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News Posted: October 26, 1998
It was another sell out crowd for the C.M.O.A. Award show at the "Showboat" hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada again this year. The weather could not have been better and the "Showboat" is far enough off the strip that you don't get chewed up in all that traffic trying to get to "Bellagio's" the newest casino which is a city inside of a city, if you want it, they got it..BUT the good part is, the rooms (if you could call them that) range from one thousand to six thousand per night (that's dollars $$$$$ American money) we were going to stay there and and just drive down to the "Showboat" each morning to put our show together but my buddy Hinson just can't stand all that traffic and because of it put me through a lot of trouble canceling our six thousand dollar a night rooms.
The best thing they have done for Las Vegas in the past twenty years is installing those walk-ways "over" the strip streets, at three in the morning when some of them hoot owl people are wandering the streets with a water glass full of "Jack" in their hand, they need all the help they can get trying to make it to the other side.
Anyway the show went really good and we hope the money that some of those young people's parents invested in them to make the trip from all over this great U.S. use the knowledge they obtained from it all to have the kind of career in the music business they think they want, those lonely nights out there on the road by your self in a motel room, ain't all it is cracked up to be, but like the old song goes "To Each His Own".
Some of the best singers in the world are "not" showmen, it takes more than just getting up on a stage and singing a song to keep the cash register ringing for the club you are working in, to make your pockets fatter when the show is over and to keep ever seat in the house with a person in it that drove from ten buck two to see you.
It is hard to remember a time when a bunch of good old boys sat around talking about country shows and entertainers that the names of The Maddox Brothers & Rose, The Carlisle's, Little Jimmy Dickens, Porter Wagoner, Ferlin Husky, Freddie Hart, Lefty, Merle and all the Hanks, why? Because they all have or had something that people would drive for miles to see and that was to "Put on a show", if a fan just wanted to hear somebody sing they would turn on their radio, so just remember, when you decide you want to be in this business and the curtain goes up and you are standing there all alone, you better do something " 'cause, you is the show".
After our show was laid out on paper this week we found the time to run out on the edge of "Glitter City" to a casino called "The Reserve", sitting in the coffee shop was kinda' like sitting in the Congo, with a little bamboo, a crashed plane and somewhere probably a head.hunter or two. A few dozen feet away was the showroom and it wasn't long before the curtain was about to go up and we were about to see one of the best shows we had seen in two and a half moons, not exactly country, in fact, not even a little bit country but a platter full of memories from the golden years of the "50's".
The lights dimmed and the sounds of a few years gone by made it's way through the sharply creased curtains, across the tables up the cups and glasses and into your ears and it was "Show Time" "The Sonny Turner Show" had arrived.
Sonny's group that travels with him are just second to none, his female singer can be a fire-ball or a soul singer, his bass, lead and key board men get into their work deeper that a coal miner in a cave and it shows and the results are "An Outstanding Show"
But the "Man" is "Sonny Turner" In 1960 Sonny was chosen to be the lead singer for one of the greatest groups that ever walked on a stage "The Platters" and no matter what kind of music you liked, the Platters sang the kind of song that would getcha every time and the other night when the lights dimmed and Sonny Turner started singing "Only You" my shoe laces came untied.
Even though to make no mistake about it, when Sonny does one of the hits made famous by the "Platters" the women in the audience are in a different world. His other antics on the stage are just as entertaining and thanks to a man named Clinton, Sonny has some fun with that little problem in the White House also.
This is not the last time we will write about the "Sonny Turner Show" and if the good Lord willin' and the creeks don't rise my good friend Don Hinson will soon become the opening act for "Sonny's" shows real soon. Hinson does a lot of down home yarns, a lot of stuff out of yesterdays news and a bunch more stuff that he just makes up out of his kinda' strange mind, and even though he (Hinson) couldn't carry a tune in a fruit jar, he breaks a two foot mandolin out of a five foot guitar case covered with road stickers and does (tries) a Waylon or a Johnny Cash and sometimes a Willie song and by this time the audience is bent over.
The Sonny Turner show's assets on the world market just went up when the heard Don Hinson was to be a part of already a good thing, What really impressed me the most about Sonny Turner was, when his show was finished and he walked off that stage, his hand went out to the fans that were waiting to meet him, to those who wanted his autograph, and to write some kind sincere words on a CD or picture that they had bought from his fan club table.
My brother had flown down from Tacoma and had brought a friend with him to meet us there, and both of them had to catch a plane early the next morning back to Washington, by this time the hour was getting late, BUT I hadn't had enough of the Great music we had been hearing so we talked them into staying for another show, even though by nights end they were a little (lot) pooped they enjoyed it (the second show) as much as we did.
We will keep you up on next years schedule of the Sonny Turner show and even if you are a die hard hillbilly like me, you will truly enjoy this outstanding show.
Word has it that Warner (The Bridge Washed Out) Mack has a new C.D.out there and as soon as we get a copy we will write some more about it but in the mean time if you see it in any of the stores, buy it, you can not go wrong with any of Warner's recordings.
Last year we were trying to do some more promotion on the recordings that Warner already had out but somehow just could not make the right connections with the people he was working with at the time which sometimes happens.
Hugh Cherry in the good old days of Country Radio was known by just about every artist that ever had a record out, big label, small label and everything in between, has died in Long Beach, California at the age of 76 in a Veterans Affairs hospital.
Hugh had been diagnosed with cancer in May of this year.
He started off in radio at WKAY in 1946 in Glasgow, Kentucky, moving on to Nashville three years later to work at WKDA and WMAK and did TV news for WSIX for several years before moving to Southern California where his name in Country radio became a household word and he became a friend to many of the great artist of the 50's .
In 1977 Hugh became one of the first six inductees into the Country Music Disc Jockey Hall Of Fame and most every artist that still live or ever passed through Southern California during those years still remember the greetings they were given at KFOX in Long Beach or KLAC in Los Angeles by a smiling Hugh Cherry.
He will be missed at the annual Hank Penny party, he has always been missed by all of the great artist from the 50's since the last day he walked out of a radio station.
We got some good mail this week and phone calls to for that matter, wanting some stories on Spade Cooley, Hoppy, The Carter Family and several other artist and family units, we will get to them all just as soon as we can, the problem is not the stories, it is finding the time to get all the bios lined up and out of the files so we get the dates right.
And as to the question someone ask, how far back can I go with stories on the old country singers, well let's put it this way, even though my name was not listed on the manifest, the ship I finally got off of was called "Noah's Ark" so you should be able to figure out how long we been writing stories.
Our good friend Cindy Walker called and was asking about the intro to the Lone Ranger, we like talking about the Lone Ranger, as a kid my brother and I used to go over to Uncle Charley's house, Uncle Charley worked at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis, Uncle Charley had a pretty good sense of humor but it was usually about dead people, one of Unk's job was to take his crew out to a gravesite that had not been visited in fifty years and dig it up and cremate the remains, he told some stories about some of the tops of coffins being ripped out when they were dug up which meant the people were not dead when the were buried and the people had been trying to get out, he also got a kick out of seeing the faces on his crew when they opened a casket that the people had been rich enough at the time to put the casket in a vault, actually, the only thing that wasn't weird about Uncle Charley was he liked the Lone Ranger, so every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, my brother and I would make it over to Uncle Charley's to listen to the Lone Ranger at six thirty on those three days of the week on his big old Atwater Kent Radio.
If the house was on fire, if his wife just fell down the basement stairs, if world war had just been declared, if God was on the phone saying the end of the world was Thursday, you spoke not to Uncle Charley while the Lone Ranger was on the radio, God "was" the Lone Ranger, Tonto was the only Indian living that Uncle Charley believed and Silver was smarter then his oldest son, it was later on in life that I learned what some of the names meant that Uncle Charley was calling the Cavendish gang that was bent on trying to get the Ranger.
It was also later on in life that we came to know the Lone Ranger (at least one of them) Mr. Clayton Moore, The Ranger's wife, Mrs. Lone Ranger thinks Eddie Dean is the best singer she ever heard and we have enjoyed sending her some of Eddie's tapes and somewhere back in my mind and memory of Uncle Charley and those days by that old Atwater Kent radio that Unk is looking down wishing he had been a little nicer to me so we would put in a good word about him to the Mask Man.
I guess the story even though it is true about Uncle Charley and his Graveyard escapades, and now and then digging up somebody that wasn't dead comes at a pretty good time "Halloween", you can see why we want to wire our cemetery in Kentucky with sound even though when I die I want to be stuffed, I also know someone in this family ain't gonna want me stuffed and just sittin' around watchin' cartoons so they are going to stuff me in a hole down there in the hills of Kentucky, which now won't be bad with that twenty unit CD player installed full of Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and Cindy Walker records on it. It's that poor old dude staggerin'' home late some night passing that graveyard and hears me singin' along that I worry about.
Well, it's been a good year for the roses, Thanksgiving is coming up soon, Christmas is coming in on a Southbound train and another New Years day is soon to mark the beginning of the last year we will be able to put the numbers 19 on the year date, we have lived through some good times and some bad ones but the main thing is we have lived, the next two months will bring party's and happy times and it will also bring some sad times, so please remember this:
"If you drive don't drink and 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 yourself
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