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Date News Posted: February 23, 2003

There are so many of the great artist from those 50s days that are just “Never” heard from anymore or their names even mentioned.

Even though we have thousands of the classic wax albums the temptation won’t let me make it by a Salvation Army store or a Goodwill store to stop and check out what some one else didn’t want, I could stand there for hours reading those old record covers country or not.

And even though the pickins’ are getting slim anymore just the thought of the next record you come to in the stack being a real treasure is reason enough to stay a while longer and see what it is, after a while you don’t even hear the bunch of kids that have gathered at the toy section or one kid beating the dew-dew outa’ the other to get a yo yo away from him that he said he found first.

When it comes to them old records I guess I am just a kid myself, I remember the time I had to come to blows with an old lady that said she saw that old Carl Smith album first, I was really gettin’ the best of her but she kept running over my foot with her wheel chair and I just couldn’t pull it away from her, ah, even though that’s just a joke son we would never hit an old lady for just one album, “two”, well, that’s a different story.

Last week the urge hit on the way to the hardware to pick up some grass, not the smokin’ kind, but blue grass for the front yard when all of a sudden the old truck steering must have went out and steered me right into the Salvation Army parking lot so I thought, what a great place for somethin’ to go wrong with the truck, while I’m here we might as well check out the old records.

Well two hundred and fifty albums and counting later we came across an old album on the “Diplomat” label:

(Let me stick something in here) back then, but not so much now days, labels that had a pretty good name also would start a label to put artist on after they had run the gamut of what they thought they could sell on their “A” label, these “B” labels would then be pressed and sold for fifty cents or 99 cents in drug stores, super markets and any where else a store owner would let them put a rack, there was hardly ever any information about the artist or anything else really on the back cover except a long list of other artist and 90% of those no one ever heard of, things like, Wally Bugger sings the hits of Hank Williams or Bernice Fudpucker sings the hits of Kitty Wells, but after you pass by all those, there it is, on the last shelf where everyone else had got tired of lookin’ or the kids had driven them out was an album with David Houston, Jimmy Dean, Warner Mack and a young guy that should have really been a name to reckon with in the world of country music, Autry Inman.

As hard as we have tried to find stories or old records on Autry Inman they have been far and few between, as a young’n in Indianapolis my brother and I went to see Autry in a movie house that also had country shows in it now and then, it probably cost fifty cents to get in but neither of us ever forgot the show Autry Inman did that day and though he never had many hits that anyone we know remembers, he was doing well at that time with “Let’s Take The Long Way Home Tonight”.

Like so many over the years that finally just got lost on a cheap album and finally lost at the Salvation Army Store, we want to thank who ever called them to pick up the box this record was in, you gave it to the Salvation Army, we bought it for a buck, and if you want it back the price is a thousand, or maybe not, we have already got back a thousand dollars or more in the memories of Autry Inman.

And whatta’ you know, by the time we got back out the truck ran fine but it was dark, what the heck, we’ll get the grass later.

Music is what it is, every country in this old world has music (don’t they?) and it means something different for everyone, everyone does not like country music and that’s probably best because if we all liked the same thing this would be one boring place to live, so from the most serious of country songs to those that are down right silly there is a story in each and every one of them, all you have to do is listen, in country music you just don’t have to listen as hard to know what the story is.

On the surface “Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It’s Flavor On The Bed Post Over Night” sounds like the dumbest words ever written, but that’s not true. Picture your self as a kid, with nothing in this world to call your own and you found a penny and bought a stick of gum, do you think when it comes bed time you’re gonna throw that gum in the trash, not on your life, where you go the gum goes and the closest place to you in bed is the bed post, that’s exactly where I would stick my gum, in the morning that sucker would be harder then a Tennessee rock but a little floppin’ it around in your mouth with your tongue got it purty’ soft again, not quite as much flavor but what the heck, still some good chewin’ left in it.

Being poor ain’t all bad; it sure leaves you with some good memories.

Speaking of those great old “B” labels we picked up one that who ever wrote what was on the back was full of bull, it said words to the effect that, From the home of Country Music, Nashville, Tennessee we bring you these great Tennessee artist, half of um never worked out of Tennessee, Rose Maddox lived in California and lived in Oregon when she passed away, Bobby Austin lived in California and lived in Washington state when he passed away, the old record was pressed in New York where there ain’t a bunch of ye-alls and see ye laters in the dictionary , but that’s ok we are thankful they took the time to press the memories.

What do you call a person that spends hours at the Goodwill looking for old records then buys three albums with no records in the jackets?

The records that were pressed as are the CDs of today for TV promotions usually contained some real classic artist or those that would be someday, they were especially good for DJs on small stations working the night shift that had eaten to large a bowl of bran flakes the night before and couldn’t be two places at one time, like behind the mike and in the out house at the same time.

Although there was five or ten seconds between songs at least they were different artist from one song to the next in case your time in the out house took longer than expected so this was a great one from the CMA it had Hank Thompson, Merle Travis, Ernest Tubb, Kitty Wells, Hank Williams, Hank Snow, Marty Robbins, Tex Ritter, Jim Reeves, Roger miller, George Morgan, Buck Owens, Ray Price, Pee Wee King, Don Gibson, Lefty Frizzell, Red Foley, Johnny Bond, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Dave Dudley, Bobby Bare, Eddy Arnold, Bill Anderson, and Roy Acuff  on it. But, the best song to ever come into my hands as a DJ that was just right for that unexpected trip was El Paso, by the time Marty saw Rosie’s Cantina below we were ready to go back to work.

Hurrah records, this computer keeps changing the small h in “hurrah records” to a big H but anyway this is another one of those 99 cent drug store records from out of New York and even though this is a Christmas record it has a nice picture of Gene Autry on the cover with Rudolph and Santa but the reason we even mention it other than the good lookin’ cover is something that pops up on the front and back of a lot of those albums is the words “Full Spectrum Sound” is there a half spectrum sound? What’s a “spectrum” anyway? We put this record on the turntable back to back with one that had no spectrum listed on it and couldn’t tell the difference, maybe we are to old to hear “spectrums” they said it would happen eventually, If you have any new records or CDs to send us to write about please remove the “spectrums” first.

One more album to mention is this classic piece of wax from the “Pozo-Seco Singers featuring a young Donnie Williams from Floydada, Texas and we give up, what’s a Pozo Seco? If it’s in the dictionary we must have missed it and what happened to the other two members of this group Susan Taylor and Lofton Kline?
We all know what happen to Donnie “Don” Williams he went on to write and sing some great country songs of the times but sadly with what’s happened to country radio these days we don’t hear much from him anymore.

We don’t go into many bars don’t even remember the last one but some years ago a little neighborhood bar looked to be a good place for a tall glass of coke and in it was an old good sounding juke box with two whole rows full of Don Williams music, the bar keep said he made more money on those old Don Williams 45 records some nights then he made selling beer. Maybe that neighborhood was smaller then I thought it was.

He also said he pert near went goofie when the only thing being played day after day on that old box was living’ on “Tulsa Time”. Let the quarters roll in.

Nice email this week from Hal “Mr. Hillbilly Heaven” Southern’s son, it has been a while since we wrote about good friend Hal but we sure have never forgotten about him, he was probably the most humble laid back person we have ever met he never got in a hurry about anything and “Never” received half the credit due him.

Hillbilly Heaven was actually a dream as Hal said in his song, at the time he was a member of a group called the “Frontersmen” which were Hi, Wayne and Hal> Hi Bussee and Wayne West being the other two and Hi being the leader of the group.

They were going to do some recording that morning they picked up Hal at his place, Hal was a little on the quiet side that morning when one of the other two ask him, “What’s on your mind this morning Hal” he said, “I had this dream last night and just can’t get it outa’ my head” and proceeded to tell, and half sing, what he had written in his sleep the night before to them.

Eddie Dean was a friend to all the group and Hi suggested after they finished doing what they had started out to do that morning they stop by Eddie’s and see what he thought of the idea, by days end Hillbilly Heaven was all but in the can, shortly after Eddie recorded it with Hi, Wayne and Hal doing the playing and backup singing. The first public performance of the song according to Eddie was on Red Foley’s Ozark Jubilee show in Mo.

We always felt that song should have made both Hal Southern and Eddie Dean a millionaire a couple times over, so many of the biggest names in the business recorded that song that even they lost count, it was reported in one trade magazine years ago that Tex Ritter alone sold ten million copies, Cowboy Copas sold thousands, it was recorded as “Truckers Heaven” Cowboy Heaven” “Hollywood Heaven” “Side meat Heaven” “Jazz Heaven” and names changed in the song so many times no one knows, every time someone new passed away a new name was added or changed, In the “Trio” album with Dolly, Tammy & Linda another few thousand were sold and right on top of that was Bill Anderson’s version of the song.

It’s hard to say who got all that money, in those days book keeping was not a top priority part of the business although it should have been.

We always told Hal that a good attorney could pull the biggest rabbit he ever saw from the hat, “but” attorneys cost money and in the end that was of short supply.

It took me almost four years worth of phone calls, letters and you name it but before both Hal and Eddie themselves went to “Hillbilly Heaven” we personally handed each of them two Gold records each for the song.

Remember the commercial where the little old lady pulled the bun apart off her hamburger and said, “Where’s the beef”? I have often wondered, “Where’s the money”?

February 18th finds us one Country music great less in this old world, Johnny PayCheck is gone.

Johnny had been bedridden in a nursing home with emphysema and asthma for some time but on this Tuesday it was time to move on.

With 70 plus albums under his belt and about thirty hit singles “Take This Job And Shove It” could have been the biggest hit but not his best efforts as a singer even though that album featuring “Shove It” was reported to sell over the two million mark “Old Violin” was just a killer song and Johnny could stop you in your tracks with it especially if you were watching him singing it in person.

Born in Greenfield, Ohio as Donald Eugene Lytle on May 31st 1938. He took on the name Johnny Paycheck in the 60s and started to build his career; later down the line he capitalized the “C” in PayCheck.

From 1989 to 1991 Johnny took a little break from country music in prison at the Chillicothe Correctional Institute in Ohio for shooting a man in the head in an Ohio bar in 1985, thanks to then Ohio Gov. Richard Celeste who commuted Johnny’s 7to9 year sentence two years later he was back on the road again guitar in hand.

Putting his life in order he was giving anti-drug talks to young people and became a member of the Grand Ole Opry cast in 1997.

As a recording artist for Decca and Mercury he used the name Donny Young until he got around to renaming himself in later years. (Those Donny Young records should be worth a piece of change to a collector)

Well, what ever he called himself we’ll miss his brand of country music because he was truly one of a kind.

Johnny and I shared part of a jug of Colorado Cool Aid in his bus one evening, he was a good storyteller, Johnny PayCheck was something else, and we’ll miss ye.

Good news for the Branson tourist, Dusty Rogers and crew are moving Dad and Mom’s museum to that location, first report for an opening date was April, seems to me that’s cutting it a little tight but as fast as things are up and going these days that just could be about right, we do know this though, they had a heap of stuff to move outa’ the Victorville location, about 40 years worth of a heap of stuff.

Also reported with the museum is a theater where Dusty can do his shows and we’ll assume some pretty special guest stars like the Sons Of The Pioneers, which already do their shows in Branson from time to time.

A great package came in tonight from old friend Kenny Roberts and his songwriter, singing wife Bettyanne, what a nice surprise that was.

Back in those great days when country music was heard on many stations in every state here are a few you might remember Kenny Roberts from, WLW Cincinnati, WOWO Ft. Wayne, Indiana and KMUX in St. Louis or maybe on the WSM portion of the Opry, or maybe even on a few thousand radio stations that played his recordings all over the world.

BUT there is one thing for sure if you were listing to Country music in 1949 you sure must remember this one “I Never See Maggie Alone” (there was her father, her mother, her sister and her brother oh I never see Maggie alone)*

And then came Chocolate Ice Cream Cone, Jealous Heart, and Bluebird On Your Windowsill.

Did you happen to see the Gene Wilder/Richard Pryor movie “Another You” back about 1991 and still seen all over the world on TV stations that shows those great classics from days gone by, of course 1991 wasn’t that long ago, anyway Kenny did the sound tracks for that movie and Bettyanne wrote the song “Yodelaine” that was also heard on those sound tracks.

Most of all did we mention that Kenny is recognized undisputedly as America’s greatest living yodeler and has been the King of yodelers for 4 plus decades, if we forgot to mention that as Paul Harvey would say, “Now you know the rest of the story”.

You know what? (No what) we betcha’ if you wanted a nice color autographed picture of Kenny Roberts and Bettyanne and you dropped us a note saying so and we forwarded it on to good ole Kenny a few days later a brown paper envelope would arrive at your door and if you un-licked that bag you would find a very nice picture of two of the real classics in this great world of country.

The reason we put the * up there by Maggie was to remind myself to tell you that song sold a million copies and if you would like to make it a million and one, Kenny will be happy to tell you how to do that when he sends your picture.

Time to call it a night, we sure do appreciate your mail and we are still trying to find some of the things folks have ask for, it’s out there some where and time will find it.

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

Don Bradley    


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