Faron Young and Marty Robbins newsletter — 16 March 2011

The night I met Faron Young, he and the Country Deputies came to Sioux Falls as part of the Hap Peebles monthly Opry package show.  I walked downtown from Augustana College, stayed for both shows, and collected autographs. When Faron learned I planned to walk the three miles back to my dorm, he insisted I get on his tour bus. Earl Stiltner pulled the bus as far as he could into the circular drive of Bergsaker Hall and shone the spotlight at the dark dorm. As I stepped off the bus, it felt as if everyone in the dorm must be watching. I still have the book of autographed photos.

RIP WILSON 1946-2011
William “Rip” Alvin Wilson Jr. died March 5 at his home in Nashville.  He was 65 years old. Rip played lead guitar with the Country Deputies in the late 1960s.  “I first saw Faron when I was a teenager,” he told me in 2000, “He came to my hometown, which is Ashville, North Carolina. I was trying to learn how to play guitar, and Odell Martin played the style I was trying to learn, which is that Chet Atkins Merle Travis style.” He and Odell became friends, and Odell recommended Rip to Faron years later, when Leon Sutton left the band. I lost touch with Rip several years after I interviewed him, and couldn’t find him when we held the Deputy reunion in 2007. I heard nothing about him until I saw the notice of his death on the Steel Guitar Forum. His father and his son survive him.

Congratulations to Bobby Braddock on his selection to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Marty Robbins, who recorded Bobby’s first songs, would be so proud.

Steve Wilkinson says, “Just finished reading your biography of Faron Young a really excellent book thank you. Seen him at Liverpool when Connie Smith was with. Then got to meet him when Hank Locklin was with him on his next tour great man sadly missed. Thanks again for a wonderful book permanently on my book shelf.”

Jean Earle in the U.K. was thinking of Faron on his birthday: “Many thanks for your latest newsletter. Tomorrow is not a happy day……I shall play as many of Faron’s tracks as I can fit into the day.”

Merlin Robin writes from Lafayette,Louisiana, “I want to tell you thank you for what you did for Faron Young’s life story. In my opinion he was great and he knew it. I know for a fact his older brother worked at a carbon black plant in Bayou Salle Louisiana. I used to work the Bayou Salle switcher when I worked on the Railroad. I didn`t get to know his brother but acknowledged me whenever I saw him in the plant. It must have been a once in a lifetime feeling that you got to see Faron at his home. I just wished that he would have gotten help for his problem.”

John Hamilton in Portland, Oregon, says, “Thanks for publishing the photo of Faron Young as an infant. He was a handsome devil even at that tender age. There was no mistaking him lying there. It’s easy to imagine him thinking: ‘You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!'”

Peter Trenholm sends this request from Canada: “Do you have any video footage of the old B&W Marty Robbins TV shows from the 1960’s? Or do you know of anyone who has any or do you know if anyone would like to trade some of the old Porter Wagoner-Wilburn Bros-Country Carnival with Del Reeves & Billy Walker, Pop Goes The Country with Ralph Emery, Country Time with Jim Ed Brown. I have a lot of these shows that I would trade DVD copies for The Marty Robbins TV shows. I would even purchase copies of the Marty TV shows if someone has them available.”

John Krebs writes, “Well, I know I’m a broken record but it would sure be nice to have a bio of Webb Pierce. It won’t be long before all the players will be gone. Mel Tillis is still with us, and he has stories, some classic, though mostly about Webb ripping him off. I’ve also read stories of Webb being generous, funny, kind, helpful, and the complete opposite of Faron in that he was nicer drunk than sober. That one’s from Mel. I’ve heard the Webb drank way too much, don’t know if that’s true or not.  Webb, to me is fascinating because there are so few anecdotes about him. NO ONE ELSE looked like him or sounded like him in any way. Faron could be compared to smooth singers like Jim Reeves, Marty, and others, a lot of the other stars from those years were very good but not really completely unique in the way Webb was. Webb is just out there alone. That’s the main reason he couldn’t adapt to the slide toward the Nashville Sound in the mid 60’s. A Webb Pierce bio………the good, bad, and the ugly. Just like with Faron.”

Jan R. says, “I would like to sign up for your newsletters on: Faron Young & Marty Robbins. I am looking forward to purchasing your book Live Fast, Love Hard the Faron Young Story.”

Tom Lipscombe writes from Canada, “Thanks for your great Newsletter. I especially enjoyed the comments from the YouTube viewer named Samantha. It’s those kind of messages which must make the author’s hard work and dedication more worthwhile.”

Alice Mackenzie says, “I love your newsletters and I am so looking forward to your book on Marty. I noticed in this email you had an email from a lady in Scotland any chance of you sending me her email address as I would love to write to her? Please tell her I am from Scotland but living in Boston.”

And this from Robert MacMillan: “Thanks for your latest (Feb 2011) newsletter re Faron and Marty – always interesting.  Did you ever come across any photos of Marty and Elvis in your research? The February newsletter contains an e-mail from a fellow Scot, and I wonder if it would be possible for me to get in touch with her re swapping info on Marty’s recordings etc.”

Joe Wright played lead guitar for Marty Robbins as one of the original Teardrops in 1956. He was 18 years old. “We left after the Opry and drove straight to Riverside, California,” Joe told me. “That was the first road show I did with him. It would have been after New Years. We stopped over in Phoenix so we could visit his family. Five of us in an old Chrysler. We had a trailer; it said ‘Marty Robbins and the Teardrops’ on it.” A year later, Marty fired him for upstaging the boss, and Joe quit the road to be a Nashville musician and a talent manager. He still lives and works in Nashville.

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