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Date News Posted: May 5, 1998

Curley Chalker, a name as common as the word guitar it's self has died this week in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Curley who once was a member of the famed Hank Thompson's "Brazos Valley Boys" was a steel guitar player who's name appeared on the back covers of many, many albums during the great years of Country Music.

It's been said that Curley started playing the Dobro at age four and never looked back, born in Enterprise, Alabama on October the 22nd. 1931, he was one of the finest steel guitar players that ever lived. Curley Chalker, gone at 66.

We have been doing some research this week on greats of yester-year that came to California from all parts of the U.S. and ended up in Bakersfield during the time when Country Music was on fire from this California town.

Billy Mize, if you remember had a giant of a hit called "Terrible Tangle Web" and that's just about the way it is trying to figure out who came from where, how long they stayed and where they went, and while we have the name Billy Mize close by, we know where he is and what he is up to, he has a "Great", Western Swing album ready for release and is just working out a few details before that hits the market. We will try to have a nice story on Billy hopefully about the time the album is ready for release.

But the names Phil Baugh, Curtis Leach, Vern Stovall, Bobby George, Fred Maddox, Fabor Records and Freddy Rose along with Bill Woods and a boxcar load of others is not so easy to "Untangle" one of the main reasons for this is >> {at least as far as we can figure out} these guys were all friends and being the way things should be, they all helped each other, Bill would call Phil, Phil would call Bill, Bill would call Curtis, Curtis would call Vern, Vern would call Red, Red would call Wynn and Wynn would call Claude and it just keep on going 'till they all got into a studio somewhere and cut the "thing" whatever that happened to be.

Talking with Bill Woods the other day we ask him about Phil Baugh's guitar playing, Bill didn't even know what words to use, well he uh..well, and after a while he just said, "Oh Man, that guy could play." ye' see it don't take many words to sum up what a Country boy is trying to say.

But now here's the problem and the best way to sum it up is like this, now say you have six close friends, one of them drops by your house one day and you tell him a joke you just heard, he is on his way over to Harry's house, another one of your close group of friends, he tells Harry the same joke you just told him, BUT, it changes just a little bit because no-body tells the same story exactly alike and by the time the other four hear it and then it gets back to you, it is dang near a totally different story.

Now the same thing happens when you get a close group of pickers in the same room telling stories, pouring Pepsi in the other ones guitar hole, unplugging his amp with your foot right in the middle of the session or letting a poot while the singer is trying to sing..

These are the very reason why that sometimes you read a little bit different story about some of these guys and how and where and when some of these things were recorded, nobody lied, it is just the way they remembered the way that it happened.

Not one of these guys that we ever met ever considered himself a star, the only thing he knew about a star was that it was something good to write about, wonder why people that really got famous they didn't call him or her a moon ? anyway the bottom line was, when they got down to it, they played and sang and felt from the heart, in the very early days you got it right the first time or else, later on they had a little more room for screw ups when they came up with a wider tape and what they called more tracks. Now days the artist just sings the song, a computer does the rest.

The reason for these stories that we write about all these great artist is not that all the facts are going to be one hundred percent right because they are not, and unless you were that artist and kept a diary of the exact time things happened...then it is almost impossible to get it exactly right and nobody should really care, the main thing is, to never let the names of these greats we grew up listing to die. Life is but a memory anyway.

A guy back on the other coast writes a great news letter every month and really has some good stories in it and sometimes he writes some of the things we send him, several months ago we sent him some pages on our good friend Freddie Hart, we hardly ever mention the age of anyone that is still living {'cause that ain't nobodies business} but when the guy wrote the story he put Freddie's age in which was wrong, but at least it was wrong in the right direction by about ten years, we asked Freddie if he wanted us to drop the guy a note and tell him, Freddie said "Bless your heart boy, but that's o.k, it'll just give me ten more years to sing".

Getting back for a minute to the West coast artist, one by one we will have some stories on all of them, we plan to sit down over a quart of "Hadicol" we don't know how to spell it but you know what we mean, with some of the Bakersfield boys and get some more good stories from this part of the history of Country Music.

Thanks Miss. Nancy, it was "A Taste of Yesterday's Wine" that we were talking about the other night on our page with George and Merle, and the cut on there that just makes my liver quiver is "Silver Eagle" we have played it two and a half million times {well, give or take a few}.Dave Kirby who is on there as one of the guitar players was really good to us when we were a D.J. he is a super picker.

There are a few things that will change in America when we are elected President, first everyone will be issued a card, on the card it will have the names of ten Country singers, some of the names on this card will change from year to year so we can get all the names on these cards before our time is up, names like Jones, Haggard, Hart, Cash, Thompson, Smith, Overstreet, Perkins, Paycheck, Edwards, Sovine...well, you know who we mean, and every three months you will be required to have your card checked, if you ain't played any of these artist records you will be deported to one of the new artist houses and be forced to listen for eight straight hours of computer records..and my fellow Americans, ain't nobody going down on this deal.

Thanks to everyone that either called or sent our old friend Henry Young a letter or a note, remember Henry, he was the one responsible for the Jimmie Rodgers stamp.

New C.D. from Les Gilliam with some memory makers on it and some nice little stories before each song, some of them {2} Les wrote, and if you are a cowboy, or not you oughta' like the one he calls "Wildest Bronco Ride" and if you are a Cindy Walker fan, you are sure to like Les' version of Cindy's song "Sugar Moon".

Be sure to check your Nashville Network T.V. Guide for the "George Jones" show it should be on Tuesday night or evening, cable systems around the country run things at different times, if you live in Denmark or Sweden your time don't forget is nine hours ahead of ours, so if you get it before we do call us and hold the phone up to the speaker.

Cal Smith's month long tour of Florida was a bugger, March and April down there is usually nice weather, but this year it was more like a hurricane, Cal may be doing a few shows over at Loretta's place pretty soon, and speaking of Loretta, we watched Ralph's interview on TNN with Loretta the other night it was just out-standing we also watched his {Ralph's} interview with Andy a week or so ago, that to was just a great show.

We handled the booking at the "Silverado" club several years ago, the folks from "Matlock" came by and wanted to use the club to film part of one of the shows, so we sit it up, since my old partner used to book Andy, we had several pictures of Andy and his band, we told the producer, director or what ever he was, we would give him one if he would ask Andy to sign one for our wall, he said," sure", and that was the last we ever saw of our pictures.

That reminds us of the {I think, Don Bowman's} song that he wrote about Ralph, "What did you do with my records Ralph, sell um "? 'course he had a couple of bleeps in that song, but you know which one we mean.

The good part about Ralph's interviews are, when he ask a question, he lets people answer at their own pace and don't throw in twenty dumb questions before they have a chance to answer the first one, when Ralph gets a little older, he'll be a real pro {just a joke Ralph}

Merle's schedule reads like he was a twenty year old just out on the road for the first time, that bugger is every where, dag-nab-it, if you are reading this then that means you have a computer {unless we are mailing it to you} so pick up Merle's page and see where he is going to be, and that's every where, and go see him when he gets close to ye.

Out here by where we live there is an old barn and in that old barn they sell feed of all kinds from cows to birds and about everything else in between, Freddie called the other day, said he was coming out, we knew what he was coming out for so we met him at the barn, Freddie bought enough bird seed to feed half the birds in America, we loaded it all in the back of his car and headed down to the Carl's Jr. for a shot of coffee, Freddie don't talk much because he is always writing a song in his mind, we knew why he wanted the bird seed but we ask him anyhow, "how do you cook that bird seed to make it tender enough to eat ?, he didn't say nothin' then either, he just smiled and said, "pass the suga' ", sometimes he leaves the "r" off of sugar.

Freddie feeds between two and three hundred birds every day, here is a man that is a thousand times bigger than a little sparrow and is stronger than dozen more, a man that is not afraid in Hollywood or Tennessee to put his arm around you and say, "I love ye boy" and never, and we mean never, fails to thank you a dozen times for any little thing you do for him~~~~~~But yet, but yet, he takes the time to feed those little birds, to drive sixty miles to get it and probably wrote two songs in the process.

God knew what he was doing the day he said to him-self, "I think I'll call this good lookin' dude, Freddie Hart"

Well, we don't really know if God use's the word dude or not in his vocabulary, but we do know one thing for sure, he never gave a man a bigger Heart than Freddie.

We have a lot more to write about but the hour is getting late, so we'll leave you with one an old friend of ours used to sign off his radio show with, it went like this "If you drive don't drink, If you drink don't drive, Unless you want an undertaker for a chaser"

We'll see ye next time, but just in case we don't, Take care of your self

Don Bradley

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