9 August 2006

FARON YOUNG, FORTY-TWO YEARS AGO:  Faron’s magazine, “Music City News,” celebrated its first anniversary by hosting “Country Music Night” at the Nashville Speedway on August 11, 1964. So many country music personalities signed up for the race that two events were run. Ten thousand fans came to the regular Tuesday night at the speedway to watch approximately 30 country stars drive in a Figure 8 race. Roy Drusky and Willie Nelson won the two heats. “I drove in that race,” Faron said years later, “and my car stopped. It stopped right at the beginning of the race. I was sponsoring this race, so they said, ‘Faron, go get you another car and race in the second race.’ So I had to start in the back, and I won the race. And they give me the trophy. And everybody got to complaining, and finally the guy over the loudspeaker said, ‘Faron Young, come to the grandstand, and bring the trophy with you.’ I took it up there, and they give it to Willie Nelson. I wanted to know why in the world I don’t get to keep this trophy. They said because it was illegal for you to drive in both races. And I said, ‘Well, somebody told me to do that.’ They said, ‘Well, we gonna tell you what to do now. Give us the trophy back.’ And Willie won’t give me back that trophy.”

Terry Counts in Murfreesboro, TN, says, “What a wonderful Idea!!! Count me in. I worked for Faron for about 15 years and I loved the guy…most of the time, har de har. It was wonderful seeing him on the old Hee Haw this last weekend, made me miss him much.  Keep me closely posted.”

Ray Emmett writes, “Hi Diane, Nice to see those letters again.  Faron did another live album at the Wheeling Jamboree in the 70s.”

Response: My FY itinerary lists a performance for Faron on February 23, 1974, at the Capitol Music Hall in Wheeling, West Virginia. Does any newsletter reader have info about an album recorded there?

I also heard from Renee Emmett, who says, ” I just wanted to let you know I am thrilled that your book on Faron will finally see the light of day. I hope it sells millions because there is certainly a story to be told.”

Norm Tester sends this interesting story from Camp Wood, Texas: “I was program director at KPIK Radio in Colorado Springs, Colorado in the 60’s. Faron had just released ‘Hello Walls’ and was making a tour thru the western states. He stopped by our studios on the day of his show at the City Auditorium and asked me if we were playing the new Willie Nelson record ‘Mr. Record Man.’ We had been playing Willie’s record but the station owner Pappy Dave Stone did not think Willie could sing and just that morning he had pulled the record and had put it in his office. When I told Faron this, he stormed into Pappy’s office and shortly came back with the record in hand and gave it to me. Faron said ‘I just bought a new boat and named it “Hello Walls” and would appreciate it’ if I would play Willie’s records because he is the hottest new writer and singer in Nashville. That night before the show I stopped in back stage to see Faron and he picked up his guitar and sang me ‘Three Days,’ another song written by Willie and told me that was going to be his next record. Faron was a great entertainer and a friend to all the Country DJs across the country. He would sing you a new song ‘at the drop of a hat’ and that is something that is missing in the singers of today. He had warmth, personality and loved his music. I am proud that I was part of Country Music in the 60’s and especially proud that I knew Faron Young.”

Response: What a great testimony, Norm. I wish I’d had that story when I wrote the book. It matches the one I quoted Faron telling about how he supported airplay for Charley Pride.

Ann Allen writes from Sevierville, TN, “I noticed one of the comments today was how much they liked Faron singing ‘Leavin’ and Sayin’ Goodbye’ – I am president of the fan club for the artist that wrote the song – Jeannie Seely.”

Harvey McFadden in Pointblank, TX, (website: www.elvisisintexas.com) wonders, “I’ve written you before but wanted to confirm that you’ll have a book signing in Dallas in 2007. I did want to ask you about the movie, Country Music Holiday. 1958, I believe. Anyway, I know Faron is in it and I’ve looked for it on eBay, CMT.com, etc., with no luck. Do you have any idea where I might find it? I can only find reference to it, its stars, and maybe a movie still or poster from it on eBay. Thanks again and sure looking forward to the book. I am an Elvis Tribute Artist and Country Classics Performer. I sing Faron’s ‘Country Girl,’ ‘Hello Walls,’ and ‘Wine Me Up’ very, very often. Classic music from a classic artist.”

Response: I hope to have a book signing in Dallas but it’s way too early to make plans for that. “Country Music Holiday” will be hard to find. I’ve seen copies sold on eBay, and I bought one of those.

Scott Anderson of Grosse Ile, Michigan, sends this note about reading my website: “Great articles about Faron, Diane… He was always in the top 5 of my favorite Country Music Entertainers. I also have quite an extensive collection of his material all the way back to a 78 rpm of “Goin Steady”, to 8 tracks, and several vinyl 33s.” Scott calls Faron “truly a legend, and an enigma in the business.”

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