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Date News Posted: April 21, 2009

It is just barely April of 2009 and already 4 that made the past 50 years worth while with their songs and movies are gone.

Hank Locklin, Ernie Ashworth, Dan Seals and now cowboy great Monte Hale.

Monte Hale was the last of the big five singing cowboys which included Eddie Dean, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Rex Allen and of course Monte Hale.

Many people didn’t think of Monte as a singer, he didn’t think of himself as a singer either but his western songs that he sang were as good as the best but I think he tried to leave the singing to his brother Gene Autry, well they might as well of been brothers they stuck together like glue ‘till Gene rode off into the sunset.

A company some time ago rounded up enough songs to put out a western compilation album on several of the old cowboys, Monte Hale was one of them.  I called him one morning after they had sent me a copy and ask him if he got one, he said no so I told him I would meet him at the coffee shop to show it to him.  When we met he said how much you take for it, I said I’ll get you one, this is the only one I have, he said how about getting another one and selling me this one.

After a while I said no,  I don’t want to sell it but you can have this one.

While he was pulling a Clint Eastwood cigar outa my shirt pocket he slipped in a 20 dollar bill which I didn’t find ‘till I was half way home.  On my way out of the parking lot he screamed so loud you could hear him for 4 miles (well, maybe 3) “I Love You” that made me a little nervous since this is California and we do have a lot of fruits on the vines, but anyway it’s for sure he wasn’t one of those it was just his way of thanking me for the CD. (that still makes me smile when I think of it)  I never did get another one even though I had given the company one of the masters on the album of Eddie Dean, anyway it was a great CD of Western songs and great ole cowboys singing them.

Monte was born in San Angelo, Texas, or maybe San Antonio, I think he was born in one and grew up in the other, but  anyway he loved Texas > it all started 89 years ago and ended Sunday March the 29th at his home in Studio City, California.

I don’t know how many law enforcement badges Monte had but it was a bunch of um and ex police officer Lawton Williams sent me some badges to send Monte which I did and a few days later here came a letter and thank you’s from Monte, I guess Monte would loan out his collection to anyone who was interested in law enforcement, he was a good man.

I think if I ask anyone who ever met Monte what was the thing they thought of first where Monte was concerned they would say his smile.

Monte had called our old friend and stunt man Walt LaRue just last week and again to thank him for something Walt had sent, when Walt found out Monte was gone it hit him like a brick as I would say it did every one that knew cowboy Monte Hale.

Monte and his wife, Joanne co-founded the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum, later renamed the Autry Museum Of Western Heritage and now part of the Autry National Center, with the late singing cowboy Gene Autry and his widow, Jackie.

“My husband was the most wonderful, generous, giving, and loving man I have ever known” Joanne Hale said in a statement “He was a gentleman to all, he brought laughter, adventure and joy into my life and into everyone’s life that he touched”

So if you hear a lot of screaming as you are riding away Monte it’s just the friends you left behind screaming "We love you too, old friend"

Talk Back Trembling Lips was a song that will forever be remembered by one of Country Music’s greatest, Ernie Ashwort.

Born in Huntsville, Alabama December the 15th 1928 and was an artist on MGM Records in 1955 using the name of Billy Worth. Nothing much happen with Ernie’s music career ‘till 1960 when he recorded a song for Decca that hit the national charts at number 4 which was “Each Moment” (spent with you) followed up by four more chart songs and then in 1963 “Talk Back Trembling Lips” which quickly shot to number 1 which led to a white suit covered with red lips all over it.

Between 1963 and 1968 Ernie had 15 songs to make it to the national charts. 

Ernie became a Grand Ole Opry member in 1964 and was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall Of Fame in 1992.  Ernie Ashworth was a business man and spent his later years T.C.B. (taking care of business) he owned a couple of radio stations including WSLV in Ardmore, Tennessee.

Mr. Trembling lips Ernest Ashworth died March the 2nd 2009 he was 80 years old.

Hank Locklin was one of my old partner Steve Stebbins (Americana Corp. booking agent in California) favorite people, he really got a kick out of Hank not being able to pass an antique store or a junk store without him going in and checking the place out, most likely buying some piece of something.

Hank Locklin was born Lawrence Hankins Locklin,  on February the 15th 1918 in McLellan, Florida.

Hank joined the Louisiana Hayride in the late 40s and was with the Grand Ole Opry since 1960.

Over a period of a lot of years Hank Locklin racked up a bunch of hits starting in June of 1949 with “The Same Sweet Girl” which in short order reached the number 8 spot on the national charts and the very next chart  topper went all the way to number 1 in 1953 and still one of our favorites called “Let Me Be The One” that one stayed on the top of the charts for 32 straight weeks.

As far as weeks go on the national music charts listen to this>>Let Me Be The One (32) weeks>>Geisha Girl in 1957 (39) weeks>>Send Me The Pillow You Dream On in 1958 (35) weeks>>and Please Help Me I’m Falling in 1960 (36) weeks. Those were not the only number ones Hank had but the ones that stayed the longest on the top of the charts and that’s a lot of time to ride the top of the ladder.

During those years from 49 to 69 Hank Locklin had songs playing somewhere everyday of the week and somewhere probably still does but at least 22 of them hit big time in the American charts.  Hank Locklin was elected mayor of McLellan, Florida in the early 60’s and had his own TV series in Houston and Dallas in the 70s.

As long as Hank Locklin’s life was and what he meant to the Country Music world I am sure there is a great book already in the making about one of country music’s best. His music will out live us all.

Hank Locklin died Sunday March the 8th at his home in Brewton, Alabama,  he was 91 years old.

Hank’s last album was released in 2006 and was Hank’s 65th album.

Dan Seals in March of 2009 has moved on at the young age of 61.

A lot of the younger generation probably remembers Dan as part of the singing team of “England Dan & John Ford Coley” but what will forever be remembered by the country crowd will be “Meet Me In Montana” a great single he did with Marie Osmond.

After moving to Nashville and launching his solo country career Dan Seals recorded 16 studio albums which charted 20 singles and 11 of them reaching number 1.

9 of the number ones for Dan were in a row and then a number 5 and two more number ones.

I doubt if there are any country artist or any artist ever had a much better record of hits then did Dan Seals.

Even though I didn’t find it in any of Dan’s bios that list kin folks like cousin Troy Seals, Johnny Duncan and Brady Seals (of little Texas). Chuck Seals (Crazy Arms) said he was Dan’s uncle.

Well if he was or if he wasn’t, the name Seals was a musical family anyway you look at it.       

Dan Seals was born February the 8th 1948 in McCamey, Texas.

Old friend and movie stunt man Joe Soto passed away February the 11th here in California.

Joe was Texas born and wore them cowboy boots his whole life, & having a Mexican back ground he could sound so much like Freddy Fender you would think it was the man.

Joe’s biggest thrill in life was going from store to store collecting food that they would give him and then park his truck in one of the city parks and give it all to the homeless.  Many was the time he came by our house, his van packed with canned food, cartons of bread, cakes and you name it, on the way to a park to give it all away.

The last two lines on the little card that they give you at the funeral home, reads like this:

It broke our hearts to lose you

But you didn’t go alone

 Part of us went with you

The day God took you home  

 Joe Soto was smilin’ the first time I ever saw him, he was laughing when we said goodbye on the phone 12 hours before he went home.

 I’m gonna’ miss ye Joe

The Folks in Yuma, Arizona had a Birthday Bash for the great steel guitar player Bud Isaacs who just turned 81.  The party March the 28th brought a bunch of pickers from all around and somewhere around 14 other steel guitar players showed up to set in on the party for ole Bud.

Bud says that Webb Pierce had recorded “Slowly” before he was put on it and it didn’t hit, so Bud, Grady Martin and Bob Moore who had all been working together with Red Foley decided to put Bud’s pedal steel on the song after they were hired to do the new session.

Bud said after they did the new recording of “Slowly” they went on the road again for two weeks and when they returned Webb Pierce had a hit and not only that, there was two big laundry bags full of mail for me from people wanting to know how I created that sound with my steel guitar on “Slowly”.

Bud and his pretty wife Geri met in California and hit it off, got married and later started working together as a duo and still do and still married.  And didn’t Bill Anderson say something about “STILL”.  Bud and Geri Isaacs, two great people who have been with, who have recorded with, and are the best of American’s country.

Shelby Singleton who is full of funny stuff sent us this which, when you think about it, ain’t too funny.  The story is about 7-8 pages long but you will get the idea in less pages then that.

Make sure your credit cards are canceled before you die: A lady died this past January with a zero balance on her Citibank card but Citi bank billed her for their annual service charges for February and March and added interest and late charges. When she died her balance was 0 now it was $60.00.

A family member calls the bank:

F.M I am calling to tell you she died back in January

C.B  The account was never closed, late fees and charges still apply.

F.M  Maybe you should turn it over to  collections .

C.B It’s 2 months past due, we already have.

F.M. What will they do when they find out she’s dead?

C.B Report her account to frauds or the credit bureau or maybe both.

F.M Do you think God will be mad at her?

C.B Excuse me?

F.M. Did you not get what I was telling you, the part about her being dead?

C.B Sir, you’ll have to speak to my supervisor:

(Supervisor gets on the phone)

F.M I am calling to tell you she died back in January with a zero balance.

C.B. The account was never closed and late fees & charges still apply.

F.M You mean you want to collect from her estate?

C.B (Stammers) Are you her lawyer?

F.M No, I am her great Nephew

C.B. Could you fax us a certificate of death?

F.M Sure

C.B. (after they get the fax) Our system just isn’t set up for death, I don’t know what more I can do to help.

F.M. Well when you figure it out, great, If not, you could just keep billing her, she won’t care.

C.B. Well the late fees and charges will still apply.

F.M Would you like her new billing address?

C.B. That might help.

F.M Odessa Memorial Cemetery, Highway 129, Plot number 69.

C.B. SIR, That’s a cemetery!!

F.M. And what do you do with dead people on your planet??

Have you ever wondered why banks are going broke and needs the feds to bail them out?

Even though no bank will ever get money from a dead person, look how much money they spend trying.

I think I will type up a bunch of letters so when I die my kin can send them.

Let’s see>>>I think I’ll put Dear Sirs:

It’s so damn hot down here your statements keep getting burnt up before they reach my mail box.

Please have them engraved in stone with all the charges and as soon as we receive it your bill will be paid.  Be advised though that mail comes at e’regular times, we have had weenies and marshmallows ordered now for six months.

Sincerely yours

Accnt: # 6060606-066


All you have to do is read the papers and almost every day someone has committed suicide for some reason or the other and I guess that is their business with a few exceptions.

The case most recent was by jumping into a Polar Bear tank.  If a person is pulled free from the tank before mission is accomplished then they should face a heavy fine for all the trouble, man hours, medics and ambulance, plus hospital time spent trying to save your buns.

But if a person decides to end his or her, life that way then they must have a signed certificate from Jimmy Dean saying you are a certified sausage, you must jump into the pond naked, Polar Bears do not like shoes, pants and especially used shorts, your shorts may have been clean when you decided to jump but half way down when you realize you have just jumped into a pond full of Polar Bears that situation will change.   Before jumping you must post your Jimmy Dean certified sausage certificate where it can be seen by anyone that may attempt to pull you out, this way then, all can enjoy watching the Polar Bears enjoy a good lunch with out the screaming and yelling from bystanders.


Walkin’ talkin’ Charley Aldridge and myself have been digging in our archives for some great old country music from days gone by that for the most part was never released.  A lot of studios that we both have worked over the years have not always released things they have recorded and they were just put aside, and you never know what you will find when you start digging.  Charley has had his own studio for years and if we read you the list of people he has recorded it would take you a while to read all the names.  Anyway we have started to get it all together and shortly we  will give you first chance at some real classic country.

Well I don’t know how much longer I am going to do this web site, this is going on my 12th or 13th year and most all my friends have gone, I can only count about 6 that are still left so we’ll take it as far as we can, the best part about it, as I have said before, is hearing from people asking or talking about country music the way it was and hearing from the families of artists I have written about over the years.  Nobody knows in this day in time what will happen with your own life or the world for that matter so we’ll just keep on riding’ this train ‘till the steam runs out and see what happens.

In the mean time, we’ll see ye later, but just in case we don’t>>Take care of yourself.

Don Bradley
Country Classics   


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