18 January 2006

FARON FORTY-EIGHT YEARS AGO: Faron’s only recording experience at the Capitol Tower studio in Hollywood, California, took place during the three-day period of January 14-16, 1958. It resulted in his second album, “The Object of My Affection,” a collection of songs popular in earlier decades. The songs included several Faron sang during his teen years, such as “The Nearness of You” and “Stay As Sweet As You Are.” Ken Nelson made albums with artists only after they showed the potential to sell records, and 25-year-old Faron had proven himself. An unknown Buck Owens, age 28, played guitar for the album. Ken considered Buck a great guitar player and used him on all California recording sessions. But he brushed off Buck’s numerous requests for a chance to sing, partly because he didn’t want to lose his guitar player. When Ken finally did consent to a demo, he stopped it as soon as he heard Buck singing, and he offered a Capitol Records contract.

INTERVIEW: When I first called Gordon Terry, he told me he’d decided several years earlier not to do any more interviews. He was tired of all the interview requests. He said, “Me and my Dad and brothers played the Grand Ole Opry when I was 9 years old, in 1941. That’s when it was still at the War Memorial Building, a year and a half before it went to the Ryman. So I been in it for awhile. That’s the reason everybody wants me to write a book, because there ain’t many left that knows the history, and all of these stories that you hear about what happened on the road. I was there when a lot of it happened.” He made an exception for me because he considers Faron that important. I’m so glad he did. He’s been a tremendous help, and I’ve called him many times. I visited him and Virginia at their home in Pulaski TN in 2001. Because of heath problems, Gordon is confined to his house. He told me in 2000, “I take a lot of medicine. I’ve got diabetes, and the breathing problem, heart problem, blood pressure, so I’m a distributor for everything but AIDS and cancer.” I could not have written so much about Faron’s Army and movie careers without Gordon’s help. I hope to visit him again on my next trip to Nashville.

Update 1/12 on Leon Sutton: “Just to let all know — Leon came through the surgery real well, did one bypass and replaced one valve.He is still in Winter Haven Hospital and they have not told me how long before he can come home, he still is draining some fluid and they won’t even talk to me about home until that is clear. Will try to keep you posted, even if there is a wait because I have been staying with him at nights. Thanks for all the concerns. Love to all, Charlotte”

Jo Hamrick writes from West Virginia, “I always believed I was the only one whose favorite song was ‘Yellow Bandana’ or,as Faron called it when he wanted to be ornery, ‘Yellow Banana.’ Once he was on Wheeling Jamboree [and] I wanted him to sing it for me, but he didn’t like the song. I had nagged him to sing it. Tom and I and a couple of friends were in front row center. He decided he would do it for me that one time. Well, all of us actually had to sit down there holding que cards for him to sing by. I know he knew all the words, and I still believe he had us do it because he was pulling one on me.”

John Morris in Canada says, “I just wanted to write and let you know how much I look forward to your news letters every week and I will write a short note about meeting Faron soon and send it to you. I sure hope you get great news from the publisher soon. I have sent the news letters to my friend that helped me with Faron Young radio shows and she is really enjoying them and looking forward to the book.”

WEB SITE: Nashville’s musicians’ union, American Federation of Musicians, Local 257, was a great help to me several years ago when I was trying to find Faron’s Country Deputies. I talked to Spring Huber numerous times during my search for the sidemen. I recently came across the AFM web site at http://www.afm257.org. It contains some excellent articles. I especially recommend the current one on Mel Tillis, written by Walt Trott. It’s a pleasure to read. I’m still hoping to get in touch with Mel for an interview about Faron.

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