Faron Young and Marty Robbins newsletter — 9 June 2010

Faron Young achieved his first number one Billboard hit this week in 1955. It was a busy year. He had become the Young Sheriff with his Country Deputies in May, he was getting ready to go to Hollywood to make his first movie, Hidden Guns, and he and Hilda would have their first child in August. About writing “Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young,” Joe Allison told me he’d watched a bad “B” gangster movie in which John Derek kept saying, “I want to die young and leave a good-looking corpse.”  Joe told me, “It struck me as being a good idea for a song, so I wrote it. I didn’t write it for anybody, but when Ken Nelson heard it, he said, ‘We’ll do that with Faron Young.'” Faron told Ralph Emery, “This was a tune I detested. Ken Nelson made me record this song. I put it out and it was a big, big hit. Then I got to likin’ it.”

Laurie Matheson, my editor at the University of Illinois Press sends this update on publishing Live Fast, Love Hard: The Faron Young Story in paperback: “The marketing folks have decided to give the book another year in hardcover. Sales were very good last year, about double those of the previous year, and the book is selling well through the wholesalers and Amazon, which is really wonderful. Therefore we’ll stay with the hardcover for the present and reassess the situation in six months.”

Terry Counts says, “OH GOSH! Delia’s house on Boscobel Street brought back so many memories!! We lived on the 800 block of Boscobel when we first moved to Nashville back in the 70s. I remember that house well. They are all so beautiful in that area. What a neat memory to hit me in the face. I love it. THANKS!”

Susan Molina writes, “I read a lot of books about the history of country music. I just purchased your book on Faron Young. Haven’t read it yet, but was reading the notes on the back and saw you are a Navy retired captain, which led me to your website. I am a retired aviation storekeeper chief. I plan to purchase Navy Greenshirt, and am looking forward to your Marty Robbins book (my favorite). Enjoyed your book list. Have read a lot of them, and got ideas for others. Looking forward to Live Fast Love Hard.  Am currently reading Ralph Emery’s 50 Years Down a Country Road.”

Tom Kaufman of Denton, Maryland, says, “I am currently reading the book you wrote on the life and times of Faron Young, Live Fast, Love Hard. Thanks to the Library of Congress (as well as whoever else is responsible), I’m able to read this book on my digital player.  Although I did get a print copy for Christmas (I am visually impaired, so there are lots of books that I either have to scan, or hope it’s available through NLS). Anyhow, am enjoying the book and am wondering where I can get a recording of Faron’s ‘Where Your Love Stopped She Went A Little Bit Farther.’ Am almost sure it’s available on CD but am not perfectly sure. Am looking forward to hopefully being able to read the book on Marty Robbins when it comes out. Hopefully it, too, will be made available to NLS so those of us who are blind or visually impaired can read it.”

Wanda Anderson writes, “Thanks so much for adding me to the newsletter list for Marty Robbins and Faron Young. I am delighted to hear about the forthcoming book about Marty. They both were so talented and so different from the talents of today. I live in Nashville and am pretty sure Brush Hill Rd would have flooding damages, since the Pennington Bend just on the other side of the river was severely flooded. I knew Barbara Pruett and was with her on several occasions. She was certainly respected at the Country Music Hall of Fame, Country Music Foundation, as someone very knowledgeable about Marty. The last time I saw her was at the CMHOF; I was a volunteer for many years. I also was in the presence of Faron many times when he would guest at the Opry. He was in a class of his own.”

Robert MacMillan writes from Arisaig, Scotland, “Re David Corne’s comments in newsletter of 12th May – Marty told me himself on his one and only concert appearance at Eden Court Theatre, Inverness, Scotland, that he had recorded ‘Back Home Again’ – a song he featured on his concert tour – and also ‘(Take Me Home) Country Roads.’ This would have been during his MCA/Decca period.  It’s begs the question – why have MCA not released a compilation culled from his recordings for them. I know they have issued a ten track Hits package but that’s all!!”

And more from David Corne (tarquin45): “Further to my mentioning recently the unreleased songs that Marty may have in the vaults of Columbia/MCA, it also puzzles me how certain songs were never released in Marty’s lifetime. I recently played ‘Long Long Ago’ to somebody who couldn’t believe that such a sensitive and beautiful performance had laid in the vaults and had never been released in Marty’s lifetime. I had the same reaction when I played the same person ‘Ever Since My Baby Went Away’ by Jack Greene and ‘Jimmy And Me’ by Bobby Sykes. Just where are the Marty versions of two absolutely lovely ballads both sung superbly by the two singers I named, but oh, to have had Marty sing them himself? Another great composition ‘Sweet Cora’ by Marty elicited the comment ‘How can this have never been released?’ I think Marty’s superb songwriting skills are very underrated; he seemed to be able to write songs on any subject and for any genre. He must be one of the greatest singer/songwriters of all time. I have had over 5,000,000 hits on youtube with Marty’s videos and songs and I feel proud and privileged to have helped keep the great man’s name alive. I must also thank Ronny Robbins for never ‘pulling the plug’ on what for me is a labor of love.”

I met Pete Wade and Jack Evins at the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007, following a panel discussion hosted by Eddie Stubbs for Ray Price’s former Cherokee Cowboys . Pete played lead guitar as one of Faron’s Country Deputies in 1957. He still does session work and appears on Ernest Tubb’s Midnite Jamboree. Jack backed Marty Robbins in 1953, when Marty first moved to Nashville and didn’t have a band. Jack was the Cherokee Cowboy steel guitarist at the time. He stayed with Ray Price until 1959, when he left the music business to become a United States marshal. He wanted a career with retirement benefits and time for his family. “I put my guitar under the bed and I didn’t take it out for four years,” Jack told me. “I wouldn’t listen to country music at all, because I knew if I did I’d be right back in it again. It was tough to quit. I didn’t play any for thirty years. But I watched Marty as he rose up to be a tremendous star. I was honored that I had known him and played with him for that time.”

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