4 October 2006

FARON YOUNG, FORTY-ONE YEARS AGO: Faron–an avid golfer–helped Charlie Walker organize Nashville’s Music City Pro-Celebrity Golf Tournament, which began in October 1965 and lasted almost a decade. Walker’s idea was to have a golf tournament during the annual disc jockey convention, because a lot of the disc jockeys liked to play golf. Someone suggested he get Columbia Records (his record label) to sponsor it. Columbia said no; not enough people would want to play golf.  But the Nashville Tennessean, WSM Radio, and Music City News supported the event. “It became a very big thing,” Walker said, “and raised quite a bit of money for charity.” Three of the tournaments took place at Harpeth Hills Golf Course, where Faron played while he lived on Hillsboro Road. The tournament director decided he wanted his own golf course, and he convinced Faron and other country music stars to invest money to build a country club at Crockett Springs. It opened in 1972 and hosted the last few Music City Pro-Celebrity Golf Tournaments. The venture ended in bankruptcy court, and Crockett Springs eventually became today’s Nashville Golf and Athletic Club.

INTERVIEW: I did a telephone interview with Charlie Walker in 2001. He told me, “Faron was a good businessman.  When he made money, he invested it, wisely. So many entertainers make a lot of money, but by the time they get through buying Rolls Royces and two million dollar homes, they end up at the end of their career with no money. Faron was one of those guys that, even though he spent a lot, he still invested.”

Sherwin Linton, one of the long time favorite entertainers from my part of the Midwest, sends this note:  I am very much looking forward to your book ‘Live Fast, Love Hard.’  I appreciate and enjoy your news letters and like most everyone I save them. A few weeks ago you mentioned a song that Hazel Van Dyke was looking for.  Maybe she has found it by now, but one that came to mind for me was a song from the spring of 1980, ‘It Was The last Time.’ I learned this song at the time, but had difficulty singing it at first because my own life paralleled the lyrics and it was almost too personal. I still love that song though. I had many good times appearing on shows with Faron from the 60’s through the early 80’s and we’ve all got our share of Faron stories. That’s what makes him such a great legend. I am happy to see you are now going to do a Marty Robbins book.  He truly is my favorite country singer, or singer of any style, and he virtually recorded some of nearly every style. I remember hitch hiking in ten below weather in the winter of 56/57 (Dec. or Jan. I think) from Watertown, SD to Redfield, SD where he headlined a traveling Grand Ole Opry tour show. He introduced ‘Singin’ The Blues’ that night, it tore me up and it’s still my favorite country song. I still do about 225 dates a year. Do you ever get back to Clear Lake? Keep up your great work, it is appreciated!”

Response:  Naomi Martin wrote the lyrics for “(If I’d Only Known) It Was the Last Time.” And Faron explained, “I live on Old Hickory Lake. Her husband and another professor from Vanderbilt University went fishin’ and they drowned in Old Hickory Lake. She wrote this song about the last time she’d seen him, that night before they left. She said I wish I’d held you longer if I’d only known it was the last time.” The song appeared on Faron’s second and last MCA album, “Free and Easy,” in 1980.

Dru Taylor Zoch sends this memory from Shreveport:  “On October 21, 1951 five girls from Dallas headed to Shreveport, LA.  We went for the Wilburn Bros early radio show, ate breakfast across the street from KWKH, then waited for the Opening LA State Fair Parade to start.  I was one of those five girls.  A young boy joined us.   I ask Lester ‘Who is that?’ He said, ‘That is FARON YOUNG.’   We did not like Faron Young.  He asked our names and I quickly gave him false names.  I told him my name was Jane. Later that day we were riding around and drove by the SKYLINE CLUB (a club where several of the Louisiana Hayride artists appeared).  Faron came out and said ‘Am I ever glad to see you girls again, I need help loading these instruments.’  Yes, we helped him.  He said, ‘Will I see you tonight at the Hayride?’  At the Hayride, he talked to us.  Before we left, he said, ‘Why don’t I take ya’ll out to lunch and then take you on a tour of Shreveport?’ We met him, his family, toured Shreveport and the rest is History. I admitted to Faron that I had given him the wrong names and he said, ‘It is too late, I have memorized the ones you told me.’  I soon became Faron’s first Fan Club President.  Virginia & I became very good friends of Faron & His family.  We spent lots of time with his family, when he was not even in town.”

Bill Lawrence writes, “I have been receiving your e-mail on Faron for sometime now, sometimes I cannot get to read for some reasons that I cannot help. But I do enjoy everything about Faron. I have the Faron Young Box set from Bear Family Records in Germany. It’s great but do you have any info on where we can get all his music together? I also have many LPs of his and 45 rpm but know not close to everything. If you would please advise me, I’m 78 years young and still love the old country music.”

Response: I think you have the most complete set there is–the Capitol box set contains everything he recorded during his Capitol years, 1952-1962. There is no box set for his 26 Mercury albums. You’ll have to collect those individually. He also recorded two MCA albums, five on Step One Records (additional albums were repackaged), and various other independent projects. The only way I know to get an entire collection is to keep watching the auctions on eBay. That’s how I got mine.

Sandra Orwig, president of the Ray Price fan club, is the latest person added to this mailing list.

Wayne L Kepner sends, “I can’t wait for the newsletters to start on Marty Robbins.  He was and is not only a favorite singer/entertainer but also one of my favorite NASCAR drivers.  He was  a card for sure.  I remember seeing a video clip of Merle Haggard imitating Marty while Marty was sitting at a piano.  The expression on Marty’s face is priceless. I enjoy building model cars as a hobby.  Enclosed is a picture of Marty’s last race car, a car he purchased from Bobby Allison and a phantom car that I made that is just a representative of my idea of what his car might look like if we still had him with us today. This is Marty’s last race car, a Buick Regal. . . . One story about Marty that I have heard for years is that Marty won a race one Saturday night at the Speedway.  The race had run long for some reason, I am sure it was due to caution flags but what those cautions were for I don’t know.  Anyhow, Marty won the race and came around to get the checkered flag for his victory lap. Instead of bringing the flag back, he drove the race car out the back gate with the flag and drove the race car to the Opry because he was running so late.”

WEBSITE: I just came across a website for the new National Museum of the U.S. Army, in which honorees can be enrolled. So I entered Faron’s name, as well as my dad and brothers. Go to http://www.armyhistory.org/, click on “Soldier’s Registry” and type in a name. It’s a new registry, and I encourage all Army and National Guard people to register. (My mom and sister and I are registered in the Navy Log at http://www.lonesailor.org/ .)

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