Faron Young and Marty Robbins newsletter — 14 July 2010

Fifty years ago this week, Marty Robbins recorded “Don’t Worry” and inadvertently created a new sound–the fuzz tone. The song idea popped into Marty’s head when he was sitting at a stoplight on Thompson Lane one night, and he wrote the song by the time he reached his house in Brentwood. “I went home and played it on the piano for, probably for an hour,” he once said, “not just to remember the song, but because I liked the song.” He recorded it July 12, 1960, and everyone in the studio was surprised to hear a distorted sound on the playback. Perfectionist Marty wanted to rerecord it, but producer Don Law convinced him to keep the unique sound, which had resulted when the amplifier for Grady Martin’s lead bass guitar malfunctioned. (More on that story when the book is published.) The single was released in December and spent ten weeks at number one.

Jeannie Seely says, “It is amazing how many things you don’t even think about that must be replaced….a church youth group from Knoxville came up this week  to help flood victims and they have done a wonderful job cleaning up my yard, cutting shrubs…and still carrying out trash.  All these things give us all so much hope…. I appreciate you and your friends…please extend my heartfelt thanks!!”

Andy Williford writes, “Diane, you remember me telling you about Faron’s close-knit group even up to his death.  Well Faron’s hero, he would say so if he were alive today, Rogers Hampton passed away this morning, July 5.  All of us feel like a part of our life has died, and actually a part of our life has. Funeral services are pending in Shreveport, Louisiana. Tell your readers about a big part of Faron’s life, that few people outside of country music knew very little about.”

Kenny Clark sends an update on Larry Hunt, saying he plays “bass guitar with one hand. Since having a stroke and losing the use of his right hand, he has learned to play by hammering and fretting at the same time with only his left hand. He is full time bass player for Nashville Rash.  He was Marty’s bass player for about ten years.”

Patty Walley writes from Hesperia, California, “Have been getting your emails for some time now and really enjoy them. We did love Faron’s music and I did get to meet and see him many times in concert and the book was just great could not put it down till I finished it. Am looking forward to Marty book also. Did get to see him in person several times also what a singer. Now you need to do a book on another great guy Merle Haggard. Thanks for all the news on email we love it.”

Terry Counts comments, “Good writeup! I have all Marty’s cd’s and the cowboy songs are my favourites…the old man used to sing them to me (when he was in the mood) and play guitar…one of my favourites he did was a song about cowboys going to work for this guy someplace in buffalo country and the guy cheated the boys at the end of the season..so they killed him and left him buried in ‘that goddam buffalo ground’..I’d give a zillion bucks to know the name of that song, I’d love to have it. I think it is an old, old public domain thing…bet Marty knew it! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!!”

“Just John” Hamilton reports, “I received your book with your autograph several days ago. Thank you! Please forgive me for not letting you know right away when Live Fast, Love Hard arrived. Unlike some who have said they couldn’t put the book down once they started reading it, I find myself savoring it in small bites. There are many similarities between Faron’s and my family of origin and his, my brother’s and my experiences as boys and young adults. I find myself needing to put the book down after a chapter or two and let the reality of Faron Young settle into my soul (if that makes any sense!). To plow through too quickly would deprive me of the many memories and the attendant emotions that your book is bringing to me. I just finished Chapter 10, and am sleepy, so I’ll pick up with Chapter 11 later today. Got your latest newsletter yesterday. Thank you! I especially liked the part about Marty Robbins and ‘The Cowboy In The Continental Suit.’ What a genius: Marty could make a good song out of anything it seems.” John adds, “I find myself identifying, too, with Faron’s band and family members that got angry and fed up with him as a ‘walking contradiction’ (from a Kris Kristofferson song); and I shake my head at my own willingness to forgive him and get back on the bus with him (into the book, in my case!).”

Cal Sharp played steel guitar for Faron Young most of the decade of the ’80s. The Deputies jokingly called their boss the “Beast From the Back of the Bus,” and Cal says, “Sometimes we would be up front in the bus trying to relax after a long night slaving over a hot guitar, thinking Faron was safely passed out in the back, and suddenly he would appear on a search and annoy mission.” When I contacted Cal for an interview in 2000, he generously offered to send me his log of ten years of traveling with Faron. This notebook enabled me to reconstruct Faron’s schedule for that period. Seven years later, I finally met Cal. He plays in the Wild Country band in Nashville and can be found on the Steel Guitar Forum and his website at http://www.calsharp.com/.

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