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Date News Posted: May 30, 1998

From a radio repair shop to what could be the greatest name ever for a guitar is the name "FENDER" and from almost the beginning working side by side with Leo Fender was a young man still very much active in the development of new instruments by the name of George Fullerton. George and Leo's first official meeting was July the 4th. 1947.

George at the time of his meeting Leo was also repairing radios in another town close by, he was playing guitar with a band on the weekends, delivered furniture part time and went to school at night, a fair guess as to the rest of George's time would be sleeping and dreaming about how to make a guitar.

One day Leo showed George a guitar he had made and ask him if he would give it a try with the group George was working with, it had a solid wood body and neck with a pickup and two controls, the body was very narrow and about five inches wide at the butt end, so George used the guitar with his group and reported back to Leo that it had great possibilities, the sound was great and the action on the neck was good but that it was to narrow to be comfortable to hold.

That guitar is now displayed in the Roy Acuff Museum in Nashville, Tennessee and was the beginning of history in the making for the guitar building business.

So on February the 2nd. 1948 until the day Leo Fender died Thursday March the 21st. 1991, George Fullerton and Leo Fender would remain the closest of friends working side by side building better guitars from dreams and ideas from two men that devoted their whole life to the making of a guitar.

If there was a way to snap your finger and the Fender Guitar and the G & L (George & Leo) Guitars were plucked from the hands of those owning them, there would be a heap of sad pickers in this old world real quick.

George Fullerton is a wonderful man that we have had the privilege to talk with several times and in the near future he plans to come out and if we can get our good friend Freddie Hart here at the same time, maybe we can get some nice pictures of Freddie playing a couple of George's guitars, if we can get them up on our web site then we will show everyone what two giants of the music business look like together.

We also plan to do a lot more story on George Fullerton but in the meantime if you are really interested in the making of the Fender Guitars from the eyes, heart and mind of a man that was there from day one, then get a copy of "GUITAR LEGENDS" by George Fullerton, it is a slick, glossy, many color photos, many many pictures of some of the greatest pickers that ever lived including my favorite stoned faced guy Mr. Luther Perkins, I dang near cried when that bugger died, I wuz, I is and forever will be a Luther Perkins fan.

The book "Guitar Legends" is published by Centerstream Publishing-Fullerton, California, We don't rightly know how much they sell for but if you are interested we will sure find out for you and put you in touch with the company.

It's sad times with so many of our greats are just leaving this old world at the sound of a final heartbeat, the first story this month we told you of Montie Montana being in the hospital. This week they buried him in Chatsworth, California. Two or three hundred people were on hand to pay their final respects to a cowboy that made many children and Presidents over the years smile and who's face was as familiar as the day it's self in the "Rose Bowl Parade" year after year.

And May the 22nd at 9:29 am at Gundersen-Lutheran Hospital in LaCrosse, Wis. One of the most unique duo's in the business was split when Royce Kendall clutched his chest and fell to the floor, within 17 minutes Mr. Kendall was airborne by a Medi-Vac unit and on the way to the hospital but it was already to late.

The father daughter team really hit it big in 1977 with their classic "Heaven's Just A Sin Away" and continued with eleven more top ten songs including, "Pittsburgh Stealers" and "It Don't Feel Like Sinnin' To Me"

Mr. Kendall was born Royce Kykendall on September the 25th 1934 in St.Louis, In his 20's he left their home in Arkansas to perform along with his brother out California way calling themselves the Austin Brothers alongside Cal Smith and Hank Cochran.

The duo had completed their sound check and was meeting their fans at a Marquette,Iowa casino before the show, when Mr. Kendall clutched his chest and fell. Royce Kendall was 63.

You probably remember Smiley Monroe if you were in the California area during those great 50's years, Smiley not only worked for several years as a promoter for Capitol Records but as an artist and about everything else for not only Capitol but several other record labels, When Canada sent down a record on a young lady for Smiley to promote out of the Capitol office in Hollywood, Smiley played it, saying the "B" side was better than the side they had picked for the "A" side so he switched it. This almost cost him his job, but when the charts started coming in a few weeks later the side Smiley had picked was an instant smash, the other side ? who knows, the side Smiley had picked was "Snow Bird" and as is about par for the course, they never even thanked him.

Smiley Monroe had a pretty big hit in those great years with "Paul Bunyon Love" and several others that should have been, but in this business you take it like it comes: Smiley is still pickin' and singing, this time far from the lights of Hollywood in a little town back West Virginia way called Keyser, he called the other night, I think he's got ants in his pants and wants to hit the road again, someplace like Denmark or Sweden or London, he wanted to know if we would go with him, sure we will, just as soon as they get the bridge built.

Had a really nice call the other day from a young guy that could make the young ladies scream with his big old smile and fiddle playin' and according to Bill Woods from Bakersfield used to knock um out up at the Blackboard in Bakersfield ++ oops' forgot to tell you who it was, his name is Wade Ray and his friends used to call him Pug Nose, we are getting some things together now to do a nice story on Wade and his years at "Cow Town".

Cal Smith about this time tonight should be doing his show down at Loretta's place close by Butcher Holler, or maybe in Butcher Holler, I don't know exactly where her place is, my brother and I had some beans and taters at her cafe there close by the highway on our way back from North Carolina a couple years ago, some nice folks-if you get close by drop in fer some vittles.

My brother don't care for road kill like I do, we reckon no body likes it like Cindy Walker and me, when she called the other day we could tell she had the ummies for one of the recipes we had give her of a skunk or possum soaked in prune juice, we don't really like it when people just go out and kill animals, but when your driving down the highway and somebody done run over one, there ain't no use leaving that bugger for the buzzards.

And speaking of Buzzards, they have got to be one slick bird, because we never saw a dead one, now you know that would have to be one ummie dinner considering what they eat, picture this, soak that bird in Teriyaki sauce for about two days, (after he's been plucked of course) cut him up like you would a chicken, slow cook him on the bar-b-que till he's finger lickin' crisp, serve that critter with mashed taters and corn bread with a little gravy, you'd have the neighbors knocking down your door.

My friend Ancel Cook called me tonight, he was driving through a cow pasture in Oklahoma, called me on his cell phone, he is down there to visit his Mother and to see a good friend of his that's just a great Country singer or Western singer, come to think of it both, by the name of Les Gilliam, Les don't talk much and he writes even less but that bugger can sure sing, Anyway Ancel just finished a Coors Beer Commercial and is doing a "M & M" commercial next, we forgot to ask him what color M&M he's gonna be, but anyway we know and Ancel just does not want to admit it that he likes road kill himself, why else would he be driving through an Oklahoma cow pasture after sundown driving with one hand and a cell phone in the other, I think he's skunk huntin'.

Warner Mack called the other day, we really get a kick out'a Warner, he was readin' the story we wrote about "Walley Wilson" he said, "did you make up that whole story out of your own head" Well actually Warner there is a Hertz Rent A-Head about a block away and now and then when we run out'a stuff to write about we go down there and rent a head, sometimes we get a really bad head .

We got some great C.D's in this week, especially the Hank Snow album with good things on it like his Classics of I'm Moving On-The Rhumba Boogie-Married by The Bible, Divorced By The Law and The Golden Rocket, If you are a Hank Snow fan then you know he was elected to the Country Music Hall Of Fame in 1979...We also got in several others but ole' Hank never never get's old ++ Also some great pickin' on a new Merle Travis C.D

Thanks to a young lady that wanted a copy to play at her daughter's up coming wedding of the Clay Hart song "Spring" and with the help of our good friend Phyllis Hill at TNN Clay called us and said he could help us out with a copy, so hopefully before long we can do a story on Clay and his little wife, they still do shows and you may remember them both from the many years in running, "The Lawrence Welk Show" Wonderful - Wonderful and who can forget them bubbles..

Well folks it's time to close the squeakin' door again for tonight, we appreciate all the e-mail and fax's and other stuff and we also hope to have some more good stuff for you on Mr. George Fullerton and his life before and after with Leo Fender and the "Fender" guitar company.

We'll see ye next time, but just in case we don't, Take Care yourself.

Don Bradley


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