Faron Young and Marty Robbins newsletter — 10 February 2010

This periodic newsletter commemorates the lives of Faron Young and Marty Robbins. Live Fast, Love Hard: The Faron Young Story was published in 2007 by the University of Illinois Press, and the publication goal for Twentieth Century Drifter: The Life of Marty Robbins is 2012. Today I completed the first draft of Marty’s biography–30 chapters. I’ll take a break while a friend reviews the manuscript, and then I’ll start on the rewrite and a publishing contract.

Marty was hospitalized for three heart attacks, the one in 1969 that led to triple bypass surgery in 1970, a “minor” one in 1981, and the final one in 1982, which was followed by quadruple bypass surgery and his death, But he always said he’d had three when he’d only been hospitalized for two. Then I ran across an interview where he talked about the 1968 Charlotte NASCAR race, in which a relief driver took his car for an hour and a half while Marty experienced excruciating chest pains. When X-rays after his 1969 heart attack showed scar tissue, he realized those pains during the race had been his first heart attack.

John Hamilton writes from Portland, Oregon, “Thank you for honoring Carl Smith in your recent letter. When I was a young kid growing up in Missouri in the 1940’s and 50’s, Carl was one of my family’s favorite singers. By 1962 I had moved to Portland, Oregon. About 1965 my wife-to-be, Pat, and I were at the Division Street Corral where Mr. Smith was the featured artist. I was in the men’s room when The Tall, Tall Gentleman came in. Naturally I asked him for his autograph. He said he’d never signed his name in a toilet before but was not too proud to do so. I wasn’t prepared with pen or paper. He smiled and said that was OK, and told me to catch him on the next break. So Pat and I got Carl Smith’s autograph that joyful night, and we still have it to this day. Again, thanks Diane for your good work and for sharing that wonderful picture of you, Carl and Goldie–a handsome trio if ever there was one!”

Tom Lipscombe in Canada says, “I so enjoyed reading about your meeting with the late Carl Smith, and about the first two records you bought as a teenager, Hank Williams & Carl Smith. I think my first
two records were Jerry Lee Lewis & Connie Francis.”

Diane Jordan says, “My first crush was on Carl Smith, too!  I remember his red suit with the long white fringe so well!  In 1972, when I was working a little tour in Texas with the Grand Ole Opry’s Stu Phillips, Carl was on the shows, too. What a thrill that was! I was in the Country Music movie documentary, That’s Country (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0191553/) which was released in Canada in 1977 and in the US in 1978. It was narrated by Lorne Greene. Ronny Robbins and I were examples of the “new Nashville Sound.”  Film House, in Toronto, shot a lot of film at Carl and Goldie’s ranch. When I did some dates, after that, in Ontario, the producer asked me to take a huge movie reel of footage back to Carl and Goldie. He gave me their phone number and Larry and I called and took the film out to their house. They invited us in and we stayed and talked for about three hours! They were so gracious and friendly to us. It’s a lovely memory.”

Kevin K. writes, “I read a portion of Faron’s biography online, credited to you. Thank you for doing his bio. My wife and I had the distinct privilege of meeting & hearing Faron sing in person 3 times. One of these three times he came on after having had too much to drink and I was embarrassed for him.  Still, those times dancing with my wife in my arms in front of Faron singing live are some of the happiest memories of my 34 yr marriage. I think it’s so terribly tragic that no one could reach Faron and convince him he was loved, and that he was overcome with despair.  I pray for him EVERY morning in my daily prayer petitions, and make a special remembrance every Dec 10th.”

Steve Clark in Fort Mill, SC, says, “Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed reading your book about Faron Young. I enjoyed his music while growing up and it was a great read. I believe you portrayed Faron correctly, warts and all. I look forward to reading your Marty Robbins book. By the looks of the preview on your website, it seems it could go to print soon. Do you have an exact date? I also, caught your appearance on the Bill Anderson’s XM show talking about your book. Good luck with the Marty Robbins book.”

Jody Nix writes, “So sad to hear about Carl Smith, another one of my favorites…love the picture you sent…he was another treasure.”

Janet McBride requests, “I have a friend who has a pickin’ buddy who has asked if anyone knows the person who used to appear with Faron every time he was at the Big D. Jamboree in Dallas TX in the 50’s. The person could not think of his name but the guy always wore a bright green suit and hat to match.  Not sure if it was sequin but he’s sure it was green.”

Ken Johnson writes, “I happened onto your blog today and totally enjoyed your comments and contributions from readers. I’ve been in country radio since 1974 and a lifelong country music fan…and a big fan of both Faron & Marty. . . . I have the 1979 Faron Young Christmas album you referred to in your December blog. “A Christmas Card From Faron Young” was released on tiny “Goldust Records” (GD 1027) and produced by Earl Richards. A 45 RPM single was also released – “Candy Land” b/w “The Story Of Silent Night” (Goldust GD 0002) The front album cover had a photo of a winter scene including a church. The back cover featured a black & white photo of Faron sitting in a chair reading the Holy Bible. . . . Your Faron Young book was excellent.”

Fern Svendsen says, “I am anxiously waiting for book on Marty Robbins.  When can we expect it? From all I have read about Marty, he was a very private man. In your book, were you able to write about his family life, the children and his life with his wife?
Response: My goal is a 2012 publication. Yes, Marty was a private man who kept his family and business lives separate. I have talked to both Ronny and Janet, and there will be some discussion of family in the book. I am so happy to have completed the first draft. That was the hard part. My daughter and I ordered pizza to celebrate, and we’re getting snowed in right now.

Jack Marlett writes, “I met Mr. Young in St Louis MO, he was playing in a little country place that was upstairs, I was about 15 at the time and was with a group of youngsters about my age, When Faron took his 1st break he came down to our table and talked to us, he was a very likable person, we all became fans of his after that night. He had a very gentle voice and man could he sing. It broke my heart when I found out about his death. He will always be a super star to me. . . . We talked about how much they were paying him and he said for him and the band it was 100 Dollars for the night. He was really a great guy. Through his records and you-tube Mr. Young lives on in my heart. He was a very good person that made a good Impression on a group of kids that night.”

Eddie Urbanski in Dallas, Pennsylvania, says, “Thanks for the News letter, and the Notice of the Passing of Carl Smith. It was a shock to me, because in my Memory library, with Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzell, Webb Pierce, Faron Young Marty Robbins, and others too many to mention, it was milking time at 4 am and the radio was on in the barn, and with those classic singers were better than watching a night on TV we never forgot them. Those were our Golden Years. I wait for your news letter and I print them out and put them in a notebook.”

Aaron Pirtle sends this exciting news: “I work for National Library Service and we record books onto audio format for the blind and disabled. We are currently recording Live Fast Love Hard and I wanted to make sure we are pronouncing your name correctly. Our audio books are not available for purchase, but on the other hand, the Library of Congress will distribute them nationwide to libraries across the country. Any disabled or vision impaired person in the country will have access to your book in an audio format through their local library.”

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