Date News Posted: May 9, 2005
Another year off to a bad start with the passing of more country legends and cowboy Chris LeDoux, Chris was just 56 and long before I had ever heard of him he had already cut a trunk load of albums, that’s why I probably never heard of him, most of them were cassette tapes that his family made for him to sell at rodeo shows.
Then one day a young lady walks into the store and ask “you have any Chris LeDoux albums”, I said “Chris who” and started looking ‘till I found his name in a book and called the number, his Dad, I found out in just a few minutes was on the other end of the phone, I said I didn’t know Chris but a lady had ask about one of his albums and I called to buy some for our store, he said “how many you want” I said, “how many you got” he said “I don’t know but if you want some I will box um up and ship you some” I said “well do this if you will, pull me out two or three copies of each album and stick me a bill in the box or call me back and I will send you a check” about ten days later a box arrived mostly tapes and a two or three different wax albums and I sent Mr. LeDoux a check.
I’m not much in to rodeos but I sure liked some of the story songs he had recorded, and the lady that ask about him in the first place bought about half of them albums the next day.+++++
Merle Kilgore who as you probably know wrote and sang some great songs over the years but more then likely will be remembered most for his handling of Hank Jr.
Merle passed away in February which must have been a real blow for Jr. Kilgore was a man that Hank knew better then his own father that passed away when he was just a lad+++++
Sammi Smith who will always be remembered for the Kristofferson penned song of “Help Me Make It Through The Night” passed away February the 12th in Oklahoma City, even though she had recorded many other songs none ever hit the mark like “Make It Through The Night”.
Martha Carson was 83 when she passed away this year, I can not remember a time when there was not a Carson on the Nashville music scene and she was probably just as well known in Kentucky since she was born in Neon, KY in 1921.
Some of her albums you may remember include>>Journey To The Sky in 1955 on RCA>>Rock-A My Soul in 57 on RCA>>Satisfied on Capitol in 60>>another album in 62 and one in 63 and then came Martha Carson’s Greatest Gospel Hits on Starday in 1988.
Mack Vickery, some of us never look and some don’t even care who wrote a song as long as they liked it, but if you do care and you have looked then you have seen Mack Vickery’s name plenty of times on the backs of album covers by George Strait, Johnny Paycheck, Ricky Van Shelton, and Jerry Lee just to name a few.
Mack passed away just before Christmas last year on the 21st of December but his songs will last as long as there is still music.
Goldie Hill, wife of super singer from those great 50’s years Carl Smith, she passed away on the 24th of February from cancer she was 72.
Goldie was born in a little town in Texas called Coy City.
In 1952 she joined up with the Webb Pierce band and after Webb took his troops back to Nashville Goldie got a pretty good hit of her own called “I Let The Stars Get In My Eyes” and later had a nice little hit with Justin Tubb, called “Lookin’ Back To See”
And Sunny Spencer, 22 years with the most famous western outfit of um all The Sons Of The Pioneers passed away on February the 5th. 2005 in a hospital in Tucson, Arizona, Sunny was 75 years old.
They say that Sunny could play 22 different musical instruments, probably not all at the same time, or then again, maybe he could;
I do know one thing, we have a friend that works the studios in Nashville and he can play about ten different instruments and all the studio needs when they hire him to make demos is a singer, so to the “Pioneers” or any band or group, Sunny Spencer must have been priceless.
Can’t help but remember the “Hoosier Hot Shots” when you think of guys playing all that stuff, not only instruments but pots and pans and phone books and wash tubs and fruit jars and wash boards and whiskey jugs and spoons, now that’s some back porch pickin’ and grinnin’ but that’s another story.
Goodbye Sunny, we are sure the remaining members old and new will always feel you there every time they hit the stage and “Cool Water” fills the auditorium.
Now for some good news and we hope you are going to like this especially if you were a fan of Carolina Cotton.
Over the years we have received many request for her music in any form and other then one or maybe two places it just wasn’t to be had and very little information was to be had about a lady that my old friend Eddie Dean and his wife Dearest just thought the world of;
BUT NOW, that has changed Sharon Marie, Carolina Cotton’s daughter has put together a web site for her mother then we think you are going to enjoy, now this has not been easy, Sharon has researched in every direction that people have sent her and is still doing it and still adding on.
But we know, because we have heard from so many great artist and family members over the years that there are pictures and stories and some old memories that you might like to either send or share with Sharon about her Mom, and if you have some pictures in any shape of her Mom, boy would she like to get a copy, you know>>Wall Mart and other stores everywhere have laser printers (or maybe you have one of your own) that you could make a copy for her.
(Let me slip this end) Cliff Crofford sent us a picture the other day of some of the cast at Town Hall Party, the pictures was taken in the 50’s and with a Polaroid camera to-boot, and by all means should have been faded beyond being able to see but wasn’t and even had a fat finger print in the middle, the photo shop that does our 8x10s removed all the marks and finger prints and made us a nice able to frame 8x10.
So the moral to that little story is, if>>you do run across an old picture “It can still be saved” so please don’t throw it away, especially if it has Sharon’s Mom in it.
History is hard enough to document as is and dates are even harder to remember so if you have old posters with dates on um or no dates on um and even torn or faded if they don’t have Carolina Cotton’s picture on them then send um to me and I will restore them for the archives, and I didn’t say sell them I said restore them, I don’t sell anything.
Something else that Sharon is looking for which you might have some in a box stuck in the attic or the garage is any old 78s of her Mom’s, you know that with all the stuff they have now days in recording studios they can do wonders with old records that other wise will never be heard again, remember though 78s are crispy critters and easy to break so pack it good.
OK now here is Sharon’s email and regular mailing address>>her email address is, “Sharon Marie” email@example.com and her mailing address is Sharon Marie P.O.Box 730>Bakersfield, Ca. 93302.
I know she will write you back and be very happy to hear from y-o-u ++
Now we guess the most important thing is Carolina Cotton’s web site address which is;
Sharon will be really happy to hear from you or know that you have hit her Mom’s site, and for Sharon, thanks a lot.
Now here is a pair of cowboys you may want to get a copy of their new CD called “The Vaquero & The Cowboy” and yep, it’s a western and yep it’s a good one.
Now let me tell you about these boys Mike Moroff and Lee Alexander.
As far as Mike goes you might just think you don’t know him or heard of him but if you have seen any of these movies, then you have seen Mike, not singing a western tune but kickin’ butts and takin’ names>>”From Dusk ‘Till Dawn” with Cheech Marin (you remember Cheech and Chong right? Or “Robo Cop” or “La Bamba” and you know what that was about, or maybe “Desperado” with Salma Hayek or maybe one of the TV shows Mike has appeared in like “Dukes Of Hazzard” or “Murder She Wrote” and the list just keeps going on and on. And once you put his face with the picture or maybe the other way around then you will know who Mike Moroff is.
Now the other half of this duo, Lee Alexander is a cowboy singer that has performed with the best of um like Glen Campbell, Tanya Tucker, Buck Owens, Alabama, Rex Allen Jr. and our old friend Johnny Western.
So maybe you have met up with Lee on one of these shows and if so then you already know who he is.
Anyway now here is the deal, If you are a DJ and would like a copy of this CD or maybe the whole package (which is a great one) these old boys have put together, and you might give it a listen and a chance to be heard on your radio show which they would be might grateful for we will give you their address in a second here.
But if you are fan of the old west and would like to buy a copy which I am sure they sell um at a price easy to pay for then here is their address first the email address which is www.vaqueroandthecowboy.com OR>>>>>if you don’t have a computer and are reading this at the post office, then drop them a line at Mike Moroff>P.O.Box 428>>Quemado, New Mexico 87829-0428.
Now I would give you their phone number but they most likely are on a stage some where or making a movie and you know that you can’t shoot people and answer a cell phone at the same time.
Anyway let the boys hear from you, and oh by the way, if you want them to sign a picture for you just give um your handle (if you are just a young lady then give um your name) and we are sure you are going to enjoy these guys.
Alan Franklin from the beautiful state of Maine was nice enough this past week to have sent to me a brand new, never touched by human hands CD of one of the greatest “The Rice Paddy Ranger, Dick Curliss).
Oh boy could Dick Curliss sing a song, you know some of the greatest of singers refuse to move to Nashville, their own state and surroundings mean more to them then the city lights of Nashville and some probably even get the cold shoulder when they do just go down for a visit, but I think most of them don’t give a hoot one way or the other anyway.
Freddie Hart never lived there, they just thought he did and he has got more gold records then 90% of them that do live there.
Anyway the point was, that there are those that think if you don’t live in Nashville you shouldn’t be singing or can’t or what ever they think and so maybe for a few that does put a damper on being a Nashville star, but for those who had rather live in Maine or California or any place else in this old world, well this old world just keeps right on a goin’ round and round.
Even though we were at the same place at the same time, Korea, I never met Dick but he was in our tent every night via Armed forces radio and started off every show with that big fat guitar of his and singing “Sunny Side Of The Mountain”.
Thanks Alan that was a nice thing to do and we appreciate it.
The CD that we have been sending out on Reuben Darnell is being played on just about every station we sent it to, mostly over seas because that’s where most of the hard core country stations are, now we didn’t say all of them, just a bunch of them are in places you wouldn’t even think could understand what Reuben or any other person who sings in English, but some how they do, even Poland.
We met a guy from Poland some time ago and ask him how he got to speaking English so good, he said up ‘till the time he moved to America, every word he knew of English he learned from watching the Lone Ranger that some family member that already lived here was sending him on tape, he looked honest enough but he never once called me King O Sabe’ he did say ummmm a lot.
Anyway, we mentioned back a news page or so ago about this Reuben Darnell CD single and who Reuben was and where he lives but we are going to do it again because we think you oughta hear this song>>It is called “If You Were Mine” it is a really good song and well done. Reuben lives in Bandera, Texas and his music is his life blood he don’t work at Krogers at night, he sings every place they will let him in and that’s many places about every night.
And>>>>>if you are a country music collector they you may have one of his Dad’s album in your collection, his Dad was Bozo Darnell, and he had a big one as Ed Sullivan would say “A really big shew” with one called “Steppin’ Stone” that not only he wrote but did great with himself as the artist, then it was covered but dozens of other artist, off the top my head, Wynn Stewart was one, but there were many and at last count they are some artist out there some place still recording it.
He next wrote and recorded “Down, Down, Down Came The World” a good one for Bozo, a hit for Waylon Jennings and like “S’Stone” it too is still being recorded.
What’s his Dad got to do with it? Just that Reuben is a chip off the old block, unlike many young folks that follow the path of Dad and Mom, Reuben can sing.
Reuben is now working on the rest of the album and no doubt the other songs will be as top notch as this one.
If you want to write to us about Reuben then go ahead on, if you want to write straight to Reuben then we can give you his handle, he would love to hear from you.
Somebody sent us a great little newspaper from Idaho this past few weeks, it is mostly about horses and where to buy your self a good hoss if-n-yours is needin’ replaced, but it also has some other things of interest and this last issue took the cake because right in the middle was a picture of a lady that we thought had hung it up, not died, but hung it up and guess who it was? If you guessed Bonnie Guitar you would be right, at 82 years old there she was with a smile as wide as Texas after just finishing her show and I think the town was Lewiston, I know it was Idaho, now if that isn’t great I don’t know what is or was is but that is just great.
Raise your hand if you don’t remember her great hit of “Dark Moon” that was about 1957 and was a “Dot” records release, what is odd about this release of “Dark Moon” that the same year it was released again on “Fabor” records, same song on both sides, now the original “Dot” record (45) if you had a new one is worth about 15 bucks but if you have a new copy of the same record on “Fabor” it’s worth 40 bucks.
I have to say I don’t remember the switch of labels but it could have been the promoters at “Dot” had no faith in the record and Fabor Robinson did and leased it from them.
Even though I kept up with Fabor over the years I am sad to say we never met, but ex partner Steve Stebbins told me time and again that he never met a promoter as good as Fabor Robinson.
Well if he was the one that took “Dark Moon” high into the charts, thank goodness for both song and pretty Bonnie Guitar.
On the same subject as switching labels and-or a promoter not having faith in a song then listen to this one: And it is not my story, it is one my old friend Smiley Monroe told me.
At the time this happened Smiley was working for Cliffie Stone as the promotions man for Capitol Records in Hollywood where at the time much big stuff and record deals and recordings went down.
Capitol Canada sent down a record of a young lady they wanted promoted in the U.S. so Cliffie gave it to Smiley to get er done, Smiley listened to the record a 45 and in his words said the side they marked for the “A” side sucks and by hand marked the X for “A” side on what they had called the “B” side and sent them out.
Now ‘till charts and phone calls and play list started coming back no one knew this but Smiley Monroe (that he had switched sides) and when they did find out the soup hit the fan, but while the fight was going on and Canada wanted to string up Smiley the side that Smiley had picked was speeding up the charts.
Cliffie Stone loved ole Smiley so he didn’t want to kill him (and of course Smiley didn’t want that either) and even though Smiley had taken it upon himself to switch sides on the record nobody could deny that Smiley had picked a hit which stayed in the national charts in the top ten for 13 straight weeks.
The Smiley Monroe pick side was “Snow Bird” the other side “Just Bidin’ My Time” more then likely just ended up in the album.
Smiley said that nobody ever even thanked him, Cliffie bought him a drink, called him a few choice names and hugged him and that was the end of it.
Somewhere back the way we must have told you this story or at least part of it but it needs telling again and when you get to the end you will know why.
Capitol Records had already fired Freddie Hart; he wasn’t selling as many records as they thought he should so they told him it was time to move on.
A few months before they (Capitol) had finished an album on Freddie called “California Grapevine” it was not the greatest looking cover (which if you don’t think that a cover is important, then guess again) and some of the material in the album was not all “A” stuff and with the combination of those two factors the album got little attention in some places it got “No” attention, except:: one night a DJ in North Carolina played one of the cuts from the album and the phones lit up so he played it again, on his next show he played it again and the same thing happened, Freddie said the DJ called Capitol and said, you may want to take another listen to this song on the Grapevine album and told them what had been happening when he played it on his show.
Well, somebody listened and they pressed a few thousand 45s and sent them out to radio stations, and what happened then? Well it was one of the first songs ever to be named song of the year for two straight years.
Last week Freddie came over with a package, we took it to a custom print shop and had another copy made of what was in the package and then had both of them matted and framed, one of them is on Freddie Hart’s wall, and one is on mine.
Here is what it says:
Special Citation of Achievement
Presented by BMI to
In recognition of the great national popularity
As measured by over 2 million broadcast performances
So the moral to this story is when you don’t feel that something is right, or maybe they have already got you dead and buried “Get a second opinion”
In the February 2005 issue of People Magazine on page 106 was a great article on our friend Herb Jeffries, a kind soft spoken man that was big news in about all the trade papers and magazines starting back in the 30s as being one of the finest baritones in the music business bar none.
Then because of some words from a little kid about why there was no black cowboys, Herb decided to change that and made some.
But through it all Herb Jeffries never quit singing, he just kinda switched from Jazz to Western and for a few years was on the roster of the “Warner Westerns” label.
Now he does a few concerts and appears at a college or university some where to sing and meet the young and tell his life in story, one such trip a few months ago led him to the White House to perform for our President and First Lady.
It’s hard to say what the future holds in store for Herb, maybe another movie or two, maybe another recording contract, knowing Herb he may call one of these days and say he has taken up sky diving, who knows he’s only 93.
Warner Mack is doing great, he called last week, said he just moved to a new high rise in Nashville and was now living on the 14th floor, when he says “Now I lay me down to sleep” each night he adds to it, Lord, don’t let me do no sleep walkin’.
His biggest hits are now all on CD if you have been lookin’
Joe Sun just returned from the Netherlands where he was working sell out shows to folks who love that good old American country music.
Cal Smith and Jim Owen according to friends that have been to their show in Branson say they just want to sit there ‘till the next day and see it again.
I love Cal Smith, he is one of the most laid back good guys any where in this world, and something else, remember we mentioned some time ago about his new release with Ernest Tubb called “Together” we have been watching it pop up on the charts in Belgium and other places that know good country music when they hear it.
My favorite C.S. song is still “Birds and Children Fly Away”.
Tony Douglas, what a nice guy he is, we are trying to put together some shows for him and Freddie Hart, they both still have all it takes to do great shows and Tony just has an outstanding band.
If you don’t have one of
Toney’s latest CDs let me tell you where to write, write to Tony
Douglas>>Cochise Records>>205 Hillside Drive>>Athens, Texas 75751:
A really big thanks to Art Kneeland and all the stations that have been playing things we have been sending them in the last month or so, it is really appreciated.