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|Date News Posted: December
Hank Snow has "Moved On". This week Hank Snow took his final trip on that Golden Rocket, a man that gave the world of country music so many great songs that will long be remembered.
Hank Snow, not a big man on the out side but a giant on the inside, as a kid he was treated like a dog by a no-good step father, Hank worked doing anything he could do to survive up there in his cold native land of Nova Scotia, Canada and only he could know or relive those cold hungry sad nights he spent alone and scared aboard them old cold freighters in the waters off Canada's shores.
Determind that he was not going to die cleaning the decks on a freighter, his love for music and knowing out there some where there were some good people, Hank started singing to who ever would listen, you can not write a man's life in a few short paragraphs and there must be many, many nights that even Hank would never want to remember again.
But the light finally did shine when Hank Snow made his way to Nashville and with the help of a man that had a heart the size of Texas, Ernest Tubb, helped Hank Snow become a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
For all those years Hank Snow was a showman, he walked out there on that stage dressed for the part, and gave it every thing he had and those that grew up knowing what real country music should sound like will never forget the music of the great Hank Snow.
Thanks Hank for the great albums you sent us when we were a D.J and all the kind words in your letters that came along with them.
Because of his own child hood we know that Hank either started or was involved
in the help of battered children, so if you can and want to help any orginazation that
helps little children, because Hank left us so much with his music, on your check or note,
write in memory of my good friend Hank Snow, the people you are sending that check to may
never of heard of Hank Snow, but you will and you'll know why you are doing it.
Over our desk hangs a picture of five cowboys, under it reads "The last of the singing Cowboys" Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Rex Allen, Eddie Dean and Monte Hale.
In less than two years four out of the five are gone, the only one remaning is Monte Hale, this week Rex Allen was taken in a freak accident when his care taker ran over him.
At seventy eight Rex had done many things, people that loved his music knew they were listing to one of the smoothest singers ever, they loved the part of the kind cowboy doctor he played and little kids even though they probably didn't know his name were hearing one of the greatest voices ever doing the narrations behind the great Disney stories.
Just last week we entered into our web catalog what we know now to be the last album that Rex Allen will ever know about, put out by Kevin Parks at "Soundies" in Chicago, twenty two songs of Rex's early transcriptions that Rex was really proud of because he said so in a little letter that is apart of the liner pages in this great album.
This last album as of December, ninteen hundred and ninty nine has some songs on it that every cowboy or western fan remembers, songs like "Mexicali Rose" "My Dear Old Arizona Home" "Arkansas Traveler" and ninteen more, but the last song on this album and rightfully so I reckon, is one called, "I Won't Need My Six Guns In Heaven".
The Rex Allen Arizona Cowboy Museum is located in Wilcox, Arizona--115 Railroad Avenue, and the zip code is 85643, if you would like to call the museum, the number is 520-384-4583.
All of the songs are listed in our web page catalog on this last release from the Arizona Cowboy, for ever more this will be a collectors album.
For the last couple of months we have received request for Stewart Hamblin records, tape and anything else his recordings are on, so check your collection and see if you have this one, one of our nice lady readers would like to have this or even just a copy if you would be so kind, it is called "The Spell Of The Yukon" and from what the lady says, they are poems being read by Stewart.
I don't know, I don't guess they did, but, (and hind sight is always so great) it is to bad that Stewart Hamblin's cowboy church of the air was not taped and later released on CD's . Even though Stewart didn't play a lot of his own music, it was all the stories he told in-between records that made you keep listining because you never knew what he was going to come up with next, something about his wife or a good horse story. He loved them both.
You probaly already heard it, but one of these days we will do the story again about Stewart's great song of "This Old House"
Anyone living in or around Bakersfield,California during those good old 50's days remembers "Cousin Herb Henson" and his TV show and all the great guest he had on it, Well, this past week we heard from Michael Henson, Cousin Herb's son, sometime ago Michael had a fire which destroyed most all of the things he had collected and saved over the years about and on his Dad and the TV show and those early days from Bakersfield.
Now we know that a lot of good folks that read this sure either know, or remember, "Cousin Herb" and maybe just an old program from one of his shows, a picture you might have taken during one of the shows, some pictures you may have bought during one of the shows, some news paper articals (some of us save everything) thank God, or anything you may be willing to make copies of, we would never ask any one to send the one and only copy of any thing.
Copy centers now days have machines that most times make better copies than the original, so what we are asking is, Michael would be forever grateful if you have something about his Father and wouldn't mind sending him a copy of it >Michael Henson, Bradley Brothers Records, Box 1515, Simi Valley, Ca 93062. and we will make sure he gets every thing you send.
And speaking of fires, they are about as cruel and final as you can get, we know because our sister's husband and two of her children were lost in a hotel fire, our sister was burnt over more than half her body, she jumped from a third floor window onto the cement side walk below, she lived, but not before many years of pain came and went, Sis finally died two years ago and is now at rest in our little cematary in Kentucky
Some time ago we wrote a little story about Glen Sherley, we didn't have very much to write about Glen because we didn't have or know much about him to write, we did get some letters and emails but they were from fans or family that wanted to know more about him.
One of our best friends is a good old boy by the name of Wayne Rogers, Wayne was with the Durango Boot Company in Tennesee for many years, that is up to a year or so ago when with out any reason to amount to much, they gave him the boot (bad pun) Wayne is a lot like we are atleast in one respect, we collect every thing and keep it, and keep it and keep it 'till we have no room left to walk, no walls left to hang stuff on and no file cabinets left with enough room left in them to store air in.
In October this year we spent a couple of days with Wayne in his Tennessee home, we know he must have spent a day or two removing the Bogart cut out he had sleeping in the spare bed room and all the other things he had neatly arranged on the foot of the bed to show visitors when they came for a little visit, when I was ready to leave his house two days later to continue my trip to North Carolina, he said I have something for you and gave me two big boxes of magazines, books, and some other good stuff, I didn't really want to take what he was giving me because I thought maybe he was going to do something like I didn't want to know about, like die, because if you are a collector you don't give nothing away and most times you don't even want people touching it, but the truth was that he just knew, like him, I loved all that good old stuff.
Now what has this got to do with Glen Sherley ? well, in all the "stuff" Wayne gave us was a twenty one year old magazine and in it was a nice story on Glen Sherley, so some of this we want to credit the writer of the artical in the magazine with, Vincent Matthews, and some of it with what Harlan Sanders told us.
Glen Sherley, Harlan Sanders and Spade Cooley were all in prison at the same time, we are sure you know the Spade Cooley story so no need to get into that, Harlan was a song writer but was having a hard time getting his songs heard so he ask Bakersfield singer / song writer / entertainer, Red Simpson how he could get some one to listen to his songs, Red told him, you need to get some good demos and then get them to people who are recording, if you are lucky they may do one of your songs.
Harlan ask him, how much will this cost me? Red said, I don't know, three or four hundred bucks, Harlan said o.k. then I guess he said oops, I don't have three or four hundred bucks so he went out and robbed a store, the good part was he had the three or four hundred bucks, but the bad part was, they had him.
Glen was in prison for a series of robbries, they say he never used a real gun, just a toy one and if he forgot the toy gun or maybe just decided to rob a place on the spur of the moment he would just use his finger, but toy gun or finger he still ended up in Folsom Prison and that is where he met the man in black, Mr. Johnny Cash while Cash was there to do his now famous Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison show. The year was 1968.
Through a series of good people wanting to help Glen get his songs heard, one of Glen's songs was heard by the Reverand Floyd Gressett who got the song to Johnny Cash at his publishing house "The House Of Cash", the song was called "Grey Stone Chapel" being in prison at the time, I guess you can figure where that title came from, after hearing more of Glen Sherley's songs Cash said, "He's got the greatest treasure of unheard songs of anyone alive today"
Glen Sherley was in the prison audience at Folsom when Johnny Cash sang as it was being recorded, Glen's song "Grey Stone Chapel", it was Johhny Cash that started the crusade to get Glen out of prison and on March the 7th. 1971 with the help of Ronald Reagan, and Billy Graham, Glen Sherley was paroled to the custody of Johnny Cash.
Before his final release from prison, Glen had already been transfered to Vacaville State Prison medical facilty in California where producer Jim Malloy was allowed to do a live album on Glen, all the songs on the album were written by Glen with the exception of three of them which he co/wrote with Harlan Sanders . One of the songs on that album was called "Portrait Of My Woman" which Jim Malloy went on to do a single and an album on with Eddy Arnold.
After his final release from prison at Vacaville, Glen became a writer for the "House Of Cash" and was a featured singer on one of Johnny's concert tours.
Looking back at prison life, if you think you're tough they put you in the hole, naked on a cold metal bunk, when you finally do fall asleep the guards throw ice water on you and yell, "Hey Toughie wake up" It don't take a poet to guess some of the other choice names you were called.
No one can read what is in another person's mind, what ever it was on the inside Glen wanted out and when he was out maybe the security of the inside would make him want to be there again, maybe Glen's mind and thoughts traveled faster then time and he just couldn't catch up, maybe, maybe, maybe, I wasn't a friend of Glen's, I wish I would have been and known him, but I wasn't, not that I could have saved his life, but reading the words he put on paper makes any writer wonder where they all came from, and that's where I like to be, at the beginning, like I was when I would sit on the floor by Grandma's wheel chair listing to how it really was back then.
On that May day in 1978 Glen Sherley called his friend and ex prison buddy, Harlan Sanders, and with out going into anything personal, Glen told him in so many words that he had had enough, that life out here just wasn't what he had expected and things were not going well, Harlan just mostly listened to his friend and when he was finished, he just hung up. Harlan tried to call him back but the line was busy each time he tried, Harlan don't know but that could have been the last phone call Glen Sherley ever made.
In a little California town these words were written in the local paper: GLEN SHERLEY, COMPOSER AND PERFORMER, DIED THE AFTERNOON OF MAY 11, 1978 BY SELF-INFLICTED GUNSHOT WOUNDS IN GONZALES, CALIFORNIA
I really wish that Glen's recordings would be re-issued all in one album or double album or what ever it took to get them all in, there wasn't all that many so it should be an easy chore. To just close the door on such a great talent is a crime, Johnny Cash as the whole world knows is a legend who's talent and love of family, friend and fan will never again be equaled, if he thought enough of Glen Sherley to do what he did for him, then there is and was something there to keep his music and his memory alive.
I need to win the lottery, I really don't give a hoot about money, but I would spend the rest of my life, atleast all of it that it would take, running around the country buying up and releasing all of these great things that will never again be heard unless some body does it.
Curtis Leach, that guy could do a resitation that would make your liver quiver, and Stoney Edwards that old boy sang a great song, Harlan Sanders has written songs that would make possum fuzz grow on a frog, and Carl Belew who could forget him (looks like we have) and the list goes on, and there are still plenty of Stewart Hamblin fans out there that would sure like to hear him again.
Only one company "Soundies" (wonder where he came up with that name) in Chicago is really doing their best to come up with some real quality stuff that is with out a doubt the best thing that has happened to preserve good country music, good western music, the best of the big bands and the best of jazz in the last ump-teen years, they even got a little rockin' and rollin' with Bill Haley.
Even though we have never sold Jazz or the big bands in our catalog, we are putting in all of the "Soundies" recordings in our catalog no matter what they are because they were the sounds that America was livin' lovin' and dyin' by back in the good old days.
Many times we have mentioned our good friend Don Hinson, remember, the one who took over after Stewart Hamblin died, Stewart's show was the Cowboy Church of the air, Don called it Down Home with Hinson, just played the great country music classics and had the number one show at the time that greed took over the owners and they sold the station to some one who didn't know Haggard from hair spray and they gave Hinson the boot.
Hinson moved last month from California to Branson where he would be close to his Mother who lived just a few hours away in Oklahoma, live in a place where he could work and live with what he loves best "Country Music" and do his comedy show any place they wanted him.
Excited about having her son back close to where she could see him more often, Mrs. Hinson (Don's Mom) was out shopping two days before Thanksgiving with an old family friend (a lady) they were shopping for last minute things for a big Thanksgiving day dinner, when the lady that was driving pulled out onto the highway where they were hit and both were killed in just a matter of a few minutes.
No one in a million years could have predicted that as long as Mrs. Hinson had lived and all the places her life had taken her that it would end this way.
No one in two million years could have predicted that as many horses that Rex Allen had rode, fallen off of, bucked, stomped and kicked and all his other ups and downs of life, would have been run over and killed by some one who worked for him, no doubt it was an accident, but dead is dead.
So then we leave you tonight with this, when you wake up in the morning (if you do) try being just a little bit nicer to your family, your friends or even a total stranger, you don't need a lot of money to send a card or a note to some one you haven't heard from in a long while, or if you are close, visit an old folks home or just speak to a homless person should one pass you on the street. The greatest feelings on this earth are absolutely free.
We'll see you next time but just in case we don't
Take care of yourself
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