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News Posted: September 18, 1998
Well this past three weeks are three weeks we could have done without, but, things happen and sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, we had to take a little trip back to Tacoma and then over to Coeur d Alene, Idaho, a trip that should have taken four or five days took three weeks, which we reckon on the surface don't sound all that bad but coming down a seventeen mile grade into Lewiston, Idaho the brakes went out on the Van we were driving and if that don't put fuzz on your cucumber I don't know what will, especially since on the right side of the highway was a cliff going straight down into a river and the other side a mountain of rocks, even though no one was in the truck except me (at least that I could see) we were sure doing some fast talkin' to somebody, so I reckon who ever wasn't there heard me, 'cause I'm here, my mind is here that is, I still ain't quite sure where my body is.
It has been another sad time for the world of the great Classics, "Yazoo City's" own Jerry Clower is gone. We considered Jerry Clower the crown prince of Country comedy, a man that did good clean shows about everyday life and not even the word "shucks" was in his albums.
Jerry had bypass surgery around the 19th of August and died five days later on the 24th, Jerry was 71 years old. Discovered selling fertilizer at a Mississippi chemical company Jerry's life was about to change into a world of bright red suits and the sounds of laughing crowds where ever he performed.
Jerry Clower's make believe family and friends "The Ledbetters" were really a kick when Jerry started naming them off. I especially like old Marcel Ledbetter, Jerry had more tales about the Ledbetter's and coon dogs then Carters got peanuts.
On one of his albums (and this is not exactly what he said, probably not even close to what he said, but the idea is still the same) anyway his story was that the train out of "Yazoo City" was so fast that when he was leaving town to do a show, he leaned out to kiss his wife Homerline, goodbye and kissed a Moose in Montana. (Now that's a fast train)
Coming up in the fall will be Jerry Clower's last album called "Peaches And Possums To Clanton, Alabama with love, Jerry Clower," His 31st project for MCA. Jerry Clower and his wife Homerline Wells had been married 51 years and had four children.
The world will miss the likes of Jerry Clower, his humor and his love for the world around him, see ye later Jerry.
Charlie Feathers is gone at 66, Charlie, although his name was not known by a lot of hard core Country music fans it was well known to early Rockabilly fans and still is by those that loved the early Sun Rockabilly sounds out of Nashville and Memphis throughout England and Europe.
And since we have made no bones about what we think of the original "Sun" records as being one of the best labels ever, that's where Charlie got his start and laying down on tape a few great songs that he had produced called "Peepin' Eyes," "I've Been Deceived," "Defrost Your Heart," and "Wedding Gown of White"...Charlie Feathers also co/wrote along with Stan Kesler, Elvis Presley's last biggest hit for "Sun" records "I Forgot To Remember To Forget" (when you think about it that's quite a title in it's self).
In Memphis for "Menteor" records, Charlie recorded a song called "Tongue-Tied Jill" which became a regional hit for him, he signed with "King" in 1956 cutting a few sides then moving on and doing a few misc. recordings in between, then last month "Elektra" released a double C.D. of Charlie's called "Get With It", a re-issue of his classics from the 50's and 60's.
Charlie Feathers leaves a wife, Rosemary, a daughter and two sons after he suffered complications following a stroke in Memphis.
I doubt if anyone that was ever a part of the early world of Country Music or even just a fan, has not heard of "Tootsie's Orchid Lounge". It was a place from the beginning that was kind of a home type hangin' out place for the picker's and singers coming in to town flat broke or even some of them that had been in Nashville for a while but still needed a helping hand, it was a place that even after some of them had made it that they came back to "Tootsie's Orchid Lounge" if for no other reason then to use the bathroom and write their name on the wall.
It was a place that Grover (Big Jeff) Bess would give them food , give them a job if he could and help them get on with that part of their life's that they came to Nashville for, to be famous in a world of honky tonk and love ballads, some of them made it, some of them didn't but "Big Jeff treated them all the same.
Grover Bess and his wife Hattie Louise Bess, better know to millions of people as "Tootsie" had bought the lounge when it was called "Mom's Place" back in the 50's I reckon it was and changed the name to "Tootsie's Orchid Lounge" together they ran the Lounge until their divorce at which time Mr. Bess turned over the keys to "Tootsie" and she ran it from there on.
Even though no more than a beer joint, it was the place to see old friend, meet some new ones or have a bite to eat on the house if you were down and out, or pay for it if you had the change in your pocket to pay for it with. It was a place you might run into Willie, Kris, Harlan, Marty Robbins or any number of others from the Grand Ole Opry and points in between. It was a place when and if it was ever quiet around there you might even want to write a song, read it in a book a few years ago, old Roger said he wrote "Dang Me" sittin' in "Tootsie's"
Anyway, Big Jeff (Grover Bess) 1/2 of the team that started it all for "Tootsie's Orchid Lounge" is gone, he died August the 23rd after a long battle with diabetes.
This is one we even hate to think about, but it has been reported that Country Singer Johnny Rodriguez is being held on $250,000 bond in Sabinal,Texas for murder, it has been reported that, Johnny, 47, is charged in the shooting death of Israel Borrego, 26, an unemployed laborer he had met a few months ago. Borrego died at a hospital after being shot once in the abdomen.
Rodriguez's attorney called the shooting "very defensible" and said the singer thought Borrego was a burglar.
Johnny's first hit came in 1972 when he recorded "Pass Me By, If you're Only Passing Through" then came another hit called "You Always Come Back To Hurting Me" and another that still gets a lot of airplay where ever Good Country Music can be heard called "Ridin' My Thumb To Mexico". A dozen or more of Johnny's albums over the past years have all ended up in the top ten.
This is a sad situation, no matter what the reason or cause and we hope this was just an accident that was never meant to happen, if so we hope Johnny Rodriguez lives to record another hundred albums because he is a truly great Country Singer and we wish him all the best.
On the other side of the coin, Cowboy Dick Jones and his wife have just celebrated 50 years of married life (Together) and that's good, we know of a few dozen others that have celebrated fifty years of married life with someone other then the original "I Do" person.
Old Dick wandered into California territory from Texas 'round about the time the great old West was about to be taken over lock, stock and horse by the Silver Screen Cowboys, and one in particular , one that went on to become a legend, Mr. Hoot Gibson, the start of a film career for Dick Jones that lasted for 65 years.
But even at an earlier age Dick was signed by Mr. Disney to be the voice of Pinocchio, and he was also the voice of one of our favorite radio show stars back in the days when a radio weighed two and a half tons and the battery it took to operate it was bigger then a Datsun, oh that show was called, Heennnnnnry, Henry Aldrich, then Henry would say "Coming Mother" Yep, Dick was that voice for two and a half years.
Two years in the Army and then to join up with Mr. Gene Autry to make Western Movies and two television series, Dick has appeared in more than 100 films, 200 TV productions and was one of the first to be honored with his star in the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, and in 89 was presented with the Golden Boot Award.
Dick Jones, still a nice guy in 1998
We have been asked now for over a year to do another radio show, this time to be re-broadcast in Denmark, we would have already been doing it at the first request but one thing leads to two and you know how that goes, then we get started on promoting someone's record or tape or C.D. and the time just slides away, but this time we are making the plans to get it started A.S.A.P.
There are so many of the GREAT CLASSIC ARTISTS that radio stations in the U.S. are not playing, and that should be the crime of the century, Waylon, Willie, Johnny Cash, Paycheck, Freddie Hart and all the rest, sound as good if not better today then they did from day one, their music is great the sound and meaning of their songs can be understood by all that really love Country music which is much more then I can say for some of it you hear now days when you try to find Country Music on the dial.
We may have said this before, if so we are saying it again, Eddie Dean called us last year when the country music awards shows were coming on, he said are you going to watch it, I said, we were not planing on it, why ? He said, well, I thought I would, why don't you, it will give us something to talk about tomorrow. So I did (for a little while) then we called him back and said, are you still watching the award show? He said, "nope, I turned it back to the news after the 3rd or 4th song, I couldn't understand nothing they were talking about".
Maybe the problem with us getting old is, we are so used to hearing Country Music we can understand, written and sung by someone that has been there and done that, that it is very hard to watch a 20 year old sing a song about all the heartaches of life when he ain't barely out of Pampers.
Back to Denmark, if you have any friends in Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Norway and several of the other countries over there, write um a letter, ask them if they will tape for you one of the Classic Country stations that they are able to pick up in that area, unless you speak the language in between the playing of the records, then you won't know what they are saying, but then again you won't even care when you realize he has just introduced Hank Thompson and "Yesterday's Girl".
We had several requests when we made it back home for some information on some of the old timers that we don't usually hear much about, and we sure do like that, because it will make us dig deeper into the old files and find some good stories to write about them, sometimes so little was written about them in the first place that it is very hard to find anything good to write about them unless it was someone we already knew then it's easy. But all you have ask, we will do our best to try and find something good about them for ye. So Hang on.
Thanks for all the e-mail, letters, fax's and all the other ways you have let us know you are out there, it is very much appreciated.
We thought we had located Glenn Barber, but we got a wrong number on that one, Glenn has always been one of our favorite singers that we always thought not enough was said about him.
Really don't know if Glenn spells his name with one (n) or two and I'm to pooped to go dig out his record, but we had rather over do it then under do it, we'll get it right next time.
It could not happen to a nicer guy than FREDDIE HART, he has been nominated to the Song Writer's Hall of Fame in Nashville and we sure hope he comes home a winner.
Freddie as you may or may not know has had 14 number one songs, we do not care for one second what Freddie's body is doing, I will bet my life his mind is writing a song, he will stop right in the middle of a bite of sausage and give you the lines to a song he has running through his head and after he eats that sausage, he'll sing it for you, We have put away more coffee at our kitchen table which if poured into a hole it would make a nice size lake, and he just keeps on writin' and I keep on pourin'.
Freddie likes to do his own fixin' around the house, like fixin' the roof and what ever else needs to be done, we are surprised he don't nail his hand to the ceiling cause he may be driving a nail but his mind is writin' another song.
Good Luck Freddie, we love ye.
We saved this for last because it has already happened and next week we will get the program and let you know the others that were just inducted into the "Texas Country Music Hall Of Fame" but for now the one we are most happy for is a lady who is a song writer to end all song writers Miss Cindy Walker, we have said this before but if you will dig out some of your Classic albums, you won't have to dig very far and you will come across song after song written by Cindy Walker, We would venture to say that there is not a song writer or a Country singer in Nashville, Tennessee that does not know or heard of Cindy Walker, her songs have been recorded by everyone but the guy who makes pizza, she is just a lady that after you talk with her for two minutes you know she is the greatest person you could ever hope to know, she is as down home as today and more beautiful than tomorrow and we are sure happy she is our friend.
Thanks to our good friend Phyllis Hill for helping us out with some news from TN, when the fax machine rings at 5 in the morning we know it must be Phyllis with some more news from the big city, we just hope it is not another one of our greats bitin' the dust. My brother after he retires from Boeing, wants to run for some kind of office, I said we would support him if he passed a law saying none of the Classic Country folks could die in the next two years, we were thinking about making Phyllis President of this venture.
There are so many good things left to write about but my old body is still on the highway trying to get stopped, we'll be back in a lot less time then we were this time so hang in there.
For now with the thought of the old radio show Henry Aldrich in mind and a flip of the old radio dial to Inner Sanctum, it is time to close that squeaking door for tonight.
So we'll see ye later, but just in case we don't, Take Care of Yourself
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