11 January 2006

FARON FIFTY-SEVEN YEARS AGO: In January 1949 Faron introduced himself to 15-year-old Carole Wicks in the cafeteria of Fair Park High School and said, “You’re a pretty little thing–you know that?” He smelled of cigarettes and Old Spice shaving lotion and wore a red and black plaid jacket, a blue shirt open at the neck, and neatly pressed jeans. Carole recognized him because she’d already heard him sing. She didn’t know anything about him except that he was older than their classmates and he had a reputation for being sort of wild. (Almost 17, Faron was repeating his sophomore year because he’d dropped out of school the previous year.) Thus began their two-year high school romance. Carole recalls, “Sometimes he would be coaxed into singing on the steps to the Auditorium, where he would draw a crowd with his unabashed impersonation of Hank Williams [on] ‘Lovesick Blues’ and other country music favorites. He never seemed to be nervous, and was fully confident, even then, that he was just as good as the best.”

INTERVIEW: Today would have been Goldie Hill Smith’s 73rd birthday, had she lived eleven months longer. I first met her and her husband at a dinner hosted by Ed Gregory. I was so overwhelmed at finally meeting Carl Smith that it didn’t occur to me to ask about an interview. I later talked to Tommy Hill, Goldie’s brother, and he gave me the Smiths’ number. Carl chose not to be interviewed, but Goldie talked about knowing Faron. I’d occasionally call her after that first time, and she always graciously answered my questions. She sang on Ed Gregory’s “Stars of the Grand Ole Opry” show at the 2004 Florida State Fair in Tampa, and it was so good to see her perform. The last time I talked to her was in October, after seeing a 1955 photo of Carl with “The Carl Smith Sky Schooner.” I called to ask about it and Goldie said Carl owned a plane for a year, but “that was before my time.” He was one of the first country stars to own a plane.

Pat Jenkins followed my suggestion to read the article Robyn Young wrote about Merle Kilgore on the Music City News web site at http://musiccitynews.com/nov_sher.php. Pat writes, “Wow, I just read Robyn’s letter. That is so good. Thanks for that link. Can’t hardly wait for the book, too.”

Leon Sutton, a Country Deputy lead guitar player, is ill. His wife, Charlotte, sent me a note on 5 Jan. to say, “We have discovered that Leon has congestive heart failure. He was swelling really bad, took him to the Dr. and he right away sent him to the hospital, found that he has a bad valve and also some blockage. They are going to do open heart surgery on him next Tuesday, (the 10th). He was to have it done today but got some infection in a bad tooth so we have to clear that up first. Please keep him in your prayers, feel free to send this to any one you think would be interested.”

WEB SITE: I came across this most helpful site when I was researching which of Faron’s songs reached number one on the Record World charts. “RECORD WORLD #1 COUNTRY SINGLES” also compares those songs to number ones of the other two major charts, Billboard and Cash Box. The link is http://www.geocities.com/muggy59/RWCOUNTRY1970THRU1973.html.

Doesn’t this list bring back the memories?

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