23 November 2005

FARON FIFTY-ONE YEARS AGO: After Faron’s Army discharge, he and Hilda immediately headed to Nashville. That first weekend, November 19-20, 1954, Faron participated in the Grand Ole Opry anniversary party. The next day he left town with his manager, Hubert Long, for a two-week tour of one-nighters starting in Texas and continuing through Arizona, New Mexico and California. Hilda, alone in Long’s house (where the newlyweds lived until they bought a house), spent Thanksgiving and her 17th birthday without her new husband.

INTERVIEW: I interviewed songwriter Joe Allison at his house in Nashville in 2000, two years before he died. He was on oxygen and confined to bed. He sat on one side of his king-sized bed. I plopped my tape recorder in the middle of the bed and sat on the opposite edge. He joked, “I’ll tell my friends I was in bed with a Navy captain this morning.” I said, “I was thinking that this is probably the only interview I’ll do in bed with somebody.” And he answered, “Well, you don’t know. Country music is a strange business.”

Bernard Green writes, “I live in Liverpool, England, and grew up listening to and loving Faron, as did a lot of my friends. I still have access to many albums. I really enjoyed the articles about him, and thank you for writing them.”

Richard Spooner writes, “Hi there from England. I sing and play with an English band trying to keep the great man’s memories alive on this side of the pond. He truly was my favourite singer of all time. I had the pleasure to meet him on tour over here in the Seventies. He was great to be around and we got to sing together, a wonderful experience for me.”

Bill Littleton sent me a note to say, “Just found the link to your site from Twangtown and was impressed by the bio on Faron; I can see it essentially as the framework of the book. I’ve browsed your site considerably since two nights ago. I know a LOT of people who will be glad to know about the Faron book!!!” He added, “I talked with Faron when they did a TV thing about Tootsie’s and he told me he was writing a book; at the funeral home, I mentioned that to the band and learned later that no partial manuscript was found.”

Comment: I came across one interview where Faron said he was writing a book with Chet Hagan and was taping interviews for it. I contacted Hagan’s son, but he could find no taped interviews or partial manuscript in his deceased dad’s papers.

Jim Battles asked me to put him in touch with Ray Emmett, which I did. They knew each other in Flint, Michigan, in the early 60’s. Jim said that Ray “played bass and sang with his band in a local nite club. They played to a packed house every night. Ray was very good and so was a guitar player and singer named Johnny Hawk. Recently I was going through my old records and found one they had cut, and it took me to the Internet in search of my old friends. That’s when I discovered your web site.”

WEB SITE: Bill Anderson frequently writes chatty letters on his web site at http://www.billanderson.com/home/. Fans can find his schedule, his bio, his music and more. Bill was a great help to me in researching Faron’s life. He granted me an interview one night backstage at the Opry, and he sent me the books he wrote, along with permission to quote from them. About Faron, Bill said, “He was a special man and a dear friend. I learned an awful lot from him, and I miss him a lot!”

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