Faron Young and Marty Robbins newsletter — 14 May 2008

This is my periodic newsletter about “Live Fast, Love Hard: The Faron Young Story,” published last year by the University of Illinois Press, as well as progress on “Twentieth Century Drifter: The Life of Marty Robbins.” I’ve written four chapters and will continue after research trips to Nashville and Phoenix.
I’m a presenter at the International Country Music Conference in Nashville on Saturday, May 24, at 1:30 PM. The conference takes place in the Frist Lecture Hall at Belmont University. My topic is “Faron Young and Marty Robbins–A Comparison of Two Country Legends.” The conference Web site is www.internationalcountrymusic.org.

Here are the links to several “Live Fast, Love Hard” book reviews:

Gene Dunlap says, “I was with Loretta Lynn in the 70s and Ray Griff worked lots of tours with us. Ray and I got to be good friends and he is one of the most generous and the best friend one can have. We played Fanfare and he got me up and featured me on piano on his part of the show. That shows a great a great deal of character when one piano player gets another up to play and I have always loved Ray Griff for being such a person.”

Frank Jennings writes from the UK, “I’m a friend of Jean Earle’s and she forwards me the newsletters which I really enjoy reading. She used to run our fan club and persuaded Faron – God rest his soul – to be president of the club. He was my inspiration: totally and of course, like Jean, he was/is my favourite singer. He told me, when I worked with him in England, that his favourite singer was Marty Robbins. I Don’t believe you could have got any better than the two of them, both as singers and performers.”

Andy Williford writes, “Please pass this on to Carolyn Babin, Harlan didn’t like anybody. It wasn’t just you, he was a very bitter man. They lived on the old Hatcher plantation on the corner of the pines road and the old Jefferson road. His mother wasn’t very good to Faron either. . . .Tell Chris that I have photographs signed, but the heartfelt loss that I had was a letter Faron sent to me personally while I was in the air force in Germany from 1951-54. In the letter he said he couldn’t believe that he could be in this position. One of the photos that I have, he signed it, “I am proud to be your friend”. That will always be very special to me because of our friendship over many years. One of our childhood friends was in Nashville just before he committed suicide. And Faron wouldn’t let him come out to old hickory. He told me he will always feel guilty because he felt that he might have prevented it. The photo, incidentally, was part of my luggage that was stolen in New York on my way back home.”

Larry Banton in Lynchburg VA says, “I sure enjoy your newsletters. As you know, I read your book on Faron and really enjoyed it. When I booked him for a show in 1989 it was the thrill of my life to finally meet him. During the bands breaks I went to Faron’s bus and he told me all kind of stories on Carl Smith, Webb Pierce, and others. He even gave me his home phone number and told me to call him when I could get to Nashville. I sure wish I would have gone.”

Tom Lipscombe, Web administrator for the Hank Williams Appreciation Society International at http://hwas.ipfox.com/ and http://hank.shows.it/, writes from Canada, “I have completed your excellent Faron book, which brought back a lot of memories of the Golden Days of Country Music, and the unforgettable artists that made it all happen. Of course, Faron Young stood at the top of his profession, both as an accomplished Country singer, and also as a skilled, all-round entertainer. Faron is quoted somewhere in your book, claiming to only cover other artist’s songs, when he was sure that he could do a better job than the original. After viewing again my copy of the DVD, entitled: ‘Hank Williams – The Man And His Music’, which is a 1980 tribute hosted by Hank Williams Jr., with Faron singing ‘Cold, Cold Heart’, I realized that Faron actually did a better job on the number than ole Hank, climbing inside the song and infusing the classic with new life. An extraordinary showman indeed! Now I am awaiting the completion of your next project, Marty’s bio; which I am sure will be equally well-received; because we know that you will invest the same care and devotion, which was applied to the Sheriff’s book.”

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