Faron Young and Marty Robbins newsletter — 24 October 2012

This periodic newsletter commemorates the lives of Faron Young and Marty Robbins. The University of Illinois Press published Twentieth Century Drifter: The Life of Marty Robbins and reissued Live Fast, Love Hard: The Faron Young Story in soft cover earlier this year. Has anyone downloaded either biography as an e-book? If so, I’d like to hear about it.

Music in American Life
The University of Illinois Press is offering 40% off Music in American Life titles through the end of the year. This includes Twentieth Century Drifter and Live Fast, Love Hard. Here’s the link:    http://www.press.uillinois.edu/books/find_books.php?type=series&search=mal

I would like to write Merle Haggard’s biography. I want to have his support, though, and I don’t know how to get in touch with him. Although having your subject’s support isn’t necessary, it makes the job a whole lot easier. I would like to be able to ask questions, obtain information, and have Merle say yes when people ask him if they should talk to me. Does anyone out there know how I might contact him?

A biography is the life story of someone else, an autobiography is your own life story, and a memoir covers a portion of your life. Information for biographies comes mainly from research and interviews with acquaintances, not from the subject’s personal stories. Living people are concerned that a biographer might show them in an unfavorable light–they have no control over what is actually written. The biographer, if sued, has to prove the information in the book is accurate. I hope my Marty and Faron biographies give me enough credibility that Merle would feel he could trust me to portray his life with accuracy and balance. I’m confident I could write an objective Merle Haggard biography that might even please Merle Haggard.

Bill Lawrence in Bend, Oregon, (jbill@bendbroadband.com) says, “I do not know if I’m doing the right thing or not, but I still have many Marty Robbins albums, plus 45 rpm. I am now 84 years of age slowly going to pot but before I leave this wonderful world I’d like to know that my albums went to someone who would really care for them. I would give them away, but I am like many older guys, I will sell them if the price is right, and these records and albums are in beautiful shape.”

Robert MacMillan, in Arisaig, Inverness-shire, Scotland, also has a request: “As well as just finishing Twentieth Century Drifter I have also read Merle Haggard’s My House of Memories. Near the end of the book he states, ‘In 1977 Atoka was the site of the largest outdoor country music concert ever held.’ In the feature film made from the event Hollywood spliced in entertainers who weren’t even on the show including Marty Robbins. Can anyone throw any light on this movie?  Was it ever released? Is it available on DVD? What songs did Marty perform? Why was he added to the film? Perhaps some of your newsletter subscribers can help with information.”

Moragh Carter writes, “How about George Jones for your next book subject? He is well known and popular here in the UK. Or Merle Haggard. Or, though not as well known (though his songs are), Kris Kristofferson. I have booked to see him in December in Liverpool. I also have a ticket to see Charley Pride in November … same venue.” He adds, “Thanks for your latest newsletter. I always find it an interesting read. I was particularly interested to see that you’d had an e-mail from Corky Tittle. Corky is mentioned in the biography of Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan that I have just finished writing. The book In Harmony should hopefully be released by late October/early November.”

Corky Tittle responds, “Thanks for the heads up on the Jack Blanchard thing. I played with most of the big acts at one time or another during the late sixties and early seventies, and Hank Corwin and I became very close friends when we toured together with Jim Ed Brown. I first played with Hank on a Jimmy Dickens tour and we were friends from day one.”

Don Powell played steel guitar for Marty Robbins in 1974. During that period, they flew to most of their shows. “The booking agency would book the auditorium that would furnish the sound and the amplifiers and drums,” Don says. “All we did was walk onstage and set our guitars up and play.” He remembers changing planes in St. Louis one afternoon, standing in the glassed-in waiting room, and seeing their instruments on the ground outside the plane. “And it started raining,” he recalls. “It was a downpour and our instruments were out there. We knocked on that glass, trying to get them to open the door and throw our instruments in, and they would not do it. When we got to Peoria, Marty was so mad–he walked up to that counter and opened his guitar case and poured water all over the counter. That was the first time, and I think the only time, I ever saw him real mad. I opened my steel case and the towel in the bottom was soaking wet. We were all really unhappy, because we had to dry our guitars out before we could even play.”

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