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|Date News Posted: March 11, 1999
And then there were two. In just a year or so the world of the old west has changed forever, those childhood heroes have come and gone and the cowboy has rode away.
More than two hundred fans and friends said goodbye to Eddie Dean Monday, it was a little cool and a few clouds peppered the sky, but just as plain as I can hear that bird outside I can hear Eddie say "My goodness, I can't believe all these people came to say goodbye"
Eddie always said, the bad part about living so long is, none of my old friends will be there when I die, and he was right. Gene, Roy, and probably one of his best friends ever, Ben Johnson have already rode away. Tex, Bob, Ken, Montana, Patsy, Hoot and so many more that Eddie told stories about lived on in his mind till the sun drifted behind the clouds.
One day when there was nobody around I asked Eddie, "Now tell me the truth, (not that he ever lied) do you think there is really a heaven, I mean, do you think there is a place up there where all the old cowboys will get together again, and do you think you will see your Mom and Dad again, and I will see mine or do you just think heaven is a place we have all conjured up in our minds because it sounds like a nice place to go.?"
He thought about that for a while , and if you knew Eddie, then you know that he could not answer anything in just a few words, but finally he said, "you know I have always believed in God, one God, there are many different kinds of religions and every one has the right to believe anything they want, but if I were walking across America or even the world, I would feel just as much at home walking into any church I may pass, as I would the next one, either God is in your heart or he isn't. You see, God and the word Love are all but one and the same, and regardless of the building you walk into, if one or the other ain't there, then it won't matter where you are."
I thought about that one for a while, thinking to myself, I don't think that's the question I asked, so I asked him again, "But do you think there is really a heaven where we will see each other again? He started to laugh a little, and said, "well, I'll tell ye what I'll do son, if I there is, and I am lucky enough to get up there I'll call ye".
I said "well, you got me again, now if you do go first, just sayin' you do now, and a week or two later I write in my little old newspage, "Eddie Dean called last night and that it was true and you were sittin' up there havin' a Pepsi with Tex Ritter, do you think anyone will believe me that you called and that there really was a heaven?"
He said, "where do you come up with all this stuff? Then he really started to half laugh and half smile and shake his head a little, he said "yea, I think they will, you have convinced a lot of people that I could sing (sure I did) you may have a problem though convincing people that Tex Ritter was drinking a Pepsi".
If you can make it, Please come to Palm Springs on the 20th. when we put Eddie's Star in the " Walk Of Stars"
Back around 57 or 58 we bought an old juke box that looked like it had been hit by a train, but the speakers were still good in it, so we took them out, made some crude lookin' boxes, cut a hole in um, covered them with carpet and hung um on the wall, the old amp still worked so we ran some zip cord from it to the speakers, and cranked it on. Them big old tubes lit up like a Christmas tree, and it let out a squall like someone had a moose by the wind-pipe, it took a while to get that old record player hooked up to it, and we lucked out when it worked.
Them old juke boxes as you know had some massive speakers in them, especially that big fat bass one and that's the one I liked, the first 45 record I stuck on that thing was Johnny Cash and "Train Of Love" them intros on them old "Sun" Johnny Cash records made my liver quiver, I loved ol' Luther anyway and I just kept playing the intro over and over again, I should have counted how many times we played it because I have often wondered how many times do you have to play a record before it starts to turn white.
Well anyway, around in there sometime came along a couple of other guys, I think they were the two that convinced my neighbor he should move, Buddy Knox and Jimmy Bowen, Buddy had "Party Doll" and since all the Johnny Cash records had turned white that new Knox record made that old house vibrate, and the pictures on the wall go crooked.
Years went by and I often wondered what happened to Buddy Knox, sometime ago some one told me he died in Florida, years went by and some one else said he was living in Canada, so I ciphered right out, if the second one was true he couldn't have died in Florida.
But many was the time in all of those in between years I wondered about him, it always seemed strange that some one could have so many hit records and then just disappear to the general public, but that must have been the way he wanted it, so that's the way it was. That's the way it was until, the front page of the "SUN" newspaper in Bremerton, Washington read, 'Party Doll' singer Knox dies of cancer, Sunday-February the 14th. 1999.
To quote the Bremerton, "Sun", Buddy had moved to Port Orchard, Washington two years ago to be with his fiancée Becky Carpenter, Knox died at Harrison Hospital on Sunday after a short bout with cancer.
He was quoted as saying he was living a quiet life there in Port Orchard, but now and then would give a show, and had done so as recently as November of 98.
He was born Wayne Knox in "Happy, Texas" so it would be no surprise to learn that he was good friends with another legend, Buddy Holly. In 97 Buddy joined "The Crickets", "Bobby Vee" and the "Shirelles" at a Buddy Holly tribute concert to mark the 38th anniversary of the singers death.
Buddy Knox told the "Sun" news last year that he had penned his biggest hit "Party Doll" when he was 13 years old, and that he had formed his band which he called the "Rhythm Orchids" with Jimmy Bowen on bass, and Don Lanier on guitar, in the early 50's.
Norman Petty in those days had a little studio in the back of his appliance shop in Clovis, New Mexico. To more than one young singer back in those great 50's years, Norman Petty was the man, he had the feel for "Rock-A-Billy" and Clovis was the place to go, and it was there that Buddy Knox and Jimmy Bowen landed and it was there that "Party Doll" and Jimmy Bowen's "I'm Stickin' With You" were first cut on the local "Triple-D" label, sources say that was 56, so I was off a couple years above, but I quit countin' anyway..a cardboard box was used instead of drums, and the results were two, million sellers, after they were picked up by "Roulette" records in New York.
Party Doll, Hula Love, Rock Your Little Baby To Sleep, Somebody Touched Me, Lovey Dovey and a few others made Buddy Knox a part of the Dick Clark world of rockers for ever more, and according to the paper, his friends say he was a giver, a giver of love and himself to his family and all those he cared about.
Buddy Knox left his fiancée, Becky Carpenter, nine children and three grandchildren and two billion fans who still, "Rock Their Little Baby To Sleep."
There is a judge back in Colorado that his way of punishing people he has sentenced for violating the city's noise ordinance, is to make them listen to music they don't like, this week on his top 16 list include Beethoven, and the next two are Mr. Las Vegas, Wayne Newton, a couple by Dean Martin, a John Denver tune and Roy and Dale's Happy Trails.
Now the sad part is, the judge won't let um dance, "Shucks" I think if he would let um boogie to Beethoven (or make um) he may have a crime free city real shortly, he won't let them snooze either, he has his DJ cop pry their eyes open, who could catch a wink with Wayne Newton singing "Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey" played wide open anyway ?
It probably won't be long before every one that has a new CD out will be sending the judge a copy of it just to see their name in the paper.
Forget the noise ordinance, I have heard some of the new Country that if played in a confined area, would stop murder, the electric chair, hanging and gas would be a thing of the past.
Oh well, so goes life:
Johnny Mitchum is wanting to get started on a new CD, we mentioned before that he wrote the only album John Wayne ever recorded, called, "America Why I Love Her" he also has a real down to earth book out that he wrote about himself and his brother Robert.
John has appeared in many, many movies both with and without brother Robert, but above all else, John Mitchum is a funny man, if we could find the right club to record his funny act in we might have a hit, problem is, it is to hard to do any recording with the engineer laying on the floor laughing.
One last time, thanks very much for all the nice cards, letters, phone calls, faxes, flowers and memories shared about my friend Eddie, some like to believe he is already up there looking down, and saw it all, that could be true, I don't know, but I do know this, he did know all the love that you shared with him while he was on this earth, because many is the time I have heard him say, "My Goodness, I just don't believe all these people still remember me."
And when all the kind words were said at the funeral, all the prayers were said, all the songs were sung, the final words if could have been, would have been said by Eddie himself, and they would have been these, "Take Care Of My Dearest"
We'll see ye next time, but just in case we don't, take care of yourself
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