Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 18 November 2015

Tommy Overstreet (1937-2015)
Tommy Overstreet, 78, died November 2 at home in Hillsboro, Oregon, of complications related to emphysema. His wife, Diane, said he suffered from heart and lung disease. Born in Oklahoma City and raised in Texas, he moved to Nashville to pursue a career in country music. His biggest hits were “Ann (Don’t Go Runnin),” “Heaven is My Woman’s Love,” and “(Jeannie Marie) You Were a Lady.” He was an Army veteran and avid fundraiser and volunteer. Diane told The Oregonian her husband’s death was peaceful. She said he spoke with family and friends earlier in the day, ate soup for dinner, laid his head down to sleep, and died. Tommy was one of my first featured artists.

Charles “Charlie” Allen Dick (1934-2015)
Charlie Dick, 81, died in his sleep Sunday morning, November 8, in Nashville. He was married to Patsy Cline from 1957 until her death in 1963. They had two children, Julie and Randy. A native of Winchester, Virginia, Charlie was a founding member of R.O.P.E. (Reunion of Professional Entertainers), a U.S. Army veteran, and a record promoter for independent labels in Nashville. He devoted much of his time to managing the legacy of Patsy Cline.

Joey Feek, 40, of husband-and-wife country duo Joey + Rory is at home in hospice care, saying goodbye to friends and family. Her stage four cervical cancer has progressed to the point that further treatment isn’t beneficial. Her 18-month-old daughter, Indiana, has a play area near her bedside. Rory keeps the public informed through his Life I Live blog.

An antiques and jewelry dealer pleaded guilty in federal court in Austin, Texas, to “engaging in monetary transaction in criminally derived property,” according to the Maine Antique Digest. Rose Marie O’Reilly will be sentenced in January. She told investors she was pooling money to acquire all pieces of a William Spratling silver banquet set originally commissioned by Marty Robbins. She said pieces were lost when the set became separated, and the reunited set might be worth more than $21 million. But it was a bogus investment. Authorities said she used the pooled money for her own benefit.

The music of Hoyle and Ben Nix was remembered November 14th at The Stampede in Big Spring, Texas. Jody Nix and The Texas Cowboys led the celebration to commemorate 69 years of music in the Nix Family. Bobby Flores and The Yellow Rose Band also performed. “The old building was packed wall to wall and the dance floor was full all night long,” Jody writes on Facebook. “It was a wonderful night, as we honored memories and music of Hoyle and Ben Nix. The Tradition Continues.”

Natalie Maines, Emily Robison and Martie Maguire, The Dixie Chicks, have announced the dates of next year’s North American tour, which will follow their European tour in April. The DCX MMXVI World Tour begins June 1 in Cincinnati and visits forty cities before ending October 10 at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

“In four years I’ll be 81 years old, and I don’t like my chances with touring,” Kenny Rogers said in a conference call with reporter Stephen Cooke of The Chronicle Herald. He was talking about his impending retirement from the road. “I think it’s a chance to retire with dignity, and I’m trying to do that. I have identical twin boys who are 11 years old, and in my autobiography I wrote that there’s a fine line between being driven and being selfish. When I was younger, I was selfish, and I chose success over my family, and I paid a price for that. I’m determined not to do that. I have a bucket list for my boys, and I want to make sure I get it done.” He mentioned his 1982 comedy movie, Six Pack, where he played a NASCAR driver who befriended a group of orphans. “I can’t tell you how many grown men come up to me on a daily basis to tell me that Six Pack was their favorite movie when they were a kid,” he said. “So when my boys turned 11, I thought I’d show it to them. I had forgotten about some of the language we used back then, so I said, ‘Look, here’s the deal: you’re old enough to hear it, but not old enough to use it.'”

Bear Family Records in Holste-Oldendorf, Germany, is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Music historian Richard Weize founded the independent record label in 1975. The company issues multi-CD packages on a wide array of artists and genres. Each box set contains a well-researched history and a detailed discography of the included recordings. The label’s current catalog has approximately 1,500 items, which can be found at www.bear-family.com. The eight box sets I own were a great source for me when writing the biographies of Faron Young and Marty Robbins, and I still refer to them to answer questions. Plus, what a great selection of hard-to-find music.

After spending seven weeks in his Nashville home, Glen Campbell is back in a memory care facility. “It was just more than I could handle,” Kim Campbell told PEOPLE about having her husband at home. She said he became combative when being bathed or having his clothes changed. Diagnosed in 2010 with Alzheimer’s disease, Glen is now in late stage six. Kim says, “Physically he’s very strong and healthy. He’s content and cheerful.”

Billboard magazine is honoring Loretta Lynn with its first Women In Music “Legend” award in New York City. The award celebrates her historic contributions to the industry and acknowledges her as being in the highest class of performers. The Lifetime network will televise The Women In Music event on December 18.

The Wabash County Historical Museum christened the Crystal Gayle Theater on Saturday night in Wabash, Indiana. Crystal Gayle was present in her hometown for the honor. The historical exhibit includes a replica of Crystal’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star, a gold album, a tour gown, and other memorabilia. Nash Country Weekly reminds us, “Although Crystal was born in Kentucky, the youngest of eight children, including Loretta Lynn, her family moved to Wabash for work after the mining industry downsized.”

I don’t have the details on how Jan Howard broke her back, but it happened a few days after our phone conversation, and she is now at a rehabilitation facility in Nashville, so I’m told. Best wishes, Jan, for a speedy recovery.

Jeannie Seely writes from Nashville, “Enjoyed reading this Diane…great article on Jan….and thank you so much for including the picture with me! We must do that again. Hope all is well with you…Gene and I are fine….. just very busy with road dates, Opry and the Nashville Nightlife Dinner Show and of course trying to keep up with these little grandchildren now. Gene wrecked his 3-wheel bike a few weeks ago and broke his collarbone but it’s healing very well and we’re back on our bikes again! Hoping to start a new recording project soon…I’ll keep you posted. Again, like so many others, I appreciate what you do.”

Sherwin Linton sends this note from Minneapolis, Minnesota, “I always enjoy your newsletter, and it is special because I consider you a personal friend. I especially liked the article about Jan Howard. I met her a couple of times when she was with the Carters and Johnny Cash, but I would not expect Jan to remember me. I loved her song ‘Bad Seed’ and the duet with Bill Anderson ‘For Loving You.’ Her image to me was always first class. I hope she has many more birthdays and will complete her books and stories. On another note, yes the CMA Hall Of Fame needs more than a catch-up year. Some names that come to mind include Johnny Horton, Stonewall Jackson, Red Sovine, Slim Whitman, Tex Williams and even going back to the 1930s, Bradley Kincaid. How can it be that they are not in the Hall Of Fame? Of course there are many more. Since Jimmie Rodgers is the ‘Father of Country Music’ then 19th Century Poet and Songwriter Stephen Foster should be inducted as the ‘Grand Father of Country Music.’ If they made their mark and paid their dues they should be inducted, and as a Life Time Member of the CMA since 1966, I have always felt that way. Keep up your good work on behalf of Country Music, its Artists, Writers, Promoters and Fans.”

Marilynne Caswell says, “Thank you again for your ‘newsy’ newsletter. I always enjoy it. Thank you for the article on Jan Howard, one classy lady! She visited my (and my late husband Joe’s) home and signed our guest book on August 15, 1976. We gave her an acetate recording of a song she sang, written by her ex-husband Harlan…..I can’t remember the title now, but it became one of his biggest hit songs. I read her bio Sunshine and Shadow at one sitting….So interesting. I wrote her a note, and she wrote me the nicest note back. As I said, a Classy Lady.”

Alan Potter writes from the United Kingdom, “Great to read about Jan & that photo of you two with Jeannie Seely!! 3 of my favourite ladies of country. Sadly, Bill Hulme (Marty Robbins fanatic) passed away a few days ago. Keep up the great work.”

Mary Knapp says, “Always enjoy your newsletter. Am close to finishing Jan Howard’s book. There just aren’t enough adjectives to explain my deep admiration for this lady. She certainly has hung in there through thick and thin through all the heartaches she has had. God gave her the strength to survive.”

Jon Logan, Spartan17 in Viet Nam 69-70, writes, “Jan Howard’s son was a helicopter pilot in Viet Nam. Thanks for the update. I enjoy your newsletters. Great to have someone keeping the heritage alive. I moved to Texas last year and am playing pedal steel in church and anywhere else I can.”

Bill Hyatt (OTD) from Jacksonville, Arkansas, says, “That’s older than dirt (82). I don’t know how long I have been getting your newsletter but I read every word. I was very pleased to see Ross’s mention of Lee Moore in this week’s letter. I listened to Lee on WWVA in Wheeling for years and he used to read the poem, ‘The Touch of The Master’s Hand’ every night. I wrote to him long years ago and asked for a copy and he sent me several. He was one of my very favorite Country DJs. I am also good friends with Garry White in North Little Rock, Arkansas. Keep up the excellent work for us old timers who love classic country even if we couldn’t play it ourselves.”

Art Rankin writes, “I started reading your newsletter first in the ‘Country Music Classics’ newsletter. Your newsletter was copied into it each time you sent one out for quite a while. I then requested being added to your mailing list and have been on it ever since. I purchased both the Faron and Marty books as soon as you published them. In this newsletter you were queried about Stan Hitchcock and you identified his web site. Those same ’Country Music Classics’ newsletters generally have a short ‘View from the front porch’ paragraph written by Stan. One thing that I find very enjoyable in your newsletter is the notes from both entertainers who are readers as well as just country music fans which you include for us all to read.”

Aileen Arledge writes, “Did you not get my tribute to Virgie Warren that I wrote last month? Mike Johnson wrote a real nice tribute and I just wanted to add that Virgie had worked with so many people i.e. Wanda Jackson, Shelby Lynn and was fan club president for Loretta for several years. She was also fan club president for my daughter Tracey Lynne. She worked with the Johnson sisters of the International Fan Club. She will certainly be a loss to so many. I know I miss her so much already.”

Terry Counts says, “Gosh it’s been a long time!! I forget who the producers were on ‘Forever & Ever Amen’ but they called me at Deaton’s office and wanted Murrel for the video. He couldn’t do it due to being on the road at the filming dates. So I suggested Ray and some of the Deputies to do the thing and they did! I forget the other 2 or 3 Deputies in the video, if I saw it again I’d probably remember. Ray had so much fun doing that thing and I was so tickled they gave him a good spot on camera. Been so many years but I always smile with
pleasure when I see the video and remember the good ole days.”

Kathy Thomas reports, “Didn’t know if you heard that my dear friend Tommy Overstreet passed away. He was a wonderful friend and boss. He will be missed.”

Ronnie Allen writes, “I am very saddened at the passing of Tommy Overstreet, a wonderful beloved country music personality. I will always remember that on the very first syndicated American Country Countdown show, which was hosted by the late Don Bowman and which aired on October 6, 1973, Tommy debuted at #35 in the Billboard Top Forty with ‘I’ll Never Break These Chains.’ Though that was not his first hit, it was the first time I had heard his name. Tommy went on to have 16 more top 40 hits following that one, all of which were played on ACC by Don Bowman and Bob Kingsley, who took over the hosting chores in 1978.”

David Corne writes from the United Kingdom, “I was shocked and saddened to read about the passing of Bill Hulme in your last newsletter. I never met Bill, but I regularly used to have phone conversations with him after he started Marty Robbins Remembered back in the ‘80s. We had in common a deep love for Country music and he would often ‘tip me the wink’ about a forthcoming CD or DVD by Marty and we would talk about other giants of the genre whom we both listened to, or bought the records of, over the years. He would often call me ‘kid’ which made me smile because I’ll never see 69 again, and I’m sorry I will never answer the phone and listen to that friendly, broad Lancashire accent ever again. RIP good friend and thanks for your attempts as an ordinary man in the street to further the cause of classic Country music. Your sort are the lifeblood of this music loved and appreciated around the world. On other matters, I would just like to say how much I enjoy YouTube. Yesterday I spent a lot of time watching clips of Jim Glaser and I just couldn’t believe how good his voice still is. To see him sing ‘Let Me Down Easy’ on the Marty Stuart show is really pleasurable, and that pleasure of Marty towards his guest makes for a wonderful couple of minutes. Another singer we recently lost whose voice was still as good as ever was Jim Ed Brown. Always enjoyed his singing. I think he was somewhat underrated considering his vocal quality. Finally, I would also like to mention the late Val Doonican (whose name is probably unknown to many in the States), but he was someone who was a true friend to Country music in the UK and Ireland and a wonderful ambassador for the Emerald Isle.”

M. K. Aldin requests, “Please subscribe me to your newsletter.”

Richard White responds to my QUESTION OF THE WEEK, Should the Country Music Hall of Fame have a catch-up year? “I think it would be best to have another catch-up year in which they bring a lot more in that they have missed. Long before some have deserved to be in there are so many more that were big long before they were born. Bradley Kincaid is one (he was on the Opry in the very early 1940s and was responsible for keeping alive a lot of great mountain songs) as well as John Lair (the man who created the Renfro Valley Barn Dance). There are many more – Hank Locklin, Dottie West, Molly O’ Day, just to name a few. The list can be rather large, as the board at the Hall of Fame that decides these things doesn’t necessarily seem to know much about the deserving people who should have been in years ago. Who should (and shouldn’t) be in the COUNTRY Music Hall of Fame is a subject bandied about by many folks and will likely be until the end of time.”

Stacy Harris, Publisher/Executive Editor of Stacy’s Music Row Report, also responds: “You’re opening up a hornet’s nest. Your question presumes that the Hall of Fame is short of deserving, qualified inductees. If that is the case, than at what point- after how many inductions- does the Hall lose its exclusivity? THAT question presumes Hall inductions should be exclusive. Of course, not everyone agrees. If you don’t agree, then why not induct EVERYONE who meets the (established) criteria? If you do that, are you prepared to admit that induction is no longer an honor? The Country Music Association brought this situation upon itself. When the idea of a Hall of Fame was first proposed, it should have been determined whether eligibility is based on popularity, merit (not always the same), and whether or not those whose personal lives clearly establish them as less than role models are automatically excluded from the Hall- or if one’s personal life has no bearing on his/her deserving such an honor. Many inductions- individual and otherwise- have resulted from publicity campaigns. There’s also a backlash resulting from many fan-generated petition drives, though deserving inductees who should have been inducted long before ‘made it’ simply because the Hall voters tired of the same names on the ballot. Speaking of backlash, there was a reticence to admit Faron Young to the Hall (due to Young’s suicide) but Faron’s talent, his refusal to use Music City News as self-promotion, his career longevity and generosity to his contemporaries could not delay the inevitable forever. Anti-Semitism (and sexism) of CMA voters keeps Helen Farmer out of the Hall of Fame and me (a 45-year industry veteran) from being able to vote for Hall of Fame inductees (though only a decade of industry experience will qualify anyone else). I could- and have been known to- go on and on about this subject. It is a real sore spot but, with a little planning, with standards in place from the Hall inductions’ inception, it could have all been avoided.”

Al Couch of Kempner, Texas, sends this opinion: “I’ve been receiving your Newsletter for quite some time and I enjoy it very much. In response to your Question of the Week in this issue: I definitely believe the CM Hall Of Fame should have another catch-up year. There are so many deserving artists who should already be in the Hall Of Fame and since we are losing so many of them on a regular basis, I would even suggest that the number of Inductees be increased each year until all of the Older Artists, who have provided so much joy to Country Music Fans for so many years, have been honored. It’s sad that many of them were not inducted until after they were no longer with us. The Hall Of Fame is the best award they could ever receive and the best way for Country Music to recognize them for their contribution. I’m a retired Country Music performer who never made it to the national spotlight but I have so much respect and admiration for all of those who have made it and would love to see them honored by induction into the Country Music Hall Of Fame.”

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