5 April 2006

The faculty board of the university press approved my biography project, and I’ll be receiving a contract shortly. (Then we will have to negotiate terms before signing it.) I’m told the board’s discussion began with one of the members saying, “I’m a huge fan of Faron Young.” One of the stipulations is that I have to keep the total package under 100,000 words. I can’t cut 15,000 words; I think they’re all important. I’m giving the manuscript to a friend to read through it and find chunks to mark for deletion.

FARON YOUNG, FORTY-ONE YEARS AGO: The grand opening of Sulphur Dell Speedways occurred Tuesday, April 6, 1965. Faron had formed a corporation to purchase the historic Sulphur Dell ballpark and turn it into a racetrack. The Sulphur Spring Bottom Athletic Park, built after the Civil War, had hosted the first baseball game in Nashville. By September 1963, when the last game was played, Sulphur Dell was the oldest baseball park in the nation. Faron and his partners kept the existing grandstands, tore out the high bank in the outfield, and built a track with three sharp curves and short straight-aways. Faron didn’t drive in the first race, perhaps because Hilda didn’t want him injured while she was in the hospital for the birth of Kevin, their third son. The first several races drew sell-out crowds. But moisture from the nearby river made the track too slippery. So many crashes occurred during the figure eight races that drivers couldn’t afford the repairs. The stockholders suspended racing after two months, and they eventually returned the Dell to its previous owners, after paying a steep penalty for not fulfilling contract requirements. Faron joked, “It was supposed to be Sulfur. But after we lost a quarter of a million, we called it Suffer. Suffer Dell.” The park was demolished in 1969. The Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park is there now, along with a parking lot for Tennessee State Capitol employees.

INTERVIEW: Darrell McCall was one of the first Deputies I contacted in my search for band members. When I called his house, I wondered if he would think it presumptuous for an unknown like me to expect to talk to him. After all, I’d heard of him, so he was famous, and he certainly hadn’t heard of me. I was amazed by his friendliness, both on the phone and when we met. I enjoy the times I get to see Darrell and Mona. They are wonderful people.

WEBSITE/CD: The other day I was listening to XM Radio on the internet, and I heard such a beautiful song I checked to see who was singing it. To my surprise, I learned Mona McCall had recorded a duet with Justin Trevino. I sent her an e-mail, and she responded by saying Justin produced Darrell’s latest CD, which included Mona. The title track, “Old Memories and Wine,” was written by the McCalls’ daughter, Guyanne. Darrell’s new website is http://darrellmccallcountry.com/.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.