Diane’s Country Music Newsletter — 8 January 2014

After eight years of publishing my Faron Young/Marty Robbins e-mail newsletter, it’s time for a change. I repeat myself when talking about Faron and Marty, and i don’t have a biography subject to follow Twentieth Century Drifter: The Life of Marty Robbins and Live Fast, Love Hard: The Faron Young Story, so there hasn’t been much to say. My best friend suggested I publish a variety of country music news bits, and I agree that might “keep those cards and letters coming.” Here’s my first effort. Tell me what you think. And welcome to 2014!

Ray Price (1926–2013)
Ray Price died Monday, December 16, at age 87. He had been ill for quite awhile, suffering from pancreatic cancer. Here’s a photo of me and him in 2008 when he and Mel Tillis did a show in northern Maryland. They were both great. They looked sharp, sounded as good as ever, and had good bands.Ray Price - Diane

Songwriter Whitey Shafer has been admitted to a Nashville hospital for treatment of a respiratory condition. His songs include, “All My Ex’s Live in Texas,” “That’s the Way Love Goes,” “I Never Go Around Mirrors,” and “Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind?”

Johnny Western’s wife, Jo, will undergo open heart surgery today at Banner Heart Hospital in Mesa, Arizona, to correct a prolapsed valve in her heart. I met Johnny in California in 2002 when I was researching Faron’s biography, and I later visited him at KFDI Radio in Wichita, Kansas.

Ronny Robbins sends his thanks for “investing 5 years of your life, doing incredibly thorough research and writing a truly wonderful book on Dad’s story. I know I haven’t said it enough, but I sincerely thank you for the fantastic job you did putting Dad’s life story together. Merry Christmas to you and every one of your readers.”

Tom Wilmeth says, “That e-mail of complaint cracks me up. If your experiences are like mine, I have SPENT money on book publishing (and not because they were vanity presses). I am guessing even Peter Guralnick didn’t make any money on his many music books before his Elvis biography.”

Tammi Bailey writes, “I am married to Leon McAuliffe’s grandson, Kelly, son of his daughter Lucy. We are looking for anything of and/or about Leon. His second wife, Eleanor, sold the majority if not all of his possessions after his death, but refused to honor the will or sell to Lucy.” Tammi’s e-mail address is iamtammi@yahoo.com.

Sandra K. Nicholson says, “I am reading your book again. This time slowly. The first time I couldn’t wait to get to the next page. Thank you again for writing it. Don’t know if you remember I had sent you an e-mail and you were so gracious to answer questions I had. I found Marty Robbins about five months ago while searching Youtube for another singer. Since then, I have amassed quite a collection of his CDs, DVDs and videotapes. I wish I could have seen him
perform. I haven’t listened to a song he sang that he didn’t give an outstanding delivery.”

Terry Counts writes from White Bluff, Tennessee, “Ok, gal, explain yourself!!! You had a local book-signing and I missed it?? Come to think of it I haven’t heard from you in a long while, maybe my newsletter got rerouted to Bangkok!!!!! One thing I’d like to mention….in the 20 years I was executive director for Deaton…Faron never came into my offices drunk…he never once used bad language around me. His favorite thing to do was swap jokes! He’d come back into Nashville with a whole new assortment for me, and my husband, Murrel, would come in with his new batch and so it became a ‘thing’ for me and Faron to swap jokes! Kept that going for years!!!! He was a memorable and honorable man. I still miss him.”

Jean Earle sends news from the United Kingdom: “Thank you very much for the newsletter that arrived today. All very interesting but also very sad!! I miss both of these fine gentlemen very much. We were lucky enough to meet them personally and to see them on stage and to very much enjoy their songs. Long gone but most certainly NOT forgotten. I have a piece of news from this side of ‘the pond’ that may interest you. Frank Jennings is a popular Country singer over here in England. He became friends with Faron and was delighted when Faron agreed to support his ‘Frank Jennings Syndicate’ fan club. They sang together on stage in a London Theatre. Frank was honoured to be inducted into the British Country Music Hall of Fame on November 24, 2013. I can just imagine how happy Faron would have been to hear this good news. He offered his name and support to Frank for his music. Thank you, Diane. Keep up the good work. You are very much appreciated.”

Alan Potter, also in the UK, says, “Great to hear from you. You are one hell of a good writer. I still feature Marty, Faron & Tompall regularly on my radio shows.”

June Bourke writes from New Zealand, “Love getting all the news from you and I have kept every e mail since we have got together, so I can reread them from time to time. I am still interested in buying your book/s but will have to wait a while as we are redecorating inside the home, its non-stop here. My husband and I are still very involved in our music, and still travelling round a lot. We are such a little country, that reading your news keeps me up with the day-to-day news when your readers reply, i enjoy reading their comments, too. Thanks for keeping in touch and I hope this continues for a long time to come.”

Linda Clark in Virginia says, “Thanks for the newsletter. I was just thinking of you the other day since I hadn’t seen one of your notes for awhile. Hope all is well with you and yours. Thanks for all the hard work you put into keeping us informed.”

Bob & Rosemary Frisbee write, “Thank you for the great book about Marty. To us he was very special. We miss Marty’s concerts, the band, the girls at the office, and all our friends who were part of MARTY’S ARMY. So many wonderful memories. We know we could go anywhere in the USA for a MARTY concert and we would find one of our MARTY’S ARMY pen pals. SOME MEMORIES NEVER DIE! Thank you again for the wonderful book.”

Andy Williford, Faron’s boyhood friend, sends this note: “Thank you so much for your wonderful remembrance of our close and dear friend and our many childhood memories. I deeply appreciate your great books and deep thanks on behalf of: Glenn Flesher, Coach Clem Henderson, Ed Lawler, Teddy Garrard, Johnny Cash, Dot Bagley, Gale Bagley, Bill Tyler, Rogers Hampton, Betty Strange, Carole Wickes, Nellie Hearn, etc. I can’t name every one, but this is some of the old group, Thank You so much.”

And a surprise from Les Leverett in Nashville, “Diane, you are a real trooper and one of country music’s true historians.  Thanks much.”

“Down at the Station” By Billy Yates is my idea of a well-written song. I don’t like songs with the same lines repeated and repeated; that’s lazy songwriting. This song introduces the characters and tells a complete story, and the changed refrain at the end adds a twist. It’s a tight package. Plus, it’s a great dance tune: http://youtu.be/nIszxpF9jMM<

When I moved back to South Dakota three years ago, I was surprised and thrilled to find there were still live bands playing dances, and I’ve now danced to most of them. There are even two steel guitars and an occasional sighting of a fiddle. Unfortunately, the two best Sioux Falls bands–Slack Water Jack and the Night Raiders Band–hit the end of the trail on New Year’s Eve. I’ve wanted to build a photo collection of every band, and I usually carry my camera with me, but never actually take photos. Here’s the only band I’ve photographed so far:nightraidersband

The Night Raiders Band

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