Date News Posted: September 14, 2003
I donít know how many of them old Johnny Cash records that I turned the first ten grooves whiter then a sheet playing them intros over and over again, years past by and the back ground music on Johnnyís records changed a little but if you listened real close you could still hear the sounds that made the world know, Johnny Cash had arrived.
Those that were there said when Luther Perkins died in that fire, Johnny about come unglued from the pain he was feeling inside from the loss of his friend, if there every was a man that was truly something else so to speak, then to me it was Luther Perkins, it was a show all by itís self just to watch Luther pick that guitar.
We still have a few of those old Town Hall Party shows that were later put on tape and where Cash and the Tennessee Two were guest, Marshall beating the heck out of that upright bass and Luther with nothing moving but a few fingers and his eye balls and Johnny all slicked down and slim as a rail.
In those early days Johnny just lived up the road a piece in the little town of Ojai where I think some of his family still lives, I know when there was reason to go up and visit the Mosbyís club in Ventura, sometimes a couple of his daughters would come in and Johnny Mosby would introduce them, I donít know if any of the other kids became singers or not other than Rosanne, but they were pretty enough to be about anything they wanted to be.
Somewhere in some of the old newspaper clippings we rip out is the article about a young country singer setting the Angeles National forest on fire with a spark from a bad muffler on an old pickup truck, I think they called the guy Johnny Cash. They made him pay for some of the damage, eight hundred, eight thousand, eighty thousand I forgot how much but at that time he probably didnít have eighty cents.
We have just about (if not all of) every Johnny Cash record ever made with the exception of these few that he has made in the past couple years, according to the reviews I guess they were ok and that Johnny was happy with them, for some though it is hard to get their head past "Hey Porter" "Luther Played The Boogieí or "Donít Forget To Give My Love To Rose". One thing about it though if you liked any part of Johnny Cashís music, somewhere along the line he sang one for you.
In the days to come there will be more Johnny Cash stories then fish in the sea, everyone will have their own special memory, their own favorite song and know where they were the first time they heard it.
We are now down to the Tennessee One with only Marshall Teague still living, last time I spoke with him for a couple of minutes he was working with the "Statler Brothers" which at one time were also apart of the Cash show.
So according to the AP News out of Nashville sometime in the night of September the 12th. Johnny Cash has cashed in and so will his music, in a hundred years or so.
Johnny Cash was 71.
If you ever say to yourself, "I should go see>" or "I think I will call>" or "while I am sitting behind this computer I think I will write>" or "Iím in the neighborhood, I think I will stop and see>" Let anyone of those pass you by and it may be your last chance to say what could be your last goodbye to an old friend.
A year ago this last May we were in Kentucky but getting there was a killer trying to get through that storm as we came upon a sign that read "Paducah, Kentucky> Left Lane".
Although I have been to Kentucky more times then we can count (other then calling it home of course) but never by the way of Paducah, the thing I didnít know was that Hopkinsville was just a few miles away (76) and if I would have just spent the night in Paducah, woke up in a motel room and a pot of coffee, checked a map come sun up or not have been to stupid to ask someone where Hopkinsville was I would have know that it was just a few miles down the road and the home of an old friend Harland Sanders, Harland died two Fridays ago.
There is really quite a story to tell about "Harlan" he had his good years and his bad ones, he spent some time with Glen Sherley and Spade Cooley in prison, "The Man In Black" got both of them out (Harland Sanders and Glen Sherley) and they both did some writing for Johnnyís publishing company>but thatís another story.
Harlan was the kind of guy that if you ever talked to him once he had yeí he spoke with a smile in his voice and had some big plans for his family and his music every single day, he missed Nashville but Tish (his wife) and him loved that little old Kentucky town and he figured he could do his writing there just as easy as he could in Music City with a lot less hassle.
Well anyway, one thing led to another, the old cancer came on so fast that one doctor after another couldnít get it stopped.
Harland wrote over eight hundred songs, Tish told me the other night over four hundred of them so far have been published, old friend Cal Smith did one of them called "Arizona Whiz" another one of them called "Jail Birds Canít Fly" ended up in a Peter Fonda movie called "Outlaw Blues" and over the past couple of years Harlan sent me ten or twenty of his songs, most of them he was singing himself and they were by far the best of the bunch, just outstanding good country stories and songs, I played a couple of them a while back for Freddie Hart over a pot of coffee, one of these days when the time is right I hope he records them for my friend Harlan.
I will forever regret not taking the time to stop and smell the roses and being in such a dang hurry to get somewhere I didnít have to be. Sorry Harlan, but Iíll see ye later.
A few months ago or maybe last year, I donít even try to remember dates anymore, time slips away so fast by the time you remember what you did & when, another years has gone by, but anyway we were on the phone with Floyd Tillman, now Floyd Tillman means as much to Country Music as the Lone Ranger Rock meant to The Lone Ranger.
Every one I ever met knew who Floyd Tillman was, even my milk man and heís Puerto Rican, thatís a lie but you get the point, he sounded great on the phone with a million things coming up to do, he signed us some pictures sent us some stories and we were looking forward to doing some more stories on him but just not this story, just a few short weeks ago at 88 he passed away.
There are those that call country singers and writers a bunch of hillbillies, well you know what? Bing Crosby could have picked songs from any writer in the world to record if he chose so I wonder why he picked "It Makes No Difference Now" in 1939 to record, it became a smash for Bing and, who wrote that? Glad you ask, Floyd Tillman.
Floyd had a number one single in 1944 with "They Took The Stars Out Of Heaven" but it seems that Floyd or any number of singers and writers can write and sing Ďtill the rubber drops off the end of their pencil and will forever be know for one song, not that thatís bad but Floyd did write some other great things, however "Slippin Around" is a classic that will be on records, tapes, CDs and what ever else they come up with Ďtill the last country song has been sung.
Floyd was born in Ryan, Oklahoma in 1914, and lived in Marble Falls, Texas up until a few months ago when he moved to Bacliff, which is just outside of Houston to be near his doctors.
Just finished a few months ago was the last of the Tillman albums and is set for release in November just a couple of months from now, that ought to be a real classic however those great hits from yester-year would take a lot of gas in the old car to catch up with like, "Driving Nails In My Coffin" "I Gottaí Have My Baby Back" and especially, "I Love You So Much It Hurts" even though Floyd wrote most of what he recorded, his last hit was written by another of the world of country musicís great writers Lawton Williams and we all know what he wrote.
Floyd Tillman was inducted into
the Country Music Hall Of Fame in 1984; thank God they didnít wait until he
Many towns across the U.S have named a street after Martin Luther King Jr. there have been a lot of other famous Americans that deserved it more but whatís done is done, so now let us see if American cities across the U.S. really do the right thing and dedicate a street a avenue a boulevard a park a building, anything that would honor a man that truly deserves it Mr. Bob Hope, Bob Hope went through hell and high water for our troops for years, he brought smiles, laughs, pretty girls, music and more "Real Honor" to our fighting men then ten presidents could ever offer them, when Bob Hope left a make shift stage while the bombs were falling a few hundred feet away, he left every single young man sitting in that dirt a package from home, he brought them love and he never stopped thanking them for all they were doing for us in a God forsaken dirt field or rice paddy.
Some people need a little jump start like an old car thatís seen itís better day, and if our government didnít demand but suggested something like, "Hey little towns in America, if you are building some new streets how about naming one of them Bob Hope Avenue."
Why heck yes, how about a Freeway, or Highway 40 across the U.S from east to west, we could call it "Hope Across America".
Think about this, in place of
some of those road signs along the highways that say litter dump two miles, how
about a "Bob Hope Smiley Face" every time we would see one of them we would know
what it stood for and would give a little smile our self and maybe just under
our breath say "Thanks Bob".
Some time ago we wrote something or another about Sam Phillips and Fabor Robinson and their influence on country music and what a gap there would have been had they not have come on the scene.
Fabor, who my old partner Steve Stebbins at the Americana Agency called one of the slickest men in the business at the time (not because he ripped off people but because he had what it took to get out on the road and sell the artist he believed in) would take a few boxes of 45s which came a hundred to the box, toss them in the back seat and head up and down the coast of California and visit every radio station, and record store he could find knowing the radio station wouldnít play the record unless it could be bought in record stores, Fabor knew for sure it could be bought in record stores because he just left the closest one to the station and gave them five copies and his business card in case they ran out, the next five were not free and he believed in his heart his artist would sell more then five records and 90% of the time he was right.
Fabor formed "Abbott" Records in 1952 with a bankroll from Sid Abbott who owned Abbott Drugs.
Fabor over the years didnít sign as many artist as did Sam Phillips but listen to some of the names he did sign, keeping in mind with both Sam and Fabor, these artist were never heard of before these two guys discovered them one way or another> Johnny Horton, Bonnie Guitar, Dorsey Burnett, Bob Luman, Bobby Lee Trammell, Jim Reeves, Johnny Russell and there were others, some never made it as big nation wide but made plenty of money during those years in southern California and other areas where they had an agent to book them.
Sam Phillips on the other hand when you just glace over his roster of artist the list is staggering, I donít remember right now without going to the file and look it up how much RCA paid Sam for Elvis, but I remember thinking five years after the deal was made if Sam would have waited five more years he could have sold him for enough to buy Memphis. Probably not but it seems like it was fifty thousand, chump change in todayís market, but not bad I guess for back then>>And the list goes on, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Narvel Felts, Conway Twitty, Charlie Rich and about thirty more names that did well and then of course THE MAN IN BLACK Johnny Cash.
In the back of this old head some where I remember when Fabor died and even though I never met him when some one like Steve talks about him for 13 years, I thought I did and wish I had, I think he died over in the islands at a ripe old age.
On the other hand Sam Phillips who started his "SUN" records in 1952 passed away July the 31st 2003 or there about at the age of 80, even though he had long ago hung up recording people he still kept a hand in radio stations and special events now and then and probably enjoyed waving at people on a sunny day in his convertible with the top down driving through the streets of Memphis.
Someday people will forget Sam Phillips like most people have already forgotten Fabor Robinson, but as long as there is country music, folks will not forget the artist these two legends discovered, thank goodness.
He had the looks and what it took to get the job done and now at 81 years old Charley Bronson has gone home.
With no time to even say goodbye to family, friends or co/stars John Ritter said he wasnít feeling well they took him to the same hospital where he was born where a short while later he passed away.
Even though John had worked the Broadway stage and several movies he was probably best know for his TV sit-com "3ís Company".
This evenings TV news reporters have been trying to interview some of those that worked with him and all of them are to shocked to say more than they canít believe it.
John Ritter Gone at 54.
I have been thinking about just
hanging this web site up, even though I donít like just writing about who died,
how can you write anything about country music and not write about Johnny Cash
or friends like Harlan or others that gave their life to entertain like Bob Hope
and John Ritter.
Not to leave tonight on a low note:
A couple of rednecks are out in the woods hunting when one of them suddenly grabs his chest and falls to the ground.
He doesnít seem to be breathing; his eyes are rolled back in his head.
The other guy whips out his cell phone and calls 911.
He gasps to the operator, I think Bubba is dead! What should I do?
The operator in a calm soothing voice says, just take it easy and follow my instructions. First letís make sure heís dead.
There is silence and then a shot is heard.
The guyís voice comes back on the line, "Okay, now what?"