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|Date News Posted: April
It was a far cry this week from the gentle voice of John Denver to the thundering gun fire that ripped apart lives, families and the futures of many young people who will never again see the rocky mountain highs of Colorado.
And the young boy that wanted to be a musician, well from all of us who still believe in God, Heaven and hell, we know where he is tonight, and even though he may not have been a country boy or even a young cowboy, by this time, Eddie has introduced him to every great entertainer that are already in the band and with his arm around his shoulders sayin' "welcome home son"
Maybe the next time any of us say goodbye to a loved one or a friend, we should shake their hand a little harder, hug them a little tighter, kiss them like we meant it and say I love you from the bottom of your heart, because sometimes, there ain't no tomorrow.
There are a couple of reasons that I would like to be President (and no,what your thinking ain't one of um).
If you look at any city map in America you will see names of streets that even college grads can't pronounce, names that mean absolutely nothing to anyone and some cities the street names and directions are so confusing you use ten gallons of two dollar gas just looking for the place, how's this one ? 258 west 34th street east, does that mean you go so far east that it turns west or do you go so far west that it turns east ? or how about Bertha Parkway ? who's Bertha ?.
Most every town in America has had someone born there that went on to become either a household word or a name that the whole world has heard of. Who don't know Elvis ? when he made it to the big time the street name was changed to honor him, as was Danny Thomas as was Martin Luther and a few others, very few.
So many of the really small towns through out America has had majors stars that were born there, some of these towns are so small and have so little money in the town kitty they can't afford to put up a big monument, so we checked with a painter that does street signs as to the cost of having just a regular street sign made. the cost ? between twelve and eighteen dollars, so you have twenty intersections crossing that street, it don't take a dummy to figure out that 20X18 is three hundred and sixty dollars, and if the town pot ain't got three sixty in the kitty, you better move.
Oh ! if we do that we'll have to change all the maps, well, big deal, the printer needs some more business anyway.
I'm not just talking about streets that would have name changes to Merle Haggard, or Buck Owens or Tom Mix or Hoot Gibson or Cindy Walker Boulevard, even though that would suite me, I am talking about any one that went on to become famous born in your little (or big) town, that would be such a great honor that would make your little children say Mom, who was Will Rogers ??
You know, the person that you name a street after in your little town does not have to be one that went on to become world famous, there are probably so many good people in your town that have done so much to help others that even your heart would feel better every morning on your way some where that you saw their name high up on that street sign.
This is the bottom line, we have let the American History of the good guy and gal go down the toilet,. if you don't believe it watch Jay Leno sometimes when he is out on the street asking people questions about who some one is, there are those that think Johnny Cash is a pay toilet and that Ernest Tubb is a sincere place to take a bath.
I would be proud to live in a town or on a street that bore the name of Stonewall Jackson, or Johnny Cash or Waylon Jennings or that had the Freddie Hart Turnpike running through it, I tell you one thing, the name Roy Acuff Avenue would be a heck of a lot easier to remember than Cucumber Avenue West.
You know, some of the people that design towns and have to come up with street names, drink a lot, not always booze but cod liver oil and just about the time they think of a good street name they have to run, that's how we come up with names like running bear and running wild expressways, they forgot what they were doing before the cod liver oil took hold.
We ask a guy one time that laid out tracts of homes, "where do you come up with the names for all these streets" his answer, "Three of these street names are my daughters names, and one of them is named after my wife" well, that's o.k. I guess, I would be proud to name a street after a member of my family. Leaving the tract I looked up and saw the name of the street we had just passed it was, "Wolfbanger Avenue" Lord, I hope that wasn't his wife's name.
They named a road outside the town that movie bad guy Pierce Lyden was born in, "Pierce Lyden Trail" I think it was, and it was really a great thing to honor this man that was so kind to every one he met, and for his town to be proud that a member of their community had gone to Hollywood, made a lot of movies and was well loved and respected by every one that ever knew him. The total cost of that kind gesture by his home town, for one sign, could have not cost more than a hundred or so bucks, but it meant a million to Pierce Lyden and those of us that knew him.
There are a million ways for towns to have fund raisers to raise money for street signs or anything else worth while, look at all those that turned out when we had the show for Eddie Dean's star, look at all the good folks that are digging deep to help the families that are being driven from their homes in Kosovo, American's are good people, and as your President, I will make it mandatory that every town start naming streets after people that have made American history what it is today.
Roy Rogers, a man that was loved not only in America but all over the world, a man that was respected by all the other cowboys, a man that was a TRUE HERO to every little kid of the generation, a man that gave love and comfort to many little children over the years, a man that left behind a world of heart ache because he had left us, but our memories of him will never die until we do. Yet, the town that he chose to start his Museum and build a home for his wife and family, took all those years before they honored him with a freeway off ramp with his name on it, something that should have been considered and then done the first year he chose to move there.
Boxcar Willie is gone, a man that, he said, while sitting at home one night listing to the radio, said to himself, "that ain't country", then went on to do what he thought was right for him, he built or bought himself a theater in Branson, wore bib top overalls, made train whistle sounds and sang the songs of the workin' man, the hobo and songs of life.
Freddie Hart and Claude Gray did their first show together last night, April the 22nd. in Marietta, Oklahoma, tonight (the 23rd) they will be in Greenville, Texas and tomorrow night the 24th in Brady, Texas. Just waiting now to see how the show came out, can't help but believe it was a sell out with these two great artist. They had told us a couple of days ago that the radio stations in those areas where promoting the heck out of the shows, and that's what it takes, promotion, no body ain't a comin' if they don't know you are there.
We spoke for a while the other day to Hank Locklin which we probably mentioned before about the fact that he will have a new album ready to buy in May, but what we wanted to say is this. Wal Mart stores have the power to sell a lot of these albums for Hank and all the rest of the days gone by Classic artist that are still hanging in there and recording, we ask you before that when you go into a Wal Mart store to look for these Classic albums, if you don't see them, ask them to order them. Cal Smith has an out standing album with Country Bumpkin, Time To Pay The Fiddler, Arizona Whiz, and a bunch more good stuff by Cal. We have these in our catalog but let's face it, more people use the rest room at Wal Mart than read our web site, so when you go in there, ask them to order it for you, if people do this all over the U.S where Wal Marts are located, you will really help the artist and the business more than you know.
By the way, if they ask you for a label name or number, e mail us or something and we'll get it for you p.d.q, even the address where they can order them if they want it.
Stonewall Jackson, born in Tabor City, North Carolina was the youngest of three children, when the hard times really caught up the family hitchhiked to Georgia, Years of hard work on the farm caused Stonewall to change his birth records and join the Army, he was sixteen, and when they found out how old he was, they let him go, but, at the age of seventeen he joined the Navy and that's where he stayed until 1954. He learned to play the guitar while in the Navy, and if you have ever heard him sing, then I would say, singing was born in him from day one.
Still in those 50's years, Stonewall drove to Nashville in his pickup truck, got himself an audition with Wesley Rose, when Wesley heard him sing, he called his good friend George D Hay at the Grand Ole Opry and WSM. Stonewall Jackson became the first and only unknown artist ever signed to the Opry roster, and it didn't take a major label long to realize there was gold in this here Jackson boy, and Columbia Records latched on to him.
His first number one hit came in 1959 called "Life To Go" which the title pretty much tells it all, then as Ed Sullivan would say, "right here, right here, on our stage, with a really big, really big, wreck-erd, both country and pop, is a young man by the name of Stonewall Jackson and "Waterloo" right here, right here, on our stage.
And they kept comin' "I Washed My Hands in Muddy Water", "BJ the DJ" (now that was a sad one) "Why I'm Walkin') (one of our all time favorites) "A Wound Time Can't Erase", "Don't Be Angry" & "Me and You and A Dog Named Boo" and the rest of the list could take up more paper than you could read before sun-up.
A member of the Grand Ole Opry for 40 years, Stonewall Jackson has a wall full of memories that people have honored him with over the years, for both Country and Gospel music that he has recorded, and for his outstanding contributions to the Country Music Industry.
Over the years we have spoke with Stonewall a few times, and like always we probably called at the wrong time, his wife said he was down at the barn but she would get him, when he got on the phone you would have thought he was just sitting there waiting for our call because of the way he treated us, like an old friend, but he was more than likely up to his socks in horse or cow over load, I reckon that's how the good guys are, and it's not hard to figure out why they are so well respected.
In the later years when Jack McFadden was booking out of Bakersfield, we were with Steve Stebbins and his Americana Agency in the San Fernando Valley, then here a short while ago, Jack passed away, Stonewall's son is now working with Mrs. McFaden at the agency, his friends call him "Turp", his Mom and Dad named him Stonewall Jackson jr. but which ever one you call him, he is really a nice guy, and if you would ever like to do a big show in your area, just call the McFadden & Associates agency in Nashville and he'll fix you up.
Another sad note to report, Max Harrison who owned the "Country and Western Variety" magazine for many years out of Nashville has passed away, in speaking to Max's wife's brother a short while ago, he said that Max went to sleep Thursday night and never woke up, some time ago Max had to have one of his legs removed and since that time was in and out of the hospital almost daily, a finer person you never met than Max Harrison.
In the early years Max was the publicity man for Gene Autry and the art work that Max did on Gene was really something else, from time to time Max would re-print some of the art work he did on Gene in his magazine, we guess it was just a natural thing that 'Ol Frog" (Smiley Burnett) and Max became such good friends and Max did an awfully lot for him also.
Max in the past few years gave us three cover stories in his magazine, one on Lash, one on Eddie and one on Walter Brennan, plus all the stories that we wrote and sent him.
We will sure miss him and knowing that he won't be there anymore, other than his magazine he was a collector to end all collectors and could recite most of the old cowboys bios backwards, he could scare you when you answered the phone and he was doing his Tex Ritter voice, you would think old Tex was back.
Max Harrison was a first cousin of Sunset Carson, who's name at birth was also Harrison and as Max put it, stayed that way until an agent looked out his office window one day while Michael Harrison was sitting there, the sun was just sitting and across the street was a car lot, and the name Sunset Carson was born and so was a career that lasted many long years.
With the number of cowboys from the Silver Screen passing away these past few years, the number of Western film festivals just keep getting fewer and fewer, especially those that over the years many of the great old cowboys would attend. It gave them another chance to meet a lot of their old fans, shake a few hands and let the lawn mower set in the garage for a week or so. More and more the stories about the movie cowboy's will be less and less and the stories will change as people start to remember them differently as time goes by.
So when you are out passing by a thrift store, a garage sale, a junk store the Good Will or any other place that may have some piles of old stuff laying around, take the time to go through it if you can and collect all that you find on those by gone days about the old west and those early cowboy movies, put it in some kind of a binder that will keep it nice for a while and someday pass it down to your kids or grand kids so they might know a little bit about what the old west and the movie cowboy was really like.
We hope you caught Eddie on the 21st. on TNN that was the last appearance he ever made for TV coverage.
To the young people of this world that thinks life is a bowl of cherries and will go on forever, just keep in mind one of Willie's songs, and all you need to remember is the title. "Ain't It Funny How Time Slips Away"
We will see you next time, but just in case we don't, take care of yourself
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