7 June 2006

The University of Illinois Press will publish “Live Fast, Love Hard: The Faron Young Story” in the summer of 2007. Last night I finished cutting words from the manuscript and got down to 1700 words below the 100,000 maximum assigned in my contract. I’ll need those words to write my acknowledgments page and photo bylines. Now I’m letting the story ferment for a few days before I print the whole thing, read through it one more time to catch errors, and then send it off to the publisher. The chapter about Faron’s childhood gave me so much trouble in trying to arrange it to flow smoothly that I finally cut it into pieces, spread the paragraphs out on the floor, and rearranged them until they fell into place. Now, after spending several hours hooking up my new computer, transferring files from my trusty old machine that might die any day, and calling tech support to get my e-mail working again, here’s my newsletter.

FARON YOUNG, THIRTY-SIX YEARS AGO: On Friday evening, June 5, 1970, Faron left the golf course and headed north on Hillsboro Road toward home. At 9:30 and crashed head-on into a Lincoln Continental. Both were turquoise 1970 Mark III Lincolns. Even the license plates were similar, RH 5476 on Faron’s car and RH 5478 on the other. The police initially thought both cars belonged to Faron and that a game of tag led to the mishap. But the similarities were a coincidence. Police cited Faron, age 38, for reckless driving. The two people in the other car were hospitalized, and Faron spent several days in Vanderbilt Hospital with facial injuries. The crash almost severed his tongue. He described his surgeries by saying, “It’s a pretty hairy operation, when they pull your tongue out about nine feet and get some razor blades and start slicing it up.” Not more than a month later, he resumed touring. Nine months after the accident, he went into the studio and recorded “Step Aside.”

Ron Reagan sends a note to ask about songs: “We have a local oldies show here on KHLS 96.3 (www.thundercountry.com) and recently, our DJ, Bob Logan, pulled out a couple of Faron tunes I’d never heard before, both on the same show! The first was a somewhat newer duet of Faron and Ray Price doing the old Hank Williams standard “Mansion On The Hill.” Judging by their voices and the instrumentation, this was a later release, but I was curious if you knew about when this duet occurred? The second song was obviously pretty early in Faron’s career and was a rendition of the Skeets McDonald tune “Don’t Let the Stars Get In Your Eyes” which he did in fine shape! Do you have any info on either one of these?”

Response: Faron and Ray recorded “Mansion On The Hill” on their duet album, “Memories That Last” on Step One Records (SOR-0068) in 1991. “Don’t Let the Stars Get In Your Eyes” was on Faron’s 1959 Capitol album, “Talk About Hits!” So that means it would also be in the Bear Family box set.

Larry Olmsted writers from Royalton, Illinois, “Faron is my all time favorite. Wondering tho, didn’t he sing at a small fairground annual event in the southern Illinois region years ago? It seems like I remember my parents going to a ‘popcorn’ event or???? This probably would have been in Franklin County far southern Illinois.”

Tandy Rice says, “Can’t WAIT for this to come out!!! Thanx for all your hard work.”

Shirley Johnson in Griswold, Iowa, writes, “Saw your address and items on Faron in Doug Davis’ Classic Country newsletter – I am new to computers and just getting started. I would like very much to receive your newsletters on Faron – which I will also share with a friend who is a big fan but who does not have a computer. I saw Faron several times over the years on shows in my area plus saw him at WSM in Nashville once. . . Always loved his records, his singing and his stage shows. So happy to hear you have written a book on Faron and will be getting it published. Will be looking forward to that next year. Keep us posted.”

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