Faron Young and Marty Robbins newsletter — 22 September 2010

This week we’ll commemorate the birth of Martin David Robinson on September 26. He would have been 85 on Sunday. He’s currently in the news, along with Mel Tillis, for being honored by the Academy of Country Music with its Cliffie Stone Pioneer award. I have received the publishing contract for his biography and am waiting on my request for an increased word limit. Because it might also be published as an e-book, I have to go back to all my interviewees and get their permission for electronic publication. I also need photos. Please contact me if you have good photos and the copyright for them.

Jeannie Seely reports, “I am back in my house…not settled by any means but back in!!”

Dave Swinford writes, “Your biography of Faron Young has been recorded by the Talking Books to make it available for the blind and visually handicapped subscribers of the Library of Congress’s recorded books. I saw it listed as a new release of the digital books downloads.”

Susan Molina says, “I really enjoyed both the Faron Young Story and Navy Greenshirt. I was recently in Austin Texas and attended Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic. You will be happy to know Faron is still remembered in Austin. Some of the local bands played his music. The hit of the picnic in my opinion was Ray Price. What a performance, he was awesome!  I felt privileged to see him perform. I also enjoyed Kris Kristofferson who I have been in love with forever, and David Alan Coe.  Also Asleep at the Wheel…they were great. Keep the books coming!”

Colin Alderson sends this note from Barmera, South Australia: “I have been a Marty Robbins fan for over 50 years and have I guess every song he ever put on record and all his videos except vol 4 (The Drifter TV series). I was very fortunate to meet Marty’s twin sister Mamie when my wife and I visited the USA in 1987. We had a great couple of days playing Marty’s music, most of that time in her house in Glendale. She was a very nice lady. Every Sunday in our house here in South Australia is Marty Robbins day as I play as much of his music as I can fit in– hate being disturbed on these days. All our children (three daughters and two sons) grew up with Marty Robbins music and even some of our grandchildren listen to his music. My wife and I are both 76 and our life has been so much richer having had the years of pleasure that Marty and his music has given us. When Marty died I wrote a tribute. When you have finished his biography I would love to obtain a copy. Thanks for doing this for Marty.”

Peter Trenholm in Pugwash, Nova Scotia, Canada, reports on a two-hour show he did in his local church on the life and times of Hank Williams Sr.:  “I sang 20 songs & told many stories of Hank to a full house. 200 is amazing, considering we live in a rural area. First time I ever did this type of show. I also released a new CD with 20 of Hank’s songs & sold 55 of those which somewhat blew me away. The folks loved the show & gave me a standing ovation. Us older folks are starved for the older country music since radio no longer plays it.”
Response: That’s so true. Eight thousand people, so I’m told, showed up to see Mel Tillis one morning at the Nebraska state fair. And Jim Glaser recently told me, “It’s obvious that a lot of the mature crowd misses the older Country Music. I’ve noticed it at my more recent shows, too. It’s as if there’s a need out there that’s growing exponentially.”

Robert MacMillan of Arisaig, Scotland, writes, “I’m sure through your research for Twentieth Century Drifter you discovered that noted English rock guitarist/vocalist/composer Pete Townshend of The Who is a fan of Marty Robbins. On The Who’s 2006 album Endless Wire there is a song entitled “God Speaks of Marty Robbins” and several versions of Pete Townshend singing his song can be viewed via YouTube. Perhaps if you care to circulate this e-mail through your newsletter you could ask other fans if they know of other songs that mention Marty – one that springs to mind is “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes” by George Jones.”
Response: And Bob Luman sang, “We lost Marty Robbins down in El Paso awhile back…” That’s an interesting suggestion, Robert. I’ll report any other songs sent to me.

We celebrated my birthday and our new home this past Saturday night. All the pictures are on the walls, and our move to Sioux Falls is complete!

Ernie Reed started playing fiddle for Faron Young in 1968. “He was really instrumental in getting fiddles back in country music,” Ernie says. “When I went to Nashville, nobody was using fiddle. Faron had ‘Wonderful World of Women,’ and that had fiddle on it, so he asked the guys if they knew any fiddle players.” Ernie worked with Faron three different times over the years, alternating with being one of Mel Tillis’s Statesiders. Faron called him to play fiddle on the live Branson CD in 1992, the last time they worked together. I first met Ernie in 1975 when he was a Country Deputy and I was a starry-eyed fan. I lived in Los Angeles in 2000 when I drove to Bakersfield to interview Ernie for Faron’s book, while Mel Tillis was appearing at the Buck Owens Crystal Palace. I most recently saw Ernie, and finally got to meet Mel, in Maryland in 2008. I’m looking forward to seeing them again, wherever that may be.

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