29 March 2006

FARON YOUNG, FORTY-NINE YEARS AGO: “I Miss You Already (And You’re Not Even Gone)” was climbing the charts in March 1957, on the way to its peak at number five. Faron recorded the song the previous summer. Marvin Rainwater had just come off a tour with the Wilburn Brothers and Faron, and they were sitting in a big booth in one of their Nashville hangouts, when somebody said, “I miss you already and you’re not even gone.” Somebody else said, “That would make a good song,” and Marvin said, “I just wrote it.” He went home and immediately wrote the song. “I took it back to Faron and I gave him half of it, for writing it,” Marvin recalled, “cuz he changed it enough to really make it good. When he went high on that bridge, that’s what really made the song. That gave it a flair it didn’t have before. Oh, it was great.” Half a century later, that recording has new life. Anyone who’s see the movie “Walk the Line” has heard Faron’s voice coming out of the radio in Johnny Cash’s living room.

INTERVIEW: I met and interviewed Marvin Rainwater at the Florida State Fair in Tampa in 2000. He lives in Northern Minnesota and occasionally plays the Indian casino circuit in Minnesota and the Dakotas. The first professional show he ever did was in Toledo, Ohio, where his brother booked him on a show with Faron Young and the Wilburn Brothers. That gig brought him an appearance on the Arthur Godfrey talent show in 1955. “I was so scared I almost fainted,” he says. He sang a song he’d written about Hank Williams, and he won the contest. “From then on, I got a lot of work with Faron,” he told me. “We got a lot of tours together, and I worked with him and the Wilburn Brothers all over the country, and we got to be real great friends.” I called Marvin yesterday, and he said Faron would surely be happy to know their song is earning royalties once again, thanks to the success of “Walk the Line.”

Paul Potter writes, “I’m planning to write a book about the late legendary country singer, Dottie West. While searching the internet I stumbled across your website and I’m thrilled to hear you’re writing a biography about the late Faron Young. He gave so much to Country Music and should be more credited. It’s just the same with Dottie, she’s been completely forgotten, which saddens me.”

Eileen Okolowicz writes from Rochester, New York, “Please add me to the distribution list for your newsletter. I’d love to hear about the progress of this wonderful project and I can’t wait to read the book when it comes out.”

The latest note from Betty Smith in Toledo, Ohio: “I thank you from the heart for your devotion and love in memory of Faron, it’s past time he received some credit and appreciation for all he gave to Country Music. We that really knew Faron know both sides of Faron and love the man. We know all was not sugar and spice and that he left some folks not thinking the best of some of the things he did. We who knew Faron from the heart will always love him and miss him and feel blessed to have had the years and closeness and memories to remember. He was Faron and there will never be another like him.”

Dominique Anglares writes from France, “Great to have found your site about Faron Young, courtesy Twang Town USA. I have provided them recently a paper about Jimmy Lee Fautheree and another about Tillman Franks. Since the mid 70’s I’m collecting Rockabilly/Hillbilly Bop records, pictures and memorabilias.” He calls Jimmy Lee an “unknown legend” and reminds us, “Teenage James Burton was at the Hayride watching Jimmy Lee playin’ his Telecaster, Elvis opened for Jimmy and Johnny in 1954/1955 … and he’s not in most of the country books.” He adds, “I’m also a great fan of Faron and I have written an unpublished paper about him around 1985. I got a lot of his record from the 78 rpm’s to CD’s.”

Bill Black in the UK sends a note to say, “I thought you might like to know there is a very interesting double CD out here on the Acrobat label. It’s called “The greatest country hits of 1955” and has 55 tracks on it including “Live fast love hard die young”, “Forgive me dear”, “Go back you fool”, “It’s a great life (if you don’t weaken)” and “For the love of a woman like you” by Faron. Other artists include Elvis, Jim Reeves, Webb Pierce, Hank Snow, Tommy Collins, Kitty Wells, Red Foley and others. The sound quality is excellent and tracks include some well known and other lesser known ones.”

WEBSITE/CD: Helmuth Schumacher says the German CD producer Dagmar Binge produced a CD of songs Faron recorded while in the U.S. Army. The website is www.dagmar-anita-binge.de. I checked the website, which has a great-looking collection of classic recordings, but I didn’t find Faron’s CD. However, I own the CD, and listening to those old songs is a peek into history. “Faron Young & the Circle A Wranglers” (#9037) contains 20 songs Faron and his two bands recorded for Army recruiting shows. Because the liner notes are written in German, I don’t know if the CD acknowledges the second band. Four of the songs were recorded by Faron and the Country Deputies after his Army discharge.

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