12 April 2006

This is a weekly newsletter about Faron Young and my progress toward publication of his biography, “Tell It Like It Is: The Faron Young Story.” Please forward to anyone who might be interested, and send an e-mail to altruria@verizon.net if you have questions/comments about Faron. I’m currently reviewing the book contract, and I’ve sent the manuscript to a friend to help me shorten it.

I’m saddened to report that Gordon Terry died Saturday night. As I’ve mentioned before, he was a tremendous help to me in writing Faron’s biography. He’s been ill for years and was confined to his house when I visited him. Gordon broke his no-interview rule because he thought Faron’s story needed to be told.

FARON YOUNG, FIFTY YEARS AGO: Faron and Elvis were booked together on a five-city tour in mid-April 1956. A year earlier, Elvis opened shows for Faron. This time, the roles were reversed. The tour opened in Denver, with the Fautherees the latest addition to Faron’s Deputies. In Albuquerque, the show took place in an armory with the stage in one corner and the dressing rooms at the opposite end. Performers walked through the audience to get to the stage, and a dozen cops guarded Elvis. If a musician came out of the dressing room, the teenagers would tear the buttons off his shirt, for having been in the same room with Elvis. “Now that’s hot,” Gordon Terry reminisced. “That took a little wind out of Faron, Elvis being that hot.” Faron, after all, had recently starred in two movies and had enjoyed his first number one hit. “Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young” wasn’t quite as big as “Heartbreak Hotel,” though.

Mary Rivers of Jackson, Mississippi, has put me in touch with one of the Circle “A” Wranglers. She writes, “I have been reading all the stories on Faron Young. They are great. We certainly lost one of our greatest entertainers when we lost Faron. I only got to meet him at one show here in Jackson. In the 60s. He did a great show and was very nice and friendly that night. The main thing I am writing you about is a man named Roy Lunn from Jackson, MS. He played the steel with Faron Young from 1952-1954 when they were in service together.”

Response: Roy was one of the musicians on the Wrangler CD I mentioned in an earlier newsletter. Mary says he still plays steel at a lot of shows in Jackson. She gave me his phone number and I’ll be calling him for an interview. How serendipitous that I would find him just when we lost Gordon Terry.

Debra in the UK says, “Thanks very much again Diane and thanks for the Darrell McCall web site address. I had been wanting to find out some info on him for some time now so thanks especially for that.”

A fan named Marcia writes, “I am 66 years old and have loved Faron since I can remember. If I knew he had a new song out I would buy it before I even heard it because I knew it would be good no matter what. He has been my favorite singer forever. I go to bed and put his music on and listen to him. I guess I have listened to his music more than any other artist there it. I really loved his voice. It broke my heart to think he didn’t realize how much he was loved. When he died I cried for days. I still cry every time I see him on TV. I have the early memories set, but I liked the Four in the Morning years. He will always be remembered and loved by me.”

Another note from Dominique “Imperial” Anglares in France, who reports his web site at www.rockandblues.net contains a photo of Jimmy Lee Fautheree on stage in 1952, playing one of the first Fender Telecasters. He says, “I hope you will like the way your French friends take care of your musical culture and our work in order to promote vintage Hillbilly Bop/Rockabilly music and performers.”

Max Mayes asks, “Please can you tell me where I can find any video of Faron performing. There has to be some somewhere. We miss him so much.”

Response: Both Pure Country and the Ernest Tubb Record Shop advertise the 12-volume set of the Opry Stars of 50’s videos. Try these websites: http://www.purecountrymusic.com/catalog.ez and http://www.ernesttubb.com/

Robert Ackerman of Palmer, Alaska, writes, “More of the Faron Young saga…. and goodness Diane – they want to limit the number of words???? That sounds short-sighted – maybe you should hold out for a better deal – it seems anyone that worries about the number of total words ought to be thinking more of CONTENT – of course sometimes the writings can be condensed without losing their meaning.. oh well, just my opinion – and certainly, to be fair, it does take money to publish.”

Keith Jenkins says, “I nearly jumped for joy at the good news, although I think 100,000 words entirely insufficient for such a phenomenal subject as ‘The Sheriff.’ I hope negotiations go smoothly and that this long-overdue tome is available as quickly as possible.”

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