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News Posted: August 19, 1997
The "WHO'S WHO" of Country Music 1960 said that Johnny Cash had never released a single that didn't appear on the charts. Looking over that long list of songs from those great old 50's days it's no wonder, those old SUN records, or now they are on C.D. sound as good in 97 as they did in 57 .
There were people though that did not like Johnny Cash and I knew them all, they were my neighbors, I used to wear the grooves off the intros to Johnny Cash records so loud that the speakers I had nailed to the wall would rattle the house. Guess I can't complain when kids go up and down my street with the seats removed in the back of their V.W. and replaced with speakers that cost enough to go on a Swedish vacation and playing so loud that the alarm in our car goes off. No, that part doesn't bother me, what they are saying in that music does.
Johnny Cash was born in Kingsland,Arkansas but during those early years lived here in Southern California with his first wife out in Ventura County, some of his children by that marriage still lives here or did if they haven't moved away. Now and then they would drop into Johnny and Jonie's Ban Dar Club in Ventura, And speaking of the Ban Dar Club it is probably the only one left in California with a Country artist still owning it after all these years.
In my opinion Columbia Record never even got close to the sound that SUN RECORDS had, Johnny Cash should have bought SUN and kept right on doing what he was doing, with the same 4 track Ampex and the same old key-board that Jerry Lee used to pound on and the same feel to the records that used to come out of that place..No, they couldn't do that, they had to add twenty more tracks of music and bury Johnny. And that's too bad.
Even though I never met him, Luther Perkins was my favorite guitar picker in the world, No he couldn't play like Joe Maphis or Merle Travis but with the two or three strings that he did use on his old guitar he made the sound. I remember when he died. The paper said after a long road trip he came home and fell asleep on the sofa with a cigarette and no pun intended he cashed in.
Go through your records and dig out "HEY PORTER" or "LUTHER PLAYED THE BOOGIE" and crank the sound up so loud you can shake the walls just one more time for ol' Luther.
In the what-ever happened to world, What ever happened to-----Johnny Sea or Margie Singleton or Wiley Barkdull or or how many of the original Renfro Valley folks are still around..We would like to do a nice story on the Renfro Valley, if you have some stories from there send me a copy would you?
IN JULY of 1956 one of the top BILLBOARD HITS was Ray Price with the Chuck Seals song of Crazy Arms another big one for that same time period was the Great Marty Robbins singing "Singing The Blues".
In Feb. of 1957 a young man came on the scene that the country folks didn't quite know how to take, he sounded a little bit pop but his music sounded a little bit country but he was a whole lot good singer, his song was a Smash and so was he, his name was Sonny James his song "YOUNG LOVE"
By June 1957 Sonny James was sharing the charts with a young man that was to come on the charts and never to leave except to grab a hamburger now and then. His name was Marty Robbins and his song was "A WHITE SPORTS COAT"
That same year was shared in the charts with a young man that BOBBY HELMS described as one of the greats of this world and a true friend, a person that really cared when Bobby was getting real sick and never missed a day calling to wish him well. His Song was "GONE" his name is Ferlin Huskey".
In September of 1957 Rock-a-billy was hotter than a fire-cracker, Elvis was going great guns but another young man was coming on the scene that COULD HAVE made a much bigger dent in the Rock-a-billy scene than he did. They re-ran his story again the other night on T.V. and there are parts in that movie that if it had of been me I would be wishing I could live that part over again so I could change it. But to say the least he has had his share of problems, the one thing that has not changed though he is still a super entertainer. His name is Jerry Lee Lewis his song "WHOLE LOT OF SHAKING GOING ON "
Jumping up to 1958 Johnny Cash was doing well with "BALLAD OF A TEEN AGE QUEEN" and "GUESS THINGS HAPPEN THAT WAY". Marty Robbins was hot again with "THE STORY OF MY LIFE". Don Gibson was doing good with "OH LONESOME ME "and "BLUE BLUE DAY" and Ray Price was back again with "CITY LIGHTS". The middle of the year was good for a young brother team by the name of Everly with two hits just months apart "ALL I HAVE TO DO IS DREAM" was the first one and right behind it came "BIRD DOG".
While we are into those great 50's years here is some news: DATELINE January the 12th. 1957 WEBB PIERCE and CARL SMITH are scheduled to finish work on the movie, BUFFALO GUNS the week of February 24th. Smith's flicker, THE BADGE OF MARSHALL BRENNAN, had a private showing in Nashville December the 28th. 56
June the 3rd 1957 Hank Snow recently took over the management of T.Texas Tyler>>Well what do ye-know going back through some old books of history and trivia, I didn't know Hank Snow ever managed anyone, but I reckon he did.
I am happy that I hit on Hank Snow's name in the good book today because to me Hank Snow is someone that should be chiseled in stone for all eternity. If you would read or hear Hank Snow's child hood it would probably tear your insides out. (Hank is not the only country artist that went through hell as a kid but we will get to them later) But that's not my story for today about Hank Snow. When I was a D. J the station didn't have a lot of his records and somewhere I found an address for him in Tennessee, knowing or thinking that a couple of weeks later my letter would be returned I wrote to him anyway, I told him we didn't have many of his records and it would sure be an honor to me if he could find the time to make me a station promo or two. Anyway I mailed the letter and before the next tear drop quit spinning on the turn table I had a letter back with Hank Snow's name on the corner of the envelope. He said he sure would make me up the promo's just send him some copy of what I wanted him to say and with the letter he sent me a catalog with all his albums in it and said check anything I wanted, I wanted them all but of course I couldn't do that but I did check 11 of them, and dog-bite-my-chicken in less than a couple of weeks the albums the station promos and a really nice letter was waiting for me when I got to the station that day. I thanked you then Hank and I thank you again today, few if any will ever walk in the shoes of another Hank Snow.
I know that Hank has not been feeling well as of late, and for the life of me I can not remember who it was that I ask the other day how Hank was, They said that they had ask Hank's son just a few days before that the same question and his answer was, "Dad is really tired".
A couple more things then it is back to the catalog:
I know of at least two or three D.J's that have sent letters to major record companies asking for records (now c.d's) to play on their show. The letters they received back was, well to just cut to the chase was, if you want to pay for them we will send you all you want. AND... if you can find someone that will make you a promo other than those great classic artist that we still have around, Son you done found yourself what grandma would call a miracle.
And I would like to thank Ms. Cindy Walker for the nice picture she signed and sent to us. If someday you-got nothin' better to day, take down all your old albums and read the back covers as to how many songs this lady has written. Pretty soon we want to do a nice story on her, She is really a fine lady and PLUM Purty and that's with a capitol "P" like in Dallas.
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