Faron Young and Marty Robbins newsletter — 30 September 2009

“Born in the heat of the desert….” Eighty-four years ago this past Saturday night, twins Martin and Mamie were born in a shack (erected by their father and pregnant mother) in the desert north of Glendale, Arizona. Their older sister, Lillie, told the story this way: “One morning Grandma awakened the kids and told them there was a surprise in Mamma’s room, which was also the front room. When they went into the room, Mamma was still in bed, which was unusual. On a cot in the room were two tiny babies, each with a fist in its mouth. Grandma said the Doctor had come during the night and brought them two little twin babies. Lillie asked who was the boy and when Grandma proudly pointed, Lillie covered its face with the blanket. She had enough brothers and didn’t care whether she had another one or not. At the time she didn’t know she was covering the face of a future great country and western singer and composer.”

Bobby Braddock writes from Nashville, “Have you heard any of Melvin Endsley’s RCA records?  Amazing singer. He had a run for a couple of years,  writing country songs that were hits by pop artists like Andy Williams. Wish I had made contact with him before he died a few years ago, should have driven to Arkansas and told him what a genius I thought he was. By the way, Marty and Guy Mitchell were actually buddies, Mitchell came to a Marty show in Detroit when I was with him, came backstage, they really seemed to like each other. Surely Marty knew his versions of those songs were so-o-o much better than Mitchell’s.”

Don Dewey writes, “I am from a very small town in the Texas Panhandle. Stinnett, about 50 miles north of Amarillo. In the middle to late 60s, one of our local football players received a scholarship to TCU in Ft. Worth. He wasn’t in Ft. Worth but a short time when he was shot on the street and nearly died.  He was like the rest of us, poor, and without insurance since he hadn’t enrolled in TCU yet. We were trying to organize some type of fund raiser for his single Mom. Faron Young was playing in Amarillo and he consented to play a benefit for Rooster. We didn’t have any venue in town large enough with the exception of the football field. The stage was a 40 ft semi-trailer and the dressing room was a delivery truck parked adjacent to it. Faron’s big hit at that time was ‘Hello Walls.’  Faron bounded out of the delivery truck which was somewhat lower than the semi, he hit his head on the top of the delivery truck door and nearly went down. He quickly recovered and went on with the show changing just a few words of the song, such as ‘Hello Floor,’ ‘Hello Bathtub,’ etc. Rooster recovered and became quite successful but the memory of Faron singing his heart out for a little county town has never left me. I am 77.”

Diane Jordan says, “I really enjoy reading your newsletters! I found the Melvin Endsley story really interesting and was so glad to read that it was Marty Robbins who helped him. I’m so looking forward to your Marty Robbins book!”

Everett Corbin, former editor of MUSIC CITY NEWS (1966-67) and THE DONELSON NEWS DIARY (1965-80), tells me he was diagnosed with cancer of the prostate, which has spread to the bones. It is spreading rapidly, and Corbin is reflecting on what his legacy might be. He interviewed many country music stars (such as Roy Acuff, Bill Monroe,  Ernest Tubb, Lynn Anderson, Dolly Parton, Red Hicks of the Blue Sky Boys, Jimmie Skinner, Leona Williams, Mac Wiseman, Jim and Jesse, the Osborne Brothers, Al Dexter), and he feels it would be a pity for this knowledge about the artists to die when he dies. He says, “If there are any enterprising writers out there looking to do research on some of these greats, I might be able to shed some light on things they have pondered about. I no longer have internet at home, but use the library in Murfreesboro and get my mail at ejcorbin@juno.com or Everett Corbin, 5801 Halls Hill Pike, Murfreesboro TN 3713O.”

Here’s a blog entry that remembers Marty Robbins: http://3chordsaday.wordpress.com/2009/09/26/the-el-paso-trilogy-marty-robbins/
And one that remembers Faron Young: http://geezermusicclub.wordpress.com/2007/11/03/faron-young-the-hillbilly-heartthrob/

I found this neat little poem on the Steel Guitar Forum. The Mac Davis parody was written by Mike Perlowin of Los Angeles:

Lord it’s hard to be humble
when you play the steel guitar.
It’s the king of all the instruments,
The hardest of all, by far.
You play with your hands and
your feet and your knees and
your eyes and your ears and your brain.
That’s why guys who can play it
are all conceited and vain.

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