Faron Young and Marty Robbins newsletter — 6 June 2012

Faron Young moved to Nashville when Ken Nelson scheduled his Grand Ole Opry debut for June 14, 1952. Faron sang both songs on his first single, “Tattletale Tears” and “Have I Waited Too Long.” Hank Williams told Faron, “You got what it takes, boy.” Faron later described those words from his hero as, “That was like the Lord speaking to you.” According to Ken Nelson, Faron’s manager, “When Faron came to Nashville for his first performance, his girlfriend Billie Jean, who was an exceedingly beautiful girl, came with him and they checked into the Andrew Jackson, where I was staying. On the night of his performance he called me and said he had to be at the Opry early for rehearsal and asked if I would bring Billie Jean over to the Opry later. Around seven o’clock Billie and I walked to the Ryman Auditorium. I felt a bit awkward conversing with her. In the producer’s booth backstage were Jack Stapp, Hank Williams, and a couple of other people. Hank came out of the booth, stopped us, and said, ‘Hi Ken, how about introducing me to your girlfriend?’ I said, ‘Hank, she’s not my girlfriend; she’s Faron Young’s friend,’ and I introduced them.” Later that evening, so legend goes, Hank insisted he and Faron swap dates.

BUDDY ROGERS 1939 – 2012
Buddy Rogers died on May 30 at age 73. He was born March 10, 1939, in Arkansas and served in the Air Force band before moving to Nashville in 1964. He played drums for Marty Robbins from 1966-68. He was suffering from cancer when he came to our Twentieth Century Drifter book release event at the Country Music Hall of Fame on March 31, 2012. He didn’t know if he could stay for the whole hour, but he did. He appeared to have a great time telling stories and drumming. He told us his favorite story, about his first gig with Marty: “We were playing ‘El Paso’ and I was worrying whether he was gonna like me or not. It was sort of like a jazz waltz. I had a big jazz background. I was playing with these brushes on the snare drum. I was going t-chu, t-chu, t-chu, and I thought this is easy. He turned around, and he said, ‘What are you doing back there, Whitey? It sounds like a dog trotting through some dry leaves.’ ”

I am so glad Buddy was well enough to be with us that day. He is buried at Middle Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery.

Buddy Rogers, Bill Johnson, Jack Pruett, and Henry Darrough, with Marty Robbins

Here’s a new interview posting: Marty Robbins: Biography Of A Balladeer

Bobby Braddock writes from Nashville, “I just wanted to tell you I think your Marty biography is terrific. There was much about Marty’s childhood and youth that I didn’t know about, and found it to be a fascinating and certainly well-researched and well- balanced read–never a puff piece–about this interesting but complex man.”

Dave Cox writes on Facebook: “Hello Diane, I just finished Twentieth Century Drifter a couple days ago, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Marty’s music changed my life and even brought me to Nashville. I’m so glad someone finally wrote a comprehensive biography on him. I learned so much from your book, and I thought I knew a lot already. Congratulations on a monumental accomplishment, and thank you!”

Dave Rogers says, “I was at the Golden Eagles Reunion last week in Orlando and I thought of you. Roy Cash (Johnny Cash’s nephew) flew with me in combat in Vietnam. He is a friend. He can sing Johnny’s songs and you have to look twice. At the Memorial Service he gave the ‘Tattered Flag’ presentation and it was moving.”

Bob Knudsen writes, “Since my days in the Coast Guard in Pensacola and Mobile from 1966 to 1970 when I grew to love Faron’s music and got to meet him on various occasions both then and later at the Palomino and Hag’s Place on Lankershim Blvd. in Los Angeles I have been a true fan of his. I honestly did not know about your book Live Fast Die Hard until a few months ago. I have tried everything I can think of to buy a copy. Would you please be kind enough to steer me in the right direction? Thank you so much for your time and for having written this book.”

Douglas Guy, RMC, USN (Ret), writes from Knoxville, Tennessee, “Hey captain, I’ve been getting your newsletter for quite a while now and they’re as enjoyable as ever. You do a great job. But of course you’re Navy. The newspaper bio you included in this last one was very insightful. I stole your quote about parenting and sent it to both my children who have kids. Hope you don’t mind. I figure any good idea is worth stealing. Keep up the good work.”

Ron Harmon says, “I wanted to let you know I posted your photo with Jeannie Seely and Lorraine on Jeannie’s website: http://www.jeannieseely.com/photos.cfm Just click, wait a few seconds for the page to load, and then scroll down a little on the page. Thanks Diane, for all you’ve done for country music….you and your work are much appreciated!”

Terry Counts reports, “As usual a great letter…I hated missing it again but they threw me into an ambulance and off I went..this time I got to stay for over a week..what fun!!! Loved your/Marty’s comments on MCA..I worked there a while as a Kelley temp and one day Marty called for the MCA VP whose name escapes me at the moment. I was told to put Marty on hold and I did…while they sat in their offices and had coffee…kinda made me wonder what the deal was!…so I picked up the phone and started chatting with Marty and he was so pleasant and kind and interesting on the phone. Finally I got word…16 minutes later…to put Marty through…then I got my butt told off for having the nerve to chat with their artist…bummer! MCA people weren’t nice…no wonder they went under.”

When Marty Robbins hired Bill Martinez as his drummer in 1978, Bill brought with him a small, stackable drum set. Marty repeatedly teased him, “Is that your son’s drum set? Are you ever going to buy a grownup one?” Bill responded, “Marty, I can’t afford it right now.” One day Marty gave him a blank check and said, “Go buy yourself a decent drum set.” Bill still has the bright blue drum set he purchased that day. He stayed in the band until Marty’s death and then moved home to New Mexico, where he now resides.

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