Marty Robbins 57 years ago
On May 19, 1956, Marty hosted the Prince Albert portion of the Grand Ole Opry for the first time. He’d been a guest numerous times in the past five years on this prestigious half-hour NBC radio show. When time came to recite the Prince Albert jingle, “Nature in her own pure way puts the flavor in P.A.,” Marty said, “Nature in her own P.A. puts the flavor in its pure way.” Fiddle player Earl White remembers Marty coming off the stage nearly crying, fearful he would never be allowed on the show again. “He messed it up,” White says, “and he thought sure he was ruined for life. He thought his career was over. But, needless to say, it wasn’t.” (more…)
Archive for the ‘Newsletter’ Category
Marty Robbins 57 years ago
Faron and Marty 54 years ago
On April 7, 1959, Faron Young returned from a Hawaiian tour. His band, the Country Deputies, traveled there with him, as did his wife, Hilda. Other entertainers were Webb Pierce and Roy Drusky.
Also on April 7, 1959, Marty Robbins, in an 8-hour session in Nashville, recorded all twelve tracks for an album that would still be popular more than half a century later: Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs. Two years after that, on April 12, 1961, he was awarded a Grammy for the most famous song on the album, “El Paso.” It would always be Marty’s favorite song and he sang it at every show for the rest of his life. (more…)
Faron Young was born in a two-bedroom rental house in Shreveport, Louisiana, on February 25, 1932. At that time, out in Arizona, Martin David Robinson and his twin sister were first graders at Sunnyside School in Cactus, 12 miles north of Phoenix. Their family had moved the previous summer into an abandoned two-room shack on a hog farm. Five Robinson children rode the bus to school. “I remember times when we did not have lunch,” Marty once said, “and people would get together and bring a lunch for us to have. So I know what it is to be poor.” (more…)
We lost them in December
December 8 marked the 30th anniversary of the death of Marty Robbins, and December 10 was the 16th anniversary of the death of Faron Young. I observed the dates by wrapping myself in their music–which never grows old. (more…)
This periodic newsletter commemorates the lives of Faron Young and Marty Robbins. The University of Illinois Press published Twentieth Century Drifter: The Life of Marty Robbins and reissued Live Fast, Love Hard: The Faron Young Story in soft cover earlier this year. Has anyone downloaded either biography as an e-book? If so, I’d like to hear about it.
Music in American Life
The University of Illinois Press is offering 40% off Music in American Life titles through the end of the year. This includes Twentieth Century Drifter and Live Fast, Love Hard. (more…)
FARON YOUNG TWENTY YEARS AGO
On August 7, 1992, Faron Young recorded Live in Branson, MO, USA at Gilley’s Theatre. Faron said, “This is the first live album I’ve ever made.” He usually gave onstage songs a new personality instead of wanting them to sound like the record. Listening to the CD brings me back in time, to the feeling of being at one of his shows, complete with Dean-Martin-type delivery and jokes about favorite topics: ex-wife, fat people, and being a drunk. He described the show as “Faron Young, half shot in Branson.” The CD contains most of Faron’s greatest hits. “Leavin’ and Sayin’ Goodbye” has never sounded better than with Ernie Reed on fiddle in this version. The other Country Deputies that day were Richard Bass Barish on lead guitar, Stu Basore on steel, Ray Emmett on bass, Mark Gullen on drums, and Gene Dunlap on keyboard.
MARTY ROBBINS FORTY YEARS AGO
In late July 1972, Marty filmed his singing western, The Drifter, at Apacheland near Phoenix, Arizona. The movie’s name was changed to Guns of a Stranger at the request of Clint Eastwood’s company, so as not to conflict with Eastwood’s latest movie, High Plains Drifter. This agreement must have disappointed Marty, who had used the drifter theme in his first television series and in numerous songs and had long wanted to make the movie. (more…)
FARON YOUNG SIXTY YEARS AGO
Faron Young moved to Nashville when Ken Nelson scheduled his Grand Ole Opry debut for June 14, 1952. Faron sang both songs on his first single, “Tattletale Tears” and “Have I Waited Too Long.” Hank Williams told Faron, “You got what it takes, boy.” Faron later described those words from his hero as, “That was like the Lord speaking to you.” According to Ken Nelson, Faron’s manager, “When Faron came to Nashville for his first performance, his girlfriend Billie Jean, who was an exceedingly beautiful girl, came with him and they checked into the Andrew Jackson, where I was staying. On the night of his performance he called me and said he had to be at the Opry early for rehearsal and asked if I would bring Billie Jean over to the Opry later. Around seven o’clock Billie and I walked to the Ryman Auditorium. I felt a bit awkward conversing with her. In the producer’s booth backstage were Jack Stapp, Hank Williams, and a couple of other people. Hank came out of the booth, stopped us, and said, ‘Hi Ken, how about introducing me to your girlfriend?’ I said, ‘Hank, she’s not my girlfriend; she’s Faron Young’s friend,’ and I introduced them.” Later that evening, so legend goes, Hank insisted he and Faron swap dates. (more…)
MARTY ROBBINS ON MCA 37 YEARS AGO
Marty’s last MCA session took place April 24, 1975. He recorded cuts for an album titledTen Sides of Marty, It was never released. Marty thought MCA focused on “four top artists that didn’t need their help: Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, Olivia Newton-John, and Elton John.” He said MCA “forgot they might have had forty other artists on that label that weren’t doing a thing–and I was one of them.” Disagreement over a western album also soured his relationship with MCA. He said. “I wanted to leave them, and they wanted me to leave.” (more…)