Friday, June 29, 2018

Dates of Note in Country Music, July 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; DJ=Disc Jockey; NS=Nashville Songwriter; SG=Southern Gospel; STG=Steel Guitar; RR=country act inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

July 1:

John Lair born in Livingston, Kentucky, 1894 (died 1985). Lair, a one-time announcer on the WLS National Barn Dance, founded the Renfro Valley Barn Dance in 1937.
Thomas A. Dorsey (NS 79) born in Villa Rica, Georgia, 1899 (died 1993)
Alvino Ray (StG 78) born in Oakland, California, 1908 (died 2004)
Charles "Everett" Lilly (BG 02) born in Clear Creek, West Virginia, 1924 (died 2012)
Keith Whitley born in Sandy Hook, Kentucky, 1955 (died 1989)
Charles Carr died in Montgomery, Alabama (brief illness), 2013 (was 79).  As a 19-year-old college student, Carr was Hank Williams' chauffeur on the fateful trip from Alabama to Akron, Ohio New Year's Eve 1952. 
Red Lane (NS 93) died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 2015 (was 76)

July 2:

Ken Curtis (one-time member of Sons of the Pioneers as well as Gunsmoke actor) born in Lamar, Colorado, 1916 (died 1991)
Fred Maddox of the Maddox Brothers born in Boaz, Alabama, 1919 (died 1992)
Marvin Rainwater born in Wichita, Kansas, 1925 (died 2013)
DeFord Bailey (CM 05) died in Nashville, Tennessee (kidney and heart failure), 1982 (was 82)
Elwood Goins of the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers (BG 09) died in Pikeville, Kentucky (long-term illness), 2007 (was 71)
Ralph Rinzler (BG 12) died in Washington, DC (long-term illness), 1994 (was 59)
Jim Reeves' final RCA recording session, 1964

July 3:

Johnny Lee born in Texas City, Texas, 1946 (now 72)
Aaron Tippin born in Pensacola, Florida, 1958 (now 60)
Johnny Russell (NS 01) died in Nashville, Tennessee (complications of diabetes), 2001 (was 61)
Homer L. "Boots" Randolph died in Nashville, Tennessee (subdural hematoma), 2007 (was 80)

July 4:

Ray Pillow born in Lynchburg, Virginia, 1937 (now 81)
Peter Rowan born in Boston, Massachusetts, 1942 (now 76)
Stephen Collins Foster (NS 10) born in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania, 1826 (died 1864)
Charlie Monroe born in Rosine, Kentucky, 1903 (died 1975)
Marion Worth born in Birmingham, Alabama, 1930 (died 1999)
Bill Vernon (BG 04) born in New York, New York, 1937 (died 1996)
Big Al Downing died in Leicester, Massachusetts (leukemia), 2005 (was 65)

July 5:

James "Guy" Willis of the Willis Brothers born in Alex, Arkansas, 1915 (died 1981)
Mitch Jayne (BG 09) born in Hammond, Indiana, 1928 (died 2010)
The Grand Ole Opry's first show at the War Memorial Auditorium, 1939

July 6:

Jeannie Seely born in Titusville, Pennsylvania, 1940 (now 78)
Nancy Griffith born in Austin, Texas, 1953 (now 65)
Justin Trevino born in Brownsville, Texas, 1973 (now 45)
Roy Rogers (CM 80; CM 88) died in Apple Valley, California (heart failure), 1998 (was 86)

July 7:

Randy Goodrum (NS 00) born in Hot Springs, Arkansas, 1947 (now 71)
John "Lonzo" Sullivan born in Edmonton, Kentucky, 1917 (died 1967)
Charlie Louvin (CM 01, NS 79) born in Section, Alabama, 1927 (died 2011)
Wallace Lewis of the Lewis Family (BG 06) born in Lincolnton, Georgia, 1928 (died 2007)
Doyle Wilburn born in Hardy, Arkansas, 1930 (died 1982)
George Morgan (CM 98) died in Nashville, Tennessee (complications of heart bypass surgery), 1975 (was 50)
Bill Porter died in St. Louis, Missouri (Alzheimer's disease), 2011 (was 79)
Lois Johnson died in Nashville, Tennessee (long illness), 2014 (was 72)

July 8:

Alice Gerrard (BG 17) born in Seattle, Washington, 1934 (now 84)
Toby Keith born in Clinton, Oklahoma, 1961 (now 57)
Louis Jordan (a jazz artist who had two country #1 hits in 1944) born in Brinkley, Arkansas, 1908 (died 1975)
Ervin Rouse died (complications from diabetes), 1981 (was 64)
Kenny Baker (BG 99) died in Gallatin, Tennessee (stroke), 2011 (was 85)
Marty Stuart married Connie Smith, 1997

July 9:

Jesse McReynolds (BG 93) born in Coeburn, Virginia, 1929 (now 89)
David Ball born in Rock Hill, South Carolina, 1953 (now 65)
Eddie Dean born in Posey, Texas, 1907 (died 1999)
Molly O'Day born in Pike County, Kentucky, 1923 (died 1987)
Jim Fogelsong (CM 04) died in Nashville, Tennessee (natural causes), 2013 (was 90)
The Country Music Association announced the largest Country Music Hall of Fame induction class ever -- a total of 12 inductees (Bill Anderson, Delmore Brothers, Everly Brothers, Don Gibson, Homer & Jethro, Waylon Jennings, Jordanaires, Don Law, Louvin Brothers, Ken Nelson, Webb Pierce, and Sam Phillips) -- to coincide with the opening of the new Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, 2001

July 10:

Randall E. "Hawk" Shaw Wilson of BR5-49 born in Topeka, Kansas, 1960 (now 58)

July 11:

Jeff Hanna of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band born in Detroit, Michigan, 1947 (now 71)
Eddie Cline of the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers (BG 09) died in Gilbert Creek, West Virginia (unknown cause), 1984 (was 77)

July 12:

Steve Young born in Newman, Georgia, 1942 (died 2016)
Jimmie Driftwood died in Fayetteville, Arkansas (heart attack), 1998 (was 91)

July 13:

Louise Mandrell of the Mandrell Sisters born in Corpus Christi, Texas, 1954 (now 64)
Rhonda Vincent born in Kirksville, Missouri, 1962 (now 56)
Bradley Kincaid (NS 71) born in Level, Kentucky, 1895 (died 1989)
Tim Spencer (CM 80, NS 71) born in Webb City, Missouri, 1908 (died 1974)
Riley Puckett died in East Point, Georgia (blood poisoning), 1946 (was 62)
Kayton Roberts (StG 12) died in White House, Tennessee (stroke), 2017 (was 83)

July 14:

Rory Michael Brook (NS 89) born in Cleveland, Ohio, 1942 (now 76)
William J. "Billy" Hill (NS 82) born in Boston, Massachusetts, 1899 (died 1940)
Woody Guthrie (NS 77) born in Okemah, Oklahoma, 1912 (died 1967)
Marijohn Wilkin (NS 75) born in Kemp, Texas, 1920 (died 2006)
Del Reeves born in Sparta, North Carolina, 1933 (died 2007)

July 15:

Linda Ronstadt born in Tucson, Arizona, 1946 (now 72)
Mac McAnally (NS 07) born in Red Bay, Alabama, 1957 (now 61)
Lloyd "Cowboy" Copas born in Adams County, Ohio, 1913 (died 1963)
Johnny Seay born in Gulfport, Mississippi, 1940 (died 2016)
Hank Cochran (CM 14, NS 74) died in Nashville, Tennessee (pancreatic cancer), 2010 (was 74)

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Buckaroo Jerry Wiggins Dies

Category: News/Obituary

Jerry Wiggins, the second drummer in the famed Buckaroos, has died.

Wiggins died yesterday (6-26).  Posts on his Facebook wall from late last week requested prayers because he was "not doing good."

Jerry Wiggins came to the Buckaroos in 1967, replacing Willie Cantu.  He arrived just in time for the debut of Hee Haw, which debuted on CBS two years later.  Although not an "original" Buckaroo, Wiggins was the backbeat for the band during their heyday of winning countless awards (including four Academy of Country Music [ACM] awards in the "band" category).

In 1971 he married Owens' duet partner, Susan Raye, against the wishes of Owens ("he said it wouldn't work," Raye told a Bakersfield newspaper three years ago).  That was at the height of Hee Haw and Susan's career: with songs like "L.A. International Airport" and her duet with Owens, "Great White Horse," there was little anyone associated with Buck Owens could do wrong.

And then....Jerry Wiggins walked away from the music business.  Raye did as well, earning a Bachelor's degree in psychology and a Master's in education school counseling.

The couple lived generally removed from the trappings of their successful music life after that, with Wiggins operating an appliance repair store (per his Facebook wall) and Susan working in schools as a counselor.  Devoted Christians, they lived their faith throughout the 47 years of their married life.

In addition to Susan Raye Wiggins, who was treated for breast cancer in 2016, Jerry Wiggins is survived by their six children, ten grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren (at last count).

Farewell to Jerry Wiggins.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Dates of Note in Country Music, June 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; DJ=Disc Jockey; NS=Nashville Songwriter; SG=Southern Gospel; StG=Steel Guitar; GLA=Grammy Lifetime Achievement; RR=country act inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)


June 16:

Billy "Crash" Craddock born in Greensboro, North Carolina, 1946 (now 72)
Bob Nolan  (CM 80, NS 71) died in Newport Beach, California (heart attack), 1980 (was 72)
"Orange Blossom Special" recorded by the Rouse Brothers, 1939. Ervin Rouse co-wrote the legendary fiddle tune with Chubby Wise.

June 17:

Clyde "Red" Foley (CM 67) born in Blue Lick, Kentucky, 1910 (died 1968)
Dave Akeman (Stringbean) born in Annville, Kentucky, 1916 (died 1973)

Dolores Dinning Edgin died in Springfield, Tennessee (natural causes), 2015 (was 86)
Minnie Pearl suffered a stroke that ended her career, 1991
Ground breaking ceremonies held for the new Country Music Hall of Fame, 1999. Your blogger was a member of the "All-Guitar Marching Band," fronted by Chet Atkins, that led the Hall of Fame members to the site.

June 18:

Sir Paul McCartney born in Liverpool, England, 1942 (now 76). The legendary Beatle hit the country chart in 1974 with "Sally G." He was also introduced to a Friday Night Opry audience in 1974 by Roy Acuff, where McCartney proclaimed Nashville the "music capital of the universe."
Marty Haggard born in Bakersfield, California, 1958 (now 60)

Zeke Turner born in Lynchburg, Virginia, 1923 (died 2003)
A.P. Carter married Sara Dougherty, 1915

June 19:

Glen Allred of the Florida Boys (SG 01) born in Monroe, Tennessee, 1934 (now 84)

Doug Stone born in Marietta, Georgia, 1956 (now 62)
Howard Dixon of the Dixon Brothers born in Darlington, South Carolina, 1903 (died 1951)
Lester Flatt (CM 85, BG 91, NS 07) born in Sparta, Tennessee, 1914 (died 1979)
Pat Buttram born in Addison, Alabama, 1915 (died 1994)
Bobby Helms died in Martinsville, Indiana (emphysema), 1997 (was 63)

Slim Whitman died in Orange Park, Florida (heart failure), 2013 (was 90)
Chet Flippo died in Nashville, Tennessee (illness), 2013 (was 69)

June 20:

Anne Murray (Canadian Music 93) born in Springhill, Nova Scotia, 1945 (now 73)
Evelyn Mae Cox of the Cox Family born in Springhill, Louisiana, 1959 (now 59)
Jimmie Driftwood (ne James Corbitt Morris) born in Mountain View, Arkansas, 1907 (died 1998)
T. Texas Tyler born in Mena, Arkansas, 1916 (died 1972)

Pauline "Mom" Lewis of the Lewis Family (BG 06) born in Washington, Georgia, 1920 (died 2003)
Chet Atkins (CM 73, RR 02, GLA 93) born in Luttrell, Tennessee, 1924 (died 2001)
Ira Louvin (CM 01, NS 79, GLA 15) died near Williamsburg, Missouri (car wreck), 1965 (was 41)
Benjamin "Whitey" Ford, the "Duke of Paducah" (CM 86), died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 1986 (was 85)

June 21:

Eddie Adcock (BG 96) born in Scottsville, Virginia, 1938 (now 80)
Leon Everette born in Aiken, South Carolina, 1948 (now 70)
Kathy Mattea born in Cross Lanes, West Virginia, 1959 (now 59)
Porter Howell of Little Texas born in Longview, Texas, 1964 (now 54)

Charlie Lamb born in Knoxville, Tennessee, 1921 (died 2012)
Jimmy C. Newman died in Nashville, Tennessee (cancer), 2014 (was 86)

June 22:


Kris Kristofferson (CM 04, NS 77, GLA 14) born in Brownsville, Texas, 1936 (now 82)

Peter Asher born in Williesden, Middlesex, England, 1944 (now 74). The former half of the pop duo Peter and Gordon was the producer of most of Linda Ronstadt's crossover hits.
Roy Drusky born in Atlanta, Georgia, 1930 (died 2004)
Elton Britt died in McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania (heart attack), 1972 (was 58)

June 23:

Dallas Wayne born in Springfield, Missouri, 1956 (now 62)

Zeb Turner born in Lynchburg, Virginia, 1915 (died 1978)
June Carter Cash born in Maces Springs, Virginia, 1929 (died 2003)

Dr. Ralph Stanley (BG 92) died in Coeburn, Virginia (skin cancer), 2016 (was 89)

June 24:

Johnnie Bailes of the Bailes Brothers born in Kanawha County, West Virginia, 1918 (died 1989)
Foy Willing of Riders of the Purple Sage died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 1978 (was 63)
Tim Krekel died in Louisville, Kentucky (stomach cancer), 2009 (was 57)

June 25:

Jenifer Strait, daughter of George Strait, died in San Marcos, Texas (car wreck), 1986 (was 13)
Boudleaux Bryant (CM 91, NS 72) died in Knoxville, Tennessee (cancer), 1987 (was 67)
Lew DeWitt retired from the Statler Brothers because of health issues, 1982
Billboard magazine renames the "Hillbilly" music chart the "Country and Western" chart, 1949

June 26:

Gretchen Wilson born in Granite City, Illinois, 1973 (now 45)

Colonel Tom Parker born in Breda, Netherlands, 1909 (died 1997). Before Elvis, Colonel Tom managed Hank Snow, Eddy Arnold, and Minnie Pearl.
Doc Williams born in Cleveland, Ohio, 1914 (died 2011)
Kenny Baker (BG 99) born in Jenkins, Kentucky, 1926 (died 2011)
Charlie Cline of the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers (BG 09) born in Gilbert Creek, Virginia, 1931 (died 2004)
Vernon Presley died in Memphis, Tennessee (heart failure), 1979 (was 63)
Elvis Presley's final concert, at the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis, 1977

June 27:
Lorrie Morgan born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1959 (now 59)
Elton Britt born in Marshall, Arkansas, 1913 (died 1972)
Rosalie Allen born in Old Forge, Pennsylavania, 1924 (died 2003)
Little Roy Wiggins (StG 85) born in Nashville, Tennessee, 1926 (died 1999)
Joe Maphis died near Los Angeles, California (lung cancer), 1986 (was 65)
Bob Keeshan born in Lynbrook, New York, 1927 (died 2004). The Statler Brothers referenced Keeshan's best-known character in their hit "Flowers on the Wall:" "Smokin' cigarettes and watchin' Captain Kangaroo."

Susanna Clark died in Nashville, Tennessee (illness), 2012 (was 73)

June 28:

George Morgan (CM 98) born in Waverly, Tennessee, 1924 (died 1975)
Bobby Caldwell (StG 10) born in St. Louis, Missouri, 1941 (died 2009)
The WWVA Wheeling Jamboree began, 1940

June 29:

T. Tommy Cutrer (DJ 80) born in Osyka, Mississippi, 1924 (died 1998)
Frank Loesser born in New York City, 1910 (died 1969). The legendary pop songwriter was the first "victim" of a Homer & Jethro parody in 1949, "Baby, It's Cold Outside." After Homer & Jethro recorded seven more parodies of Loesser compositions for an EP (Homer & Jethro Fracture Frank Loesser), Loesser, a fan of the pair, wrote the liner notes.
Rosemary Clooney died in Beverly Hills, California (lung cancer), 2002 (was 74).  The pop singer worked on WLW with many country singers and recorded a cover of the Carl Smith hit "If Teardrops Were Pennies."

June 30:

Dwayne O'Brien of Little Texas born in Ada, Oklahoma, 1963 (now 55)
Doyle Holly born in Perkins, Oklahoma, 1936 (died 2007)
R.W. Blackwood of the Blackwood Brothers Quartet (SG 02) died in Clanton, Alabama (plane crash), 1954 (was 33)
Bill Lyles of the Blackwood Brothers Quartet (SG 02) died in Clanton, Alabama (plane crash), 1954 (was 34)
Chet Atkins (CM 73, RR 02, GLA 93) died in Nashville, Tennessee (brain cancer), 2001 (was 77)


Vacancy in the Heartbreak Hotel

Category: News/Obituary

Sadly, the "Heartbreak Hotel" is now vacant.  DJ Fontana, the last surviving member of Elvis' band in the 1950s, has died.

Born Dominic Joseph Fontana in 1931, Fontana's first work as a drummer came on the legendary Louisiana Hayride.  He met and backed the likes of Faron Young and Webb Pierce there.  

Of course, the Louisiana Hayride is also where a young Elvis Presley first unleashed his rockabilly-style music on the world.  Fontana joined Presley's band, playing drums on the groundbreaking "Heartbreak Hotel."  

Army duty called for Elvis, putting an end to the "official" band that consisted of Fontana, Bill Black, and Scotty Moore.  However, Moore and Fontana continued to work with Elvis throughout the 60s, appearing in movies and on TV specials with him.

Additionally, Fontana was an in-demand session musician.  His web site lists his credits on albums by acts as diverse as Jim Reeves, Ringo Starr, and Cheap Trick.  His talents earned him induction into the Rockabilly and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame.

Farewell to DJ Fontana, who was 87.