1 November 2006

FARON YOUNG, TWENTY YEARS AGO: On Halloween night in 1986 Faron appeared on Ralph Emery’s TV show, “Nashville Now,” as a character named Spike Cruncher. He wore a prison uniform of black and white stripes, with a 5-inch black ball attached by a chain to his wrist. “I used to be a sheriff,” he said. “Till I got a divorce, and this is all she left me.” He swung the ball and Ralph asked, “You mean that little ball there is all you got left?” Faron replied, “One ball, pal, one ball.” Amid the laughter, they discussed Faron’s prison garb and Ralph asked, “Do you have a number?” Faron said, “Yeah, I got a number. It’s called one hundred and six thousand.” Johnny Russell, also a guest on the show that night, collapsed in laughter. (The settlement from Faron’s September divorce trial had recently been announced. The judge determined an equitable property distribution was for Faron to pay Hilda $106,000.) When a deputy came to take Spike away, Ralph announced that Spike Cruncher, “better known as Faron Young, is leaving to go on the road tonight.”

I received a letter from Ken Nelson recently. Publication of his autobiography, “My First 90 Years Plus 3,” has been delayed because Ken’s poor eyesight required extra months to read the proofs. He suffers from shingles, but he says, “Outside of the normal old age miseries, I am in good health.” Not bad for 95 years old.

Johnny Seay has joined the mailing list. He and Faron both appeared in Leroy Van Dyke’s movie, “What Am I Bid?” He has a website at http://JohnnySeay.com, and he says, “I found your site while looking for Faron Young. I worked with Faron a lot in the 1960’s. We had the same manager and booking agent, Hubert Long. Faron was a good friend and helped me a lot. Love your site.”

Tillman Franks died October 26, 2006, after a lengthy illness. He was 86. Manager of Johnny Horton, David Houston, and other artists over six decades, he and Faron were both members of Webb Pierce’s band, the Southern Valley Boys, in 1951.

Ralph Emery is releasing his life’s work on CD in a collection called “Emery’s Memories.” I ordered it from www.ralphemery.com and it should arrive in the next day or so.

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