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Date News Posted: February 19, 2007

November 2006 was a trip to remember, from California to, first, Amarillo, Texas for a visit to my old friend Bill Stafford, father to singer and writer Terry Stafford, Terry as you probably know wrote one of George Strait’s most requested songs “Amarillo By Morning” along with several others that went high on, not only country but the pop charts.

Bill is just a great guy and friend and we made a date for next spring for a fishin’ trip some where in Texas, so if the good Lord willin’ and the creeks don’t rise, come next spring we’ll be fishin’ somewhere in Texas.
 

From Amarillo it was on to Ft. Worth and a visit with Super song writer Lawton Williams and you would have to be from some other country not to know the songs of Lawton Williams, first and foremost is, was and probably always will be, the longest lasting song in the country music charts with the Bobby Helms version of “Fraulein” Lawton hit another lick with Bobby Bare and “Shame On Me” Hank Locklin hit the charts with at least a dozen of Lawton’s songs and not long ago the great Gene Watson hit big with “Farewell Party” and this is to say nothing of all the songs written and sung by Lawton himself.
 

From Ft. Worth it was on to Bandera, Texas and my good friend Reuben Darnell where I spent three or four days with Reuben his pretty wife Janet and a friend I met next door (by the name of Nancy) which before I left Bandera I gave a big kiss and shared a carrot with, I still remember Nancy’s lips, they were sorta like horse-lips.

If you are running the name “Darnell” around in your mind like you have heard it before then you probably have because his Dad “Bozo Darnell” was one of the great singers of those 50’s years and at least two of his songs will most likely be recorded by someone as long as records still go around and around, one was “I’ll be your Stepping Stone” and the other was “Down, Down, Down Came The World” there are several others but I knew you would remember these.

As far as Reuben goes he has little time for himself, his phone rings off the hook for him and his band to play somewhere, of course he does fake a gig now and then so he can catch a “Spurs” game in San Antonia.
 

While in Bandera I had the pleasure of going with Reuben on one of his gigs to a place called “Enchanted Springs Ranch” now if your name just happens to be Clint Eastwood and another “Western” is in your future then I done found you the right location, this is a western ranch to end all western ranches, I can not think of anything that I have seen in any western that this ranch does not offer, plenty of place for horse chases, plenty of hotels to throw some body out the window or off the roof, plenty of saloons to whoop it up in and big wide streets for plenty of gun slinging, a for-real hotel room decorated to the hilt fit for any star to spend his nights in and a location where gun fire and other noises heard in them great old westerns would be welcomed like Oreo’s and cold milk.

Your name really doesn’t have to be Clint Eastwood if you are a producer or actor and want to shoot a western (which we sure could use a few new ones about now) just give us a call and we will send you some pictures and put you PDQ in touch with the folks who own and run this great western location- 805-522-6045.
 

From Bandera it was on to, and for one of the reasons for the trip in the first place the “Alabama Pecan Festival” in Mobile, Alabama with my good friend Freddie Hart,

The festival was at the Civic center in Mobile next to about a ten acre school playground where rides for the kids was sit up and stand after stand selling anything from hot dogs to possum gravy was sold and the big stage was sit at the back side with plenty of seats, well not quite, when Freddie went on the crowd double and tripled, people were standing everywhere and it was a sure fire sell out.

Along with Freddie to entertain the folks were the great Razzy Bailey who puts on a great show and took all the time the folks wanted to sign pictures and sell his CDs.

Kenni Husky who has been kinda laid back for a while just knocked the crowed out. My old friend and partner Steve Stebbins used to book Kenni’s family and I am not sure about the dates but I think it was in the early 70’s.  The family really put on a show and then when Kenni got old enough to do shows on her own, was when Steve booked her in Vegas, and because of the appearance she made at this years Pecan Festival they have ask her back next year to Headline the show, which I am really happy about.
 

Next it was Nashville and a couple nights at my old friend Wayne Rogers house, or what most of his friends calls a museum, there is not room on any of his walls in any of his rooms for a business card let alone another picture or poster, it’s wall to wall, floor to ceiling pictures of somebody or some-thing and there are several of our old friend “Iron Eyes Cody” Wayne used to tote him around when he (Iron) would come to town or drive the car while Iron would sit on top of the back seat during a parade, and of course who could forget what is probably one of the most famous posters ever  of Iron Eyes Cody as the Indian with a tear in his eye “People Start Pollution” People Can Stop It”

Standing by the side of a road as somebody throws out a bag of trash.
 

And then it was an hour or so with my old friend Phyllis Hill at “SUN” records where Shelby Singleton still runs the show and is as friendly as an old friend you have known for a life time and “Sun Records” is still a place where history continues to be made with all the great masters cut not only by the Singleton’s but those from the great Sam Phillips and who else but the likes of Johnny Cash, Elvis, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Mann and all the other country and Rockabilly artist that Sun is famous for should and do line the walls at 3106 Belmont Boulevard.
 

And then to North Carolina where going through the great Smokey Mountains was the only snow we got to see and then so little it was gone before it hit the ground but it was colder then a beavers hind end in the Klondike’s and the wind was like scissors cuttin’ warm butter but surprise, surprise the next day in Mint Hill it was dang near 80 and so was the rest of the weeks stay with daughter Dana and all her family which grows about every nine months with her two daughters and it won’t be long before her two sons start increasing the family name and giving Dana even more joy baby sitting, yabba-dabba-doo.
 

From North Carolina it was Kentucky which is both a happy and sad place, happy because the little town of Glens Fork or as some like to call it “Hard Scratch” never seems to change, for as long as I can remember the population has been 221, I never asked what it was when I was there the other day but I didn’t see more than a couple new faces and I figured at least that many of the old folks had passed away which would about even up the count again.

And the sad part is visiting Mom and Dad’s grave and my sister and her two little children which died in a hotel fire in Los Angeles a few years ago.
 

My cousin Hugh Wesley used to own one of the general stores in Glens Fork, there were two during those years a family by the name of Aaron owned the other one, Cousin Hugh closed his store and died a while later, my brother and I now have that store and the old Post Office, the other general store is about the only thing keeping Glens Fork alive and is now owned by a Kentucky State Police Lieutenant, Ken Hill and his wife.

I dubbed the place the “Glens Fork Wall Mart” since they have a little bit of everything, if your ever in them parts take the time to drop by and say howdy to all the great old timers that come in about every morning for hot bologna and gravy and to catch up on all the news, which pretty much stays the same, one old boy said to me one morning, “you don’t look the same as when I last seed ju” I got to thinkin’ about that later and realized the last time he had “last seed me” I was three. Lookin’ in my rear view mirror I thought, shucks, I ain’t changed that much.
 

Last on the list of stops was Branson, and if the streets of Branson ain’t a nightmare I sure don’t know what is. I remember several years ago talking to Bobby Helms on the phone and he said, “getting to the theater to do my show takes longer then doing my show” I didn’t think much about it then because at that time I had only been there once and that was in the middle of the day, but this time I got there about ten AM on Thanksgiving day and the two lane streets right thru the center of Branson was at a standstill, the moving rate was about ten cars every five minutes, the same way that Bobby had said it was every night trying to get in to do his show.

Branson needs to put in a Tram like they are building as fast they can through and over the streets of Las Vegas, put one ten acre parking lot at one end and have a ramp to get off at every theater in Branson and put it high enough in the air the folks can see the lights of the city.
 

I did get to spend a little while with old friend Don Hinson, if you live or maybe did live back then, in California Don took over the Stewart Hamblin show {Cowboy Church} when Stew died, Hinson show was called Down Home With Hinson. After his show became number one the owners sold the station to a foreign company who didn’t (I guess) like country music because a short time later it was no longer country and neither are any of the other stations in L.A.

As large a market as Los Angeles is, the only way you are going to hear any country music is sing it your self.

 So Much for the Trip!  
 

 

We brought back about seven hundred “Classic Country” cassette albums, we know that there is not a lot of demand for cassettes anymore but some of these great albums have never been put to CD so do it your self (put them on CD) and save a few bucks, I don’t have the time to list all the titles tonight but for 3 bucks a piece you can’t lose much.

 

Put this in the back of your memory when you are watching late night TV and they are selling things you didn’t even know were things.

If someone offers to send you something, anything, for any price and then send you a second one for “Free” and all you pay is “just” the shipping and handling on the second one, you have to know “IT AIN’T FREE”.

Most times the shipping is more then what the product was worth in the first place.

 

We have had several emails lately regarding Ivan Jesse Curtis (The Artist).

And all of you that have ask about him you were right in saying he was a great artist and as far as we know Ivan did pass away. The reason, we don’t know, but what ever it was it was way too soon.

We know there is someone still out there selling his prints, it could be his brother who he was close to and came to one of our shows with him at the Iverson Movie Ranch or it could be his sister that we did speak with some time ago, a real nice lady but have not be able to reach her in a while.

At the beginning of this newsletter tonight we mentioned a really nice new movie ranch just out side of Bandera, Texas and while there we were really happy to see some of Ivan’s posters displayed on their walls, they said they had bought them off of Ebay but just when and who from we don’t know for sure.

As you well know if you have been reading my web site for a while we are close friends with Walter Brennan Jr. who is also just an outstanding artist, “Andy” (Walter Jr.) said about Ivan at the show we mentioned above at the Iverson Movie Ranch, “that at what Ivan did, he was about the best he ever saw.”

Ivan could capture the likeness of those old movie cowboys just like they were a series of real pictures put together in one large poster.

Just how many different prints Ivan had put together before his passing we don’t know but we do know he seem to have a dozen or more for sale at that show.

We will continue and try to reach some of Ivan’s family and get some more information for those of you that are interested in his art work.

 

Another old friend from Kentucky who just went by the name Cherokee also passed away a couple three years ago and what a fine artist he was also.

Cherokee was what Andy called a comic book cowboy artist, meaning Cherokee used the really bright colors and painted them in the fashion we were used to seeing in cowboy comic books, his paintings just seem to jump out and get you, especially those that were four foot wide and eight feet high.

Cherokee did most of the art work in the later years for Roy Rogers and Dale Evans for their (I guess you would call them) reunion shows in Victorville, California.

He also painted several business fronts  with really nice western scenes in the town which he was living  at the time, Clovis, New Mexico and also a large mural that stood high for all see to on one of Clovis’s main streets.

When Cherokee took sick his daughter and family as far as I know hauled all of his paintings to his old home town in Kentucky and put them in storage and again, as far as I know they are still there.

I would say that once the generation of artists living today that knew and loved the likes of Buck Jones, Hopalong Cassidy, Bob Steel, John Wayne, Roy, Gene and The Lone Ranger are gone, so will the paintings of the old western hero’s.

Kinda sad isn’t it when this generation never heard of Roy Rogers?

 

Billy Walker (and his family) and Del Reeves passing this last year has made a large dent in “Classic Country Music” according to every one who got a chance to see Del’s shows said he was the best at impersonating his movie hero Walter Brennan and could just tear up Walter’s “Old Rivers”.

I always like to throw in when ever I get the chance the fact that there really was an “Old Rivers”.

Billy Walker had sent me some new CDs just a short while, maybe a couple weeks before their accident and listening to them you suddenly realized Billy was just getting better at what he loved most, if you haven’t heard it, take a look in the stores for Billy Walker’s CD with this song on it “He Sang The Songs About El Paso” of course you can guess who he is talking about, it’s a great song.

 

Tommy Overstreet sent this down to us and I could tell you what email address to use to get it straight off the net but because I feel good reading it, I thought it would make me feel even better to type it into my web site news again, so here it is.

A United States Marine was attending some college courses between assignments; He had completed missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the courses had a professor who was a vowed atheist and a member of the ACLU.

One day the professor shocked the class when he came in. He looked to the ceiling and flatly stated, God, if you are real, then I want you to knock me off this platform. I’ll give you exactly 15 minutes. The lecture room fell silent. You could hear a pin drop.

Ten minutes went by and the professor proclaimed, here I am God, I am still waiting. It got down to the last couple of minutes when the Marine got out of his chair, went up to the professor and cold cocked him, knocking him off the platform, the professor was out cold.

The Marine went back to his seat and sat there silently, the other students were shocked and stunned and sat there looking in silence. The professor eventually came to noticeably shaken, looked at the Marine and asked, what the hell is the matter with you, why did you do that?

The Marine calmly replied>>God was too busy today protecting America’s soldiers who are protecting your right to say stupid crap and act like an ass. So, He sent me.     

              

A little up date on friend Reuben Darnell, our plans are to release a single on a CD very shortly on Reuben, it is a great little song done Roger Miller style and should make you really feel good after you hear it.

We would like to hold sales down to around a million, lickin’ all them stamps is going to be a chore.

The name of the song is “Kate and Edith” and we’re pretty sure you are going to like it.

 

Friend Charley Aldridge (Walkin’ Talkin’) is back home in Vegas from his trip to Mayo Clinic in Arizona I don’t know what they took out or what they might have put in but Ole Charley sounded real good on the telephone yesterday and is back working on the dozen projects he keeps going all the time including his music and poetry with the great Clint Walker.

 

Buddy Mize is doing great down there in Music City, still writing’ them songs and lookin’ for somebody to sing um, you gotta remember at least one of Buddy’s songs, first recorded by (I think) The Gosdin Brothers & “Just Enough To Keep Me Hangin’ On) and also recorded by countless other artist including the great Waylon Jennings>

 

If you remember the good music of country entertainer Bobby Lord you might want to send him a get well card, here is his address.

Bobby Lord
4635 Indian River Drive
Jensen Beach, Fl 34957

 

The teacher asked her students to draw something before class was out, as she got to one little girl she ask her what she was drawing.

The little girl said, “I’m Drawing God”

The teacher paused and said, “But no one knows what God looks like” 

With out looking up from her drawing the little girl replied.

“They will in a minute”

 

With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms, tearing up the country from one end to the other and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks; ARE WE SURE THIS IS THE TIME TO TAKE GOD OUT OF THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE.

 

So that’s going to do it for this February in California, we hope all is well at your house and that there is a “Good” country music station that is close enough for your old radio to pick up.

We’ll see ye later but just in case we don’t, take care of yourself.

God Bless America

Don Bradley


 

 
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