Faron Young and Marty Robbins newsletter — 7 December 2011 (Pearl Harbor Day)

This week brings memories of the deaths of both Marty Robbins and Faron Young. Marty’s fourth heart attack took his life on December 8, 1982. Faron’s depression led to his death by suicide on December 10, 1996. I’d never missed an opportunity to attend their shows, even knowing I’d get irritated by their constant goofing around when I wanted them to sing. These were the only two singers whose deaths affected me enough to send cards and donations to their unknown families. After writing their biographies, I understand why they acted the way they did, and their music sounds as good as it did back then. I never tire of listening to either of them.

It’s late breaking news that Jack Pruett, lead guitar player for Marty Robbins from 1956 until Marty’s death, died this past weekend. He worked with David Houston from 1970-73, until Marty recovered from heart surgery and put his band back together. I don’t have the details yet about Jack’s death. Here’s a glimpse of Jack and his guitar on one of my favorite Marty Robbins songs, “I Can’t Quit”: http://www.youtube.com/embed/TId2u8DunF0

Alana Young sends this update on her grandfather, Robert Macon, after his surgery for colon cancer: “Grandpa is eating fairly well, so they took him off of the liquid food today. They want him eating, getting lots of protein and digesting food. They also removed the heart monitor today, so he will have more freedom  . . .They plan to move him to a rehab/nursing home. We are still waiting to see which one he goes to……either Bethany near Old Hickory & Nolensville roads OR the one in Burton Hills in Green Hills. There has still been no talk whatsoever of what to expect as far as his ability to take treatments to fight the cancer.”

A YouTube viewer named Maddie says, “Just reading Faron’s book right now….Excellent, all his fans should read this book…..So many things written in this book brought back memories, I too married at 16, and soon became overwhelmed by a husband who drank whenever he had a chance….different personality would come out, and then he was like a total stranger to me. Faron had a great gift with that voice….but I give Hilda my best wishes for her stamina…..through those many years…you love someone and you forgive, and forgive….Thank you for the book….”

Roy Bateman writes, “Thanks for the newsletter, always welcome. Further to the Frank Jennings write up, it may interest your readers to know that when Faron was doing a show in London, Frank Jennings got up on stage and they sang a duet together. It’s often said that Jennings was a great admirer of Faron and copied his style to a degree. I remember taking a photo of the two together after the show. Good Luck with the Marty Book.”

Hermann Lammers Meyer sends this note from Germany: “Thanks for the Faron Young Info. Cool. And very informative for me. Guitar player Pete Wade, who plays on my albums, told me a few Faron Stories. Here like to send you a song that I recorded, that I learned from an old Faron Young TV show. All best from Germany… danke schön for your time.”

Haskel McCormick worked with Marty Robbins for the year of 1974, the only time Marty had a banjo in his band. “A verbal agreement between me and him for one year,” Haskel told me. “He did about 51 shows that year. He flew us wherever we went; it was like a paid vacation to me. He took a fiddle and banjo that year. He said he wanted to change the sound of his music just a little bit.” Twenty years earlier, Marty had taken the McCormick Brothers with him on a weeklong Canadian tour. I met Haskel at the Marty Robbins band reunion in 2009. He still lives in Nashville.

Marty Robbins band reunion in July 2009, with Jack Pruett and his date, plus Joe Babcock, Earl White, and Haskel McCormick

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