16 August 2006

FARON YOUNG, FIFTY-ONE YEARS AGO:  Faron took Hilda to Baptist Hospital for the birth of their first child, Damion Ray, who arrived August 16, 1955. “I was in labor like forever,” Hilda recalled.  Their doctor did not show up, and someone eventually told Faron it would be a breach birth, with no guarantee of how things would turn out. After about 12 hours, their doctor’s partner came. Afterwards, Faron told Hilda, “We’re never going back to him again,” and they changed obstetricians. Faron had recently returned from filming “Hidden Guns” in Hollywood. He liked the name of one of the actors, Damien O’Flynn.  Hilda guessed at the spelling of the name, and Damion’s middle name honored Faron’s father, Harlan Ray. Happy birthday, Damion!

Here’s a summary of the search for that live recording in Wheeling, West Virginia. Ray Emmett says Faron did a live album at the Wheeling Jamboree at the Capital Music Hall. My records list one date for a performance there–February 23, 1974. Richard Bass thinks the album was on K-Tel records. “I never saw the album or heard it,” he says, “but I remember we had a good time cutting it.” The only K-Tel album I know Faron did was the 1977 “Faron Young – 20 Great Hits.” It was a studio album, not live. Terry Counts remembers Faron doing the Wheeling album, “because we set it up.” Jo Hamrick, who attended all of Faron’s West Virginia shows, thinks .there was a show at Wheeling which Faron said they were taping for K-Tel. So, I wonder, did it get taped and never released?

Duane Lewis asks, “I have some of the older country music shows on VHS from the early 50’s when Faron just started his career but I was wondering if there are any taped concerts or videos taped and available from later in his career. If not–what a shame! Thanks.”

Response: Those 50s shows are the only ones I know of that were designed for publication. Various TV shows and concerts, recorded by private parties, sometimes show up on eBay.

Another note from Norm Tester: “Glad you appreciated the story I sent about Faron. I remember the first time I saw Faron was in 1956. I was working in Washington D.C. and listened to Connie B. Gay’s station and heard that Faron was going to be at the Automotive Show, and being a fan of Faron’s from the start, I went and was blown away with Faron and the Wilburn Brothers. A couple of years later after I had moved to Colorado Springs Faron was going to be at the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo breakfast. I took my Mother and he hugged, kissed her and almost picked her up. You know how that made her feel…she was a fan forever.”

Travis McCauley writes, “I was wondering if you had any plans to have your Faron Young Biography in either an audio format or Braille format? I’ve written to you before, back when you was first starting your book and newsletter and wished you the best of luck. I’m so glad that your book is finally going to be released! I wish I could share a Faron story with you as many of your readers have done, but unfortunately I can’t, I’m only 23 years old, but love listening to Faron and George Jones better than any of today’s country artists. . . . Hopefully your book will be available in some kind of format whether it be Braille or Audio, and hopefully it will sell a million! As long as I’m around, classic country music won’t be forgotten!”

Response: Thank you, Travis, for carrying on the tradition of classic country music. I don’t know what formats will be available. I hope the publisher considers your request.

Cliff Haning writes, “Hi Di, Love the emails I get from you so please let me know when the book comes out for I want a copy and hope you can sign it for me.”

Jean Earle wonders, “Now you have me guessing…who will she write about next??  We have thought of a few names,  and I know I can’t ask you who it will be, but, just give us a clue…is he dead or alive???”

Response: He’s dead, unfortunately. While I worked on Faron’s biography, the two individuals who intrigued me most–whose stories I thought I’d enjoy writing–were Marty Robbins and Roger Miller. For several years I’ve been thinking of Marty as my next subject. I built my preliminary files this past weekend, and I’m ready to start researching and interviewing. One of the first two songs I remember hearing as a child was “A White Sport Coat and a Pink Carnation.” My two favorite Marty Robbins songs (out of many) are “Tonight Carmen” and “I’ll Go On Alone.” I met him once, and have a photo with him on the steps of the Ryman Auditorium. And, of course, we both belonged to the U.S. Navy.

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