Date News Posted: November 20, 2008
It seems they always go in threes, first Jerry Reed and next Charlie Walker and we hope that’s all before we finish the news this week.
Chet Atkins called Jerry Reed the greatest guitar player he ever knew. How in the world could you ever top that? He was born Jerry Reed Hubbard on March the 20th 1937 in Atlanta, Ga. & the history book says that Jerry had 41 songs to hit the national charts in his recording career. Please understand that all history books do not say the same thing but for the most part I am sure all who write them do the very best they can and besides, like I said in my book, what I write is not to even start to tell you every thing there is to know about any artist. It is just so you never forget them.
There are some great stories on the internet about Jerry and no matter how we remember Jerry there are others like maybe some of the younger generation, that don’t know one country song from another and had no idea that Jerry Reed could play anything but sure got a kick out of the movies he was in like Smokey and the Bandit.
Having your songs recorded by the likes of Johnny Cash, Elvis, Porter, Brenda Lee and others sure helped to put beans and taters on the table.
Jerry Said in an interview not long ago about life here on earth. “ We live this life like what is down here is what it’s all about. We’re temporary son, like a wisp of smoke”
Charlie Walker was born November the second 1926 in Copeville, Texas. During world war two Charlie worked as a D.J with the armed forces radio network and when Country music was really hot around Las Vegas, Charlie worked as an emcee at the Golden Nugget Casino. Charlie Walker was a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1967.
It would be hard to say if Charlie’s real close friends thought of him more as a country singer or just an outstanding golfer, Charlie Walker was both.
Even though over the years Charlie had 14 songs in the National charts, most of us probably think of one most of all, and of course that was “Pick Me Up On Your Way Down”
In 1967 Charlie made a lot of people smile with a novelty song that reached as high as 44 on the charts with one called “I Wouldn’t Take Her To A Dog Fight”
Charlie Walker. Gone at 82
Folks in and around the south in the 40s, 50s and 60s would have probably kicked your butt if you said something bad about the Grand Ole Opry, it was not only the home of country music it was a place anyone that could or thought they could sing a song wanted to go.
It was the place where people like Freddie Hart wanted to be more then he wanted anything else in this world because he had heard those sweet sounds of all those that were blessed to be there like the Carter Family and well, you remember the rest of those great artist that were heard every Saturday night on that old radio most likely operated by a battery standing in the corner where the family would gather ‘round right after supper time every Saturday night.
Freddie would run away from his Alabama home when he was just a kid to hitch hike to Nashville and the opry, he did more walkin’ then he got rides but he knew where he wanted to be. Many nights the weather would be so cold and he would be so tired he would lay in a ditch long side the road and pull what ever was handy in on top of him to keep him warm, then get up the next morning and walk some more.
When he finally did get back home the folks would ask him where he had been he would say singing on the Grand Ole Opry, Well we didn’t hear you they would say, well maybe they put it on one of them tape things to hear later. In his heart, mind and soul Freddie did sing on the Grand Ole Opry, singing is the only thing in his whole life he ever really wanted to do on the Opry or anywhere else.
Freddie’s home along with his family in those days was Phenix City, Alabama just a shack of a house full of love and hot beans and cornbread and Freddie would probably still be content to live in that same old house today as long as he could sing somewhere.
There is a lot more to the Freddie Hart story that some day we will sit down with Freddie and write, some you probably won’t even believe but it will be true never the less.
One thing that amazed me about Freddie was doing something that he didn’t have a clue as to what he was doing, and let me tell you this before we go any farther, Freddie has been known to tell a few little lies, never to hurt anyone but wanting to do something that telling a story or two got the job done, that’s how he got to be a Marine at the age of 14.
BUT here is a story for you;
Freddie was visiting with some of the officials at the Hall Of Fame in Nashville one day and they were showing him some art work on the walls done by some country artist when they ask Freddie if he ever painted a picture. He told me later, Don, I don’t know why in this world I told them I could paint a picture, I came home on that airplane just scared to death knowing I had to come up with something and knowing I wouldn’t be going back to Nashville with out a picture in my hand.
The original of what Freddie painted is now in the Hall Of Fame, I have copy number one of only a few that has been made.
Let me tell you what the painting is about and if you thought a while you could probably guess. It is a young boy leaning against a tree in his front yard there in Phenix City and in his hands is a guitar and looking into a vision in front of him of a young man singing on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry.
He (Freddie) don’t even know how he painted that picture, no, it’s not a Rembrandt but it is something you dang sure would be proud to hang on your wall and the meaning and feeling beneath the depth of paint on that canvas tells a story that only a Hart could tell.
I doubt if there is anyone out there that would hire Freddie to paint their house but if he did take on the job you can bet it would be one of a kind.
We are looking for some great things for Freddie next year out of Texas, we have received so many just great records out of Texas this year and we hope for Freddie to be joining that cast with some great new songs and some great memory makers, no he doesn’t live in the lone star state but that’s where we will be doing some pickin’ and grinnin’.
Danny Dill a member of the Nashville songwriters Hall of Fame since 1975 has passed away. Danny was born September the 19th, 1925.
Known in the early days of the 50’s on the Grand Ole Opry as a duo with partner Annie Lou so their act was called Annie Lou Danny. Danny had come to town in 1944 with 4 other guys and was soon hired by Whitey Ford who was better known to the radio world as the Duke of Paducah as part of the “Dukes” back up band.
In 1949 the Duke of Paducah along with Danny and Annie Lou became a part of the regular cast of the Eddy Arnold show that was on CBS also on that same show was the well known Willis Brothers.
1953 brought another change for Danny working with Moon Mullican, then again in 1961 they landed a job with one of our old favorites George Morgan.
Danny co/wrote a couple of monsters in his career, one being “Detroit City” of course was a giant hit for Bobby Bear and Lefty Frizzell turned “Long Black Veil” into what was really a monster, written by Danny & Marijohn Wilkin. Danny also wrote along the way tunes for Webb Pierce, Carl Smith and Charley Pride.
As just about always for those who want to know more about their favorite artist that has moved on you can always check the net for just about anything you would like to know. Like we always say anyway, we could never tell you everything about an artist, we just don’t want you to forget them.
We hope to have a good story coming up before long, maybe next time on Hayden Thompson. We had lost track of Hayden a few years ago but just found him in Chicago.
Hayden record a lot of good things but one of the great albums we remember on him was on KAPP Records where most every one knows the super productions of Paul Cohen and where Cliff Parman did a lot of the arranging.
Hayden also told us the other day that Bear Family had released what he said (I think) is a 30 some song album, anyway it is on the way to us so I will know pretty soon
We also have another album (wax) on the way from some where back east on Peter Fonda, and if you are asking why? cause he ain’t country, well here’s why. First the album was (in part) produced by Hoyt Axton, well actually first we should say it is a movie soundtrack Peter Fonda being the star in that movie called “Outlaw Blues” but most of all we wanted it because our old friend Harlan Sanders wrote one of the songs in the LP called “Jail Birds Can’t Fly”.
And so, the above album got here this week thanks to our good friend Phyllis Hill who runs the front office at SUN RECORDS in Nashville, Phyllis knows more stuff then “Webster’s Dictionary” and has helped a whole lot of people along the way.
Also getting here this week is the also above mentioned Bear Family album of Hayden Thompson and is there ever some “Classic” Rock-A-Billy” in that 35 song CD, like I said we will be doing a story on Hayden real soon.
Even though I am “Country” to the bone, I have to say I really enjoyed most of the Rock-A-Billy music, Buddy Knox, Carl Mann, Hayden Thompson, Carl Perkins, Jimmy Bowen and the list goes on and when you think about it, it was just country sang to a different beat.
I wondered for a long time what ever happened to DOT recording artist Jim (You Got The Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line) Alley and this past week I found out thanks to a couple three emails from his son in Ohio, like I have said a lot of times the best part about writing this for all these years is hearing from the family’s of the artist I have written about, I really do enjoy it and thanks a million for the mail.
And so pretty soon we will do a nice long story on Jim Alley and maybe find out then if any of his music can still be had.
We are running really late with this Country News, even Carolina Cotton’s daughter Sharon, wrote and said, “Where’s the new news?”. Well I have been up to my ears in alligators, painting the house my office is a mess, actually it looked better after the 94 earthquake but >>> anything you use is going to get messy I suppose so that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.
Walkin’ Charley has been busy this past few weeks putting together some new music and new stories for his “Look Back” series. We were down by one of his old stompin’ grounds “Corriganville” the other day where he used to coordinate the western shows, now there is nothing left except a few old faded out signs that tell you where things used to be, what a stupid thing they let happen by not rebuilding that great western ranch for history sake, Disney honored a mouse more then we have honored the cowboy.
OK, we will get caught up next time on things we have left out this time so hang in there and if you have some good stories yourself you would like to share then just send um’on and so you don’t even have to look it up here is the address, it is Country Classics-Box 1515- Simi Valley, California 93062 or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org sometimes if it is a long story or a picture it is easier to put a stamp on it then try to email it.
And by the way, if your parents or some of your kin folk was a country entertainer back when country was country we would REALLY like to hear from you.
Thanks for all the emails, regular mails, phone calls, pictures, CDs and your own stories about country music and the old west.
We’ll see ye later but just in case we don’t, take care of yourself.