Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Dates of Note in Country Music, April 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[s] enshrined.  CM=Country Music; BG=Bluegrass; NS=Nashville Songwriter SG=Southern Gospel; StG=Steel Guitar; RR=country performer also in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

April 1:

Jim Ed Brown (CM 15) born in Sparkman, Arkansas, 1934 (now 81).  As an early birthday present Jim Ed was one of the inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame's "class of 2015."
Jules Verne Allen born in Waxahachie, Texas, 1883 (died 1945)
Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith born in Clinton, South Carolina, 1921 (died 2014)
Jimmy Logsdon born in Panther, Kentucky, 1922 (died 2001)
Paul Cohen (CM 76) 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, 1938 (now 77)
Sonny Throckmorton (NS 87) born in Carlsbad, New Mexico, 1941 (now 74)
Emmylou Harris (CM 08) born in Birmingham, Alabama, 1947 (now 68)
Dean Townson of Pirates of the Mississippi born in Battle Creek, Michigan, 1959 (now 56)
Billy Dean born in Quincy, Florida, 1962 (now 53)
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 73)
Richard Thompson born in Notting Hill, London, 1949 (now 66).  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 65)
Hank Newman of the Georgia Crackers born in Cochran, Georgia, 1905 (died 1978)
Don Gibson (CM 01, NS 73) 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.
David Keli'i (StG 90) died in Honolulu, Hawaii (unknown cause), 1983 (was 68)
Harley "Red" Allen (BG 05) died in Dayton, Ohio (cancer), 1993 (was 63)
Starday Records owner Don Pierce died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 2005 (was 89)
Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith died in Charlotte, North Carolina (natural causes), 2014 (was 93)
Louisiana Hayride debuted on KWKH, Shreveport, Louisiana, 1948. Among the artists who performed on the radio show were Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, Claude King, Johnny Horton, and one-time emcee Jim Reeves.

April 4:

Norro Wilson (NS 96) born in Scottsville, Kentucky, 1938 (now 77)
Steve Gatlin of the Gatlin Brothers born in Olney, Texas, 1951 (now 63)
Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry born in Lexington, Kentucky, 1967 (now 48)
Cy Coben (ne Cohen)  born in Jersey City, New Jersey, 1919 (died 2006)
Red Sovine died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack while driving), 1980 (was 61)

April 5:

Bill Clifton (BG 08) (ne William August Marburg) born in Riverwood, Maryland, 1931 (now 84). In addition to being a bluegrass performer, Clifton is also credited with starting the bluegrass festival, when he organized a July 4, 1961 show in Luray, Virginia.
June Stearns born in Alpha, Kentucky, 1939 (now 76)
Tommy Cash born in Dyess, Arkansas, 1940 (now 75)
Bob McDill (NS 85) born in Beaumont, Texas, 1944 (now 71)
Pat Green born in San Antonio, Texas, 1972 (now 42)

Lewis Phillips of the Lewis Family (BG 06) born in Washington, GA, 1972 (now 43)
Laura Rogers of the Secret Sisters born in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, 1986 (now 29)
Jack Clement (CM 13, NS 73) born in Whitehaven, Tennessee, 1931 (died 2013)
Charlie Collins of Roy Acuff's Smoky Mountain Boys born in 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 (CM 94, NS 77) born in Bakersfield, California, 1937 (now 78) 
Vernon Dalhart (CM 81, NS 70) (ne Marion Try Slaughter) born in Marion County, Texas, 1883 (died 1948)
Dick Kaihue McIntire (StG 82) born in Honolulu, Hawaii, 1902 (died 1951)
Wade Ray born in Griffin, Indiana, 1913 (died 1998)
Tammy Wynette (CM 98, NS 09) 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:

Bobby Bare (CM 13) born in Ironton, Ohio, 1935 (now 80)
John Dittrich of Restless Heart born in New York, New York, 1951 (now 64)
Leon "Pappy" Selph born in Houston, Texas, 1914 (died 1999)
Cal Smith born in Gans, Oklahoma, 1932 (died 2013)
Clyde Moody died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 1989 (was 73)
Henry Glover died in St. Albans, New York (heart attack), 1991 (was 69)
Jeff Newman (StG 99) died in Watertown, Tennessee (plane crash), 2004 (was 62)
George Shuffler (BG 11) died in Valdese, North Carolina (long illness), 2014 (was 88)

April 8:

John Schneider born in Mount Kisco, New York, 1960 (now 55)
Jimmy Osborne born in Winchester, Kentucky, 1923 (died 1957)

April 9:

Margo Smith born in Dayton, Ohio, 1942 (now 73)
Con Hunley born in Fountain City, Tennessee, 1945 (now 70)
Hal Ketchum born in Greenwich, New York, 1953 (now 62)
Mark Roberts of the Red Clay Ramblers born in Wareham, Massachusetts, 1957 (now 58)
Dave Innis of Restless Heart born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, 1959 (now 56)
Carl Perkins (NS 85, RR 87) 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:

DeWitt Scott (StG 92) born in Amarillo, Texas, 1932 (now 83)
Fiddlin' Arthur Smith born in Bold Spring, Tennessee, 1898 (died 1971)
Sheb Wooley born in Enick, Oklahoma, 1921 (died 2003)
Weldon Myrick (StG 97) born in Jayton, Texas, 1938 (died 2014)
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.  In 2010 the Gatlin Brothers referenced the fire in a song titled "Johnny Cash is Dead and His House Burned Down."

April 11:

Jim Lauderdale born in Troutman, North Carolina, 1957 (now 58)
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)
George Shuffler (BG 11) born in Valdese, North Carolina, 1925 (died 2014)
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 (StG 78) died in Honolulu, Hawaii (complications of Parkinson's disease), 2005 (was 85)

April 12:

Ned Miller born in Raines, Utah, 1925 (now 90)
Ron Elliott (Steel Guitar 09) born in Salisbury, Maryland, 1936 (now 79)
Vince Gill (CM 07, NS 05) born in Norman, Oklahoma, 1957 (now 58)
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 63)
Bob Nolan (CM 80, NS 71) 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 (CM 88, NS 83) born in Butcher Holler, Kentucky, 1932 (now 83)
Stuart Duncan of the Nashville Bluegrass Band born in Quantico, Virginia, 1964 (now 51)
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 (CM 09) born in Meherrin, Virginia, 1933 (now 82)
J.L. Frank (CM 67) 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). Kitsinger was the historian and writer for CMT's Opry Backstage.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Midnite Jamboree Suspended and Music Valley Drive ET Record Store Closes

Category:  News 

Now the Opry is gone
And the streets are bare
Ernest Tubb's Record Shop is dark 

In 1972 John Hartford wrote those words as the chorus to his song "Nobody Eats At Linebaugh's Anymore," a track from his album Morning Bugle.  When he released the song the Grand Ole Opry was still nearly two years away from moving from the Ryman Auditorium to the Grand Ole Opry House on the Opryland Theme Park grounds, yet he wrote, "Somewhere in the suburbs the Opry plays tonight, but the people come around to take the rides."  

Oh, what a prophet Hartford turned out to be.

Today longtime country music fans were hit with a double whammy.  The Midnite Jamboree, the legendary post-Opry radio show that Ernest Tubb began in 1947 shortly after opening his record store, has suspended all broadcasts, including the archival shows that had been running.  "We hope to be back in May or June 2015," the message on the wall of the Ernest Tubb Record Shop says regarding the program.  The radio show is behind in payments to WSM for carrying the show, according to the story on Saving Country Music's web site.

When (IF) it returns, it will be held somewhere else.  The Music Valley Drive location of the Ernest Tubb Record Shop has been closed.  That store, the largest of the stores, housed the Texas Troubadour Theater (where the Midnite Jamboree was held) as well as a bronze statue of Ernest Tubb (with his legendary "thanks" on the back of his guitar) and the last Tubb tour bus, the "Green Hornet."  Memorabilia from other country stars, all friends of Tubb's (who hardly ever met a stranger), was also located there.

Glenn Douglas Tubb, the singer/songwriter nephew of the man who founded the record store in 1947 because fans continually told ET they couldn't find his records (hillbilly records weren't en vogue then), says there's three things causing the problem.  First, the easy accessibility to downloads.  The Music Valley Drive store has scant traffic anymore because fewer and fewer people are going to the Opry (the one-time program that ran from 6:30 till midnight [central time] every Saturday night but is now less than two hours long), and those who do stop by the store are merely browsing, not buying.  As I said last month in my "sick call" post, very few people will pay $16.98 for an album when they can download it off iTunes for $12.

Secondly, the lack of interest by modern singers.  The last "new" singer I heard on the Midnite Jamboree was Teea Goans (and as a quick aside, you must hear this lady sing, as she is a wonderfully talented traditional artist).  Most of the newer singers wouldn't go near that place because they would be expected to have some resemblance of "country music" in their sound (and knowing who Ernest Tubb and Jimmie Rodgers [Tubb's idol and the first recorded song traditionally played on the show] were is also a requirement).

Finally, the money has become too big an issue.  The space on Music Valley Drive is rented, and when the store isn't getting more than 20 or 30 customers (many of whom don't buy anything because there's no non-country music there) a day, it's not economically feasible to stay open.  Between paying the announcers, the employees to work until 2 AM, a sound and technical crew, and songwriter royalty fees to the publishers, plus owing money to WSM for the show, it cost an estimated $2,200-$2,500 per show...money that was simply not being recovered by product sales at the store before and after the show.

The unspoken fourth problem is the fact that Nashville has shut its doors to traditional country music, preferring modern music that sounds more like a Bon Jovi song than a Mel Tillis tune.  The overwhelming majority of fans who listen to that are not interested in what country music sounds like (I would say "sounded," past tense, like; however, there are way too many neo-traditionalists out there who still sound country to say that real country music sounds are a thing of the past), and therefore they aren't going to the Texas Troubadour Theater to see someone like Stonewall Jackson or the Oak Ridge Boys on a Saturday night show, even if it's free.

One other thing must be said.  If the apathy among modern country fans who come to Nashville with no interest in the traditions of country music and the rejected traditional fans who have been driven away from Nashville to Branson (and now, more likely, to the Smokies or to Austin, Texas) to find their real country music can combine to shut down a 77-year-old record store and its signature radio show (also 77 years old), can the 89-year-old Grand Ole Opry be kept on its life support system much longer?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

All The Chapel Bells Are Ringing!

Category:  News

It is with unspeakable joy that I announce the 2015 Country Music Hall of Fame inductees.

OAK RIDGE BOYS (Modern era):  The quartet's induction is another case of the road to the Hall of Fame running through Knoxville.  Wally Fowler formed a group, Wally Fowler and the Georgia Clodhoppers, that appeared on the WNOX Midday Merry-Go-Round in the early 1940's (their backing musicians included a young Chester Atkins).  A splinter group, the Harmony Quartet, frequently performed in the highly-secretive area around the Oak Ridge nuclear facility, prompting Folwer to rename his group the Oak Ridge Quartet.  The Quartet focused solely on gospel music until the early 1970's, when the current line-up -- William Lee Golden (joined in 1965), Duane Allen (joined 1966), Richard Sterban (joined 1972), and Joe Bonsall (joined 1973) -- began performing country music primarily.  The hits began soon afterward:  "Y'all Come Back Saloon," "Sail Away," "Dream On," "Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight," "Ozark Mountain Jubilee," and the massive crossover hit, "Elvira."

THE BROWNS (Veterans era):  Jim Edward Brown began singing with his sister Maxine.  Once Bonnie graduated from high school she joined her siblings.  Despite Jim Ed's stint in the Army the trio quickly generated a list of hits, including their own composition, "Lookin' Back to See," and the Ira & Charlie Louvin-penned "I Take the Chance."  In 1959 the Browns hit the top spot on the country and pop charts with "The Three Bells," a song that became their signature tune and earned them a Grammy nomination.  The trio continued to perform until Bonnie and Maxine retired in the mid-60's to spend more time with their children.  Jim Ed went on to a solo career with songs such as "Pop A Top," "Morning," and "Angel's Sunday," as well as duet hits with Helen Cornelius on such tunes as "I Don't Want to Have to Marry You" and "Fools."
L-R: Jim Ed, Bonnie, and Maxine Brown signing
autographs after the Midnite Jamboree, 2009.
c. 2015 K.F. Raizor

GRADY MARTIN (Musician [rotating category]):  Part of the famed "A Team" of Nashville studio musicians, Grady Martin (1929-2001) left his mark on country music with his guitar work on countless songs.  He could tell a story with his playing (such as his work on Marty Robbins' "El Paso") or perform subtly (on Ray Price's "For the Good Times").  He unintentionally created a new sound when a short in his guitar amplifier caused his guitar solo on Robbins' "Don't Worry" to come out distorted.  Martin played with everyone from Bing Crosby to Burl Ives to Roy Orbison to Joan Baez, leaving his indelible mark on guitar work along the way.

To the class of 2015, especially Jim Ed, Maxine, and Bonnie, I send my heartfelt congratulations on this crowning achievement of your career in country music!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Please Help Me, I'm Falling

Category:  News/Obituary 

Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer Don Robertson has died.

Robertson, the man behind such megahits as "I Don't Hurt Anymore," Born to Be With You," and "Please Help Me, I'm Falling" died on March 16 in southern California.

Born in China while his father was a professor at Peking Union College, Robertson grew up in Chicago.  He learned piano from his mother and invented the so-called "slip-note" style of playing that Floyd Cramer later made world famous.  

Although Robertson only had one major hit under his own name -- 1956's "The Happy Whistler" -- he was responsible for countless country classics.  Among the songs he wrote or co-wrote:  "Condemned Without Trial" (Eddy Arnold), "Born to Be With You" (Sonny James [also a pop hit for the Chordettes]), "Does My Ring Hurt Your Finger" (Charley Pride), and "You're Free to Go" (Carl Smith).

Then there was "Please Help Me, I'm Falling," the massive hit for Hank Locklin from 1960.  The song ended up being the number one song of the year on Billboard magazine's country charts, staying at #1 for fourteen weeks.  It also spawned an answer song (Skeeter Davis' "[I Can't Help You] I'm Falling Too") and a parody (provided by Homer and Jethro).

In addition to his country compositions, Robertson was the piano player behind "Gomer," the piano-playing bear at Disney Land's "Country Bear Jamboree" program.

The great Don Robertson was 92.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Annual Hall of Fame Plea

CATEGORY:  News/Opinion 

The Country Music Hall of Fame "class of 2015" will be announced this coming Wednesday (3/25).  The people who are being inducted probably already know to be at the ceremonies at the Hall of Fame, but here's my annual wish list.

VETERANS:  If you read this blog with any regularity, you know the Wilburn Brothers are at the top of the list.  Additionally, the long list of overlooked superstars from years past in country music include the Maddox Brothers and Rose (I would hope to see them inducted this year because [a] Don Maddox, the only surviving member of the 40's west coast superstar band, is 93 and not getting any younger, and [b] to celebrate the Bakersfield sound, the exhibit for which just recently closed at the Hall of Fame), Al Dexter (the man whose popularity with "Pistol Packin' Mama" in 1943 necessitated the advent of the Billboard country music charts), Elton Britt (recipient of country's first gold record, for "There's a Star-Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere" in 1942), Archie Campbell (songwriter and star of Hee Haw for decades as well as the show's principal writer), the Browns, Hank Locklin (two major crossover artists from the late 50's), Ray Stevens, Jerry Reed (two names that are instantly familiar to people who know very little about country music), and Dottie West (country's first female Grammy winner).  Two long-deceased stars, Cowboy Copas and Johnny Horton, are also on the "deserving" list.  Please, CMA, NO curve balls like last year's surprising induction of bluegrass legend Mac Wiseman.

MODERN:  the list of people who deserve induction from the modern era is short and sweet.  Alan Jackson.  Randy Travis.  Ricky Skaggs.  That's about it.  I would add the Oak Ridge Boys to the list as well.  Part of me would like to see Rosanne Cash inducted just so her next Grammy Awards could be presented on-air.  (Her three awards this year were presented off-camera in the "pre-televised" ceremonies.)

ROTATING CATEGORY (MUSICIAN):  the musician is the category to be awarded this year in the rotating category (non-performer, songwriter, musician).  Look for another member of the famed "A" team to make it.  My hope would be Bob Moore, who, in addition to all those sessions he played on, had his own hit in the early 1960's with "Mexico."  Moore's "A-team" partner, Buddy Harman, the most recorded drummer in history thanks to all the sessions he played on throughout his life, is another good candidate.  My "left field" choice would be Buck Owens' right-hand man, "Dangerous" Don Rich, who played guitar and fiddle for the Buckaroos.

The announcement be carried live and streamed over the Hall of Fame's web site.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Dates of Note in Country Music, March 16-31

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; StG=Steel Guitar; RR=country performer also inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.)

March 16:

Ray Walker of the Jordanaires (CM 01) born in Centerville, Mississippi, 1934 (now 81)
Jerry Jeff Walker (ne Ronald Clyde Crosby) born in Oneonta, New York, 1942 (now 73)
Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1951 (now 64)
Tim O'Brien born in Wheeling, West Virginia, 1954 (now 61)
Stan Thorn of Shenandoah born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, 1959 (now 56)
Ronnie McCoury born in York County, Pennsylvania, 1967 (now 48)
Robert Whitstein born in Colfax, Louisiana, 1944 (died 2001)

Carlton Haney (BG 98) died in Greensboro, North Carolina (stroke), 2011 (was 82)
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 (NS 06) born in Pontotoc, Mississippi, 1943 (now 72)
Paul Overstreet (NS 03) born in Newton, Mississippi, 1955 (now 60)
Dick Curless born in Fort Fairfield, Maine, 1932 (died 1995)
Hugh Farr (CM 80) 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 (CM 02) died in Nashville, Tennessee (natural causes), 2003 (was 94)

Ferlin Husky (CM 10) died in Nashville, Tennessee (congestive heart failure/colon cancer), 2011 (was 85)

March 18:

Billy Armstrong born in Streator, Illinois, 1930 (now 85)
Charley Pride (CM 00) born in Sledge, Mississippi, 1938 (now 77)
Margie Bowes born in Roxboro, North Carolina, 1941 (now 74)
James McMurty born in Fort Worth, Texas, 1962 (now 53)
Smiley Burnette (NS 71) born in Summum, Illinois, 1911 (died 1967)

Dennis Linde (NS 05) born in Abilene, Texas, 1943 (died 2006)
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 78)
Douglas B. Green (Ranger Doug) of Riders in the Sky born in Great Lakes, Illinois, 1946 (now 69)
Jim Seales of Shenandoah born in Hamilton, Alabama, 1954 (now 61)

Jerry Reed (NS 05) born in Atlanta, Georgia, 1937 (died 2008)
Ralph Mooney (Steel Guitar 83) died in Kennedale, Texas (kidney cancer), 2011 (was 82)

March 21:

Carol Lee Cooper born in West Virginia, 1942 (now 73)
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)

Bobby Garrett (Steel Guitar 95) born in Dallas, Texas, 1935 (died 1999)
Uncle Dave Macon (CM 66) 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 70)
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 (BG 06) of the Lewis Family died in Lincoln County, Georgia (natural causes), 2004 (was 98)
Cindy Walker (CM 97, NS 70) died in Mexia, Texas (natural causes), 2006 (was 88)

March 24:

Peggy Sue Webb born in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, 1947 (now 68)
Carson Robison (NS 71) 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)

Maggie Cavender (NS 89) died in Nashville, Tennessee (stroke), 1996 (was 77)
Henson Cargill died in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (complications from surgery), 2007 (was 66)

March 25:

Bonnie Guitar born in Seattle, Washington, 1923 (now 92)
Robbie Fulks born in York, Pennsylvania, 1963 (now 52)

Shad Cobb born in Hazel Dale, Washington, 1973 (now 42)
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 (CM 96, NS 96) died in Bakersfield, California (heart attack), 2006 (was 76)

March 26:

Bud Isaacs (StG 84) born in Bedford, Indiana, 1928 (now 87)

John Starling of the Seldom Scene (BG 14) born in Durham, North Carolina, 1940 (now 75)
Vicki Lawrence born in Inglewood, California, 1949 (now 66). 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 65)
Michael Bonagura of Baillie & the Boys born in Newark, New Jersey, 1953 (now 62)
Dean Dillon (NS 02) born in Lake City, Tennessee, 1955 (now 59)
Charly McClain born in Jackson, Tennessee, 1956 (now 58)
Julian Tharpe (Steel Guitar 08) born in Skipperville, Alabama, 1937 (died 1994)

March 27:

Don Warden (StG 08) born in Mountain Grove, Missouri, 1929 (now 86)

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 (BG 09) of the Dillards born in Independence, Missouri, 1937 (now 78)
Charlie McCoy (CM 09) born in Oak Hill, West Virginia, 1941 (now 74)
Reba McEntire (CM 11) born in Chockie, Oklahoma, 1955 (now 60)

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.
W.C. Handy (NS 83) died in New York, New York (bronchial pneumonia), 1958 (was 84)
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)

Earl Scruggs (CM 85, BG 91, NS 07) died in Nashville, Tennessee (natural causes), 2012 (was 88)

March 29:

Paul Humphrey (BG 09) of the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers born in Wytheville, Virginia, 1935 (now 80)

Brady Seals of Little Texas born in Hamilton, Ohio, 1969 (now 46)
Moon Mullican (NS 76) born in Corrigan, Texas, 1909 (died 1967)
Jerry Byrd (StG 78) 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 73)
Connie Cato born in Carlinville, Illinois, 1955 (now 60)

March 31:

John D. Loudermilk (NS 76) born in Durham, North Carolina, 1934 (now 81)
Greg Martin of the Kentucky Headhunters born in Louisville, Kentucky, 1954 (now 61)

Phil Leadbetter born in Knoxville, Tennessee, 1962 (now 53)
Howdy Forrester born in Vernon, Tennessee, 1922 (died 1987)
Tommy Jackson born in Birmingham, Alabama, 1926 (died 1979)

Hoyt Hawkins (CM 01) of the Jordanaires born in Paducah, Kentucky, 1927 (died 1982)
William O. "Lefty" Frizzell (CM 82, NS 72) 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 (BG 07) died in Greer, South Carolina (complications from heart bypass surgery), 1995 (was 78)
Mel McDaniel died in Hendersonville, Tennessee (lung cancer), 2011 (was 68)

Monday, March 09, 2015

Darling, You Know He Wouldn't Lie

Category:  Obituary

Nashville Songwriter Hall of Famer Wayne Kemp has died.

Kemp passed away today (3/9) in Lafayette, Tennessee, northeast of Nashville.  He had been suffering from various ailments, including kidney disease.

Wayne Kemp had a modest career as a singer.  His biggest charted hit was 1973's "Honky Tonk Wine," which peaked at #17 on the Billboard country charts. 

As a songwriter, however, Kemp made numerous trips to the top of the country charts.  His song "The Love Bug" was a 1965 hit for George Jones (and later it was covered by George Strait).  From there the Kemp-penned hits were all over country radio:  "One Piece At a Time" (Johnny Cash), "Feelin' Single, Seein' Double" (Emmylou Harris), "Next In Line," "The Image of Me," and "Darling, You Know I Wouldn't Lie" (Conway Twitty), "I'm the Only Hell (Mama Ever Raised)" (Johnny Paycheck), and another song for George Strait, "The Fireman." 

Kemp was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1979 based on the substantial body of hits he had amassed until that time.  People continue to record his songs, however, and not just country acts:  Elvis Costello covered "Darling, You Know I Wouldn't Lie" on his Almost Blue album.

Wayne Kemp was 74.