was a performer at the WNOX Midday Merry-Go-Round and the Renfro Valley Barn Dance. While in the Army he was also the platoon sergeant of Roger Miller.
Eddie Rabbitt (NS 98) died in Nashville, Tennessee (lung cancer), 1998 (was 56)

May 8:

Homer Bailes of the Bailes Brothers born in Kanawha County, West Virginia, 1922 (now 91)
Jack Blanchard born in Buffalo, New York, 1942 (now 71)
Del Anthony Gray of Little Texas born in Hamilton, Ohio, 1968 (now 45)
Jimmie Tarlton of Darby & Tarlton born in Cheraw, South Carolina, 1892 (died 1979)
Benny Martin (BG 05) born in Sparta, Tennessee, 1928 (died 2001)
Rick Nelson born in Teaneck, New Jersey, 1940 (died 1985)
Leon Huff of the Light Crust Doughboys died (unknown cause), 1952 (was 39)
George D. Hay (CM 66) died in Virginia Beach, Virginia (unknown cause), 1968 (was 72)
Eddy Arnold (CM 66) died in Brentwood, Tennessee (complications from a fall), 2008 (was 89)

Charles "Everett" Lilly (BG 02) died in Clear Creek, West Virginia (aneurysm/heart attack), 2012 (was 87)

May 9:

Richie Furay of Poco born in Yellow Springs, Ohio, 1944 (now 69)
Bobby Lewis born in Hodgenville, Kentucky, 1946 (now 67)
Fuzzy Knight born in Fairmont, West Virginia, 1901 (died 1976). The actor appeared in several films as Tex Ritter's sidekick.
Hank Snow (CM 79, NS 78) born in Brooklyn, Nova Scotia, 1914 (died 1999)
Nudie Cohn died in Hollywood, California (unknown cause), 1984 (was 81)
Keith Whitley died in Nashville, Tennessee (alcohol poisoning), 1989 (was 33)
Jimmie Davis elected governor of Louisiana, 1944

May 10:

Carl T. Sprague born in Houston, Texas, 1895 (died 1979)
Mother Maybelle Carter (CM 70, BG 01) born in Nicklesville, Virginia, 1909 (died 1979)
Shel Silverstein (NS 02) died in Key West, Florida (heat attack), 1999 (was 68)

May 11:

Mark Herndon of Alabama (CM 05) born in Springfield, Massachusetts, 1955 (now 58)
Bob Atcher born in West Point, Kentucky, 1914 (died 1993)
Lester Flatt (CM 85, BG 91, NS 07) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart failure), 1979 (was 64)

Dottie Rambo (SG 97, NS 07) died in Mt. Vernon, Missouri (bus crash), 2008 (was 74)

May 12:

Kix Brooks born in Shreveport, Louisiana, 1955 (now 58)
The Duke of Paducah, Benjamin "Whitey" Ford, (CM 86) born in DeSoto, Missouri, 1901 (died 1986)
Joe Maphis born in Suffolk, Virginia, 1921 (died 1986)
Leroy Pullins born in Berea, Kentucky, 1940 (died 1984)

W. Lee "Pappy" O'Daniel died in Dallas, Texas (unknown cause), 1969 (was 79)

May 13:

Ray Kennedy born in Buffalo, New York, 1954 (now 58)
Lari White born in Dunedin, Florida, 1965 (now 47)
Jack Anglin born in Columbia, Tennesee, 1916 (died 1963)

Johnnie Wright born in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, 1914 (died 2011)
Gid Tanner died in Dacula, Georgia (unknown cause), 1960 (was 74)
Bob Wills (CM 68, NS 70) died Fort Worth, Texas (pneumonia/complications of stroke), 1975 (was 70)

May 14:

Jimmy Martin (BG 95) died in Nashville, Tennessee (bladder cancer), 2005 (was 77)

May 15:

K.T. Oslin born in Crossett, Arkansas, 1941 (now 72)
Eddy Arnold (CM 66) born in Henderson, Tennessee, 1918 (died 2008)
June Carter Cash died in Nashville, Tennessee (complications from open heart surgery), 2003 (was 73)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Can You Picture Heaven With No Angels Singing

Category:  News

On Wednesday, May 1, Eddie Stubbs' entire five-hour show on WSM will be devoted to George Jones.   Listen to WSM online

The satellite station RFD-TV will carry Jones' funeral live on Thursday, May 2nd beginning at 11 AM eastern time.

In "A Picture of Me Without You" Jones sang, "Can you picture Heaven with no angels singing?"  We never have to worry about that now because of a hillbilly singer named George Jones.

Friday, April 26, 2013

He Stopped Loving Her Today

Category:  News/Obituary

Country music may now officially be buried.  George Jones has died.

Jones, arguably the most admired country singer of the past half century, died this morning (4/26) at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville.  He had been hospitalized for the past eight days for heart and blood pressure issues.  He had to cancel several shows in the past few months for health issues.

After service in the Marines native Texan Jones became a country singer -- many would say THE country singer.  He gave the world novelty songs ("Her Name Is..." "The One I Loved Back Then [The Corvette Song]," "White Lightnin'").  He also gave the world some of the greatest heartbreak songs in history: "The Window Up Above," "Color of the Blues," and, of course, "He Stopped Loving Her Today."

We will miss him tremendously.

And we will never, EVER see the likes of this man again.

George Glenn Jones.
September 12, 1931 - April 26, 2013

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dates of Note in Country Music, April 16-30

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)

April 16:

Dusty Springfield born in London, England, 1939 (died 1999). The legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer hit the country charts in 1962 as part of the Springfields with "Silver Threads and Golden Needles."

April 17:

Craig Anderson of Heartland born in Huntsville, Alabama, 1973 (now 40)
Eddie Cochran died in Bath, England (injuries from an April 16 car wreck), 1960 (was 21). The rockabilly pioneer co-wrote "Summertime Blues," which Alan Jackson covered in country.
Dorsey Dixon died in Plant City, Florida (heart attack), 1968 (was 70)
Hank Penny died in Camarillo, California (heart failure), 1992 (was 73)
Linda McCartney died in Tuscon, Arizona (breast cancer), 1998 (was 56). Linda and husband Sir Paul McCartney's band, Wings, hit the country charts in 1974 with "Sally G."
Glenn Sutton (NS 99) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 2007 (was 69)

April 18:

Walt Richmond of the Tractors born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1947 (now 66)
Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown born in Vinton, Louisiana, 1924 (died 2005)
Your blogger born in Louisville, Kentucky, 19(??) (now too old to cut the mustard)
Milton Brown died in Fort Worth, Texas (pneumonia resulting from injuries in an April 13 car wreck), 1936 (was 32)

April 19:

Bill Rice (NS 94) born in Datto, Arkansas, 1939 (now 74)
Gary Brewer born in Louisville, Kentucky, 1965 (now 48)
Bobby Russell (NS 94) born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1941 (died 1992)
Earl Bolick of the Blue Sky Boys died in Tucker, Georgia (unknown cause), 1998 (was 78)
Levon Helm died in New York, NY (throat cancer), 2012 (was 71)
The "National Barn Dance" debuted on WLS, Chicago, 1924

April 20:

Johnny Tillotson born in Jacksonville, Florida, 1939 (now 74)
Doyle Lawson (BG 12) born in Ford Town, Tennessee, 1944 (now 69)
Wade Hayes born in Bethel Acres, Oklahoma, 1969 (now 44)
Frank "Hylo" Brown born in River, Kentucky, 1922 (died 2003)
Benny Hill found dead in his London flat (coronary thrombosis), 1992 (was 68). The British comedian's Benny Hill Show featured Boots Randolph's "Yakety Sax" as its theme song.

April 21:

Wade Mainer born in Buncombe, North Carolina, 1907 (died 2011)
Ira Louvin (CM 01, NS 79) born in Section, Alabama, 1924 (died 1965)
Carl Belew born in Salina, Oklahoma, 1931 (died 1990)
Paul Davis (NS 10) born in Meridian, Mississippi, 1948 (died 2008)
Neal Matthews Jr. (CM 01) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 2000 (was 70)

April 22:

Glen Campbell (CM 05) born in Delight, Arkansas, 1936 (now 77)
Ray Griff born in Vancouver, British Columbia, 1940 (now 73)
Pat Enright of the Nashville Bluegrass Band born in Huntington, Indiana, 1945 (now 68)
Cleve Francis born in Jennings, Louisiana, 1945 (now 68)
Larry Groce born in Dallas, Texas, 1948 (now 65). The Mountain Stage host had one charted record, 1977's "Junk Food Junkie," which was a minor country hit.
Reuben Gosfield of Asleep at the Wheel born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1951 (now 62)
Heath Wright of Ricochet born in Vian, Oklahoma, 1967 (now 45)
Steve Sholes (CM 67) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1968 (was 57)
Felice Bryant (CM 91, NS 72) died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 2003 (was 77)
Paul Davis (NS 10) died in Meridian, Mississippi (heart attack), 2008 (was 60)
Richard Nixon died in New York, New York (stroke), 1994 (was 81). The former president's political troubles were chronicled in Tom T. Hall's song "Watergate Blues." Nixon also appeared on the Grand Ole Opry during its first night at the Opry House in 1974.
Hazel Dickens died in Washington, DC (pneumonia), 2011 (was 75)

April 23:

Roland White of the Nashville Bluegrass Band born in Madawaska, Maine, 1938 (now 75)
Roy Orbison (NS 87) born in Vernon, Texas, 1936 (died 1988)
Kent Robbins (NS 98) born in Mayfield, Kentucky, 1947 (died 1997)

April 24:

Shirley Boone born in Chicago, Illinois, 1934 (now 79). Pat Boone's wife is also the daughter of Red Foley.
Rebecca Lynn Howard born in Salyersville, Kentucky, 1979 (now 34)
Harry McClintock died in San Francisco, California (unknown cause), 1957 (was 74). His greatest success would come decades after his death when his recording of "Big Rock Candy Mountain" began the film O Brother, Where Art Thou.
Bonnie Owens died in Bakersfield, California (Alzheimer's disease), 2006 (was 73)

April 25:

Larry Robbins of the Johnson Mountain Boys born in Dickerson, Maryland, 1945 (now 68)
Karl Farr (CM 80) born in Rochelle, Texas, 1909 (died 1961)
Cliff Bruner born in Texas City, Texas, 1915 (died 2000)
Vassar Clements born in Kinard, South Carolina, 1928 (died 2005)
O.B. McClinton born in Senatobia, Mississippi, 1940 (died 1987)
The musical Big River opened on Broadway, 1985. It won a "Best Musical" Tony for songwriter Roger Miller, making him, to date, the only country performer to ever win a Tony Award.

April 26:

Johnny Mosby born in Fort Smith, Arkansas, 1933 (now 80)
Duane Eddy born in Corning, New York, 1938 (now 75)
Fiddlin' Doc Roberts born in Richmond, Kentucky, 1897 (died 1978)
Cecil Null born in East War, West Virginia, 1927 (died 2001)
Tim Spencer (CM 80) died in Apple Valley, California (long illness), 1974 (was 65)
Wesley Rose (CM 86) died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 1990 (was 72)

April 27:

Maxine Brown of the Browns born in Campti, Louisiana, 1931 (now 82)
Herb Pedersen of the Dillards and Desert Rose Band born in Berkley, California, 1944 (now 68)
Sydney Nathan (BG 06) born in Cincinnati, Ohio, 1904 (died 1968)
Jimmie Skinner born in Blue Lick, Kentucky, 1909 (died 1979)

April 28:

Dale Potter born in Puxico, Missouri, 1929 (died 1996)
Tommy Caldwell of the Marshall Tucker Band died in Spartanburg, South Carolina (injuries from an April 21 car wreck), 1980 (was 30)
Ken Curtis died in Clovis, California (heart attack), 1991 (was 74). The Gunsmoke star was also a one-time member of the Sons of the Pioneers.

April 29:

Billy Mize born in Arkansas City, Kansas, 1929 (now 84)
Duane Allen of the Oak Ridge Boys born in Taylortown, Texas, 1943 (now 70)
Wayne Secrest of Confederate Railroad born in Alton, Illinois, 1950 (now 63)
Karen Brooks born in Dallas, Texas, 1954 (now 59)
Eddie Noack born in Houston, Texas, 1930 (died 1978)
Vern Gosdin died in Nashville, Tennessee (stroke), 2009 (was 74)
Kenny Roberts died in Alton, Massachusetts (natural causes), 2012 (was 85)

April 30:

Fuzzy Owen born in Conway, Arkansas, 1929 (now 84)
Willie Nelson (CM 93, NS 73) born in Abbott, Texas, 1933 (now 80)
Darrell McCall born in New Jasper, Ohio, 1940 (now 73)
Robert Earl Reynolds of the Mavericks born in Kansas City, Missouri, 1962 (now 51)
Johnny Horton born in Los Angeles, California, 1930 (died 1960)
Curly Chalker died in Hendersonville, Tennessee (brain cancer), 1998 (was 66)
WLS airs the final broadcast of the National Barn Dance, 1960, after 36 years on the air.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Fun in the Living Room

Category:  Concert Review

Don Stiernberg (l) and Robbie Fulks pause to mug before beginning
their informal Monday night fun
c.2013 K.F. Raizor

To begin, I think it's a misnomer to label this a "concert" review. The show on Monday night (4/8) starring alt-country great Robbie Fulks and mandolin master Don Stiernberg was more of an informal meeting in the living room ("Yeah," Fulks said when Stiernberg made that analogy, "but your living room is carpeted") than a "concert."  It was just Robbie, Don, their instruments, and about 25 of their closest friends.

Robbie Fulks, who just turned 50, has generally been missing in action from the national touring circuit for the past couple of years.  Since he hasn't had an album since his 2010 Michael Jackson tribute he hasn't really had a reason to do a prolonged tour.  (That will change in August with the release of his new album, Gone Away Backward.)  That doesn't mean, however, he's been sitting at home doing nothing but collecting royalty checks for cover versions of "Let's Kill Saturday Night."  He has created a tradition of playing Monday nights at a tiny Chicago club called the Hideout, where he alternates between playing solo, with his band, and with friends like Stiernberg (who got to know Fulks through the bluegrass band the Special Consensus).  Occasionally his wife or kids will show up and perform with him, and the theme nights are a twisted delight (such as a recent show that had Leonard Cohen lyrics performed to the tune of Lynyrd Skynyrd songs, and vice versa).

Stiernberg is a renown jazz mandolinist who is good enough to have played mandolin in a quartet with Jethro Burns in the mid-1980's (and if Jethro thought he was good then you know how great he truly is).  He took time out from mixing his latest album to join Fulks for an hour and a half of incredible music.  

There simply aren't adequate words to describe Robbie Fulks' guitar work.  He delighted the crowd with his exceptional flatpicking as he and Stiernberg leisurely strolled and laughed their way through seventeen songs.  At one point Stiernberg half-heartedly apologized for the informality by telling the audience, "If we get too slick for you..."

"Leave the room," Fulks finished.

No way would anyone in their right minds walk out on this.  The two took turns at lead vocals, with Don opening on the Bob Wills song "Brain Cloudy Blues" (which later covers named "Milk Cow Blues"). In fact, most of the evening's selections were covers.  Only two Fulks originals (three if you count Fulks jokingly singing just the title of his most notorious song, the one about telling Music City to do something anatomically impossible), "Can't Win for Losing You" and the spectacular "Where There's a Road" (which Stiernberg hailed as a "modern classic for bluegrass and newgrass" thanks to Sam Bush's 2006 cover) made the show. That was no problem.  Fulks is a walking jukebox/encyclopedia of country and bluegrass history, and delightful covers of Merle Watson's "Southbound," Jim & Jesse's "Are You Missing Me," George Jones' "The Window Up Above," and Jimmy Martin's "Rock Hearts" highlighted the evening.  Stiernberg sang lead on "Body and Soul," which he quickly pointed out was the Bill Monroe song, "Lest you think I'm going to turn into Mel Tormé."

Soon Fulks will be back on tour with his band and Stiernberg will be promoting his new album (he already has a show scheduled for April 20th in Chicago with his trio).  This was merely a time for two musical buddies and a few friends in the audience to get together and enjoy one another's company.  

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Hall of Fame Class of 2013

Category:  News

The new Country Music Hall of Fame inductees were announced this morning at a press conference inside the rotunda at the Hall of Fame.  Host Bill Anderson welcomed the three newest inductees:

Kenny Rogers (modern era):  far more pop than country; however, his crossover success dating back to the 1960s and his days in Kenny Rogers & the First Edition, with their cover of the Mel Tillis song "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town," assured he would eventually be inducted.

Bobby Bare (veterans era):  from his 1959 "Bill Parsons" hit "All-American Boy" through a long string of hits, both serious ("Detroit City") and comical ("Marie Laveau"), Bare's career needs no addition to pad his résumé.  His induction is long overdue.

Cowboy Jack Clement (non-performer category):  given that Clement wrote such classics as "Guess Things Happen That Way" and "Ballad of a Teenage Queen" for Johnny Cash and "I Know One" for Jim Reeves it's hard to believe he was not inducted as a songwriter.  His overall career, which includes his studio savvy that dates to his work with Sam Phillips at Sun Records and his career assistance with the likes of people like Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis, earned him his spot.  For whatever reason they decided to induct him, it's a good induction.

Congratulations to the newest members of the Hall of Fame.