20 February 2006

This is a weekly newsletter about Faron Young and my progress toward publication of “Tell It Like It Is: A Biography of Faron Young.” 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 sending this newsletter early again because I’ll be on travel this week.

FARON SEVENTY-FOUR YEARS AGO: Faron entered the world on Thursday, February 25, 1932. His five-year-old sister, Dorothy, stood in the front yard and waved excitedly at cars driving along Hoadley Street. She hollered, “We got a new baby brother!” Shortly after Faron’s birth, the family (with six children now) moved around the corner to 2023 Seymour. As in the Hoadley house, the parents slept in one bedroom and the children in the other. A vacant lot next to the Youngs’ home served as the neighborhood playground. Its owner kept the lot mowed for the children, who considered it a perfect place to play. Faron’s birthplace is now an overgrown empty lot that butts up against the I-49 expressway in Shreveport, Louisiana. Near the intersection of Hoadley and Seymour, a tall pole holds a gigantic advertising billboard that towers over the expressway. A sign tacked to the pole at eye level reads “2023 Seymour.”

FARON FORTY-NINE YEARS AGO: Faron celebrated his 25th birthday while headlining a tour through Canada in February 1957. Hubert Long treated the band to a meal in Faron’s honor. George Jones opened shows on the tour, and the Deputies backed him because he didn’t yet have a band. Ferlin Husky, Johnny Cash, and Little Jimmy Dickens also performed.

INTERVIEW: I had numerous telephone conversations with Dorothy Young, and I couldn’t have written such a complete biography of her little brother without her help. I regret I didn’t get to meet her before she died. About Faron’s birth, she told me, “I was next to the oldest. I can remember when Mama had him, and the doctor come to the house. All the kids in the neighborhood liked to come over and play with the baby. I remember Mama used to put him in a big wicker chair out front there on nice days, and put pillows all behind there. Our job was to watch him.”

John Morris in Canada offers, “If anyone wanted to write to me and talk about Faron and compare collections and maybe trade, my e-mail is john.morrisi@sympatico.ca.”

Larry Delaney, the editor of COUNTRY MUSIC NEWS, writes, “I understand you are working on publication of a book on Faron Young. I look forward to the finished product, and when it is available, please service COUNTRY MUSIC NEWS with a copy, so that we can provide review & coverage. COUNTRY MUSIC NEWS is Canada’s only national country music publication, now in our 27th year. Our monthly print edition is supported by a website, on which we also post our CD and Book reviews. As you probably know, Faron Young had a huge fan following in Canada, with many connections here.”

Response: Thanks for the offer. Yes, Faron often toured Canada. In fact, he and Billy Grammer and Shelley Snyder were in Canada, driving to Calgary, on March 5, 1963, when they heard the radio stations playing Cowboy Copas, Hawkshaw Hawkins, and Patsy Cline records over and over. Faron said, “Boy, they’re really hot up here.” Then the disc jockey broke in to dedicate the songs “to those we lost today.”

Jean Earle in the UK reminds us, “We have just looked at the latest copy of M.C.N. and have read Robyn’s piece. Looking down the margin at the side of the page we looked at previous issues ….then looked at August 2005….quite a lot about Faron …You may have already found it ….better to be told twice, rather than not at all!” The website is

Jim Owen writes, “Diane, thanks for your excellent work on my friend, Faron.”

Tandy Rice does a good job of summing up Faron’s personality when he says, “The Faron that I knew and loved was both a swashbuckling star and a jerk, if demon rum came into the picture. He was one of the sweetest, kindest humans on earth at times, but quite capable of being just the opposite, more so than anybody I’ve ever known.” He adds, “Thanx for taking up this cause.”

CD REVIEW: While driving to Norfolk VA last week, I listened to the CD, “Faron Young, Country Hero” (at high volume, because I was alone in the car). At some point I realized most of the songs were re-recordings, and some of them sounded better than the Capitol originals. I liked Faron’s mature voice and the fiddle and steel. Faron sounded more relaxed, also. In particular, I enjoyed “Riverboat.” Some will probably disagree with me, but I think the fiddle and steel sound much better than the original banjo. I don’t know when the songs were recorded, but I’d guess Ernie Reed was playing fiddle. The CD was published in 2003 by Pacific Entertainment in the United Kingdom.

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