Thursday, February 28, 2019

Dates of Note in Country Music, March 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; GLA=Grammy Lifetime Achievement recipient; RR=country act also in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

March 1:

Janis Oliver of Sweethearts of the Rodeo born in Manhattan Beach, California, 1954 (now 65)
Sara Hickman born in Jacksonville, North Carolina, 1963 (now 56)
Clinton Gregory born in Martinsville, Virginia, 1966 (now 53)
Cliffie Stone (CM 89) born in Stockton, California, 1917 (died 1998)
Pearl Butler died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown cause), 1988 (was 61)
RCA Victor debuted a new record format -- the 45 RPM, 1949

Johnny Cash and June Carter Smith Nix married in Franklin, Kentucky, 1968
California governor Ronald Reagan issued a full pardon to Merle Haggard, 1972

March 2:

Larry Stewart born in Paducah, Kentucky, 1959 (now 60)

Doc Watson (BG 00) born in Deep Gap, North Carolina, 1923 (died 2012)
Dottie Rambo (NS 07, SG 97) born in Madisonville, Kentucky, 1934 (died 2008)
Lonnie Glosson died in Searcy, Arkansas (natural causes), 2001 (was 93)

Ronnie Prophet died in Tavares, Florida (multiple organ failure), 2018 (was 80)

March 3:

John Carter Cash born in Madison, Tennessee, 1970 (now 49)
Jimmy Heap born in Taylor, Texas, 1922 (died 1977)
Kyle Bailes died (unknown cause), 1996 (was 80)
Harlan Howard (CM 97, NS 73) died in Nashville, Tennessee (heart attack), 2002 (was 74)
Ernie Ashworth died in Hartsville, Tennessee (heart attack), 2009 (was 80)
Benefit concert for the family of DJ "Cactus" Jack Call held in Kansas City, Missouri, 1963. Among those performing: Roy Acuff, Patsy Cline, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Cowboy Copas, Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper, George Jones, and Billy Walker.

March 4:

Betty Jack Davis born in Corbin, Kentucky, 1932 (died 1953)
John Duffey (BG 96, BG 14) born in Washington, DC, 1934 (died 1996)
Scotty Stoneman died in Nashville, Tennessee (overdose of prescription medication), 1973 (was 40)
Minnie Pearl (CM 75) died in Nashville, Tennessee (complications from stroke), 1996 (was 83)
Eddie Dean died in Los Angeles, California (emphysema), 1999 (was 91)

Joey Feek died in Alexandria, Indiana (cervical cancer), 2016 (was 40)

March 5:

Raymond Fairchild born in Cherokee, North Carolina, 1939 (now 80)

Willis Alan Ramsey born in Birmingham, Alabama, 1951 (now 68)
Jimmy Bryant born in Moultrie, Georgia, 1925 (died 1980)
Patsy Cline (CM 73; GLA 95) died near Camden, Tennessee (plane crash), 1963 (was 30)
Cowboy Copas died 
near Camden, Tennessee (plane crash), 1963 (was 59)
Hawkshaw Hawkins died near Camden, Tennessee (plane crash), 1963 (was 41)
Randy Hughes died near Camden, Tennessee (plane crash), 1963 (was 34). Hughes was Patsy Cline's manager and Cowboy Copas' son-in-law as well as the pilot of the ill-fated plane.
Syd Nathan (BG 06, RR 97) died in Miami, Florida (heart disease/pneumonia), 1968 (was 63). The Cincinnati record store owner founded King Records in 1943, making it the first all-country music record label in history.
Anna Carter Davis (SG 05), original member of the Chuck Wagon Gang and widow of Jimmie Davis, died in Fort Worth, Texas (complications following a fall), 2004 (was 87)
Elvis Presley honorably discharged from the Army, 1960

March 6:

Skip Ewing born in Red Lands, California, 1964 (now 55)

Redd Volkaert born in Vancouver, British Columbia, 1958 (now 61)
Cliff Carlisle born in Mount Eden, Kentucky, 1904 (died 1983)
Bob Wills (CM 68, NS 70, RR 99; GLA 07) born in Turkey, Texas, 1905 (died 1975)
Jean Chapel of the Coon Creek Girls born in Neon, Kentucky, 1925 (died 1995)

Don Stover (BG 02) born in Ameagle, West Virginia, 1928 (died 1996)
Red Simpson born in Higley, Arizona, 1934 (died 2016)
Doug Dillard (BG 09) of the Dillards born in East St. Louis, Missouri, 1937 (died 2012)
Elmer "Buddy" Charleton (StG 93) born in New Market, Virginia, 1938 (died 2011)
George Jones critically injured in single-vehicle accident, 1999
The siege of the Alamo ended, 1836. Davy Crockett, subject of the legendary song, was among those who died during the battle. Johnny Cash would memorialize the fight in his song "Remember the Alamo."

March 7:

Townes Van Zandt
 (NS 16) born in Fort Worth Texas, 1944 (died 1997)
Jack Anglin died in Nashville, Tennessee (car wreck), 1963 (was 46). Anglin was on his way to Patsy Cline's memorial service at the time of his accident.
Pee Wee King (CM 74, NS 70) died in Louisville, Kentucky (heart attack), 2000 (was 86)

Charlie Lamb died in Nashville, Tennessee (pneumonia), 2012 (was 90)
Claude King died in Shreveport, Louisiana (natural causes), 2013 (was 90)

March 8:

Randy Meisner of Poco and the Eagles born in Scotts Bluff, Nebraska, 1946 (now 73)

Jimmy Dormire of Confederate Railroad born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1960 (now 59)
Johnny Dollar born in Kilgore, Texas, 1933 (died 1986)
Jimmy Stoneman of the Stoneman Family born in Washington, DC, 1937 (died 2002)

Stuart Hamblen (NS 70) died in Santa Monica, California (brain tumor), 1989 (was 80)
Hank Locklin died in Brewton, Alabama (natural causes), 2009 (was 90)

March 9:

Mickey Gilley born in Natchez, Mississippi, 1936 (now 83)
Jimmy Fadden of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band born in Long Beach, California, 1948 (now 71)

Jerry Byrd (StG 78) born in Lima, Ohio, 1920 (died 2005)
Ralph Sloan of the Ralph Sloan Dancers born in Wilson County, Tennessee, 1925 (died 1980)

Glen Sherley born in Oklahoma, 1936 (died 1978)
George Burns died in Beverly Hills, California (cardiac arrest), 1996 (was 100). The legendary comedian and actor had a country hit with "I Wish I Was Eighteen Again."
Chris LeDoux died in Casper, Wyoming (bile duct cancer), 2005 (was 56)

Wayne Kemp (NS 99) died in Lafayette, Tennessee (various illnesses), 2015 (was 73)
Ray Griff died in Canada (post-operative pneumonia), 2016 (was 75)
Final Saturday night Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman before the opening of the new Opry House, 1974

March 10:

Ralph Emery (CM 07) born in McEwen, Tennessee, 1933 (now 86)
Norman Blake born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, 1938 (now 81)
Johnnie Allan born in Rayne, Louisiana, 1938 (now 81)
Kenneth "Jethro" Burns (CM 01) born in Conasauga, Tennessee, 1920 (died 1989)
Daryl Singletary born in Wigham, Georgia, 1971 (died 2018)
Soul singer James Brown guested on the Grand Ole Opry at the request of Porter Wagoner, 1979

March 11:

Jimmy Fortune (CM 08) born in Williamsburg, Virginia, 1955 (now 64)
W. Lee "Pappy" O'Daniel of the Light Crust Doughboys born in Malta, Ohio, 1890 (died 1969)
Jim Boyd of the Cowboy Ramblers died (unknown cause), 1993 (was 78)

Don Warden (StG 08) died (natural causes), 2017 (was 87)

March 12:

Marshall Wilborn of the Johnson Mountain Boys and the Lynn Morris Band born in Austin, Texas, 1952 (now 67)
James Taylor born in Belmont, Massachusetts, 1948 (now 71). The legendary pop/folk superstar wrote "Bartender's Blues" and sang with George Jones on Jones' recording of the tune.

Lew DeWitt (CM 08) born in Roanoke, Virginia, 1938 (died 1990)  
Ralph Sloan died in Nashville, Tennessee (unknown illness), 1980 (was 55)

March 13:

Jan Howard born in West Plains, Missouri, 1930 (now 89)

Liz Anderson born in Roseau, Minnesota, 1930 (died 2011) 
Benny Martin (BG 05) died in Nashville, Tennessee (nerve disorder/illness), 2001 (was 72)

Jack Greene died in Nashville, Tennessee (Alzheimer's disease), 2013 (was 83)
Ezra Carter married Maybelle Addington, 1926

March 14:

Michael Martin Murphy born in Oak Cliff, Texas, 1945 (now 74)
Doc Pomus died in New York, New York (lung cancer), 1991 (was 65)
Dale Potter died in Puxaco, Missouri (cancer), 1996 (was 66)
Tommy Collins (NS 99) died in Ashland City, Tennessee (emphysema), 2000 (was 69)

Bill Bolick of the Blue Sky Boys died in Hickory, North Carolina (natural causes), 2008 (was 90)

March 15:

Wayland Holyfield (NS 92) born in Malletttown, Arkansas, 1942 (now 77)
Gunilla Hutton of Hee Haw born in Goteborg, Sweden, 1946 (now 73)
Ry Cooder born in Los Angeles, California, 1947 (now 72)
Carl Smith (CM 03) born in Maynardville, Tennessee, 1927 (died 2010)
D.J. Fontana born in Shreveport, Louisiana, 1931 (died 2018)
The final performance of the Friday Night Opry at the Ryman, 1974. The final song was the Opry cast singing "Will the Circle Be Unbroken."

Sunday, February 24, 2019

'Tis Sweet to Be Remembered

Category: News/Obituary

In less than two months the Country Music Hall of Fame has lost its fourth member.  Mac Wiseman, the legendary singer, dubbed "Voice With a Heart," died Sunday (2/24).  He had been suffering from kidney failure in the last weeks of his life.

Malcom Bell Wiseman was born in 1925 in Virginia.  Stricken with polio as a child, he learned to play guitar, and music became his primary interest.  His first appearance on record came as the bass player on Molly O'Day's classic "The Tramp on the Street" in 1946.

Wiseman also worked in radio, where he would sing and play records.  Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs heard him on the radio and asked him to join their band.  From there he later became a member of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys before striking out on his own in 1951.

Although usually considered "bluegrass" Wiseman had a number of songs on the singles chart.  His highest charting song was the classic "Jimmy Brown the Newsboy," although he also had a top 40 country hit with the novelty Cy Coben-penned song "Johnny's Cash and Charley's Pride" (with lyrics that were puns of country singers' names: "If I had Johnny's paycheck Charlie'd walk'er home from work no more").

In addition to his decades of work as a recording artist, Wiseman was also very active behind the scenes.  In 1958 he became the first treasurer of the Country Music Association, the organization that would later create the Country Music Hall of Fame.  He was inducted in  2014.  Additionally, he helped charter the International Bluegrass Music Association.  His close association with bluegrass throughout his career led him to be part of the third class of inductees into the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.

People have often asked me what my favorite concert was.  It came in 1995, at MerleFest.  It was hardly a "concert" in the traditional sense (as anyone who's ever been to MerleFest, or any bluegrass festival, will attest), but it was the memorable thing I've ever witnessed in music.  Mac Wiseman was on a stage in a tent near the main grounds, entertaining the Saturday pre-lunch crowd.  One of the individuals enjoying Wiseman's wonderful voice was Doc Watson, the founder of the festival.  After Wiseman left the stage he sat down on a stool next to Watson, and the two spent the next 45 minutes swapping stories and songs, passing Wiseman's guitar between them.  Totally impromptu, totally unscripted, and totally mesmerizing.

The song that's probably most closely tied to Mac Wiseman is "'Tis Sweet to Be Remembered."  That sweet voice will always be remembered.

Mac Wiseman was 93.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Bobbie McKee Will Forever Be Grateful

Category: News/Obituary

For the third time this year, we need to pause and remember a Country Music Hall of Fame great.  

Fred Foster, the guiding force behind Monument Records, died Wednesday (2/20) in Nashville.  He had been in weak health for a number of years.

The greatest legacy of Fred Foster is his ear for talent.  While he worked for Mercury Records in the mid-50s he heard a young man who was on the rockabilly Sun label and begged his superiors to sign the singer.  Mercury passed on Elvis Presley, and the rest is history.

Maybe that failure led Foster to believe he could run a label better, so in 1958 he took every penny he had and formed Monument Records, with the logo showing a replica of the Washington Monument.  Determined not to let the same mistake happen again, Foster signed another fledgling artist on Sun:  Roy Orbison.  From there, Foster's skills helped launch or improve the career of a number of country (Billy Walker, Billy Grammer) and rock (Tony Joe White) acts.  

His two biggest successes, however, came with the discovery of an east Tennessee songbird named Dolly Parton and a Texas Army veteran named Kris Kristofferson. 

Parton's early hit "Dumb Blonde" was released on Monument and produced by Foster.  After her first two albums on Monument she moved on to RCA Victor and international superstardom.

Kristofferson's legacy may be linked to the infamous story about him landing a helicopter on Johnny Cash's lawn to pitch "Sunday Morning Coming Down" to Cash, but it was Fred Foster who first signed Kristofferson to a publishing, and later recording, deal.  Foster was also the one who suggested that Kristofferson incorporate the name of one of the secretaries in the building, Bobbie McKee, into a song.  Kristofferson's "Me and Bobbie McGee" is one of the most important songs in country and rock (thanks to Janis Joplin's cover).

Foster never slowed down, producing the Grammy-winning Last of the Breed album with Willie Nelson, Ray Price, and Merle Haggard in 2007.  In 2016 Foster produced a tribute album to Ray Price.  That year Foster was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in the rotating "non-performer" category for his decades of service to country music as a producer, publisher, and promoter.  

"I am heartbroken that my friend, Fred Foster, has passed on," Dolly Parton said in a statement.  "Fred was one of the very first people to believe in me, and gave me chances no one else would or could."

Fred Foster was 87.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

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

February 16:

Jimmy Wakely born in Mineola, Arkansas, 1914 (died 1982)
Jo-Walker Meador (CM 95) born in Orlinda, Tennessee, 1924 (died 2017)
Smiley Burnette (NS 71) died in Encino, California (leukemia), 1967 (was 55)

February 17:

Johnny Bush born in Houston, Texas, 1935 (now 84)
Buck Trent born in Spartanburg, South Carolina, 1938 (now 81)
Jon Randall born in Dallas, Texas, 1969 (now 50)
Bryan White born in Shellman, Georgia, 1974 (now 45)
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 67)
Dudley Connell born in Scheer, West Virginia, 1956 (now 63)
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 62)
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)
Johnny Mosby died in Ventura, California (unknown cause), 2018 (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 68)
Claire Lynch born in Albany, New York, 1954 (now 65)
Fred Foster (CM 16) died in Nashville, Tennessee (natural causes), 2019 (was 87)

February 21:

Mary-Chapin Carpenter born in Princeton, New Jersey, 1958 (now 61)
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)
George Younce of the Cathedrals (SG 98) born in Patterson, North Carolina, 1930 (died 2005)
Sonny James (CM 06) died in Nashville, Tennessee (natural causes), 2016 (was 87)
Johnny Cash asked June Carter to marry him onstage during a concert in London, Ontario, 1968

February 23:

Rusty Young of Poco born in Long Beach, California, 1946 (now 73)
Buck Griffin born in Corsicana, Texas, 1923 (died 2009)
Penny DeHaven died in Atlanta, Georgia (cancer), 2014 (was 65)
Minnie Pearl married Henry Cannon, 1947

February 24:

Little Roy Lewis of the Lewis Family (BG 06) born in Lincoln County, Georgia, 1942 (now 77)
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.
Mac Wiseman (CM 14, BG 93) died in Antioch, Tennessee (kidney failure), 2019 (was 93)

February 25:

Dr. Ralph Stanley (BG 92) born in Stratton, Virginia, 1927 (died 2016)
Faron Young (CM 00) born in Shreveport, Louisiana, 1932 (died 1996)

February 26:

Billy Jack Wills born in Hall County, Texas, 1926 (died 1991)
Johnny Cash (CM 80, NS 77, RR 92) born in Kingsland, Arkansas, 1932 (died 2003)
Jan Crutchfield born in Paducah, Kentucky, 1936 (died 2012)
Tim Wilson died in Commerce, Georgia (heart failure), 2014 (was 52)

February 27:

Chuck Glaser of the Glaser Brothers born in Spalding, Nebraska, 1936 (now 83)
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)

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Sick Call: Doug Supernaw

Category: News

Earlier this week, country singer Doug Supernaw was admitted to the hospital for a persistent cough that had progressed to a significant case of pneumonia.  He was moved to another hospital in Houston for more comprehensive tests and treatment.

The results were devastating:  the singer, best-known for his hits "I Don't Call Him Daddy" and "Reno," was diagnosed with stage four lung and bladder cancer. 

The post on Supernaw's official Facebook page earlier today (2/2) said that "several masses" were discovered in the 58-year-old's "lungs, lymph nodes, bones, and bladder."  The release continued, "Doug remains in the hospital, awaiting more testing, while determining a treatment path."

Please remember this star in your prayers and well-wishes.