30 August 2006

FARON YOUNG, ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Faron’s two driving-under-the-influence arrests in the summer of 1995 were adjudicated August 30. Society no longer tolerated drunk driving, and Faron’s numerous friends and political connections could no longer change his DUI arrests into reckless driving misdemeanors. Still, he received a lighter sentence than most–but he thought he was being unfairly treated. In addition to fines and court costs, the first conviction required four days in a DUI detention center, one year on probation, and one year of using an interlock device on his cars. The second conviction extended the probation and interlock use for six more months. Faron started attending court-mandated AA meetings, and he may have remained sober the last year of his life. (I’ve heard conflicting reports on that issue.) I think it’s unfortunate the DUI conviction didn’t happen thirty years earlier. It might have been a wake-up call. He might have realized the seriousness of his problem. Instead, he could count on arresting officers to drop the charges or a judge to say, “Tell Faron I hope his hangover isn’t too bad.”

Liz Anderson sends this good news from Nashville:  “After Faron was no longer on Mercury Records, he recorded a group of our songs for our ‘Union Records’ label.  We released a single from the session – ‘Are You Hungry? Eat Your Import.’ We have since changed the name of that label to ‘Showboat Records.’ We are in the process of putting out the Faron Young session of four songs on a mini-CD as it was a master session and we own the masters. We think the folks would like to hear some new songs by Faron.”

Response: I think you’re right, Liz. There are many of us who will want to add that mini-CD to our collections. Thanks for letting me announce the news.

Harvey McFadden writes from Texas to say, “I recently asked you about ‘Country Music Holiday’ and I found it today! (thanks to Dick Boise.) I just now ordered from OLD HOMESTEAD RECORDS  BOX 100, BRIGHTON, MI 48116 (517) 548-7772. They also have “Hidden Guns.” Each is $20.”

Aileen Arledge in Howell, Michigan, says, “I am a big fan of Faron Young and I would like to receive any letters that you might have. Back in the Eighties, my son and daughter performed several shows with Faron and we all became real close. Even tho he was close to my age (He was older) he always called me MaMa. My son recorded several songs with Faron’s band in Nashville. Richard Bass called me when Faron shot himself. We had hoped that he would pull through. I cried for days, we all did.!!!!!! . . . My daughter’s name was Tracey Lynne and my son was Greg Arledge and they both performed around the country under the name of “TRACEYLYNNE AND THE MOUNTAIN EXPRESS.”

Tracy Pitcox adds to the K-Tel saga: “I read with interest the bit about the Wheeling Jamboree.  I bought a bunch of Faron Young tapes from Billy Deaton and there was a master tape there from that show, I believe.  Faron was talking about it being aired on television during his performance.  I was wondering if it was ever released on either VHS or if the show was released on album?”

There may be a connection in what Jo Hamrick remembers about a February show in Wheeling: “Due to it being near Faron’s birthday, one of his so called friends decided that Faron needed a drink, knowing how he was when he drank. This was broadcast nationwide and the second show was cut from the air less than half way through it. A real shame because the first was great.”

Marge Hemsowrth writes from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, “I didn’t know Faron well enough to call him a friend. I was always a fan, but got to see a great deal of him in Nashville in the 50’s and 60’s. Then when I was working as a PR person at a dinner club near Halifax, Nova Scotia (eastern Canada where Hank’s from) he appeared there for a week and said it was one of the finest clubs he’d ever played! My friend Birdie was his secretary in Nashville and we’d often go to the office to visit with her, and Faron would come in! He always treated my friend Ann Marie and I very well! We knew Roger and Bill at that time (do they need last names?) Bill (Anderson) and I have stayed in touch through the years! We hear all kinds of stories about different singers, but I speak as I find . . . Faron was always gracious to us whenever and where ever we met him! Just wanted to put in a ‘word’ for Faron. Bless his heart!”

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