26 April 2006

FARON YOUNG, FORTY-EIGHT YEARS AGO: On April 24, 1958, Faron recorded “Alone With You,” a song that eventually spent an amazing 13 weeks at the top of the Billboard chart. Can you imagine the same song being number one for three months? Roy Drusky quit his disc jockey job in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and followed his song to Nashville. He did so at the urging of Lester Vanadore, a show promoter, who convinced Hubert Long to manage Roy’s career. Roy arrived in time to attend the session where Faron recorded “Alone With You.” He was the only rhythm guitar player in the studio that day, so Faron invited him to play on the session. The newcomer not only saw his song recorded by a major star, he participated in the recording! Like many unknown songwriters, he agreed to share writer’s credit, and the song carries the names of Lester Vanadore and Faron Young. “Alone With You” won a BMI award in 1958. A repeat success occurred the next year when Faron brought Roy’s “Country Girl” to number one on both Billboard and The Cash Box charts. It also won a BMI award, with Roy Drusky getting sole credit for writing that song.

INTERVIEW: I was fortunate to do a telephone interview with Roy Drusky before his lung cancer made him too sick to talk. He told me he toured with Faron for a year, fronting the band and playing rhythm guitar, without actually being a member of the band. When I called several months later with more questions, Bobbye Drusky told me her husband was in the hospital. She reminisced about Lester Vanadore’s 1958 invitation and said, “We packed up and came to Nashville–had probably $500, and an old Buick, and everything we had in a U-Haul trailer with a mattress sticking out the back. And three poodle dogs, and I was five months pregnant.” I called the Drusky home after hearing Roy died on September 23, 2004. A recorded message from one of Roy’s sons said all phone calls would be returned, but I didn’t expect it to actually happen. However, Bobbye called me the day after Roy’s funeral.

Chris Merkley sends a note to say, “I always look forward to your news letters, I just bought a CD of Faron’s with his version of Sweet Dreams and even though I am a Patsy Cline fan I have to pick his version. One thing about his band the Deputys, they were always great musicians and as I am a big fan of Faron’s material from the 50’s. Can anyone or you tell me who was Faron’s steel player back then ?

Response: Joe Vincent was Faron’s steel player in 1956. Buddy Emmons played on the recording of “Sweet Dreams.”

The tornado that came through Gallatin a few weeks ago was a close call for Ben Keith. He says, “It missed us by blocks!!”

Helmuth Schumacher writes from Germany that he owns an old Fender double-neck steel guitar, purchased from a musician who said it had been on the stage of U.S. clubs with Faron in the Frankfurt area. Helmuth says, “I had grown up with the Opry from the mid 50s. Thanks to the facilities of AFN (American Forces Network), I had the chance to listen in West-Berlin, Germany. Each single broadcast was shipped on oversized vinyl transcription LPs to the oversea radio stations. But they offered each Saturday evening only half an hour of the Opry (shows from the “motherchurch” Ryman of course). The AFN performed also other broadcasts on country music in the morning hours and in the afternoon. Faron was always quite a name to be heard. Every “C”-devoted German and many U.S. soldiers doing their time in Europe knew the format ‘Stickbuddy Jamboree’.”

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