Faron Young and Marty Robbins newsletter — 1 July 2009

Thinking of Marty Robbins and the upcoming Independence Day holiday brings to mind the NASCAR FireCracker 400 at the Daytona Speedway. Marty was the grand marshal in 1970 (six months after his heart surgery) and then, according to the statistics I’ve found, he ran the race five times–in 1971, 1973, 1979, 1980, and 1982. He wrecked the first year, finished 8th in 1973, and had engine failure but a finishing spot the last two years. The Tennessean photo below shows him talking to Richard Petty at the Nashville track in the early 1960s.


The latest issue of the CMA magazine reports that Frank Oakley died at age 83 on April 2. It doesn’t give a cause of death. Frank helped me when I was working on Faron’s biography, and I visited him and Jeanie at their home. Frank and Jeanie owned the Willie Nelson & Family General Store in Music Valley. Faron’s story contained much more detail because of Frank’s contributions, and I’m grateful for his assistance. My condolences go out to Jeanie and the family.

Justin McCarthy writes from Boca Raton, Florida, “I have been just an absolute fan of Faron Young since 1951 in high school. I have always related to his songs. Just a thank you from a great fan of Faron’s.  I have lived fast, loved hard, and now hope to die later in life.”

Regina Broach says, “I was a dear friend to Bill Johnson, and want to know when your book is ready, so I can read it.  I was very close to Bill, and miss him so much.”

Preston Coly, an up-and-coming Texas singer I met in Nashville, sends this request, “My new album titled HOLD YOUR HORSES is now available for download on my MySpace page I hope every one will purchase a copy before it is released at the end of the summer and help me pick a single…..You can go to myspace.com/prestoncoly to download it.”

Rickey Dunn writes, “Back in 1974 while in community college one of my classmates was good friends with Faron Young. Being friends he invited me to go with him to see Faron do a concert at an NCO club at nearby Fort Bragg. We stopped by the Holiday Inn where the band was staying. I got to meet them and ended up riding on the bus to the club. Ernie the fiddler did a song called ‘The New Old Joe Clark’ where he had a waawaa pedal hooked up to his fiddle and it sounded great.”

Terry Counts in Tennessee says, “Another great newsletter! I wonder if anyone out there knows if we can get a CD version of some of Faron’s earlier stuff. My favourite was an album called ‘Sweethearts or Strangers’ which I think was released in the mid 50’s and I have bought 2 albums and worn out both of them, the songs on that were particularly great. I always tried to con Faron into doing Sweethearts but it wasn’t one of his favourites, drat him. Not on the subject of Faron or Marty both of whom I have almost everything they cut, but last night’s CBS airing of the George Strait thing was pretty darn good. They kept it mostly country (thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and of course George is one of the best, hasn’t changed a dadburn bit in the last 40 years! Still the same humble, appreciative ole boy he’s always been. . . . He said he felt like this was an ‘end’ the way folks gave him sincere tribute, and he said ‘I ain’t done yet.’ I emailed him and told him I wasn’t done listening to him yet, either. What a great guy!”
Response: I’m kicking myself for missing the show. I didn’t get around to reading the Style section of the Washington Post that day (I never watch TV) and didn’t know it was on. What a great choice! And the show brought the Marty Robbins name to those who have never heard of him.”

Loudilla Johnson sends this note, “So sweet of you to include the photo/info of Faron Young getting the Tex Ritter Award, as well as the one of the four of us when we met at your book signing. Losing our dear sister Loretta has left a huge void in our lives. She was definitely one of a kind.”

Jon Philibert sent me two issues of Great Britain’s Country Music People magazine, and he says, “I’m glad you liked them. Please keep sending me the newsletters. I was saddened to read that one of the Johnson sisters, Loretta Johnson, had died. When I used to go to Fan Fair, I used to see them everywhere, a real fixture. I will check back to see if we reported Loretta’s death in the mag, if not I’ll suggest a mention.”
Response: It’s amazing to me that you can have such a great county music magazine and there’s no such thing here in the USA.

Tom Lipscombe in Canada says, “Enjoyed your newsletter. I remember the helpful nature of the Johnson sisters; when our fan club, the Hank Williams Appreciation Society International was a member of IFCO, in the late seventies and early eighties. Very sad about Loretta. We have posted your newsletter on the ATL Forum at http://pub3.bravenet.com/forum/static/show.php?usernum=243824250&frmid=204&msgid=780488&cmd=show.”

Doug McLeod writes, “You’re doing the Lord’s work with this newsletter while he’s busy with other things. Couldn’t open the ‘snippets’ of the home recordings. If you have time, could you please send them. Look forward each month to the newsletter. Doesn’t it amaze you the number of country music buffs out here in the world that appreciate Marty and Faron (and you)? Keep it up!”

Richard Bass, who has a “great ambition to die of exhaustion rather than from boredom,” writes from the Philippines, “I just listened to those tracks from your newsletter, no clue, never heard them before. Faron used to make songs up when he was in his cups.”

Bob Mottor says, “Like your website. Found an autographed Sun promotional photo today at an estate sale in Dallas that I believe is from the session in 1956 in Corpus Christi. It is signed by all the Teen Kings, Roy and on the back ‘Thanks Mary, Faron Young.'”
Andy Williford sends word that Rogers Hampton is out of the hospital, and adds, “I am sending you a piece about Faron’s hero growing up and until his death. All of Faron’s close friends are very excited. Remember me telling you what a great athlete he was. If Faron was alive today, he would be in Shreveport in a heartbeat. Good luck and all the best. We appreciate your letters very much.”

Barry Skinner, who has a country music museum in New Zealand, writes, “Just read your book Live Fast Die Young on Faron Young & It Would Have To be The Most Detailed Book I Ever Read. When will the Marty Robbins book be out?” He adds, “I get a lot of country music articles sent to me from all over the world, and I think I got your e-mail from one of those, not sure of whom but was advertising your  book on Faron Young. I would like to go on your mailing list.”

Ray Griff Benefit
I just ran across this article with an update on Ray Griff, who wrote one of my favorite songs, Faron’s “Step Aside.” Ray has been battling cancer for awhile now. Best wishes, Ray! http://www.montrealgazette.com/Entertainment/Fight+life/1746237/story.html

My sister and I are planning a Marty Robbins research trip to Nashville in mid-July. I welcome suggestions for places to find and people to see while we’re there.

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