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Country LEGENDS MAGAZINE

Winter 2013-14 www.catcountry.org

T.G. Sheppard --Smooth Sailing

WHO’S GONNA FILL THEIR SHOES

HANK - Laid Bare “I Sold My Country to the Devil” Cowbells, 50,000 Watts and Brad Paisley Part II A Tribute to Ray Price

AND MORE!


We’ve come a long way in 80 years together, Country Music & Broadcasting. The old station went on the air in Wheeling in 1926 & in April 1933 the show was inaugurated, grew and took to the stage as the Original Jamboree. The Golden Anniversary was 30 years ago, the location has been changed, but the Show with Country Music Tradition Like None Other, continues! We look upon this Monumental Milestone with tremendous excitement. With a new state of the art facility within the Wheeling Casino Hotel, attracting millions with our traditional and special Country Music family. The future has never looked brighter with Country Music being more popular than ever. We feel it is a miracle that we are still here and growing. The BEST is yet to come. The Wheeling Jamboree USA.

THE COUNTRY MUSIC SHOW WITH TRADITION LIKE NONE OTHER! JAMBOREE H MEMBERS P Grandpa Jones P Cousin Emmy P Doc & Chickie Williams P Ken Curtis P Shug Fisher P The Lilly Brothers P Jim & Jesse McReynolds P Hardrock Gunter P Hawkshaw Hawkins

P Jimmy Martin P Sonny & Bobby Osborne P Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper P The Stanley Brothers P The Wilburn Brothers P Kenny Roberts P Reno & Smiley P Mac Wiseman P The Sunshine Boys www.WheelingJamboree.org

PO Box 470---Wheeling, WV 26003

Wheeling Jamboree, Inc. a 501 (c) - 3 nonprofit corp.

P Dave Dudley P Dick Curless P David Houston P Mary Lou Turner P Charlie Moore & Bill Napier P Johnny Russel P Skeeter Davis P Lionel Cartwright P Brad Paisley


TABLE OF CONTENTS 4

Hank Williams - Laid Bare

Winter 2013 Single Page Crop: 8.5”w x 11”h Publisher/Editor: All bleeds are to extend a minimum of .25” past page crop on all sides Chris Lash All live matter should be kept .25” within the page crop on all sidesHank

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& Audrey Recording Sessions

Staff Writers: Artwork Submission: minimumUncle 300dpi at 100% size Michael J. Daniels, Johnny, DaveforHeath, GuyJPG, EPS (with fonts converted to outlines), TIF Acceptable Formats Print: Ed PDF,

Color Space: CMYK

Photographs: Personal Collection of Ed Guy (Hank Williams photos), Chris Lash Full Page Ad (bleeds extend past page crop): & Dave Heath (Wheeling Jamboree) Page/Ad Trim Size: 8.5”w x 11”h Artwork: Bleed Size: 9”w xArtist, 11.5”hJerry Harris Live Area: 8”w x 10.5”h (George Jones and Ray Price)

Half Page Horizontal Ad:and Advertising: For Input Angela Drive Ad Size: 7.875”w x244.75”h Bleed Size: n/a Palm Coast, FL 32164 Live Area: n/aEmail: fishfm1@hotmail.com

Phone: 724-516-8885 Website: www.catcountry.org

Half Page Vertical Ad: Ad Size: 3.8125”w x 9.8125”h Front Cover Artwork by Jerry Harris Bleed Size: n/a Live Area: n/a

AD SPECS

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Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes

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I Sold My Country To the Devil

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Cowbells, 5,000 Watts and Brad Paisley, Part II

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Remembering the Cherokee Cowboy

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Smooth Sailing with T.G. Sheppard

Country Legends Magazine | The Cat Country Network | www.catcountry.org

CD Available at: www.keepinitcountryfarm.com/shop and at: cdbaby.com/richardlynch Winter 2013-14 l The Cat Country Network l Country Legends Magazine

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Hank Williams - Laid Bare

Photos: From

the Collectio

n of Ed Guy

By Ed Guy

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The following detailed description was written by John Gilmore when he saw Hank Williams on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN during the latter part of 1949 or the early part of 1950. The MC of this show was Red Foley. Tense excitement shot through the crowd when Hank finally approached the WSM microphone. They began applauding and whistling, stomping and shouting even before he opened his mouth. He twiddled the tuning pegs of his guitar uncomfortably as Foley joked about Hank’s being “hankering lean as a stovepipe” and needing to be “stuffed full of possum.” Even though he was standing right up to the microphone, Hank’s voice didn’t sound as clear as it had backstage. I could hear him snatching his breath as he twisted his face to the side with a sort of a sheepish look that had nothing to do with Foley’s joke. Some private game Hank had going with the audience – laughter exploding sporadically to show that they knew what he meant, whatever it was. His angular fingers clutched the guitar as though he expected it to break away from him any moment, and that strained look – each minute he stood there without music seemed to bring him more pain. When Foley said, “Now, Hank, you’re going to give us a song,” the shouting and stomping broke out again and Foley backed away, giving the audience a little salute. They kept cheering as Hank maneuvered his guitar, then tipped his head to the microphone, still looking back to one side of the band. He said, “Okay, boys, we’re all here to make some music so we might as well get her going…” Putting his mouth close to the microphone and leaning forward, he said to the crowded auditorium, “This here song’s about a purr fella with a rough row to hoe, so we’re gonna see where we go with this.” There was aloud ping as his finger flicked a string, and then his right foot went thumpthump-thump on the boards of the stage, and on the fourth thump the fiddle slashed in as sudden and loud as a gun. Hank’s voice broke out above the band as though letting loose something he’d carried all knotted and bunched and struggling to get out. It was leaping free as the fiddle bow sawed and Hank cried out, mouth to the microphone, his breath a scratching noise rarely heard on records. It’s been written that Hank dipped his knees as he sang, but he also swung them from side to side in a slowmotion Charleston, half-bent and almost

Winter 2013-14 l The Cat Country Network l Country Legends Magazine

crouching over the guitar, face breaking out into sweat. He kept his upper body stiff like the bones were somehow fused, and turning his head he had to turn his shoulders, too. His eyes were almost angry, he didn’t love anybody in that crowd. The skin hardly moved on his rigid face, except to wrinkle at the edges like a stiff decal smudged off under water. Desperate is the way I’d describe Hank’s singing, like a man cornered by something. He’d look through people as if seeking some secret exit through which to make a mad dash. A couple of times at the Opry he had looked furtively at his wristwatch as though late for an appointment, but the crowd was yelling for “Lovesick Blues.” Before he finished what he was singing, he nodded to the band – no break in the music, and they jumped right into “Lovesick Blues.” A few times Hank’s body jackknifed backwards and forwards as he sang, and the tendons stuck up in his neck and the backs of his hands. His performance stunned me. It would take years to sort out the impact. The experience had a life of its own, more than Hank’s songs or the band or the wild crowd. They went crazy during “Lovesick Blues.” A middle-aged woman to the right of us fell forward out of the pew onto her knees, gasping and clutching her face. Girls were screaming, men beat on the benches, determined, swept up. It made me uneasy. I’d experience nothing close to it until years later when I’d see Judy Garland – or watch Janis Joplin going all the way at the Monterey Pop Festival. John Gilmore was born and raised in Hollywood, CA and has been a child actor, stage and screen player, screenwriter, director of low budget films, journalist, true crime writer and novelist. The above passages are from Laid Bare – A Memoir of Wrecked Lives and the Hollywood Death Trip by Mr. Gilmore. This book was published by Amok Books, Los Angeles, CA in 1997. Permission was granted to quote the amazing description of Hank’s performance by Gilmore. In this book, an entire chapter is devoted to Hank Williams, “Looking Back at Hank Williams.” Gilmore also describes a second concert and a meeting with Hank at the Riverside Rancho Bar in Los Angeles on April 18, 1952. WARNING: This book, although wellwritten, is full of profanity and blatant sexual content. It may prove to be offensive to some readers. It may be purchased on-line from Amazon.com or from Hank Williams Collectibles, danaptguys@cox.net or (386) 283-4788.


Hank & Audrey Recording Sessions

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The following is a chronological listing of the session recordings of Hank & Audrey Williams along with the details of some of the issued records in 78, 45, EP, and 10” and 12” Albums (33&1/3) formats. The Master Numbers indicate the year of recording (first 2 numbers), Speed of record issue (“S” for 78 and “”XY” for 45), and the sequence number of the record release for that particular year. K = 45 RPM record//No letter before number = 78 RPM 12/22/48 E.T. HERZOG STUDIOS, Cincinnati, OH (Times Unknown) Musicians: Tommy Jackson – Fiddle; Zeke Turner – Lead Guitar; Clyde Baum-Mandolin; Jerry Byrd – Steel Guitar; Louis Innis – Rhythm Guitar; Willie Thall – Bass. LOST ON THE RIVER (Hank Williams) 49-S-6057*/55-XY-521 78/45: MGM 10434/K-10434 LPS: MGM E-3955; 3E4; Metro M/MS 547, Polydor 825-554 I HEARD MY MOTHER PRAYING FOR ME (Audrey Williams) 49-S-6059*/53-XY-4153 78/45: MGM 10813/K-10813 LP: Polydor 825-554 ==================================================== 3/1/49 CASTLE STUDIO, TULANE HOTEL, Nashville (Time:19:30 22:30) Musicians: Dale Potter – Fiddle; Zeb Turner – Electric Guitar; Jack Shook - Rhythm Guitar; Clyde Baum – Mandolin; Dan Davis – Steel Guitar.

By Ed Guy

DEAR BROTHER (Hank Williams) 49-S-6030/55-XY-520 78/45: MGM 10434/K-10434 EPS: X243; X1648 LPS: MGM E-243 (10”); E-3331; E-3955; 3E4; Metro M/MS 547; Polydor 825-554

JESUS REMEMBERED ME (Hank Williams) 49-S-6031/52-XY-432 78/45: MGM 10813/K-10813 EPS: X243; X1649 LPS: Metro M/MS 547; Polydor 825-554 Photo: From the Collection of Ed Guy ==================================================== 3/23/51 CASTLE STUDIO, TULANE HOTEL, Nashville (Time19:00-22:30) Musicians: Not ascertained THE PALE HORSE & HIS RIDER (Johnny Bailes – Ervin Staggs) 51-S-6014/56-XY-532 78/45: MGM 12394/K-12394 & K-13359 LPS: MGM E-3955; Metro M/MS 547; Polydor 831-634 A HOME IN HEAVEN (Hank Williams) 51-S-6015/56-XY-533 78/45: MGM 12394/K-12394 LPS: MGM E-3955; Metro M/MS 547; Polydor 831-634 continued on page 7

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Winter 2013-14 l The Cat Country Network l Country Legends Magazine

Country Legends Magazine | The Cat Country Network | Summer 2013

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By Michael J. Daniels

Artwork: Jerry Harris, Artist

Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes

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Winter 2013-14 l The Cat Country Network l Country Legends Magazine

Artist

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Something that many classic country fans find lacking in today’s big hit makers. Certainly, they would have considered him a worthy replacement to carry on for Jones. In addition to his style, his personality and popular catalog of hits would most likely have garnered him continued success and fan support. There’s simply no telling when Travis will be able to resume his recording and touring career. The prospect of him being able to recover to the point where he can be active again is completely up in the air. Country may have to look elsewhere for someone worthy enough to replace the likes of Jones and others who have passed away in the last decade or so. His passing was just the latest of many legends such as Johnny Cash in 2003, Porter Wagoner in 2007 and Eddie Arnold in 2008. Among those on any short list, George Strait may rank at the top. His career now spans multiple generations with his initial hits dating back to the early 1980s. He is in the midst of a farewell tour and had his 60th number one hit in 2013. Strait plans to continue to record

was a collaborative with Travis Tritt titled “The Whiskey Ain’t Workin’” which reached number two in 1991. Stuart’s musical style encompasses Country, Bluegrass, Southern rock and Gospel and there’s no question his longevity in the business puts him on the short list of living country legends. Alan Jackson has been as consistent a country-hit maker as any in the business. His first top 5 hit was in 1990 and he continued to score top 10 hits late into the last decade. Those hits include more than 20 number one songs. Jackson songs have continued to make the top 30 over the last couple of years. A check of hit makers of any genre would show that such popularity for more than 20 years is indeed rare. Another group of slightly younger artists may eventually rise on a list of this type. Those artists would include Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney. Both have produced hits since the mid 1990s. Even Blake Shelton (love him or hate him) may one day be able to claim a role as a country legend. It’s probably too soon to tell if any other country stars of the last decade will eventually achieve such status. A determination of that nature has to be left to the most important factor for any performer: their fans.

rry Harris, Artwork: Je

t seems not a year goes by that country music doesn’t lose a legendary figure. This past year was no exception. The loss of George Jones is perhaps immeasurable. This past year was no exception. The loss of George Jones in April was perhaps immeasurable. Also, late last year, the country music world saw the passing of the great Ray Price. (See separate story on page 10). Jones’ death led to an outpouring of emotions from his fans and those in the country music community. One of those who paid tribute was Randy Travis. He was on hand for the Possum’s services in Nashville. Travis also recorded a duet with Joe Nichols to further pay tribute to Jones. “Tonight I’m playing Possum” was not a chart success. However, one listen to it and most any true country fan would deem it an “instant classic”. Sadly, Travis would have his own powerful voice stilled by several health issues just months after Jones’ passing. He is still recovering from heart problems and a stroke that felled him. Travis has always had a more traditional style with his music.

and may make occasional live appearances even though his regular touring days are at an end. Strait, like Jones and many country legends, hails from Texas. He continues to be innovative in his music while at the same time never straying to far from his country roots. His style is derived from many legendary musical acts including Jones along with Bob Wills, Hank Williams, Hank Thompson, Merle Haggard and Lefty Frizzell among others. Strait is already known as King George and his status should only continue to grow. The new songs from Strait may start to become fewer and far between but will come with even more anticipation by his legion of fans. Any occasional live appearance even will even create even more excitement. Next on the list (by no means scientific) is Garth Brooks. Brooks had stopped touring regularly for a time after about well over a decade of hits and concerts. Though, he returned to the stage for regular appearances in Las Vegas for several years. In 2013 he did benefit concert for tornado victims in his home state of Oklahoma. He also appeared on live television this year performing a duet tribute with Strait in honor of the late Dick Clark. If an email message to fans is being interpreted correctly, it appears that he plans to return to music full-time. Brooks turns 52 in February and could easily entertain fans with new music and concerts for years to come. Next on this subjective list is Marty Stuart. Although his career started in the early 1970s, his first charting hits were in the mid 1980s. Stuart has never been a chart topper like others mentioned here. He scored a few top 10 hits in the early 1990s. His biggest hit


Photo: From the Collection of Ed Guy

continued from page 5

10/49 CASTLE STUDIO, TULANE HOTEL, Nashville (Time unknown) Musicians: Jerry Rivers – Fiddle; Don Helms –Steel Guitar; Bob McNett- Guitar; Hillous Butrum –Bass. MC is Grant Turner. HEALTH & HAPPINESS SHOWS - TRANSCRIPTIONS WHERE THE SOUL OF MAN NEVER DIES (Raney) 61-XY-1031(Assigned as overdub) LP: MGM E-3999; ACM 17 I WANT TO LIVE & LOVE ALWAYS (Gene Sullivan – Wiley Walker) 61-XY-1037(Assigned as overdub) LPS: MGM E-3999; Polydor 831634 ACM 17 ==================================================== 4/12/61 OVERDUB SESSION – Nashville (Orig. recorded 1949 or 1950) JESUS DIED FOR ME (Hank Williams) 61-XY-571 (Assigned as overdub) LPS: MGM E-3955; Polydor 825-551 ==================================================== Polydor 825-551 “Lovesick Blues” also contained “When God Dips His Love In My Heart” (Public Domain) sung by Hank and Audrey. This song had never been commercially available prior to 1985. The Mother’s Best Shows, recorded in Nashville in 1951, have several additional songs by Hank & Audrey. We all look forward to their release on CDs. Audrey Williams recorded “solo” performances at the 3/23/51 Session and the 10/49 session of the Health & Happiness Show Transcriptions. She also recorded several sides for MGM in 1955, 1956, 1965 and 1966. In 1950 she had recorded for Decca and three singles were released. She also cut two more sessions with Decca in 1953 and 1954, although none of the five masers were released for decades. Bear Family of Germany released BF-15346 “Audrey Williams-Ramblin’ Gal” in 1988 which contained the complete Decca masters. NOTES: All of the known musicians listed played at the recording session cited. However, they did not all play on every song. * Due to the recording ban in 1948, these records were given Master Numbers of “49” instead of “48” which would normally indicate the year of the recording. Titles of EPS: MGM X-243 I Saw The Light MGM X-1648 I Saw The Light (Vol 2) MGM X-1649 I Saw The Light (Vol 3) Titles of LPS: 10” & 12” MGM E-243 I Saw The Light (10” LP) MGM E-3955 The Spirit of Hank Williams MGM E-3999 Hank Williams – On Stage - Recorded Live! MGM 3E4 Hank Williams –36 More of His Greatest Hits (Box Set) Metro M/MS 547 Mr. & Mrs. Hank Williams Polydor 825-551 Lovesick Blues Polydor 825-554 Lost Highway Polydor 831-634 Hey, Good Lookin’ ACM – 17 Early Country Music Live, Vol 3 ====================================================

Ed Guy operates Hank Williams Collectibles, P O Box 350447, Palm Coast, FL 32135. He has been selling Hank’s recordings and memorabilia since 1973 and can be contacted at (386) 283-4788 or danaptguys@cox.net

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Winter 2013-14 l The Cat Legends Country Network Country Legends Magazine Country Magazine | Thel Cat Country Network | Summer 2013

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Hank & Audrey Recording Sessions


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Chris Lash 8 ByCountry Legends Magazine | The Cat Country Network | Summer 2013

Not since Blake Shelton called traditional country fans Old Farts and Jackasses has a sitting country music star painted such a grim and disparaging picture for traditional country music as Clay Walker did in a recent interview with Taste of Country. The 44-year-old Curb-Asylum artist says that “Traditional country music died,” and that George Strait’s win for Entertainer of the Year was a “closing of the door” for traditional music in the country format. First, we’ll try and ignore the fact that Mr. Walker road on the coattails of the great George Straight, Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson. If one of them had vocalized this, we probably would pay more attention. We’re hoping that Clay Walker is just frustrated, because terrestorial radio no longer plays his music. But I think it goes further than that. He’s trying to separate the music that made him semi famous in an attempt to get played on the radio again. The problem is at 44 he’s not going to get much airplay no matter how he changes his style. His best hope would have been to continue to impraise the traditional sounds of the 90’s, and reached out to classic country stations. Here’s what he said during the interview. Traditional country music died. I think that George Strait winning Entertainer of the Year at the CMAs was, to me, a symbolic and a real closing of the door. It was, to me, as if the industry was saying, “Thank you George for everything that you’ve meant to traditional country music.” I’m not saying George Strait won’t be played, but I’m saying I don’t think any new acts, including myself — I’m not new, but … I think people are fooling themselves if they think for a second that the recording industry is going to accept any more traditional country music on the radio. I think that is the end of a world, the end of an era.

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It’s kind of like Rome. Rome has fallen [laughs]. There’s a new world and a new era. I feel like I totally accepted that. Now I’m not saying that fans are not going to continue loving traditional country music and playing it and listening to it and maybe even downloading some of it. But I don’t think you’ll see this town record what we call ‘traditional’ country music ever Clay Walker again. I believe that era is completely over. We disagree. Clay? Go and tell that to Larry Black, whose Country Legends Reunion DVD’s are record setters in sales. And whose Larry’s Country Diner is one of the top TV shows on RFD-TV. Furthermore, tell your thoughts to Marty Stuart, who is an expert at keeping traditional country music alive. As far as radio goes, there is the parent company of this magazine, which programs 7 classic country radio stations in the states of Tennessee, Florida, Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska. Ask any of the legends of country music today, where they can hear their music, and they’ll point you quickly in the direction of the great folks at Willie’s Roadhouse on XM Sirius. And if there isn’t a traditional country music station close by your hometown, then sit and stream one at your computer, or download the app on your cellphone. In closing, real country music fans who continue to not like the current product coming out Nashville will wait for the next Randy Travis or Alan Jackson. We’ve been down this road before in the late 1970’s with the Urban Cowboy pop crossover period. Remember then, people said no one would come and save it. It will happen again!

Winter 2013-14 l The Cat Country Network l Country Legends Magazine

Photo from Collection of Chris Lash

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I Sold My Country To The Devil


PART 2 -II Cowbells, 50,000 Watts & Brad Paisley Cowbells, 50,000 PART PART 2 - Cowbells, 50,000 Watts & Brad Paisley -

Watts & Brad Paisley

By Dave Heath / Executive Producer & Pres. Wheeling Jamboree By Dave Heath / Executive Producer & Pres. Wheeling Jamboree

By Dave Heath / Executive Producer & Pres. Wheeling Jamboree

As a school boy Brad Paisley loved going to the Wheeling Jamboree on Saturdays with his Grand-dad and hearing it on the radio at As a school loved going to the Wheeling Jamboree on Saturdays withdowntown his Grand-dad and and hearing it on the at for home and inboy the Brad familyPaisley car. The childhood home of the Brad is a 10 minute drive from Wheeling pursuing his radio passion home and in the family car. the Theguitar childhood home of the Brad is Music a 10 minute driveended from downtown and Jamboree pursuing his for and fondness of Country eventually him up onWheeling the Wheeling aspassion a regular the guitar and fondness of Country Music eventually ended him up on the Wheeling Jamboree as a regular member from Middle School age in to his early College years. While working each week on the Jamboree member from Middle School in to his early College working eachCast weekmembers on the Jamboree along with training from familyage mentors, friends, the staffyears. band,While veteran Jamboree as well as along with training from family mentors, friends, the staff band, veteran Jamboree Cast members as well as headliners such as “Guitar Master Roy Clark” that would come in, made it the picture-perfect proving ground headliners such as “Guitar Roycollege Clark” years that would comesearching in, made itforthe picture-perfect provingof ground for his professional career. Master During his he began a deeper understanding the for his business professional his via college years he began searching fortoaNashville, deeper understanding of the music andcareer. throughDuring contacts the Jamboree eventually led him Music Row then music business and through contacts via Today the Jamboree eventually led successful him to Nashville, Musicin Row induction to the Grand Ole Opry in 1999. he is one of the most entertainers the then Country induction to theand Grand Ole Opry in 1999. Today he is one of the most successful entertainers in the Country Music Industry often credits much to his formative years on the Wheeling Jamboree. Music Industry and often credits much to his formative years on the Wheeling Jamboree. Paisley left his nearby home and Paisley leftinhis nearby and Wheeling 1997 whenhome the 1926 Wheeling in 1997 when the 1926 groundbreaking radio station WWVA groundbreaking radio station WWVA also made the uncontainable decision also made from the uncontainable decision to change the Big Country Music to change from the Big Country format to NEWS / TALK. The station did however save the Music format to NEWS / TALK. The spot station save the Saturday Night programming fordid thehowever Wheeling Jamboree to nd Saturday Nightand programming spot for the Wheeling Jamboree to remain on-air continuing broadcasting the nation’s 2 oldest nd remain on-air andthe continuing broadcasting the nation’s 2 oldest radio show from stage of Wheeling’s Capitol Music Hall. The radio show fromwas the stage Wheeling’s Music of Hall. Capitol Theatre whereofthe first stageCapitol presentation theThe Capitol Theatre was where the first stage presentation of the Jamboree took place and where WWVA’s broadcast studios Jamboree place andThe where WWVA’s broadcast studios shared thetook same facility. Wheeling Jamboree started its Folk (Above) Most Widely Known Venue of Jamboree - Capitol Music Hall shared the same facility. The Wheeling Jamboree started its Folk Music Barn Dance Radio Show on that specific stage, it has (Below) Music Dance Radio Show on that specific stage, it has movedBarn to over 20 locations around Wheeling since its founding Current Home of the Jamboree Wheeling’s Casino Showroom st moved 20 locations around Wheeling since its founding on Aprilto1 over , 1933. st on April 1 , 1933.

Today the syndicated Wheeling Jamboree broadcasts its weekly Today syndicated Wheeling Jamboree broadcasts weekly stagethe shows inside the Wheeling Island Hotel Casino,its from its st stage shows inside the Wheeling Island Hotel Casino, from its 1000 seat Showroom as it enters the 81st year of production. 1000 seat Showroom as it enters the 81 year of production.

[Photo from the stage of Wheeling’s Virginia Theatre 1959]

Photo from Collection of Dave Heath / Wheeling Jamboree

theWilliams stage of Wheeling’s Virginia Theatre 1959] [Photo from The Patriarch of the Wheeling Jamboree Doc (far right) with his Border Riders started on the show in 1937. The Patriarch of the Wheeling Jamboree Doc Williams (far right) with his Border Riders started on the show in 1937.

Visit www.WheelingJamboree.org for an indepth history of the Country Music Show with Tradition Like None Other! Visit www.WheelingJamboree.org for an indepth history of the Country Music Show with Tradition Like None Other!

Winter 2013-14 l The Cat Country Network l Country Legends Magazine

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Artwork: Jerry Harris, Artist

Remembering the Cherokee Cowboy

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ay Price covered -- and kicked up -- as much musical turf as any country singer of the postwar era. He was lionized as the man who saved hard country when Nashville went pop, and vilified as the man who went pop when hard country was starting to call its own name with pride. Actually, he was no more than a musically ambitious singer, always looking for the next challenge for a voice that could bring down roadhouse walls. Circa 1949, Price cut his first record for Bullet in Dallas. In 1951, he was picked up by Columbia, the label for which he would record for more than 20 years. After knocking around in Lefty Frizzell’s camp for six months or so (his first Columbia single was a Frizzell composition), Price befriended Hank Williams. The connection brought him to the Opry and profoundly affected his singing style. After Hank died, Price started stretching out more as a singer and arranger. His experimentation culminated in the 4/4 bass-driven “Crazy Arms,” the country song of the year for 1956. The intensely rhythmic sound he discovered with “Crazy Arms” would dominate his -- and much of country in general -- music for the next six years. To this day, people in Nashville refer to a 4/4 country shuffle as the “Ray Price beat.” Heavy on fiddle, steel, and high-tenor harmony, his country work from the late ‘50s is as lively

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as the rock & roll of the same era. Price tired of that sound, however, and started messing around with strings. His lush 1967 version of “Danny Boy” and his 1970 take on Kris Kristofferson’s “For the Good Times” were, in their crossover way, landmark records. But few of his old fans appreciated the fact. In the three decades following “For the Good Times,” Price’s career was often an awkward balancing act in which twin Texas fiddles were weighed against orchestras. Born in tiny Perryville, Texas, Price spent most of his youth in Dallas. It was there where he learned how to play guitar and sing. Following his high school graduation, he studied veterinary medicine at North Texas Agricultural College in Abilene before he left school to join the Marines in 1942. Price stayed in the service throughout World War II, returning to Texas in 1946. After leaving the Marines, he initially returned to college, yet he began to perform at local clubs and honky tonks, as well as on the local radio station KRBC, where he was dubbed the Cherokee Cowboy. Three years later, he was invited to join the Dallas-based The Big D Jamboree, which convinced him to make music his full-time career. Shortly after joining The Big D Jamboree, the show began to be televised by CBS, which helped him release a single, “Your Wedding Corsage”/”Jealous Lies,” on the independent Dallas label Bullet. Price moved to Nashville to pursue a major-label record contract in 1951. After auditioning and failing several times, Ray finally signed to Columbia Records, after A&R representative Troy Martin convinced the label’s chief executive, Don Law, that Decca was prepared to give the singer a contract. Previously, Law was

uninterested in Price -- he turned him down 20 times and told Martin never to mention his name again -- but he was unprepared to give a rival company a chance at the vocalist. Just before “Talk to Your Heart” became a number three hit for Price in the spring of 1952, Ray met his idol, Hank Williams, who immediately became a close friend. Over the next year, Hank performed a number of favors for Price, including giving him “Weary Blues” to record and helping him join the Grand Ole Opry. Ray also became the permanent substitute for Hank whenever he was missing or too drunk to perform. Following Williams’ death in 1953, Price inherited the Drifting Cowboys. Following the success of “Don’t Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes” in the fall of 1952, Price was quiet for much of 1953. It wasn’t until 1954 that he returned to the charts with “I’ll Be There (If You Ever Want Me),” a number two hit that kicked off a successful year for Price that also included the Top Ten singles “Release Me” and “If You Don’t, Somebody Else Will.” Instead of capitalizing on that success, he disappeared from the charts during 1955, as he spent the year forming the Cherokee Cowboys. Over the course of those previous two years, he had realized that performing with the Drifting Cowboys made him sound too similar to Hank Williams, so he decided to form his own group. Originally, most of the members were lifted from Lefty Frizzell’s Western Cherokees, but over the years a number of gifted musicians began their careers in this band, including Roger Miller, Johnny Paycheck, Buddy Emmons, Johnny Bush, and Willie Nelson. Ray returned to the charts in 1956, first with “Run Boy” and then with “Crazy Arms,” a driving honky tonk number that immediately became a country classic. The song was one of the first country records to be recorded with a drum kit, which gave it a relentless, pulsating rhythm. Until Price, most country artists were reluctant to use drums and the instrument was even banned from the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. The blockbuster

Winter 2013-14 l The Cat Country Network l Country Legends Magazine

status of the single helped change that situation. Spending an astonishing 20 weeks at the top of the country charts, “Crazy Arms” not only crossed over into the lower reaches of the pop charts, but it also established Price as a star. After the success of the single, he remained at or near the top of the charts for the next ten years, racking up 23 Top Ten singles between 1956 and 1966. During this time, he recorded a remarkable number of country classics, including “I’ve Got a New Heartache” (number two, 1956), “My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You” (number one, 1957), “Make the World Go Away” (number two, 1963), and “City Lights,” which spent 13 weeks at the top of the charts in 1958. The momentum of Price’s career had slowed somewhat by the mid-’60s; though he was still having hits, they weren’t as frequent or as big. His musical inclinations were also shifting, bringing him closer to the crooning styles of traditional pop singers. Ray abandoned the cowboy suits and brought in strings to accompany him, making him one of the first to explore the smooth, orchestrated sounds of late-’60s and early-’70s country-pop. While it alienated some hardcore honky tonk fans, the change in approach resulted in another round of Top Ten hits. However, it took a little while for the country audience to warm to this new sound -- it wasn’t until 1970, when his cover of Kris Kristofferson’s “For the Good Times” hit number one, that he returned to the top of the charts. Over the next three years, he scored an additional three number one singles (“I Won’t Mention It Again,” “She’s Got to Be a Saint,” “You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me”). By the mid-’70s, the appeal of his string-laden country-pop hits had diminished, and he spent the rest of the decade struggling to get into the charts. In 1974, he left his long-time home of Columbia Records to sign to Myrrh, where he had two Top Ten hits over the next year. By the end of 1975, he had left the label, signing to ABC/Dot. Though he hadn’t changed his style, his records became less popular


around the same time he signed to ABC/Dot; only 1977’s “Mansion on the Hill” gained much attention. In 1978, he switched labels again, signing with Monument, which proved to be another unsuccessful venture. In 1980, Price reunited with his old bassist Willie Nelson, recording the duet album San Antonio Rose, which was a major success, spawning the number three hit “Faded Love.” San Antonio Rose reignited Ray’s career, and in 1981 he had two Top Ten singles -- “It Don’t Hurt Me Half as Bad” and “Diamonds in the Stars” -- for his new label, Dimension. Price left Dimension in 1983, signing with Warner Records. He remained at the label for one year, and by that time, his new spell of popularity had cooled down considerably; by now, he was having trouble reaching the Top 40. That situation didn’t remedy itself for the remainder of the decade, even though he signed with two new labels: Viva (19831984) and Step One (1985-1989). By the late ‘80s, Price had stopped concentrating on recording and had turned his efforts toward a theater he owned in Branson, Missouri. For most of the ‘90s, he sang and performed at his theater in Branson, occasionally stopping to record. Of all of his ‘90s records, the most notable is the 1992 album Sometimes a Rose, which was produced by Norro Wilson. Among his handful of fulllength albums during the 2000’s, two were collaborations: 2003’s Run That by Me One More Time with Willie Nelson, and 2007’s Last of the Breed with Nelson and Merle Haggard. Both albums appeared on the alt-country label Lost Highway, and the latter also sparked a tour featuring the trio of country heavyweights. In early 2012, Price announced that he had pancreatic cancer, although chemotherapy appeared to be successful and he hoped to return to the road by 2013. He was briefly hospitalized again in May 2013, however, and in December of that year, he entered hospice care. Ray Price died at his home in Texas on December 16, 2013.

Smooth Sailing

H

Having worked with country legend T.G. Sheppard in the past, it’s always amazing to see his live shows, and hear him sing what he calls his biggest hit, which happens to be a jingle for one of America’s favorite coffees. Largely because of T.G.’s jingle, “The best part of waking up is Folger’s in your cup”, helped to spark the coffee maker in to huge market shares. But how did that project all start? After spending time with T.G. recently, he told Country Legends Magazine the story. In the mid to late 1980s Sheppard was an associate sponsor on the No. 25 Folgers Chevrolet driven on the Nascar Winston Cup circuit by Tim Richmond and Ken Schrader. In 1990 the Folgers sponsorship moved to Roush racing and driver Mark Martin. Folger’s approached Sheppard about writing a jingle, and the rest is history. “I had a garage full of coffee for many years” T.G. expressed. “It was always fun to watch a truck pull up to the garage to unload it. It still remains my favorite coffee to this day” Sheppard added. T.G., who remains very active on the road, and the Grand Ole Opry, stays very busy as we hit 2014. Sheppard dropped out of high school and at the age of 15 ran away from home to become involved in the music industry in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1974, Sheppard signed with Melodyland (later Hitsville) Records, a short-lived country label owned by Motown Records. He recorded the song “Devil in the Bottle,” which became a No. 1 hit on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart and also became a Top 60 Pop hit in 1975. The follow-up, “Tryin’ to Beat the Morning Home,” also went to No. 1 and cracked the Top 100 during the summer of 1975. Several subsequent releases during 1975-1977 also made the Top 10 like “Motels and Memories” and “Show Me A Man”.

with

T.G. Sheppard

T.G. Sheppard In 1977, Sheppard signed with Warner Bros. Records. Starting with that summer’s “When Can We Do This Again,” he had a series of fifteen consecutive Top 10 releases, including 10 No. 1 songs. The biggest included “Last Cheater’s Waltz” (1979); “I’ll Be Coming Back for More” and “Do You Wanna Go to Heaven” (1980); “I Loved ‘Em Every One” and “Party Time” (1981); “Only One You,” “Finally” and “War is Hell (On the Homefront Too)” (1982). Another major hit came in 1984: “Slow Burn.” “I Loved ‘Em Everyone” also reached the top-forty on the U.S. pop singles charts. In 1984 he recorded, as a duet with Judy Collins, the title track of Home Again, her final album for Elektra Records. Never resting on past laurels, T.G. and his lovely wife Kelly Lang recently finished a duets album. “We had talked about doing it for quite some time, and when the time was right, we went into the studio” said Sheppard. Since they got together several years ago, T.G. Sheppard and Kelly Lang have weathered some rough storms – through her battle with cancer and Sheppard’s well-publicized health battle of 2012. They have seemingly made it through the toughest of times, and have been eliciting a strong response from concert audiences when they perform on stage together. That being said, it was only natural that the two would record a duet record together. Actually, it was more of a question of when and not if!

By Chris Lash

Thankfully, the waiting is over, as the two have issued their first album together. A collection of Country and Pop classics, these songs are no doubt going to bring back plenty of memories for each listener who picks up this fabulous collection. The disc kicks off with the Johnny Cash & June Carter hit “Jackson.” The song features one of the most traditional arrangements Sheppard has had on a recording, and it sounds like the two are definitely feeding off of each other’s talents. And, it gets better. Next up is a stunning take on the 1978 Kenny Rogers & Dottie West classic “Every Time Two Fools Collide.” One of the most underrated duet songs in Country Music history, Lang definitely invokes the dramatic memory and appeal of West with her warm and homey approach. Speaking of Rogers, the two bounce through a glorious version of “Islands In The Stream,” a song that Lang recently performed with writer Barry Gibb at Kenny’s Hall of Fame induction. The couple takes us on a two-step back in time with the 80s evergreen “You’re The Reason God Made Oklahoma,” and adds the right amount of harmonious touch to “After The Fire Is Gone,” which given both of the artists’ relationships to Conway and Loretta, had to be a highlight to record. Other top moments on the disc include the timeless “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin” and “I Got You Babe,” and maybe the emotional centerpiece of the album is the romantic “Just You And I.” Originally made famous by Eddie Rabbitt and Crystal Gayle, the emotional love story for the two can be heard heartbeat for heartbeat on the track. They definitely sound great together, and audiences may see them together on the road this year. With a cup of Folger’s every morning, don’t expect to see this legend slowing down any time soon!

Winter 2013-14 l The Cat Country Network l Country Legends Magazine

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Country Legends Magazine Winter 2013-2014