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Date News Posted: November 18, 1998

Since we are always joking about eating "road kill" which we just joke about it being a joke, actually lizard stew is something pretty yummy, it's just that it takes so many of them little buggers to make a good stew you have really got to have a hankerin' for some good lizard before it is worth while to walk the highways lookin' for um.

We were watching something last night that made me not feel so bad about eating "road kill" was a man that had been entered into the "Guinness Book Of World Records", now some of those things can make you sick watchin' um, like the guy that was lifting a lot of weight, how much ? I don't really remember but it was a lot, now lifting weight is really no big deal, man has being doing that since the beginning of time, but this guy had a rope tied around his tongue and the weight tied to the other end, Come to think of it that would probably stretch his tongue and a long tongue can come in handy at times, anyway >

The guy with the weights tied to his tongue is not the one that made us feel better about eating "road kill" it was the one standing there eating nuts and bolts and razor blades and for desert eating a coffee cup and a drinking glass, but that ain't what got him in to the record book, this guy had eaten eight bicycles and six shopping carts, Now think about this, a lady comes home one night bone tired from all that shopping, all she wants to do is kick off her shoes, read the paper and watch the six o:clock news, so she settles into her easy chair reaches for the remote in it's usual place and it is not there, she lets out a scream heard in the next county, BUUUUFFFFEEERRD!!!, where's the remote !!! not even looking up to see where the TV was. He meekly walks in from the garage with oil on his shirt after just polishing off the Volkswagen.

I'm sorry honey, when you weren't home by dinner I fed it to the cat and I ate the Magnavox, Now you tell me, what sounds better ? sautéed road kill possum tenderly cooked over a slow burning wood stove or a bicycle with dusty wheel bearing grease ? Them picture tubes have got to be a bear to digest.

Fred Foster, is a well respected man in the big city of Nashville and a man that has discovered many of Music City's super talent. Fred is a fine man and we don't mean to insinuate that he isn't, it's just that you have to be real careful when you mention something to him.

Back when the hot sun was beating down on the already hot plains of Texas our good friend (and fellow road kill lover) Cindy Walker, mentioned to Fred that it had been awfully hot and that two of her big favorite trees were dying because of the lack of rain, Fred being the good person that he is said that he would pray for rain in Texas and we guess more specifically at Miss Walker's house, while praying and talking with God that night Mr. Foster forgot to give him Cindy's address, a few days later there was a moose floating down the street in San Antonio and one in Victoria, it was probably a long horned steer but with all that bobbing up and down it looked like a moose, but never the less it rained and rained and rained.

Remember the old song, that had the words in it, don't ask for something, because you just may get it ? well now there ain't nothin' wrong with that, but in the case of askin' Fred, make sure he has got your correct address and you may just want to throw in your zip code as a back-up, because the rain fell about two hundred miles from where it should of.

One of the best song writers in Nashville or any where else as far as that's concerned is Harlan Sanders, especially as far as them sad ballads go, we have been a fan of Harlans ever since the first time we heard one of his songs especially the ones he was singing.

Even though Harlan's home town is Bakersfield and we thought we knew about every one that came from that country music town, Harlan had taken a four year vacation from the music business in 62 so we never got the chance to know him. Then a while later trying to plan out how to get some money to record some of his songs for demos, he planed it out the wrong way and took another vacation.

But everything for a reason they say and even being places sometimes that you don't want to be, you meet people that you will cherish the friendship of for the rest of your life, Harlan met Spade Cooley and with his advise, friendship and encouragement Harlan kept writing. Glen Sherley was also a friend of Harlan's, Glen had been sending his songs down to Nashville, then one day The Man in Black, Johnny Cash recorded one of Glen's songs called "Greystone Chapel" and somewhere down in my bones I can feel what Glen must have felt when he heard his song sung by the man: Johnny Cash.

Glen's good luck with Cash recording his song, he moved to Nashville, Harlan staying behind in California which were some bummer times, with his best friend and writing partner two thousand miles away, you get closer to a good friend than you ever do with family, anyway with Glen in Nashville it was some lonely times back at the ranch.

My old Pappy always said, "when your time comes to die it don't matter where you are at or what you are doin' if it's your time, your gonna die, and if something good or bad is going to happen, it is going to happen and you can't do a thing about it, you may think you can, but you can't".

We used to think that was a pile of rolled oats, but, as you get older you realize how true that is and so be the case with Harlan Sanders. The sun was still hiding in the darkness of early morning and the wild birds of San Francisco were still dreaming about catching a fat worm at the first sign of daylight and the clock had barley reached three am when a telegram was slid under Harlan's door, "I wonder who died now" he thought.

Here is (a part) of what that telegram said:

Just recorded your song" Look For Me" for my next album titled "Man In Black" which will be released in about three weeks. I Think this is one of the finest songs I have ever heard, we are all proud of you, a tape recording will be sent to you soon, June sends her love and Glen is here at the studio. Sincerely Johnny Cash

A few months later Harlan was in Nashville, he was doing some writing and some recording and things were looking pretty good, some things worked out, some things didn't but at least the sun was shining.

Looking on the good side, George Jones recorded Harlan's "If Drinking Don't Kill Me" one of my old favorites Ed Bruce recorded "If It Was Easy, Everyone Would Do It", Barbara Fairchild cut some of Harlan's songs, and of all people to cut one of your "country" songs the man himself, Mr. George Burns Cut Harlan's "Arizona Whiz", and speaking of The "Arizona Whiz" it was just released a short while back on the latest Cal Smith CD the number one song on the album is Harlan Sander's "Arizona Whiz", you already know what we think of Cal Smith, we write about him every chance we get, so if you are really looking for a good album, go buy this one.

Harlan sent us a tape with some of the songs from his first album, we are sorry to say we never heard the album and on it is one that so far we have played at least a hundred times and we only received it last week, it's called "Magnolia Memory"

Up until the other day all we had of Harlan's was a "Shannon" label 45 called "She Says I look Like Daddy" b/w Amber, we need to go dig it out and play it some more.

If we win the lotto tonight we would like to put out a new CD on Harlan, but just in case we don't win the lotto tonight and you have an extra three mill, just look on page one for our name and address and send it overnight mail, it's about time the world heard some good music.

Well this morning the fiddle of Wade Ray was silenced forever, at ten minutes 'till six the phone rang and it was Cindy Walker, she said that Mrs. Ray had ask her if she would call us and let us know that Ray had died at 4:15 this morning in the hospital in Sparta, IL.

It was only a few weeks ago that we had run across one of Ray's old original albums of 78's on the "Cow Town" label and had listed all the records in that album which there were only three, six sides of course, but all featured that Wade Ray fiddle and even though Superman alone can see through a record, everyone who heard any of these discs could look into that famous Wade Ray smile that was shining through the grooves.

If you were in the LA area during those great years then you know that Cow Town was located at Vermont at 107th. Street, it was a place where Wade Ray and his Ozark Mountain Boys would turn the crowd inside out, few people in those days talked about going to Nashville other than the Opry, California had just as good of music as they did and it was bands like Wade Ray's that made it so.

We probably mentioned this before when we did the little article about Ray, but so what, we'll slip it in again, at that time we had spoke for a while with Bill Woods from Bakersfield about Ray, he laughed and said "boy could that Ray make um holler, he would hop up on a table or the stage with that fiddle and they would go crazy" Back in those good old days artist would work all these clubs, the Foot Hill Club, George's Roundup, The Palomino, Little Nashville, The parks, Town Hall Party, Doye O'Dell's show, Gene Autry's Melody Ranch Show with Billy Mize and the gang, Cal Worthington's shows, Cliffie Stone always had something going and all the great clubs in Bakersfield to say nothing about all the little bars or honky tonks that featured country music. And they all knew Wade Ray cause he loved to play.

So tonight another member has been added to the band, another smile has been added to the crowd and another friend has arrived to greet his old buddies that were booked in the years and days past. But all of those that knew him and loved his music will only miss him for a little while, because knowing Ray he will save us front row seats to his show, he will still be smiling and chances are be dancing around on a cloud singin' "Tater Pie"

However tonight here on this earth there will be an empty chair at the table, and a unrumpled part of the bed and a part of a heart missing in that of his beautiful wife Gracie, so if you can spare just a little time, it would be very nice of you to send a card, just a little thing to a family that gave us so much and so many memories.

Mrs. Wade Ray or Mrs. Gracie Ray >>>54 Park Estates>> Sparta, IL 62286, we know it will be much appreciated, Thank You.

We better get back to working on the book and get the coffee pot to perkin' again so we'll see ye next time.

But just in case we don't, take care of yourself.

Don Bradley

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