Faron Young and Marty Robbins newsletter — 4 June 2008

Here’s my periodic newsletter about “Live Fast, Love Hard: The Faron Young Story,” published last year by the University of Illinois Press, as well as progress on writing “Twentieth Century Drifter: The Life of Marty Robbins.”
While in Nashville I attended the Saturday night Opry. (Thanks to Opry museum and photograph curator Brenda Colladay for the ticket.) Kenny Sears and the Time Jumpers provided great music on the outdoor stage, and I was sorry to have go indoors at 9:30, but I didn’t want to miss the Opry. I did get to hear the Time Jumpers again, because they were guests of Riders in the Sky on the last show. Kenny Sears (a former Country Deputy) must have been worn out by the end of the evening. Besides leading his own group, he played fiddle for several other acts on both Opry shows. After the Opry, I headed over to the Ernest Tubb Record Shop to see Johnny Western, who was in town from Wichita, Kansas. He said he’s been talking up Faron’s biography on his KFDI Radio show. Riders in the Sky performed on his show, too. They told me they’d recently done a tour of the Dakotas and had been caught in the May snowstorm. Another guest was Rex Allen, Jr., and he promised me a telephone interview about Marty Robbins. I’ve been trying to get in touch with him, so I was happy to see him–in addition to thoroughly enjoying his part of the show.

Barbara Pruett, who authored the bibliography “Marty Robbins: Fast Cars and Country Music,” and who lives in Washington DC, contacted me this week and we met for coffee and a two-hour discussion. I’d bought her book in 2005 as a Christmas present to myself, when the idea of writing about Marty was starting to form. She confirmed today what she’d said in the book, that she intended it to be a source document for the person who would someday write Marty’s biography. I’m happy to be that person, and I’m glad to finally meet Barbara. I emailed her a copy of my ICMC presentation on Faron and Marty, and I’m willing to send it to anyone whose computer can open PowerPoint .ppt documents.

Jody Nix writes from Big Spring, Texas, “I love the picture of Red Hayes and Vassar Clements [at http://stanlaundon.com/country.html]. I have so many fond memories of Red, when he worked with my Daddy…he showed me some real neat notes on the fiddle tune Maiden’s Prayer…he was great, I loved him dearly, what a fiddle player. . . he and my Dad were very close. Not too long before my Daddy passed away, he told me he dreamed that Red came to see him and sat on the side of the bed and played the fiddle for him….and I asked him….how do you know he didn’t? I haven’t shared that with many people, but I wanted you to know it, they were a fiddle team in the 50’s and 60’s that were unequaled.”

Tom Lipscombe summarizes the story about Irene Williams: “I’m sure we’ve all heard the old saying: ‘there’s always a man to blame’. From what Irene once told me, this couldn’t be more true. It seems that she accompanied her boyfriend on a weekend ‘business trip’ to Mexico, and was asked to take the fellow’s car back to Dallas, since he claimed he must remain south of the border, in order to tie up a few loose ends. When the U.S. Border guards found six million dollars worth of cocaine under the back seat of the car (incidentally, the biggest cocaine haul in history at that time), it was a complete surprise to Irene. Unfortunately, as so often happens, especially in the case of relatives of the rich and famous, the judge and jury did not believe her, resulting in her incarceration in Federal Reformatory for Women at Alderson, West Virginia. Upon her release, Irene became a legal secretary in Dallas, a position she held for many years, until her retirement. . . . Irene was a very dear person, unselfishly giving her time to the numerous Hank Williams fans, who would periodically write to her, and call her on the phone. I miss her very much. We have a little page dedicated to her at http://irene.tux.nu/.”

Carol Blair in Indiana has five of Faron’s LPs to give away. She says, “I am done having them converted to CD’s. All I ask is that someone pays the S&H and they are yours…..Contact me at Hummingbirdchick@aol.com.” LPs include Country Dance Favorites,” “Occasional Wife,” and “Pen & Paper.”

Jean Earle writes from the UK, “Once again a big ‘thank you’ for another very interesting newsletter. I am so pleased for you that your book is selling so well….you did such a good job of telling Faron’s story that it just can not fail to be a hit with the country music fans. I was very pleased to see a name that I remembered included in this newsletter, i.e. Stan Laundon. For a lovely long time we were able to listen to hi wonderful country show on B.B.C. Cleveland. I admit I wrote in regularly to hear a track by Faron and Stan always obliged. I remember one weekend Stan invited my husband and I into the studio to watch the programme on air….that was a thrill…and it was an experience that we very much appreciated. It was a sad, sad day when Stan decided to end his show…but he ended it in great style with Faron’s ‘Leaving and saying goodbye.'”

Misti Brown, granddaughter of Tom Pritchard, who was one of Faron’s original Country Deputies, has a request: “My Grandmother (his wife at the time he passed away) was Jeane (Ketchersid) Pritchard. I have no pictures, memorabilia, or recordings of my grandfather’s, and was wondering if you would have any way of helping me find some.” She says, “I have no contact with my father, and I have absolutely nothing from my grandparent’s past to pass on other than stories my mom told me of Tom when he was alive. I did not meet him, he died right before I was born. My grandmother only told me stories when I was young, and I wasn’t as interested then as I am now of knowing where I came from. . . . I would very much appreciate your help. Anyone with information, pictures, or anything they might know can email me at mbrown041783@hotmail.com. You have a great site, and thank you for your hard work.”

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