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Date News Posted: November 21, 2002
Thanksgiving is almost upon us, so no better time to give thanks for all the great people we have heard from this past few weeks, a lot of old friends, and a lot of new ones, some just outstanding new CDs, some great pictures, some great letters and if I use the word great a lot, well, that’s what it all is to me, I thank people a lot for taking the time to send us letters and pictures and their music.
 


Sad to say though that we did lose a couple of Country Music’s finest but thanks to records, tapes and now CDs their music will be here forever.

What is even sadder that newspapers all over the country does not at least give mention that they are gone and when they do it seems that it is always on the back page, we get many letters saying this was the first time they read about that artist passing away.

Roy Acuff’s right hand man for so many years, Beecher Kirby, better known to all of us on the listening end of radio and records as Bashful Brother Oswald left us. There is a radio station in New Jersey that almost every show play some of his music and would send us their play list which we would forward on to our good friend Wayne Rogers in Lebanon, Tennessee, and he would take them over to Oz’s house, Wayne said he could see a tear in Oz’s eye when he would see his name on a play list after all these years. Little things that don’t mean a lot to some one else sure means a lot to those on the forgotten end.

Beecher Kirby was born December the 26th. 1911 in a log cabin in Sevierville, Tennessee

Between Hank Williams pain songs and Newberry’s train songs and Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain, out in Luckenbach, Texas ------. At just 62 years of age Mickey Newberry died Sunday September the 29th, 2002 of emphysema.

Elvis, Willie, Don Gibson, Kenny Rogers are among the many who recorded Mickey’s songs as did Johnny Cash with Mickey’s “Poison Red Berries”     

Thanks to all his great music, Mickey Newberry will not soon be forgotten.
 


Before I forget, which is not likely, Shari Penny, Hank Penny’s  beautiful widow, I don’t like that word widow, but ---that’s the way it is.

Before I get into it, first you don’t ask a lady her age and second it is none of any one’s business but you don’t have to have 20/20 vision to see that Shari was many years younger then Ole’ Hank and as a singer can just knock your socks off.

Well now for several years Shari has just kinda laid back from the entertainment business, other than she worked on a couple of books and re-married a great guy by the name of Bill Nona.

Now Bill is all for anything Shari wants to do with her entertainment talent and since they live in the heart of California’s vacation paradise, Palm Springs, what better place to start a Variety Show featuring some of the many entertainers that come there to visit.

What Shari describes as a “wonderful bunch of folks” own a topnotch studio there in the Springs and are all for such a show, they all ready shoot commercials and promos and many other things in the area.

The plans are as of right now to start shooting in March, “So” if you have any plans to be in California next year and would like to be on the show, send us a package and we’ll go from there, remember, it is a “Variety” type show so send a package and let Shari see if she can work you into the program.

Her plans are to syndicate the show so if you have been in the business twenty years or twenty minutes it sure can’t hurt you any.

Like anything new there will be things that need to be worked out, most are well on the way, one other thing, if you have an interesting story to tell or an unusually talent you think others might like to see, there is always somebody close by that has some professional equipment that can shoot you doing what you do best if you can’t make it to California.

Just make sure they shoot you with a camera, not a 30/30.

Just a little note** Palm Springs has a wonderful “Walk Of Stars” where they have honored many Hollywood stars from the past, that is where Eddie Dean’s star is in the shade of one of the towering palm trees that lines main street through town.

I am sure there will be questions as time goes along so feel free to write or call or fax or email or what ever you like.

Maybe we can dig up a clip of Ole’ Hank singing, “Won’t You Ride In My Little Red Wagon”
 


Maybe you can help: “I am researching my parents career in show business,” says Maria Robbins, daughter of Larry Ford and Venus DeMars.

I have to say, I never even heard of these folks but she said at one time they worked for Lloyd Hickey at his 40 Grand Club in Sacramento.

Now about two years ago we spoke with Lloyd for a while, he sounded pretty sick so we thought maybe by now he had already changed his address to “Hillbilly Heaven” but on a chance we called the last number we had on him and spoke with a tape machine, and low-and-behold he called us back alive and well, he knew Larry and Venus well, in fact he ask them to come work at his club after he saw them work in Vegas and according to Lloyd they were great talents.

The band name they  (Larry & Venus) used was called “The Baja Country Jesters”

Anyway if you know any more about them or ever worked with them, their daughter would sure like to hear from you.
 


We made a new friend this month, Cubbie Slayton, he knows a lot of the same great artist that worked and toured the Southern California area during the 50’s, Cubbie was a good friend of Stuart Hamblen.

Cubbie tells us the story of how Stew came to write “It Is No Secret”

He said that Stew had told him he had been over at John Wayne’s for a party and the subject came up about God and it was mentioned that “it is no secret what God can do” when he left the party John said to him “you oughta write a song about that”. So when Stew got home and walked into the entry the clock struck midnight and therefore the beginning of the song.

The chimes of time rang out a new another day is through, He said he sat down right there and wrote the song, when he finished the clock said 12:20 so it had taken him but twenty minutes to write “It Is No Secret”.

We found the news paper clipping from the day after Stuart passed away and I guess you could call it re-learned something we had long forgotten and that was, in 1952 the Prohibition Party recruited Stuart to run for president after he had publicly swore off alcohol.

The article goes on to say that Stuart lapsed into a coma following surgery February the 28th to remove a malignant brain tumor, he died March the 8th 1989 at 3am at St John’s Hospital in Los Angeles (Santa Monica) California.

Remembering back to Stuart’s Cowboy Church radio show on KLAC in L.A, I did, but even if you didn’t, like gospel music, Stew would keep you hanging on listening to him talk about his wife and his horses.

In some ways when you think about it Stuart Hamblen was a lot like Will Rogers with his homespun humor and his story telling, something that America is way short of these days.
 


Speaking of old news paper clippings: I ran across this one on an old friend that all that knew him always had something good to say about the man and the man was Rome Johnson.

Rome passed away at 76 at his home in Chatsworth, California some years ago, he was a former member of the classic Sons Of The Pioneers his musical career spanned more the 40 years and his first job being in 1942 with someone you would just not off the top of your head pick for Rome to start with, Rosemary Clooney, not that I don’t like Rosemary but I think of her as being bouncy and just out there getting the job done where Rome was about as laid back as yesterdays taters, that was at WLW in Cincinnati .

Didn’t I hear Lonesome George say one night on the Carson show that’s where he started? 
 


Shortly after Dad moved us from Kentucky to Indianapolis to go to work with one of his other twelve brothers in Crown Hill cemetery things started to change, Mom said the first place Dad ever took me was from our house to across the street to the cemetery to show me off to fellow workers, in fact, someplace in an old scrap book is Dad holding me sitting on a tomb stone, don’t that paint a great picture, Dad, me and John Dillinger of course John didn’t have much to say about it.

Crown Hill Cemetery is (or was) sectioned off, and I thought I would never forget after I was old enough to remember which section Dillinger was buried in, that it was section 41 or 42, according to my Dad and Uncles, Dillinger had more visitors then James Whitcomb Riley who was buried in a monstrous tomb up on the hill, Jessie James has probably still got more visitors than James Whitcomb Riley which proves old Waylon’s point, “Ladies Love Outlaws”

I don’t have a clue as to why I wrote all that except while I was still just a kid Mom passed away, we, my brother, sister and I stayed in school and while my brother found friends to spend time with I spent my time after school in the local record shop reading the back of album covers, I just couldn’t stay out of there, the owner knew me well and never paid much attention to me but would sometimes say boy, you gotta know everything there is to know about them people, you ever going to buy anything? I couldn’t afford an album but I did manage to buy a 45 now and then from selling Coke bottles, but it never left my mind that those guys and gals that wrote those liner notes knew everything there was to know about my hero Hank Snow and all the rest that I heard while I was falling asleep each night with the radio still playing.

So the other day we received a double CD album from Albert Brumley JR, and the booklet that comes with CDs now days is just packed full of words from folks like Dale Vest and other good friends of Mr. Brumley like Merle Haggard, Glen Campbell, Tommy Overstreet, Mel, Crystal, Chet Atkins, Hank Thompson, Johnny Russell, George Jones, Cal Smith and the list just keeps on going>>>>

I said to my self, self, as many back covers as you have read over the years I bet you could have really written some good stuff about this album, so I read some more out of the booklet and listened to another of the songs and read and listened to still another one and finally the end came, (with 36 songs it takes a while) then my self said again, well what would you write about this album?

That was two weeks ago and still the only thing I can think to write about this album is:

“PURE CLASS”

Now you know why Mr. Brumley never ask me to write any liner notes.
 


Along with the above CD came another one that was put together just a little while before with Albert E. Jr. and Merle Haggard called “Two Old Friends” now it would be hard to say anything about Merle Haggard that has not been said no matter how many album covers I have read, so if I had to say anything at all I would say what George Jones once said in song, “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes”. Well maybe I can answer that one, try this, “Nobody”.
 


There is a young man out of Texas that is getting much respect from every one who knows him or that has heard him sing, last year he sent us an album that was just a killer, one of the songs on it once you have heard it you are ready to hear it again called “Jesus Is The Same In California”.

His name is Joe Paul Nichols, this is close to his 20th album with us hoping there is no end in site, even though there is a lot of country in his songs he adds a gospel flavor and the combination of his voice, the heart he puts into his music and the songs he picks will get into the heart of anyone who loves “Country Music”.

His new CD that we just received is another example of what we were just talking about and dog-gone can you believe the title song to this album is from the pen of none other then Stuart Hamblen called “How Big Is God”.

One of the songs on the album that has a really good story is from the pen of Dale Vest and Tommy Overstreet called “The Room We Never Go In” I am a sucker for story songs and this is a good one.

Dale said the other day in an email that he considered it a real honor for Joe Paul to record one of his songs, after hearing the song Dale was talking about I sure see why he said that.

Joe Paul’s record company can be reached at>Custom Records>301 Church Road>Jacksboro, Texas 76458-3035 or you can call for this and any of his other great CDs to 940-567-2779.
 


We want to mention again the new CDs we received and wrote about last time and all of these are Country from the get-go.

Hugh X Lewis, Jimmy Eaves, Frankie (Blackland Farmer) Miller and more of the Chester Smith Merle Haggard albums.

Which reminds me, Chester said that he and Merle were working on another new album, I think (and I said, think) Merle has been under the weather a little lately and they will get back at it soon as Merle gives the word.

If there is any of these that you want to know more about just send us an email and we will let you know everything we can about any of them, where to get them, what’s on them anything we can.

And don’t forget the Don Bowman album we mentioned a while back, it is as funny as you ever remembered Don Bowman + it also contains his biggest hits including Mr. DJ.
 


Some of the tracks on this “Bluegrass” album were recorded a while back, others not too far back.

They do not promote the label hardly at all, on the back in very small letters it says Scena Records 2002 from the Madacy Entertainment group, if I had a record (CD) this good I would have my label name all over it but as the saying goes “Different strokes for different folks”

Anyway, featured on the album is some of the best in Bluegrass, including Larry Cordle and Lonesome Standard Time.

Larry according to the liner inside the box, has had his songs recorded by some mighty big names, But, country music being what it is today I never heard of him either until “Murder On Music Row” and that is a real shame, every country station that is “Country” should be playing Larry’s music, because it is down home good, and as far as that goes, so are all of the artist on this 24 song disc.

Jimmy Martin who just makes Bluegrass come alive as does the great Flatt & Scruggs and Mac Wiseman and the never to be forgotten Grandpa Jones and on this disc is probably one of the most famous songs of all time with Mother Maybelle & The Carter Sisters doing “Wildwood Flower”, even one by the long tall man of many talents and a friend of many from his years on “Hee Haw” Mr. Stringbean  (David Akeman), included also a couple by 12 time national fiddle champion Randy Howard which Chet Atkins said was “one of the few musicians I ever paid to hear”. And even one by Mrs. Johnny Cash, June Carter doing “Gotta Travel On”

 I was sitting in the front row at Town Hall Party in Compton, California the night Freddie Hart walked out on stage and said he had just finished this song and ask the blind piano player Jimmy Pruett to kick it off for him, that song stayed about the same as it was sung that first night by every one who ever recorded it, until Larry Cordle and his Lonesome Standard Time boys got a-hold of it and then “Drink Up And Go Home” took on a whole new light, Larry just flat tears it up, the other day over a pot of coffee and a pack of twinkies Freddie and I listened to it six or seven time, we would have played it more but we had to make a trip to the ¼ moon if you know what I mean.
 


One that some radio stations in 1975 wouldn’t touch with a six foot pole was Loretta Lynn’s “The Pill” but on KPOK in Portland, Oregon on March the 3rd. that year (75) it was number two and stayed either one or two for a long time.

So what’s the point in that piece of tidbit one may ask? Well the point is if you catch some of the things they play on FM Rap stations today, the Pill is sorta like a jelly bean in this year of 2002, it don’t mean much.

And if a song was banned in Boston, bet your boots it would be a hit in California, people would buy it just to see why it was banned in Boston and when they banned Buddy Knox’s “Party Doll” he was hoping they would banned everything he recorded because where it wasn’t banned it was number one and ended up being the biggest song he had.
 


“Paladin, Paladin where do you roam”, someone was asking us the other day where Johnny Western was, well, the last we spoke with him he was still at KFDI in Wichita, Kansas where he started in 1986.

He is a frequent guest at the Gene Autry Museum shows in Gene Autry, Oklahoma he has been inducted into everything but “pie” making, he was a featured performer with the Johnny Cash Show from 58 to 97.

He has been in Movies and TV shows and not only did he write the theme song for “Have Gun Will Travel” and co/wrote the themes for “Johnny Yuma” the Rebel and Bonanza which probably means he wrote um both and he also sits up the shows for KFDI when the need arises and of course he has his regular shift on KFDI, other then that, he don’t do much.
 


In 1950 and in BMI’s Country Hits catalog, I guess you could call “If You’ve Got The Money (I’ve Got The Time) a sample of things to come from Lefty Frizzell, But in 1951 he went crazy with “Always Late, I Love You A Thousand Ways, I Want To Be With You Always, If You’ve Got The Money (again) and Mom And Dad’s Waltz.

It is for sure, no one ever twisted, or done more with a word then Lefty Frizzell and to this day you can hear a little Lefty in a lot of singers.

I remember hearing (but I don’t remember which song) one night going down the road, Merle Haggard and right up to the end I thought it was Lefty, of course Merle doesn’t make any bones about it that Lefty was his hero.

If Lefty was as popular in 02 as he was in 52 he would probably be the richest singer to ever live, but we have contracts for many of those early years and all Lefty was getting was between two hundred fifty and if lucky, five hundred dollars a show.
 


Last year my Brother called from Kentucky and asks if I had heard “Riding With Private Malone” and I said, no, who sings it? He said David Ball, I said the only thing I ever heard of about David Ball was an article I read in 96 where he was going to open for Dwight Yoakam at the Universal Amphitheater in Universal City, but I never heard the guy sing, so, I went looking after he said they play it every hour on what ever station he was listing to back there.

In 1996 the radio stations in California that had once played the classics were still busy throwing it all out so they could make room for the new kids so they weren’t about to play anything that sounded like real country music, anyhow I found it  (the CD) which was called “Amigo” which I played about twenty times and wondering all the while what the heck had happen to country radio, why were some of the stations switching to talk radio, was it that we needed more stations to hear women calling in about their cheating husbands, or people calling in that knew better how to run the country then our president, or just from people that would call in and tape it so they could hear their own voice on radio.

The facts are, no matter what you do, good, bad, or anything in between there is always somebody that don’t like it and thinks you are up to something. Well, who cares, if we all thought alike and we all thought we were perfect then we might as well just marry our self and live in a one-room shack alone and spend the day calling talk radio shows and tell them how the country should be run.

For goodness sake, the world is in bad enough shape, the lead story on the news every single morning is a drive by shooting, a car chase with a dope head at the wheel, a 7-11 held up and the owner shot, a man gets fired from his job and goes back to work and takes out half the plant. What a great way to wake up.

I would sure like to wake up to some soft spoken old DJ playing a Hank Snow record then I would a fast talking news man telling me to filter my water this week, they just caught a guy with a turban on his head peeing in the lake.

Is it any wonder that, well, you can’t hardly even buy a car anymore that does not have a cassette player or a CD player in it and some even a TV with a video player built in and some with all three of these things built right into the car or van, at least some one was smart enough to realize we are tired of bad news and talk shows and static on what little good radio is left, most cars also have a clock and a temperature gauge so you don’t really need to turn on that car radio at all, just fill that center compartment with some good country CDs  and cassettes and once the radio programmers figure out that no one is listing to their hokey pokey stuff maybe there will be some changes, But I doubt it. Remember, they know more then we do.

David Ball would be happy if one of those CDs in your car was one of his, it’s some good music.
 


Thanks for “All” the emails, regular letters, CDs, phone calls and packages we received this month, if it was a CD we played it, if it was a letter we read it and if we were supposed to, we answered it, Christmas is a coming, Thanksgiving is just around the corner and soon the house will be filled with the smell that only a holiday like these two can bring, enjoy them both and don’t ever be in a hurry to get any where, your family and friends would much rather see you standing up then in a pine box.

We’ll see ye later but just in case we don’t, Take care of yourself.

Don Bradley
 


 

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