13 June 2007

This weekly newsletter will keep you posted on progress toward the October publication of Live Fast, Love Hard: The Faron Young Story by the University of Illinois Press. My copy of the fall catalog arrived in the mail the other day. Faron’s book has a full-page spread on page 4. Copies of the catalog were sent to 17,000 customers, including 1,500 media contacts around the world.

There won’t be a newsletter the next three weeks. We’re driving to South Dakota for our annual summer visit.

FARON YOUNG, FORTY-THREE YEARS AGO: On Sunday, June 14, 1964, Faron headlined the Nashville Tennessean’s Centennial Park Concert. The show began at 4:30 PM and was Faron’s first appearance at the park in six years. Appearing with him were Margie Singleton and Merle Kilgore. An article in the Nashville Tennessean noted it could have been called “Louisiana Day” because Faron, Margie and Merle all came from Shreveport. Merle wrote the three songs they currently had as hits. Darrell McCall, frontman for the Country Deputies, was also featured. The band that day included two former Deputies, Ben Keith on steel and Glen Davis on drums. Fiddlers Tommy Jackson and Tommy Vaden and piano player Joe Hathcock rounded out the band. The article said Merle Kilgore “ferociously played his guitar with his hands, his shoulders, and sometimes it seemed like the hair falling in his face would get to strum a few notes, too.”

Loretta Johnson of IFCO writes, “We can’t WAIT!!! . . . Faron was an icon. A legend and he was a man who, without our knowledge, was fighting the demon of depression. Our heartache is in his having felt this uselessness feeling, which he must have had. That no one loved him any more or realized his worth. People NEED to be reminded that our legends DO need love and attention and we NEED them to know that their WORTH is beyond words. It’s just hard to deal with it; you feel guilty, sad, and totally not tuned in when stuff like his happens.”

Carolyn Van Norman Babin writes from Texas, “I have heard from Dominique Anglares in France that you are writing a book about Faron Young… I would like to hear from you and about your book and where and when I could get it. . . . I worked for KCIJ in Shreveport, La. just around corner from KWKH and Faron came in to the station one day and that started it all. I knew his family very well.”

Robert Gentry, who published Tillman Franks: I Was There When It Happened, says, “Thanks so much for putting me on your list to receive the weekly newsletter about Faron. They have been so interesting and informative. I, along with a lot of other people, are certainly looking forward to the release of your book. Thanks for putting all the effort into research and writing that such a work takes.”

James McGrath Morris, author of The Rose Man of Sing Sing: A True Tale of Life, Murder, and Redemption in the Age of Yellow Journalism, reports, “I spotted [the advance reading copy of] your book and the sample chapters at the BEA [Book Expo America in New York City]. Looks great. The interior design is especially nice. Congratulations. I am sure it will do well. The sample chapter was printed along with a sample chapter from [Craig Havighurst’s Air Castle of the South: WSM and the Making of Music City]. Both books have a similar color scheme.”


I just finished reading Ken Nelson’s autobiography, My First 90 Years Plus 3, and I am in awe at the list of people whose records he produced and the energy he projects. Although I’d talked to him numerous times about Faron’s Capitol years, I had no idea Ken had signed and recorded so many artists. Merle Haggard and Buck Owens are two he brought to the top and kept there. After retiring from Capitol Records, he traveled throughout the world. I enjoyed reading about his travels because I’ve been to many of the same places. He told me he self-published because mainstream publishers weren’t interested in the story of a behind-the-scenes guy, and he wanted to see the book in print before he kicked the bucket.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.