14 June 2006

The University of Illinois Press will publish “Live Fast, Love Hard: The Faron Young Story”  in the summer of 2007. Please forward this weekly newsletter to anyone who might be interested in reading it, and send an e-mail to altruria@verizon.net if you have questions/comments about Faron Young. This will be my last newsletter for a month. My daughters and I are making our annual summer trek to visit relatives in South Dakota and Kansas. I will still read and reply to my e-mail. The manuscript is finished! It’s off to the publisher.

Thursday evening I was listening to WSM Radio on the internet, the Eddie Stubbs show live from the Ernest Tubb Record Shop. What a thrill to hear Eddie announce my book on the air! He mentioned the publisher, title, publication date, and my name. Thanks, Eddie.

FARON YOUNG, FIFTY-FOUR YEARS AGO: Faron’s first Opry performance was on June 14, 1952. He sang “Tattletale Tears” and “Have I Waited Too Long,” the two sides of his first release. When he finished, he ran off the stage. Ernest Tubb grabbed him and said, “Son, when you’re getting that kind of applause, you’re supposed to bow. Keep bowing. Milk the audience.” Faron later explained, “I was from a dairy farm. I knew how to milk a cow, but not an audience.” Hank Williams put an arm around him and said, “Hey, boy, you gonna make it in this business. You got what it takes, boy.” Faron had brought his girlfriend, Billie Jean Jones Eshliman, with him to Nashville. (On the way from Shreveport, they stopped in Memphis at the invitation of Hubert Long, to see a Hank Snow performance.) After the Opry, Hank Williams suggested Faron get Billie Jean and they’d go out somewhere. Faron recalled, “He was with some girl from Pennsylvania. We went out that night, and went to a couple of clubs, the old Decca Club, and I ended up sitting with his girlfriend and he ended up with Billie.”

Sharon LeGarde sends a note from her and Ted and Tom, the LeGarde Twins, “We have really enjoyed your weekly emails and it must be so much hard work what you are doing.  Since we were so close with Faron, it is fun to be plugged into so many details about his life and times that we did not know. Thanks for all your efforts. We are very busy doing Western Festivals and getting ready to record our latest CD. . . . Tom has 6 cats and 2 dogs.  He and Ted and I rehearse frequently on a few songs Faron made famous.”

Don Chapel writes from Nashville, “Faron recorded my song ‘MISTY MORNING RAIN’ on Step One Records (as did Ray Price). My family has known him for years, and I talked to him about 6 weeks before he took his life, and was at the Summit Hospital here, with some of his family and friends, praying for his life…….it was tragic! He used to perform with my sisters, Martha Carson, and Mattie O’neil (later Jean Chapel), and he recorded some of Jean’s song also…… ‘TO GET TO YOU.’ We all knew him, and miss him……”

Response: I mention in the book that Martha wrote “I Can’t Wait (For the Sun to go Down)” for Faron. It was his second Billboard chart hit; it peaked at number five in 1953, while he was in the Army.

Bill Clark of Overland Park, Kansas, says, “I will be purchasing your book when it’s published.  My question is…….will your book on Faron include any of the not-so-good stories about him? . . . Everyone has their problems, and their bad days, and actions.  Will any of Faron’s be in your book? And lastly, you have a most interesting, and pleasant, writing style.  It’s a joy to read your books, and I hope that style continues with the book on Faron Young.  Will it be in bookstores, or will it be sold through your web-site?”

Response: To have credibility as a biographer, I have to show Faron’s bad side. I tried to balance good and bad, to explain why he was the way he was, and to show why people liked him in spite of his behavior. Faron’s book will be available in bookstores. I won’t be selling it except at personal appearances.

Fred Vail writes from Music City USA, “I own a recording studio in Nashville, Treasure Isle Recorders, Inc., which celebrates its 26th Anniversary this September. . . . I happened to go to the Hall of Fame Hotel, (behind BMI) and there was Faron at the bar holding ‘court.’ Now, this is 1970 and my hair was pretty long at the time. He decided he didn’t like the way I looked and wanted to pick a fight. I remember telling him: ‘hey, Faron, I’m a fan…I played your records on my radio show’…and rambled off a number of his hits. I guess he realized I was truly a country music fan and ended up buying me a drink.”

Thanks to Mayf Nutter for this encouraging note: “I admire your diligence and persistence in getting your book finished.  I can just see you crawling around on the floor rearranging papers. hahah! That image gives new meaning to ‘Getting DOWN to business,’ doesn’t it??? CONGRATULATIONS, Girl… you are Making It Happen.”

Edith Aderhold calls herself “A Huge Faron Young Fan” and says she would like to be added to this mailing list.

George Owens, former Country Deputy frontman, sends this surprising note: “How ironic that you mentioned Faron’s house . . . I happen to live almost directly across the street from that house.  Didn’t know it when I bought it, but have found out that it was his house.”

Tom Lipscombe suggests a website I mentioned several months ago, but here it is again for new readers: “Maybe you could offer a link on your site for this excellent resource. It gives folks a chance to leave a memorial message for Faron: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=9192.” I took his advice and added it to the “Links” section of my website.

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