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Date News Posted: August 15, 1999

It's about time to catch up a little, we see where someone else has started himself a little web site with some pretty good news in it, answering some questions about songs and the likes, that's good, even though we have got old Bill Boards and Cash Box magazines dating back to the 40's, it takes a lot of time to go through them all to find things sometimes.

Most of the things that happened on the West Coast during the 50's I was already there and never have to look up much of that but there is always that person that wants to know what color shirt that Tex Williams was wearing when he recorded "Smoke, Smoke, Smoke" or something about Merle Travis that ain't none of my business any way.

Gene Weed died, President of the Academy Of Country Music. The ACM has been a sore spot for many years with the original founders of Academy, in the first place it was called the "Academy of Country and Western Music" over the years people have blamed other people for being responsible for the dropping of the word "Western" out of the name, some blamed Steve Stebbins, Steve said it wasn't him, Eddie Dean was rightfully upset by the dropping of the word Western from the title, but good ol' Eddie was one of the few that stayed a member right up 'till he died, most had dropped out long ago, Cliffie Stone hung on 'till he cashed in.

Old Cliffie kept his hands in about every thing that went on in Country Music out here on the coast over the years, even though he never paid any one much to work for him he had a way about him I guess that made people want to work for him for nothing, some of them even joked about it at his funeral when they looked down at him lying there and said, "Well you got me to work for nothin' one more time".

The Academy of Country and Western Music for the most part was started in the back rooms or corner booths at restaurants in the San Fernando Valley, we have some of those original minutes that were written up at the time, those minutes  were in some of the many boxes that Steve Stebbins wanted us to have when he passed away, the funny part is, was, some of the people that took credit for starting the Academy, weren't even there when it all got started.

Steve Stebbins was voted in right away as Parliamentarian, he didn't really want the job but being an ex Los Angeles retired police Lt. I guess they thought he was the person to handle the job at the time, Steve went out and bought himself a 49cent paper bound store bought book about what a parliamentarian was supposed to do, he kept it on his desk in case some one called and said "What do we do about this"? old Steve would say, "Let me think about that for a minute" all the while he would be looking it up in his store bought book.

The whole idea for the forming of the Academy of Country and Western Music was to have an organization such as Nashville had with their Country Music Association, to help and promote west coast artist, in the beginning it was working fine, they would elect new officers every year and give each one a chance to express new leadership, it worked fine until the original members got so busy doing other things, Steve with running his Americana Agency, Eddie, Cliffie, The Mosby's and most all the of rest, on the road so much that some one had to sit in for them every meeting anyway and therefore one by one they just declined running for office if they were nominated.

One of these days when we come across the time and come across all those notes again, we will print up right off those original minutes who was there, that is if anyone still cares.

I think the old timers knew that it had all slipped out of their control when one year one of the greatest fiddle players and showmen that has ever lived and still is,    Billy Armstrong, and his band were supposed to back and more or less be the stage band for the show, and of course should have been allowed to do a couple of numbers on their own, after all it was their show so to speak, and I am not 100% sure about who the artist was but I think it was Johnny  Rodriquez, not that people didn't like Johnny because they did, but Billy Armstrong was backing him (if that's who it was) and the only thing or part of Billy Armstrong you saw that night was Billy's elbow when it came into the picture beside of Johnny, that was the year Steve dropped his membership to the Academy, Billy Armstrong was one of the hottest artist in Southern California at the time and had been for many years, to Steve it was like driving over his Grandmother with a truck.

Every one has his or her own thinking as to how things should be run, human nature we reckon, so the old timers should have kept control when they had it therefore they could have promoted the artist they wanted to. By turning it over or letting it slip away to a younger generation, it was only natural that as new artist would come along they would slowly bring them in thereby leaving  one less space for the original west coast artist, one by one the good old boys and girls were out the door, some never to be heard of again.

Gene Weed brought a lot of money into the Academy and a lot of new talent, some have been able to hang on and make millions like Garth and Allen Jackson and a few of the pretty young girl singers but some passed through the studio doors of Nashville and Hollywood faster then a run away train only to return to the honky tonk from whence they came.

What is really to bad is that the old and the new could have not worked together, that the radio stations could not have played (and still could) Johnny Cash and George Jones and Merle and Freddie or Waylon  therefore creating the best of two worlds for the old and new alike and picking up both sides of the advertising dollar, anyone who thinks they did justice to the new guy by cutting out the Cash's and the Jones' from the radio airplay is nuts, people who like these two guys wouldn't even turn on their radio now days, they already know they ain't gonna hear "I Walk The Line"

Put your money where your mouth is my old pappy always said, it's for sure them 50's artist did not have the money to back something as big as a nation wide TV show and only a few of them ever did even go on to make enough money to back much of any thing, they lived pre