Date News Posted: June 22, 2009
On the 15th 0f June, 2009 we will say a final goodbye to the last of the big five singing cowboys, Monte Hale. The final celebration of the life of Monte will be at the Gene Autry Museum or as they call it now “Autry National Center of the American West” in Los Angeles.
Like Eddie Dean, Monte was loved by every one that ever met him, that’s not to say that all of those Silver Screen Cowboys wasn’t our heroes growing up because they were, and those were the days that two little boys could walk three miles every Saturday morning and be safe and sound each with a quarter in their pocket>>> which purchased a ticket, a box of popcorn and a coke.
I know times change, I know a ticket to anything no longer can be bought for a quarter but how a man with a couple of sons or daughters that loves baseball or a movie can afford to take them in this day in time is beyond me.
A ticket to anything is from ten dollars up, a hot dog at a ball game is from three to five dollars, a soft drink is three dollars and pop corn is about the same three or four bucks, you know when they buy corn by the fifty pound bag how much corn it takes to pop a bag of pop corn? about a nickel’s worth, and if you drink beer which I don’t but my friend said the last game he went to it was seven dollars a cup which is about the price of a six pack at the corner store.
Now multiply that times your two kids and if you leave that game spending less then two or three hundred bucks you are lucky and you are probably sitting so high up in the stands that all the players look like Little Jimmy Dickens.
Anyway, how did I get off on that? When I return from the Autry Museum and if they let me take pictures then I will but it’s for sure there will not be any of the same crowd there that might have been ten years ago like Richard Farnsworth, Ben Johnson and the list goes on of the Silver Screen Cowboys that made memories from those great years worth locking in the vault of your mind.
Freddie Hart will be headed for Nashville next month to not only record a few songs but to pass some of them along to some of the newer generation.
He bought him self a new Martin a couple months ago and I think it inspired him to write some new ones, last time he was over he sang a couple of um and had they been recorded when he was making hit after hit then these would have fit right in.
If you are in Kentucky and remember the music of Hugh X Lewis then you oughta check and see where he will be playing, he wrote and sang many great songs but right off the top of your head you probably remember one that Hugh X wrote and put Stonewall Jackson on the map for a while called “B.J. The D.J.”
I think when we were talking the other day he said his next appearance was in Columbia, Kentucky, he also visits James Town and Russell Springs from time to time.
Also in the past few months Hugh X has recorded some great gospel music, if you want an address where to order them straight from Hugh’s company just let us know.
Spent an hour on the phone Friday I think it was, talking with Cliff Crofford who was one of the members for many years on the famous Town Hall Party in Compton, California.
If you check the back cover side of those Clint Eastwood movie sound track albums you will see Cliff’s name many times, like Every “Which Way But Loose” and “Every Which Way You Can” and some others, just buy um all and you will have some good music.
One of my favorite Mel Tills’ songs is one written by Cliff called “Send Me Down To Tucson” but like all great song writers he could write hits from now on and probably never top the one he wrote for Walter Brennan called “Old Rivers”.
When that song ends and Walter says “that mule, old rivers…..and me” everyone in the studio knew they had a hit.
Two things I probably mentioned before that Old Rivers was a real person and second, Old Rivers was meant in the beginning to be the “B” side of a 45 and unless you have the record you probably don’t remember what the “A” side was suppose to be…It was “The Epic Ride Of John Glen” which few people ever heard.
A couple of folks one in Oklahoma and one in New York wanted a copy of what ever we had by the great fiddle player Gordon Terry so we found a couple of new LP’s that are just great by ole Gordon (who by the way was also a good friend Of Hugh X Lewis).
Anyway these two albums by Gordon just really show off him and his fiddle with things like “Orange Blossom Special” “Mule Skinner Blues” “Black Mountain Blues” “Disco Mule” and others but Gordon Terry over the years should have received much more publicity then he did, it’s for sure he was a good lookin’ young man and second to none playing that fiddle, I always thought he and Wade Ray would have made a heck of a team doing something like “Dueling Fiddles” like the big hit of “Dueling Banjos” which went on to be a movie sound track and a hit on it’s own.
Before a lot of those great artists from the 40’s and even from the 30’s and before they were ever heard of, used home tape recorders to work on their music, practice their songs and many wrote songs that were never recorded or ever heard of again, there have been those that went on to become really famous and then years later these old tapes were found, someone cleaned them up replaced the splicing tape that had long lost it’s grip holding one song to the next one and made them into something that could be transferred to a better means of listing to them one more time and forever be enjoyed as a historic part of country music.
From the emails we have received over the years we know there is family of some of those great old artists still out there and even if your dad, cousin, uncle, sister, or mother only cut a couple of records in their life and that one became famous, for music history sake the others might still be more a part of country music history then you know.
So if you care to drop us a note and let us know what you have we would be glad to listen and get back to you, we have no intention of stealing your treasure in any way shape or form, but if it is worth hearing we will let you know what could be done with it to be heard again.
Time is running out for those old tapes especially if it has been stored in a hot place like the garage, so if you have some check it out and let us know before they have cooked too long to be saved.
You could expect something like this on one of Jay Leno’s shows, some of those college grads he has on there have no idea who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb but for a newspaper to accept a story like this to appear in their newspaper>>well, judge for yourself:
“To all you hunters who kill animals for food, shame on you;
You ought to go to the store and buy the meat that was made there, where no animals were harmed.”
What paper this first appeared in I have no idea but our friend Leroy Livesay sent it to us from Oklahoma. Like Jay Leno sometimes the only thing you can do is back off a little and say, “What?”
Walkin’ Charley and I had a meeting this week and we realized there were so many great artists of the past that had their little time in life to shine and most if not all were never heard from again, but with your help we decided to change that.
We know that some of the family members have what few records or tapes still stuck up high in their closet that haven’t been seen, heard or even touched for years, how do we know this because some of our readers have emailed us saying so.
What we are not looking for is for you to send us a record or tape and us keep them never to be heard from again, we are not looking to collect or keep any royalties that you may now be getting.
What we would like to do is run it to a digital board, clean it up from the pops and crackles that were just normal on old records.
By the way, if you remember the old crank up record players the needle looked almost exactly like a finish nail, they said they were good for about ten plays and should be changed but, who ever did? A dime was a dime in those days and money was better spent on something else other than a package of record player needles....anyway the equipment that’s out there now cleans up a lot of that noise but not all of it.
We are sure not going to tell you that you will be getting rich because you won’t but you will sure be adding a lot and preserving Country Music History, you may have the only remaining copies of these old records, tapes or transcriptions left in the world, to those that may not know, Transcriptions are a few inches larger then a regular album and a lot of times had a whole radio show on them.
Many years ago a radio station also acted as what we now call recording studios, as an artist was singing live on the air it was also going on some type of recorder, wire or tape which was later (in some cases) transferred to a record and here again (in some cases) a big fat one.
If recording would have stayed the same over the years and music put on records instead of (now days CDs) and in some cases a computer chip smaller than a pencil eraser that holds a complete album can you imagine what that would have cost to mail out a thousand copies in 2009, it would take a fork lift just to get a couple hundred of them to the post office and if one ever reached the receiver with out being broke-well, wouldn’t that have been something.
What we would love from you if you have something to send is a story about the person singing it, the relationship between you and him (or her) when they died, where they were buried and anything else you may know that will keep the memory and the history of this artist, your relative (if they are) or just your friend alive in the archives of Country Music, we hope forever.
If after the music is transferred to a digital means if you want, we will insure and send back everything you sent us plus copies of the CDs it is transferred to and giving you full credit for everything you did.
And, needless to say, any old pictures you may have of this person would sure add to the history.
Why are we doing this? Well if we don’t who is? Or who will? Sure there are a couple of companies which are mostly overseas that if you were a big enough artist they have already taken every thing they can rake and scrape and put it on a CD and good luck if you ever hear from or even ever get a copy of it. Somehow for a lifetime I have had a lot of pride out of seeing the words on things I buy “MADE IN AMERICA” and that’s what you’ll see on every thing we do.
At our meeting the other night Charley and I started making a list of just those we had worked with or known over the years that there is literally nothing or very little (but mostly nothing) that you could ever find on record to remember that they even ever existed let alone spent a lifetime entertaining folks that drove miles to hear them sing and play.
Most of these names are from southern California, many from Bakersfield which you don’t need to be told was and is a giant for country music history and multiply this list by the other 49 states of “artists” that had one or two records that hit and disappeared and see how many you have.
And by the way, even if you do not have any of their music and we hear from enough families with even pictures or stories about any of these artist we could end up putting it all in a book, they should not be forgotten.
As well as pictures can be duplicated these days and you only have one copy just make us a copy because I sure would not send my last picture to someone I don’t even know even though you will get it back. Also copy any old stories you may have from books or magazines back them, let them live another hundred years back in the “Head Lines”.
Here are just a few of the names we started with this week, if you were family, friend or fan and have anything on them we would sure like to hear from you.
Billy Hughes*Johnny Tyler*Cal Shrum*Deuce Spriggins*Smokey Rogers*Shorty Marcus*Jack Tucker*Bob Wagner*Bob Morgan*Wade Ray* Billy Ates*Joe Pope*Curley Williams*Curley Wiggins *Quency Snodgrass*Dave Acuff* Jimmy Work & Debbie Hawkins.
And there are plenty more and if the one you are thinking of is not on this list then just put him or her on the list and then they will be, but we do want to hear from you.
We have received emails from good folks around the world but as we all know email is not the same address as the web sites so the email is email@example.com and the mailing address is:
Simi Valley, California 93063
Any questions, just drop us an email and between Charley and me we’ll find you an answer.
Before we end this tonight we really want to thank some of the good folks we have heard from this past couple of weeks from New Zealand, Australia, Oklahoma, Texas, California, Tennessee, New Mexico, Kentucky, Arizona, TJ Mexico, Nevada, Florida. New York, North Carolina, Arkansas, Michigan, and those other states that getting older doesn’t help in your remembering but we love you and we thank you for taking the time to write.
We hope somewhere, maybe Bakersfield they will erect a statue of Vern Gosdin, what would be nice would be his brother Rex by his side with his arm around Vern’s shoulder they made some great music together and alone.
We rambled around here in tonight’s news but we can’t get out of our mind how important it is that we find some of these great pieces of history that we know are in closets all over the world.
We also know that you have a story in your heart and head that you would like to tell about one of these forgotten artist, maybe like the one the great steel player Ralph (Moon) Mooney told us not long ago about Wynn Stewart.
He said that it was a wonder that Wynn didn’t get shot by a farmer not knowing who he was when Wynn would tell the driver of the car he was riding in to “Stop The Car”>>Wynn would jump out, open the trunk, pull out his fishing pole and leap the fence by the road next to a farmers pond and throw in his line.
Moon also said there was probably nothing that even looked like a fish in a watering hole but Wynn wasn’t taking any chances that there might be.
Wynn just loved to fish.
Moon also went on to say how great of a man and artist that Wynn Stewart was to work with and for.
We or anyone else will never be able to tell you everything there is to know about any artist that has ever lived and don’t intend to or want to, we just don’t want you to ever forget them.
We have got a couple of little publications to mention tonight before we sign off that you might want to check on, one is from “Country Music Trails Less Traveled” editor Jay Taylor>>P.O.Box 143>>Marshville, NC 28103-0143
Jay gives nice write ups on new and old artist CDs, does great stories on just about every one you have heard of especially if they are pure country artist and is a really nice guy on top of it all so drop him a line.
Next is “Western Swing Monthly” P.O.Box 247 >> Orinda, California 94563.
Always full of pictures but more then that we don’t believe any publication anywhere is publishing as many Western Swing artist schedule as “WSM” and that includes just about everyone still living that ever worked for Bob Wills.
One other thing, Shari Penny (Hank Penny’s wife) is writing a book on Hank and his friends, so if you have any Hank Penny stories now is a good time to tell um.
In closing for the 3rd time tonight,>> As was invited and expected about 2 hundred old friends showed up at the Gene Autry Museum to say goodbye to Monte Hale, and many had a great story to remember and tell about the cowboy, some just listened to others tell their tales and others like me just wondered how Monte felt being home with Eddie, Gene, Rex, & Roy, I could hear “Cool Water” & “Happy Trails” all the way to California.
We sure look forward to hearing from ye real soon, and we’ll see ye later but just in case we don’t, take care of yourself.
God Bless America