Country's Family Reunion News, December 2020

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Country’s Family Reunion


December 2020

Amy Grant

Porter Wagoner Moe Bandy Jerry Jeff Walker Doug Supernaw Arlo Guthrie

Margie Bowes Cowboy Jack Clement Charley Pride

… and more

November 2020

Country’s Family Reunion


Who’s inside? Charley Pride p. 3 Amy Grant, p. 4 Doug Supernaw, p.6 Arlo Guthrie, p. 8 Moe Bandy, p. 10 Nadine’s Corner, p. 12 Areeda’s Cooking, p. 13 Jerry Jeff Walker, p. 14 Porter Wagoner Home, p. 16 Margie Bowes, p. 18 Michael Buffalo Smith, p. 20 Cowboy Jack Clement, p. 21 Christmas in Mexico, p. 24 Elmo & Patsy, p. 25 Renae the Waitress, p. 27 Books for Sale, p. 28

CFR News is published monthly by Country Road Management, 710 N. Main St., Suite B Columbia, TN 38401 Larry Black, Publisher Paula Underwood Winters, Editor, Print Layout & Design Claudia Johnson, Writer, Online Layout & Design

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November 2020

Charley Pride Honored by CMA Country music star Charley Pride received the the first black man to co-host the CMA Awards, 2020 Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award taking the reins in 1975 alongside Glen Campbell. during The 54th Annual CMA Awards, which was He became a Grand Ole Opry member in 1993, broadcast live from Nashville’s Music City and in 2000 he was inducted into the Country Center on Nov. 11. Music Hall of Fame. He holds three Grammy “ C h a r l e y Pr i d e i s t h e Awards and was honored with a e p i t o m e o f a t r a i l b l a z e r, ” Lifetime Achievement Award by The s a i d S a r a h Tr a h e r n , C M A Recording Academy in 2017. Chief Executive Officer. “Few Pride continues to perform other artists have grown concerts worldwide and has toured Country music’s rich heritage the United States, Canada, Ireland, and led to the advancement of the United Kingdom, Australia, and Countr y music around the New Zealand over the last several world like Charley. years. Pride received the Crossroads His distinctive voice has Of American Music Award At the created a timeless legacy that 2 0 1 9 G R A M M Y Mu s e u m ® continues to echo through the Mississippi Gala in November of Country community today. We 2019 and has plans to release a new Charley Pride could not be more excited to album soon. honor Charley with one of The Willie Nelson Lifetime CMA’s highest accolades.” Achievement Award is was established to recognize To receive the award the artist must have an artist who has achieved both national and positively impacted and contributed to the growth international prominence and stature through of the Country music throughout a course of years concert performances, humanitarian efforts, and to have made an unprecedented historical p h i l a n t h r o p y, r e c o r d s a l e s , a n d p u b l i c impact on fans and industry alike. Through a mix of representation at the highest level. courage, determination and extraordinary talent, Pride is one of only six artists to have received Pride made Country music history by becoming the the CMA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Previous genre’s first black superstar. r e c i p i e n t s o f t h e Wi l l i e Ne l s o n L i f e t i m e The Country legend has seen remarkable Achievement Award were Willie Nelson (2012), longevity in his career, which spans more than five Kenny Rogers (2013), Johnny Cash (2015), Dolly decades. His distinctive baritone voice allowed him Parton (2016) and Kris Kristofferson (2019). to take almost every song he touched into the Top 10, if not the No. 1 position, typically spending multiple weeks there. Between his chart debut in 1966 and 1989, Pride had 29 No. 1 country hits and more than 50 Top 10 tracks, including enduring classics like “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone” (1970), “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’” (1971) and “All I Have to Offer You (Is Me)” (1969). In 1971, he was named CMA Entertainer of the Year as well as Male Vocalist of the Year in both 1971 and 1972. Pride was also Page 3

December 2020

The Only Place for Christmas By Sasha Dunavant The songs associated with a Merry Christmas are in tune with our recollections of yuletides past and our hopes for warm holidays in the future. They authenticate the spirit and true purpose of the season. One of those songs is “Tennessee Christmas,” which Amy Grant and former husband Gary Chapman wrote in the summer of 1983 when they were newlyweds. “We were driving south on Hillsboro Road out of Nashville toward Franklin,” Grant said in an interview with “And I knew I was about to make a Christmas record. It was a full moon, and the way the moon was shining on the hills, it looked like snow. We just started singing, without an instrument, the ideas for ‘Tennessee Christmas.’ We actually wrote the entire song in the car on that drive.” “Tennessee Christmas” was first released on Amy Grant’s 1983 album, “A Christmas Album.” The song continued its success when it was Page 4

recorded by the Countr y mega-star group, Alabama, in 1985. Over the next three decades it was covered by artists such as Lee Greenwood, Grant and Forsyth, Lindy Gravelle, Mike Stone, Chad and Fallon Graham and many others. “Tennessee Christmas” became Amy Grant’s opening track on her 2016 Christmas album entitled, “Tennessee Christmas.” The song was released as a single from the album and charted at No . 5 0 o n t h e B i l l b o a r d Ho t C h r i s t i a n Songs chart in December 2016. In December 2019 Country group Home Free picked Country artist Rachel Wammack to join them in singing an upbeat, contemporary version of “Tennessee Christmas.” “Tennessee Christmas” opens with a plea to the weather man to send a forecast of snowy white. In comparison to Denver’s snow being a foot deep, the writer of the song still chooses to have another “tender Tennessee Christmas” and declares that a Tennessee Christmas“ is the only Christmas for me.” December 2020

Tinsel town is referred to in the first chorus “Christmas audiences are special,” explained along with getting a tan and enjoying a big parade. Grant. “They tend to involve the whole family, and Nevertheless, the writer can’t shake the warmth their emotions are a wonderful mix of anticipation and tenderness of Christmas in Tennessee. The and reverence. It’s a thrilling experience for both second verse makes a comparison yet again, saying, of us.” “Well they say in L.A. it’s a warm holiday, it’s the Grant’s career spans over 30 years and stretches only place to be.” from her roots in gospel into Yet continues to choose a her experience as an iconic Tennessee Christmas, “Where pop star, songwriter, television the love circles around us like personality and philanthropist. the gifts around our tree.” Upon Grant has sold more than 30 closing the writer proclaims “I million albums boasting one know there’s more snow up in five-time Platinum album, Colorado than my roof will ever another triple platinum, see, but a tender Tennessee Grammys in multiple Christmas is the only Christmas categories and 25 Gospel for me.” Mu s i c A s s o c i a t i o n D o v e Tennessee Christmas has Awards. been rerecorded by Amy Grant She also has six No. 1 hits – and current husband Vince Gill including “Baby, Baby” and twice more throughout the “Every Heartbeat” – and is one continuing life of the song. of only two Christian artists to The pair have become a be awarded a star on the m u s t- s e e a c t d u r i n g t h e legendary Walk of Fame in Click to Listen Nashville holiday season lineup Hollywood. with their show, “Amy Grant & The annual concer t series Vince Gill: Christmas at the Ryman,” where for featuring Gill and Grant has not been scheduled for many years they’ve kicked off the holidays with an 2020. However, a video of the couple performing evening of cherished standards as well as newer the now-classic “Tennessee Christmas” may be seasonal fare. viewed on YouTube. The beautiful cover photo of this issue is courtesy of Amy Grant on Instagram.

“Country’s Family Reunion” to Air Exclusively on Country Road TV “Country’s Family Reunion” will stop airing on RFD-TV the end of December. However, you can still watch more than 20 years of shows by subscribing to Country Road TV for only $9.99 a month. With your subscription you can watch all of the Country’s Family Reunion shows as well as 18 seasons of Larry’s Country Diner, Small Town Big Deal, Gearz, BamaQ, Nashville Insider, Ralph Emery (audio interviews), Joey + Rory, Marty Robbins Spotlight and much more. Country Road TV is available on computers, smart TVs or any internet streaming device. If you are unsure whether you can access it, call Customer Service at 800-820-5405. They will be happy to help you determine if you can and how. You can also sign up for a free trial period.And if you like sports, you are also able to watch CFR’s Alabama, Georgia, Auburn and Oklahoma Football Legends series as well as Stock Car Legends series. Call today, for more information or subscribe here. Page 5

December 2020

Doug Supernaw – Authentic to the Core by Angelia Van Vranken Doug Supernaw died on November 13 after a protracted battle with Stage IV cancer first diagnosed in January 2019. I worked with Doug at BNA Records during his first years as a recording artist, and like anyone who grew close to Doug I have conflicting memories of a generous, hardworking, free living, undependable, stubborn and self-destructive walking contradiction of a man. He r e s i s t e d m a n y t h i n g s t h e m u s i c “professionals” demanded of him. He refused to replace his bandmembers, change his name or record any music he didn’t feel was true to his own brand of country music. As is the case with most people, Doug’s strengths were his weaknesses and many of his traits that career music establishment members viewed as “unmanageable” resonated as authenticity among his fans. And authentic he was to the core. I was involved in the creation of his first music videos including “I Don’t Call Him Daddy,” and Doug insisted from the beginning that he be involved in the storyboarding and filming of the video.

He wanted to be certain it didn’t become some “cheesy” Dad-out-of-luck vignette. So “we” (as in Doug) cast his son, Phillip Supernaw (who ultimately played three seasons as a tight end for the Tennessee Titans), in the role of the little boy in the video torn between his stepfather and father. There is a scene wherein Doug rinses his son off with a water hose and dries his hair with the tire Page 6

pump at a gas station. It happened spontaneously at Doug’s insistence. During the filming we were driving to what was planned to be the next location, where dozens workers were set up and waiting. Doug yelled for us to stop when he spotted the station. The video director, Sherman Halsey, grabbed his hand-held camera, we hopped out of the van, and within 30 minutes the scene was filmed. Just a ty pical work day with Doug Supernaw. I remember a call from Doug when he told me he had a great idea for a party at his first Countr y Radio Seminar. I was almost afraid to ask for details, especially after he proudly announced it would be a “Spank Your Monkey” theme. Outlandish? You Doug Supernaw b e t . Un o r t h o d o x ? Without a doubt. But his idea of having stuffed toy monkeys launched by a paddle into a tub several yards away became the talk of the highly competitive convention. It didn’t hurt that he somehow talked Blair Garner, a nationally syndicated radio show host, to donate his fully restored 1965 red Mustang as a door prize. The ballroom was packed, and generous Doug invited dozens of established and up and coming country artists to attend and perform. It was the biggest event of CRS that year. Every day was an event in his early career. Whether it was flying to the stage of the Houston Livestock and Rodeo show via zipline, breaking his neck in Mexico from a surfing accident, surviving a head on car collision or signing autographs in the hot sun for more than 12 hours, Doug Supernaw always managed to do things his way. No compromise. Continued, p. 7.

December 2020

“As I travel down that blue bonnet highway I’m thankful I was born a lucky man, And I know that I will live and die my own way Somewhere between the Red and Rio Grande”

was determined that I have a paycheck. Others have written of Doug’s dark days. His divorces, legal issues, addiction problems and mental health issues. Those dark times were as real as his glory days, and a lot of people suffered by being too close to him. At the beginning, Doug had a promising career with singles such – wri&en by Doug Supernaw/Lonnie Alkinson as “Reno,” “I Don’t Call Him Daddy,” “Not Enough Hours In When we visited hospitals, he did not show up, The Night” and “What’ll You Do About Me”. His sing and get his photo taken for the press. Not was a star that rose fast and burned hot. But his Doug. He would get on the bed or floor with the personal demons insured that it was but a shooting children and TALK with them. More than once I star, not meant long for the sky. saw that tall Texan tear up after leaving a young It appears that in recent years Doug was able to patient who had a bad prognosis. And I discovered quiet those demons, marry Cissy Allen Supernaw early on that following any public performance I and begin recording with the hopes of a comeback. needed to build in far more time with his fans than I haven’t spoken to or seen Doug for years, but it any other artist I worked with in my career. does give me comfort to believe that he found Doug cared about people, really cared. He was peace and a quiet life. He died surrounded by not just another handsome country artist in people who loved him as he was, and that is, starched jeans. He was a human being who felt the perhaps the blessing he earned by virtue of his true pain of others and did what he could when he could heart…the one untouched by the vicissitudes of his to help. troubled mind. During our work tenure I loved him like a I choose to remember the mischie vous brother, and he drove me mad, often in the same prankster with the crooked grin and the heart as day. I had to chase him down on more than one big as his beloved Texas. Doug Supernaw made an occasion to get him out of bed and ready to attend impact on the lives of many people, and I for one an industry function. am glad to have ridden along with that shooting Before each and every press interview I had to star for a small part of its journey across the sky. take a deep breath and get ready to roll with whatever came out of his unfiltered mouth. We were kicked off the stage of Paradise Island in Disney World because he was told not to make fun of Mickey Mouse or cuss on the stage during his live performance. Three guesses as to the first thing he did. Doug never met a rule he didn’t want to break. Yet on the day the record label let me go for “being too much of an artist advocate,” the very first person to call me when word got out was Doug Supernaw. Although he knew it would cause problems in his relationship with BNA, he immediately and without hesitation offered to hire and pay me directly to be his publicist and video consultant. I will never forget that act of kindness. I was a single working mother, and Doug Supernaw Page 7

December 2020

A Folk Legend has Gone Fishin

By Claudia Johnson Arlo Guthrie, the folksinger who is known for his songs of protest against social injustice, announced on his Facebook profile in October that he is retiring. “It’s been a great 50+ years of being a working entertainer, but I reached the difficult decision that touring and stage shows are no longer possible,” Guthrie told his 261,434 followers. “I've cancelled the upcoming shows, and am not accepting offers for new ones.” The son of Woody Guthrie, who was also a protest songwriter and storytelling singer, Arlo Guthrie is best known for his debut piece, “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree.” The song is a satirical talking blues song about 18 minutes in length that inspired the film, “Alice's Restaurant,” with featured Guthrie. Page 8

“As a folksinger, I never really thought much about getting older,” Guthrie stated on Facebook. “It seemed to me that I could just continue year after year, decade after decade, singing and playing as I had done for most of my life. As the years went by, it got more difficult to keep touring, but I did it, mostly because I’d been doing it my entire life. It was the life I knew and loved.” The entertainer explained that in 2016 he suffered a mini stroke but continued touring for four more years. Then, on Thanksgiving Day he was on his way to The Church/The Guthrie Center to help with the annual Thanksgiving Dinner when he had another episode for which he wa s hospitalized. “I was … was under evaluation when I broke out,” he confessed. “I had an important gig at Carnegie Hall in New York – the end of an annual series I’d been doing for decades, and it was sold out. I had to be there. It was imperative. The next morning I left the hospital, took the family and headed for New York. And what a show it was! We wrapped up 50 years with a terrific evening with the entire family on stage. I really enjoyed it.” Two days after Guthrie made his postThanksgiving trip from his farm in Massachusetts to his second home in Sebastian, Florida, he suffered a serious stroke, which landed him in the hospital and required extensive rehabilitation therapy. “

December 2020

Guthrie, continued.

I’d lost some ability to walk, and I wondered if I would be able to play music,” Guthrie confided. “I spent about a week in a rehab center to re-learn the basics, like walking. I went home after that, and began a regimen of playing guitar, walking… All the things I would need to continue touring and performing. By the time our first shows began in 2020, I was at about 80% and felt like I was improving.” Then the pandemic hit. All the shows he had planned for 2020 were at first, postponed, then rescheduled and finally cancelled. “My hopes for a gradual recovery onstage came to an abrupt end,” he recalled. With the help of girlfriend Marti, he sold his home in Florida and relocated permanently to his farm. “Since then we’ve been holed up at The Farm trying to keep out of harm’s way and also trying to provide some online entertainment for our friends who were, and continue to be, holed up wherever they are,” he wrote. “My band and crew arranged a few short gigs that were filmed at The Church, but when I saw the play-back in the editing room I realized that it was not up to the standards I expected of myself, let alone the expectations that our friends and fans had come to enjoy.”

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Guthrie with his late wife, Jackie, & son, Abe. Jackie and Arlo were married 43 years when she died at age 68 in 2012 That hastened his decision to retire. “A folksinger’s shelf life may be a lot longer than a dancer or an athlete, but at some point, unless you’re incredibly fortunate or just plain whacko (either one or both) it’s time to hang up the ‘Gone Fishing’ sign,” he concluded. “Going from town to town and doing stage shows, remaining on the road is no longer an option.” Guthrie told his followers that at 73 he has no intention of abandoning his activism. “A healthy suspicion of authority, left, right or center has been the hallmark of my career since the beginning, and I will continue to poke fun at cultural, political or personal absurdities as I see it,” he reassured. “I’m actually looking forward to it.” To learn more about the mission of The Church/ The Guthrie Center, pictured at the left, which Guthrie supports, visit December 2020

Moe Bandy – Bulls, Broncos and Country Music By Claudia Johnson There aren’t many musical performers who’ve been on top of a bucking bull or bronco and on top of the country music charts, but Moe Bandy has. Before his honky-tonking country sound drew him to the spotlight, Bandy took center stage in another type of venue. “Dad had an arena called Bandy’s Arena where we’d all get together to ride bulls and play some music,” the singer said, recalling his youthful amusements. “That was right down my alley.” The family had moved from their hometown of Meridian, Miss., to San Antonio, Texas, area when Bandy was six years old, and by the time Bandy was 16 he and his brother, Mike, were participating in rodeos across the state. Bandy worked as a cowboy on a ranch and competed in bull riding and bareback bronco riding. “I got tired of bruises and fractured bones,” he said, explaining why he finally turned to music as a career. While growing up, Bandy’s mother played the piano and sang, and his father sang and played guitar with a local band called the Mission City Playboys, teaching young Marion, whom he nicknamed “Moe,” to play as well. “Dad wanted me to be a star,” said Bandy, whose successful career fulfilled his father’s

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wish by recording 10 Number One smashes, 40 Top Ten hits, 66 charted releases and five gold albums, plus earning an ACM/CMA award for Duet of the Year and being inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame. Three of Bandy’s recordings, “Bandy the Rodeo Clown,” “Rodeo Romeo” and “Someday Soon,” were especially appropriate given his longtime connection with rodeo. After Bandy became a successful country music singer, he played the rodeo circuit receiving the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association's award for Entertainer of the Year. He was also honored as Entertainer of the Year by the International Rodeo Association, and was named Texas Entertainer of the year by the Rodeo

December 2020

Bandy, continued. The singer ’s brother, Mike Bandy, had an i m p r e s s i v e r o d e o c a r e e r a n d w a s a s i x- t i m e National Finals Rodeo bull riding qualifier. Both Mike and Moe Bandy were inducted into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2007. For many year Bandy continued his relationship with the rodeo through his Professional Bull Riders bulls, one named and one named Bandy’s Bad Boy. “ made it to the finals four times, but he’s getting a little long in the tooth,” Bandy told CFR News in a 2015 interview. Now a resident of Branson, Mo., at age 76 he continues to perform regularly in Branson and at a variety of venues throughout the United States. “I’ve been playing music for close more than 50 years,” he said, observing, “I think we’re here for a purpose. I’ve been lucky to have this [music career].” Bandy said the favorite of all his recordings was “’Til I’m too Old to Die Young,” with lyrics that encapsulate his feelings about his life. “If I could have one wish today and know it would be done, I would say, everyone could stay ‘til they’re too old to die young.”

Visit Moe’s website for tour dates, merchandize and to order a copy of his book, “Lucky Me”

Don’t miss Moe Bandy on “Larry’s Country Diner” Dec. 17 & 19, 2020.

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December 2020

Nadine’s Corner I can't believe it's almost Christmas, but I sure am glad 2020 is just about over! This has been quite a year, hasn't it! I tell you right now, if 2020 was a drink, I think it would be called colonoscopy prep! I was praying for our country today and praying for a bright star to appear in the East over Washington DC Lord knows we could use some wise men up there! I bought my Christmas cards on sale in January. Now if I can just find them! Lost my list of names too. Now I don't know who my friends are! Everybody is coming to my house for Christmas dinner. I'm bringing out all my old traditional recipes. That should keep the guest list down. I was reading some recipes yesterday, and I tell you what, it's like science fiction. I get to the end of a recipe with 20 ingredients and 8 steps to get it done, and I think, well, this ain't happening! I get my can opener and get to work. Hopefully, we will have a Christmas Eve service this year. If your service doesn't involve candles being held by people who shouldn't be handling fire, you are missing one of the most exciting times of the Christmas season. Me and Homer wish all of y'all a very Merry Christmas and pray 2021 is a lot better than 2020! Remember to keep Christ in Christmas, and you'll be fine! Love y'all! Nadine

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December 2020

Areeda’s southern cooking by Areeda Schneider Stampley

Italian Cream Cake A delicious Christmas holiday dessert! 1/2 cup Crisco shortening 1 stick butter, room temperature 2 cups sugar 1 cup buttermilk 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 5 egg yolks 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted Cream together shortening, butter and sugar. Mix buttermilk and soda, then add to mixture; then add egg yolks and flour. Cream all ingredients together well. Add: 1 cup chopped nuts 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 can Angel Flake coconut (or frozen) Mix well, then add: 5 beaten egg whites Pour into 3 round greased cake pans. Bake 350 degrees about 25 minutes. Do not over bake. Frosting: 8 ounces cream cheese 1/2 stick butter, room temperature Cream together, then add: 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 box powdered sugar 1 cup chopped nuts Spread between layers and top of cake. Refrigerate after first day. To purchase Areeda’s Southern Cooking, a collection of old-fashioned recipes send $24.45 check (no credit cards) and mailing address to Areeda’s Southern Cooking, P. O. Box 202, Brentwood, TN 37024. Order online with PayPal or credit card at Page 13

December 2020

Gypsy Songman Jer ry Jeff Walker’s Life Remember ed By Claudia Johnson In the 1960s Jerry Jeff Walker was a street singer. In the '70s he led a musical movement. In the '8os h e w a l ke d a w a y f r o m t h e r e c o r d i n g industry. Singer-songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker, who was born Ronald Clyde Crosby on March 16, 1942, p a s s e d a w a y O c t . 2 3 , 2 0 2 0, a t a g e 7 8 f r o m throat cancer. A leading figure in the outlaw country music movement, Walker was best known for having written the 1968 song "Mr. Bojangles." A New York native, Walker began his career as a f o l k m u s i c i a n i n Gr e e n w i c h Vi l l a g e i n t h e mid-1960s. He co-founded a band with Bob Bruno in the late-1960s called Circus Maximus that put out two albums – one with the popular FM radio hit "Wind." When Bruno's interest in jazz diverged from Walker's interest in folk, Walker resumed his solo career and recorded his 1968 album, "Mr. Bojangles." The album's title song, "Mr. Bojangles," which has been covered by dozens of artists and became a Top 10 hit in the United States and Canada when recorded in 1971 by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, is about an obscure alcoholic but talented tap-dancing drifter who, when arrested and jailed in New Orleans, insisted on being identified only as "Bojangles." This was the nickname of dancer Bill Robinson, leading to speculation that Robinson was the subject of the song. In his autobiography, Gypsy Songman, Walker made it clear the man he met was white, which would indicate that Robinson was not the inspiration.

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Jerry Jeff Walker Further, in an interview with BBC Radio 4 in August 2008, he pointed out that at the time the jail cells in New Orleans were segregated along color lines, so his influence could not have been black. Walker settled in Austin, Texas, in the 1970s, and became a part of the outlaw country scene that included artists such as Michael Martin Murphey, Willie Nelson, Guy Clark, Waylon Jennings and Townes Van Zandt. In fact, Walker was mentioned by name in the lyrics of Jennings and Nelson's 1977 hit song "Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)." "Other than Willie, Jerr y Jeff is the most important musician to happen to Austin, Texas, I would have to say," Ray Benson of the country group Asleep at the Wheel told the Tennessean. "He really brought that folksinger/songwriter form to its height in Texas. And for that, he'll be eternal, because there's all these kids today that write songs in that mode." Rodney Crowell, who wrote several songs recorded by Walker posted about his friend on Facebook. “If you weren’t around in '73-'74, it’s hard to grasp just how much larger than life Jerry Jeff Walker actually was," Crowell said. "He, Willie Nelson and Doug Sahm defined, for me, the era on which the Austin, Texas, music scene still hangs its hat.” Crowell said that in recent years Walker had been calling him regularly, sometimes talking for more than an hour. Continued, p. 15.

December 2020

"I was happy to do most of the listening," Crowell wrote. "As we became friends, I got to know a most gentle soul. This means more to me than all the Rodney Crowell songs he recorded a hundred times over. This morning brought the taste of salty tears; this afternoon I bow my head in honor of his passing.” In 1985 Walker took control of his career and severed all major label ties. He and his wife Susan, to whom he was married from 1974 until his death, started their own label, Tried and True Music, in 1986 taking over every aspect of the creative process by unleashing a marketing and mana gement coup that was the precursor to the independent and digital revolution that has overwhelmed the major labels today, according to Walker's website. "Whether a backcountry saloon or a stadium filled with thousands of fans, he has brought people together to celebrate who they are and what they feel about life and love and freedom," Walker's website observes, adding, "The show never gets old. Jerry Jeff is singing his life story, what he knows of good times and bad.” During his career he recorded 36 albums. Sadly, The New York Times Magazine reported in June 2019 that Walker was among hundreds of artists whose material was destroyed in the 2008 Universal Studios fire. However, a movie about his life and career, "Ok, Buckaroos," uses some 50 years of archival footage, including performances, interviews and anecdotal stories from the artist's contemporaries. In 2017 Walker donated more than 100 boxes of his music archives to The Wittliff Collections at Texas State University, including tapes, photographs, hand-written lyrics and artifacts. Wa l ke r w a s k n o w n f o r h i s generosity, helping to launch the career of Jimmy Buffett and performing the songs of other writers. In recent years, through The Jerry Jeff Walker Tried & True Foundation, founded in 1999 he has supported popular music education by making it possible for young people to gain the valuable skills and training needed for a successful career in the professional music industry. This is achieved through scholarships to schools such as

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the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts in the U.K., and through an initiative to support a local, comparable program in the United States. "This came about after our son, Django, was accepted to the Institute and after witnessing the opportunities he was presented as a student there," Susan Walker explained. "At the time, there was no music school anywhere in the world that offered such advantages. He was creating music with talented kids from all over the world and learning their musical styles as well. We decided we wanted to make the experience available to musicians from the U.S. who were talented enough to be accepted but who couldn't financially attend otherwise. We then set up the Tried & True Scholarship with LIPA. The U.S. students must first be accepted talent wise and then must qualify for financial aid.” Django Walker is the headliner for a week of music and island recreation each January during an event hosted by Tried and True Music called Camp Belize on the Caribbean island where the Walker family owns a second home. Another event, Wa l ke r 's annual birthday celebration in Austin at the Paramount Theatre and at Gruene Hall in Gruene, Texas, brought some of the biggest names in country music out for a night of picking and swapping stories under the Austin skyline. "Jerry Jeff sees the world with a troubadour's eyes," his website states. "His songs are the way he makes the world make sense, how he passes on stories of the people he meets, the way he feels on a given morning. He has come full circle, back to his singer-songwriter roots. You might say he was heading this way all along.”

December 2020

Homes of the Legends by Renae Johnson

Porter Wagoner’s home is one of the easiest to find in Nashville. It’s only two miles from the Grand Ole Opry, Opry Mills shopping mall and the Opryland Hotel. Porter’s home was located at 2731 Pennington Bend Road, which is north of Briley Parkway and curves into a residential area. There are several entertainers who live on Pennington Bend Road, but don’t look for any big mansions. Wagoner’s ranch style house is 2,480-square-feet and sits on a 1.69-acre lot. Featuring three bedrooms and two bathrooms, it was built in 1965 and was Porter ’s home until his death in 2007. This was also the address of his business, Porter Wagoner Enterprises. Although he is remembered for his rhinestone suits and pompadour hair, he wa s k n o w n a s “ n e i g h b o r ” to everyone who lived around him. Wagoner’s career spanned almost 60 years. He charted 81 singles on the Country charts, including 29 Top 10 records. “The Porter Wagoner Show” was a big Page 16

hit for television and one of the first syndicated shows in Nashville, airing from 1960 to 1981. Por ter ’s final album in 2007 wa s cal led “Wagonmaster” produced by Marty Stuart. Porter was honored at the Grand Ole Opry on his 80th birthday, May 19, 2007, for his 50 years of membership. He died on Oct. 28, 2007, of lung cancer.

December 2020

The Final Sale September 12, 13 and 14, 2019, there was a three-day estate sale at his home on Pennington Bend Road. Only 25 people were allowed in the house at a time. No photos were allowed inside the house, and there were long lines for many of the oneof-a-kind items. Police were there to direct parking. A follow up sale was held Sept 26, 27, 28. Some of the items are pictured here.

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December 2020

Promising Young Singer Wins WSM Radio 1958 Pet Milk Talent Search

By Claudia Johnson

Margie Marie Bowes was a promising young singer as the 1959 holiday season approached. She had just recently won the Pet Milk Talent Search, a national competition conducted by WSM radio, and had a "Poor Old Heartsick Me," in the Top 10. The 18-year-old was interviewed by Tennessean writer Pat Anderson, who called her “a pleasant bundle of confusion,” adding that “she’s not sure she’s a country singer.” Bowes told Anderson that while on tours she was singing pop songs on the teenage dance shows in the afternoon and Country on the night shows. “Sometimes I don’t even know what clothes to wear,” she said. Anderson was impressed with the young woman, calling her polite and pretty and that she “insists on calling anyone over 20 ‘sir.’” “But Margie is more than a sweet young thing,” Anderson wrote. “For one thing she can sing.” He noted that she was closely identified with Country music, but “her mannerisms, her attitude Page 18

and sometimes her voice are closer to the pop field, if not to Jazz.” Bowes told Anderson that she was “just a cutup” with her accompanying musicians, admitting, “ I guess I should be more of a lady.” Clearl y impressed by the young singer, Anderson found her to be talented, self-confident and ambitious. “Margie is no wide-eyed gal in calico,” the writer insisted. “She has come a long way and wants to go farther, she just doesn’t know where.” One of nine children, she was born March 18, 1941, in rural Person County, N.C., and grew up in Roxboro, N.C. She began singing in elementary school. Winning an amateur talent competition at the Palace Theatre in Roxboro led to her first job at a radio station. By the time she was 13 years old, she was appearing on TV p r o g r a m s i n c l u d i n g W DVA Vi r g i n i a Barn Dance in Danville, W R XO -A M in Roxboro and other radio programs in North Carolina. After winning the Pe t M i l k Ta l e n t Search in 1959, she became a frequent Grand Ole Opry guest star and released a string of singles. A Billboard magazine poll placed her as the second most promising “girl singer” in Country music and fifth in the “favorite female singer” division. December 2020

Wilburn Brothers & Margie Bowes Bowes told the journalist that she seldom dated because she was so busy touring and that “drinking and running around don’t mix with a successful career.” During Christmas of 1959 Bowes joined Roy Acuff and the Wilburn Brothers on a USO tour in the Caribbean. By Christmas of 1961 she was married to Doyle Wilburn. The marriage did not last, but the pair had one daughter, Sharon Renae, who was also a singer. Sharon passed away in January 2020 at age 57. “Some have criticized Doyle for not concentrating on helping his talented wife succeed further, while instead aiding unknown Loretta Lynn’s climb up the ladder of success (though nine years Margie’s senior),” stated Bowes' obituary. In 1966 Bowes appeared in a movie called “Golden Guitar” along with Bill Anderson, Bill Carlisle, Del Reeves, Charlie Louvin and other popular Country stars of that time.Then there came a comedy ,“Cotton Pickin’ Chicken Pickers,” a year later, with veteran film star Sonny Tufts, comic boxer Slapsie Maxie Rosenbloom, Bowes, Del Reeves, David Houston, Mel Tillis and Greta Thyssen. Bowes continued to release singles through the 1970s, but her last record to chart was in 1963. Neither Bowes nor Wilburn, who died in 1982, ever remarried. In 1995, Bowes was in a car accident in which she suffered a serious foot injury resulting in numerous operations and an amputation in 2004. Page 19

Margie Bowes on Grand Ole Opry In later years she ran her publishing company from home, and took up other hobbies like writing and designing cards and painting pictures. Bowes passed away on Oct. 22, 2020. Her family requested that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Grand Ole Opry Trust, which benefits those in need in the Country music industry. December 2020

Michael Buffalo Smith, Prisoner of Southern Rock Michael Buffalo Smith is an author, music journalist and performing songwriter from Spartanburg, S.C. He grew up there during the heat of the seventies Southern Rock boom at a time when his hometown heroes The Marshall Tucker Band were at the top of their game. Even then, Buffalo was sowing the seeds that would one day find him referred to the “Ambassador of Southern Rock.” In the coming months, Country’s Family Reunion NEWS will be publishing interviews with some of Country and Southern Rock’s legends. Many of these artists have passed away, but Smith’s interviews will keep them alive in our memories. Buffalo worked many jobs as newspaper editor, features writer, columnist, sports reporter, layout designer and more along with many years in radio as an announcer, copy writer, DJ and production coordinator. He also logged several years as a radio air personality catering to the sounds of the beautiful south while singing and playing his own music on weekends, and recording five albums that featured many of the stars of Southern Rock, including Bonnie Bramlett, Pete Carr, George McCorkle, Tommy Crain, JoJo Billingsley, and John D. Wyker. In 1997 Buffalo’s first book was published by Marshall Tucker Entertainment of Beverly Hills, CA. Carolina Dreams: The Musical Legacy of Upstate SC is a history of the MTB and all the other great music that came from the region. Smith began writing for various regional and national publications including The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Spartanburg Herald Journal, The Greenville Journal, Y’all, Relix, Mojo, Hittin The Note, Discoveries, and Goldmine where he became the “go to” writer for all things Southern rock. He created several 10,000 word cover stories including features on The Allman Brothers Band, Marshall Tucker, Charlie Daniels, and Gov’t Mule (in their first ever magazine cover story.) He also wrote many features on everything from surf music to Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent, Kansas, Koko Taylor, Frank Zappa and record collecting, as well as hundreds of album reviews. In 1998, Buffalo founded the online magazine GRITZ and began a ride that lasted over 12 years,

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including three years as a glossy print magazine.. During the GRITZ years, Buffalo conducted countless interviews and wrote hundreds of features, reviews and columns/blogs. In 2006 he joined forces with another internet site and continued doing what he does best, writing about Southern music. When CMT needed a Southern Rock authority to appear on their Outlaw Country and Southern Rock special, they enlisted Buffalo. He was later featured on the documentary section of the Shout! Factory release Live from the Garden State by The Marshall Tucker Band. Released in September, 2012, Prisoner of Southern Rock, with a foreword by Billy Bob Thornton, was published by the prestigious Mercer University Press of Macon, Georgia. His second book on the Mercer imprint, Rebel Yell: An Oral History of Southern Rock, followed in October 2014. He has also self-published a 500-page collection of his Southern Rock interviews and an equally massive sequel, as well as a book on the Greenville Memorial Auditorium (Greenville, SC) called The Brown Box. He is also working on a collection of southern based fiction short stories, a Southern novel, a collection of children's stories, and a screenplay. He also publishes an online magazine called KUDZOO, dealing with southern music and life. Michael is also very musical. He would sit and watch TV with his dad, watching shows like "Hee Haw" and "Austin City Limits," trying to play along by ear. By now, he had learned how to tune a guitar, "kind of." Eventually becoming quite proficient on guitar and playing in several bands, he has appeared on stage with many famous artists including Bonnie Bramlett (Delaney & Bonnie); Billy Bob Thornton and The Boxmasters; The Marshall Tucker Band; The Charlie Daniels Band; Molly Hatchet; The Winters Brothers Band; Paul Thorn; Tommy Crain & The Crosstown Allstars; among many others. He has opened for Paul Thorn, David Alan Coe, The Charlie Daniels Band, Molly Hatchet, Bad Company, The Marshall Tucker Band, Blackfoot, Brian Howe, The Southern Rock Allstars, New Legacy Duo and others.

December 2020

Cowboy Jack Clement Interview, May 2006 by Michael Buffalo Smith The following interview appears in the book My Kind of Country: Conversations with Cowboys, Gamblers, Outlaws and Songwriters by Michael Buffalo Smith Cowboy Jack Clement was a true Nashville legend if ever there was one. From his days working at Sun Studios, to writing hit songs for Johnny Cash, to producing Waylon Jennings and Charley Pride, Cowboy Jack always kept it real - and eclectic. I had a great time talking with Jack by phone back in 2006 and meeting him in Nashville at the Americana Music Conference that same year. Sadly, Jack passed away on Aug.8, 2013, after battling liver cancer. He was 82.

Cowboy Jack Clement How did you first come to work with Sam Philips and Sun Records? I had been in the Marine Corps, been to college, and played in clubs and done Boston Jamboree and had gone back to Memphis and started working in

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this building supply place. Along the way I had begun getting interested in producing and doing the other side of the control room window, and we were going to start a record company. I had built a studio in a friend’s garage. We wound up cutting a record. I had not finished the studio in such a way that we could do an actual master. We went down and rented a radio studio in Memphis, WMPS, and did a couple of track sides with Billy Lee Riley and we were going to get it pressed. At that time Sam Phillips was the guy that did mastering in town. I had Wednesday off and I took it to him one day and went back the next week to pick it up and he was sitting up front. I don’t think that there was anybody there but him at that time. He took me into the back of the studio and said that he really liked that record. He said, in fact, that it was some of the first rock and roll anyone had brought to him. He wanted to put it on Sun Records and pay us a penny a record. I told him that I would talk it over and let him know. He asked me what I had been doing, and I told him that I had been going to Memphis State and was now working in the Hardware Department at Clark and Fay. He wanted me to come to work with him. I told him that might be a good idea. (Laughs) Then exactly two weeks later, on June 15th, I went to work for him, and boy was I having fun. The first thing I wanted to know was how did you get that echo. I was there for close to three years. One thing I wanted to ask you about- I read somewhere you were one of the first people to record Jerry Lee Lewis... is that correct? What did you think about him the first time you met him? I was at the studio one day piddling around and Sally Wilburn, who worked the front office, came back into the studio and said, “there’s a guy here that says he plays the piano like Chet Atkins.” I asked her to bring him back. He came in and sat down and played “Wildwood Flower” on a little piano, and he sounded like Chet Atkins playing the piano. I was amused and entertained, but I thought, what are you going to do with it. I asked him if he sang. He said yes, and sang a couple of George Jones songs, “Seasons of My Heart,” and “Window Up Above.”

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I loved his sound and his singing with piano. I and then when he heard the voice he totally flipped. taped some of it and started playing it for everyone He cut an acetate right there in the control room and that came in. I played it for Sam and he loved it. He took it to Dewey Phillips that night and he played it almost chewed me out - saying I might have let that on the air and by Thursday we had records in the one get away. I didn’t remember anyone giving me the stores, at least in Memphis. That was back when the power to sign people up. (Laughs) I was about to give record business was fun. This was a single, not an him a call and then he showed up one day on a album. Monday in October. So anyway, before he left the first time I told him I guess it was at Sun that you first met Johnny that we were not doing too much country at the time Cash. I grew up idolizing him. Could you give us but to find some rock n’ roll. He had written a song some insight into him as an artist and as a man? called “The Road,” which was pretty good, but he also had a song written by Gene Autry, Artist-wise he was my favorite. it was a love song and a waltz, Man - wise, he is just as good a called “Your The Only Star In friend as I ever had. I miss him My Blue Heaven.” He rocked it very much and think about him and I loved it. I said okay, come every day. I loved the man. on in on Thursday, and I will Working with him was great. have some players and we will We clicked to start with and he cut some tapes. had this real sense of humorSam was on the road driving and I did as well. He liked to to the convention in Nashville hear songs and so did I. at that time, so we went ahead When I first started working and cut those two songs. We around there he was doing were about to quit when I things that he had written but asked him if he knew “Crazy then I started playing some Arms,” and he said yes, a little things that I had written and he of it. At that time that song had was very receptive to songs and already peaked and had been a liked to hear them. big hit by Ray Price for months Sometimes I would play him and months and then by the something, not really thinking Andrew Sisters. he would want to record it but But we cut it anyway. Billy just because I felt he might Riley was playing bass in the e n j o y i t . L i ke “ B a l l a d o f Johnny Cash, Roy Acuff & Jack Clement bathroom and Roland wa s Te e n a g e Q u e e n , ” I h a d playing guitar up front recorded that myself, and it had someplace. So the only instruments on that song were the vocal group on it and everything. I played it for piano and drums. him and just wanted to see if he liked it. He not only That was his first record, “Crazy Arms,” and when liked it, but wanted to record it. It was a hit and Sam Sam came in on Monday I played it for him and he Philips hated it. One time he told me that the more stopped it before it ever got to the voice, he said that he heard that thing the less he liked it, and everybody he could sell that. As if to say that we had finally done around there loved hearing it. It was too strange for something he liked around here. Sam, but it was strange. It was the sound of the piano, because it was a Spinet piano with thumbtacks in the hammers. I Yeah, and that’s what made it good. How do you found that if I miked it from the bottom rather than feel like they handled the Walk The Line movie, the top that it took the ping out of it. That was did you enjoy that? actually the sound of “Crazy Arms” and “Whole Lotta Yeah, I appreciated it and the fact that those Shakin’ Goin’ On.” By the time we got to “Great Balls actors became singers. I’m kind of nutty because I like of Fire” we had gone out and gotten a baby grand actors that are singers. Actors seem to understand piano. That was the sound. singing more than singers understand acting. Like Before we ever got to the singin’ part he reached Richard Harris, that did “McArthur Park,” the British over and stopped the machine and said he could sell it guy. I loved that.

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In that movie, the way they portrayed Sam Philips, was that accurate? Oh, it was alright. There was not enough of it. Sam is a hard person to capture visually, because he had movements and mannerisms and all of that. I think they could have done better casting of Sam Philips. All that dialogue between Sam and Johnny- I don’t think that it happened like that anyway. I told a friend that I seriously doubted that they started playing “Folsom Prison Blues” and then worked it up as they went along like that... (Laughs) I went up to see that Broadway show Ring of Fire last week because I have two songs in it, “Dirty Old Egg Suckin’ Dog” and “Flushed from The Bathroom of Your Heart.” It was a fun show. I totally enjoyed it. Several years ago I was going to produce a tribute album of Johnny Cash’s songs, and they had to be all songs he wrote or co-wrote. This was a tribute to Johnny Cash the composer. I was going to take the songs and treat them like they were brand new songs, and just interpret them as if I had never heard them. I never finished it but got a really good cut with Marty Stuart singing “Train of Love.” That was 7-8 years ago and I may do that yet. But anyway, in a lot of ways this show did that and there were lots of songs in there that he didn’t write like mine and some others, Kristofferson and others that he recorded. But he wrote most of them. It was a Broadway show that really didn’t have a plot or dialog and the story is revealed in the song lyrics. I thoroughly enjoyed it. A critic in New York kind of panned it. Oh well, they tend to do that. One thing I wanted to ask you about on the same subject kind of -on the Million Dollar Quartet - how did that come to be? Well, first of all Carl Perkins was cutting a session, Sam was engineering it and I am sitting in the control room. Jerry Lee had been in town for a few weeks and I was using him on session, and I had convinced Sam and Carl to hire Jerry Lee to play the piano and that is the reason Jerry Lee was there. He was hired to do piano. The thing we did that day that was memorable was “Matchbox.” Johnny Cash was there because Carl had invited him and they were good buddies. The session was about to end and Elvis walked in with a small entourage and of course everything just sort of stopped. Sam went next door to Taylor’s Restaurant. They were talking and pretty soon started jamming on some old gospel tunes, and the mikes were still out there so I turned on the volume because I was still in the control room. I was thinking that I would be remiss not to record some of this so I put on a tape and walked out into the studio and moved a couple of the mikes around

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where the people were jamming and stuff and let it roll. Every time the tape would end I would put another one on. So I think that there was about a total of about one and a half hours of it recorded that day. Nobody thought much about those tapes and they just sat there in the control room and now it has found its way onto a record. I think they are going to prerelease it. Someone sent me a bootleg copy of the whole thing it’s like about an hour and a half. Oh, it may be. I don’t know if the whole thing is on there though, because it seemed like there is an awful lot of stuff. There were several tapes. It sounded like they were having fun. That was the only time I had ever pushed the recording button in the studio with Elvis, but I had worked with him on some shows and night clubs. He always came by Sun because it was a homing instinct. He always called Sam “Mr. Philips.” He would drop by periodically when he came to town and he was there a good bit of the time. He liked to jam. When I was looking over all of the things that you have done it was hard to narrow it down, but I wanted to know about some of these people that you have worked with. How about John Hartford - did you enjoy that?

Did you hear the album Gum Tree Canoe? Yes. I am very proud of that one. We worked on that for a year or so and we weren’t in any big hurry. During that time I went out and played gigs with him and went to New York and played with the Nashville Symphony one time and all kinds of stuff. It was kind of an adventure. I had known him for years - not real well – but I knew him when he was in town before he went to California. He was hanging out with Tompall and the Glasers and I was producing them, but I didn’t really know the guy. One time I was doing a job for Johnny Cash and I needed a fiddle player and I called him and he came over and fiddled and enjoyed my place. Later on, he asked me if I would help him produce the record. That’s when we got into Gum Tree Canoe. As a songwriter, you have written all kinds of great songs. I have to say that “Dirty Old, EggSuckin’ Dog” is one of my favorites. I just love a tender love song like that. When you write songs do you have a particular process? I have a tendency to start in the middle, but don’t really have a format. I tend to come up with ideas while driving my car. I can just sing as bad as I want to in the car.

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Of all the albums that you have produced do you have a favorite? It’s probably “Dreaming My Dreams” by Waylon Jennings.

Is it true that you have worked with Paul McCartney? No, I didn’t. I did an album with Johnny Cash called Water From the Wells of Home, a series of duets. While he was in England he went to Paul’s house and they did a song together, and then he

brought the master back to me and I had to fix it. So we co-produced that one track, he started it and I finished it. We were not doing it at the same time. I did spend an evening with him one night, him and Linda. He was in town one time for about six weeks. He had rented a house on the lake so he had a party. I was dating Johnny Cash’s sister Reba at that time. We were out on the lake eating and then everyone left and we sat around in the kitchen with Paul and Linda and their little kids. We sat around and smoked cigarettes and talking and stuff, just having fun. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I asked him if he ever had a record he was completely happy with and he said he liked “Yesterday.” I asked him if he ever thought about cutting it again.He said no. It didn’t offend him but I thought maybe he might want to do it again in 20 years or so. (sings “Yesterday”) You were instrumental in Charlie Daniels’ career too. Yeah, I paid for his first record and produced his first 20 albums. There is a lot of material in there.

Christmas in Mexico is Holiday Escape Countr y music power couple T. G. Sheppard and Kelly Lang have released a brand-new holiday single titled “Christmas in Mexico.” The duet is a sweet and romantic trip to sandy beaches and warm sunny days, buoyed by the sounds of mariachi trumpets and steel drums. An accompanying music video premiered exclusively on Music Crowns featuring footage of the duo in the studio recording the song. “We’re always singing and making music together and it just felt like the right time for a fun and dreamy song about Christmas,” says Lang, who has been married to Sheppard since 2007. “Christmas in Mexico” kicks off Sheppard’s new licensing deal with Time Life Retail and will be followed with digital reissues of nine albums that feature 10 of his 21 #1 hits as well as “ Ic o n i c D u e t s , ” t h e f a n - f a v o r i te a l b u m h e r e c o r d e d with Lang in 2014. The catalog reflects 25 years of Sheppard’s career, beginning with his 1979 release, “3/4 Lonely.” “Smooth Sailin’,” “I Love ‘Em All” (with T. G.’s first top 40 pop hit, “I Loved ‘Em Every One”), “Finally!,” “Perfect Stranger,” “Slow Burn,” “One Owner Heart” and “T.G.” are also included in the deal. “As long as I’ve got Kelly and my family by my side, I’m in paradise,” said Sheppard, “but picturing all of us heading down to Mexico for Christmas is like looking into a little slice of heaven.”

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By Claudia Johnson Some novelty songs are popular for a while before just fading away. Then there are some that last decades. And love it or hate it, "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” has endured. The zany story tells how Grandma staggers outside during a snowstorm, drunk of spiked eggnog and off her meds, and is found dead Christmas day having been trampled by Santa’s reindeers. Songwriter Randy Brooks told Reuters Media in a 2007 interview that the song has been both “my blessing and my albatross.” “It’s paid the college tuition for my two kids,” he said. Brooks explained that he had car trouble in Lake Tahoe during December 1978, and while he and his band were stuck in the resort town, he was invited onto the sta ge by Elmo and Patsy Shropshire, a Country and Bluegrass duo, who were headlining at a local club. Brooks played the song, and Elmo, a veterinarian, and competitive runner who is now 84, asked to record it. The following year, Elmo minted stacks of the tune under his own label on 45-rpm records with a Page 25

song called “Christmas” on the back, selling them at shows long before DJs starting spinning it on air. While the record did not chart originally, it began to make it into the charts several times during the ‘80s and ‘90s, having been listed in Billboard’s US Hot 100, US Hot Country Singles & Tracks and Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles. It was released in the United Kingdom in 1980 but did not chart, perhaps indicating that some kinds of humor just do not translate. During live performances Elmo would dress in dra g as Grandma, a role he reprised for a mid-1980s’ release of a music video in which Elmo also played Grandpa and his then-wife and duet partner, Patsy, portrayed Cousin Mel. The video ran on MTV for some 20 years during the holiday season, also airing regularly on other cable channels like VH1, CMT, TNN, GAC and VH1 Classic. It’s enjoyed today by a quick search on YouTube. In contrast to the original recording, Grandma returns at the end of the video and was not dead after all. Continued, p. 27. December 2020

Elmo & Patsy

recorded his own topical parody titled "Osama Got Run Over by a Reindeer" on the 2002 White Trash Christmas album. Not everyone has found Brooks’ original song lovable, though in 2007 Elmo insisted during a Washington Post interview that it is "a beloved holiday favorite.” ”My royalties are four or five times what they were 20 years ago,” Elmo, who performs the song with his bluegrass group year-round, told the post. "A lot of younger people say it's not really Christmas until they hear it.” Elmo, who performs now as Dr. Elmo, recorded it solo in 1992 after he and Patsy divorced. He also released a sequel that year, "Grandpa's Gonna Sue the Pants Off of Santa,” which he wrote for his album, “Dr. Elmo's Twisted Christmas.” Other versions of the original by Dr. Elmo were released in 2000, 2002 and 2007. Time Life Records released “Dr. Elmo's Bluegrass Christmas in 2010,” which featured a bluegrass instrumental of "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” Dr. Elmo shared his advice for creating a successful Christmas song with Marin Magazine in 2014. “The “Grandma” song has Grandpa watching football, the eggnog, the goose, blue and silver candles — it has all the trappings of Christmas but with this bizarre twist,” he said. “So I think if you’re going to do a Christmas song, you have to keep the traditional in it and then look for something that throws people for a little bit of a loop.”

Grandma also survives the ordeal in the 2000 animated television program “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer ,“ which was narrated and voiced by Elmo himself and is usually aired on Cartoon Network and The CW as part of their Christmas programming. The song has been covered by numerous performers from across the last 40 years. Ray Stevens recorded it in 2016. Country a cappella band Home Free covered it on their 2014 Christmas album, “Full of Cheer.” The Irish Rovers made it a seasonal Canadian hit in 1982, first on country stations, then on Top 40 stations. It remains a seasonal holiday favorite still played on Canadian radio. Danish comedy band Linie 3 released a cover version of the song in 1984, with a slight change to the original lyrics and in Danish. Already absurd, “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” has been easy to parody, with at least five wellknown parody releases including C l e d u s T. Ju d d ’s 1 9 9 6 s e q u e l "Grandpa Got Run Over by a John Deere.” "Grandpa Got Run Over by a John Deere.” Radio personality Bob Rivers Page 26

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Country’sMerry Family Reunion to stop Christmas to all of our friends of “Larry’s Country Diner.” airing on RFD-TV end of December

What a year we have been through! I don’t

Country’s Family Reunion will computers, smart TVs, or any interknow about but I am ready a BRIGHT stop airing on RFD-TV the endyou of guysnet streaming device.for If you are NEW YEAR. I am excited about the new “Diner” December. BUT, you can still watch unsure whether you can access it, call tapings and by some shows on Service the road! There are so over 20 years-worth of shows Customer at 800-820-5405 subscribing to Country Roadideas TV forand and theyfor will2021, be happy help way you to many new plans andtoone only $9.99 a month. With your subdetermine if you can and how. You stay tuned is by ordering the new 2021 Diner scription you can watch all of the can also sign up for a free trial periCalendar. Country’s Family Reunion shows as od. has all of the legal of the well as 18 seasons ofItLarry’s Andholidays, if you likebirthdays sports, you are cast and more than 24 photos of the cast Country Diner, Small Town Big also able to watch CFR’s Alabama,and friends. I will only Georgia, have them available for a few Deal, Gearz, BamaQ, Nashville Auburn, and Oklahoma Insider, Ralph Emery (audio interFootball Legends series well asmiss months so asdon’t views), Joey + Rory, Marty Robbins Stockcar Legends gettingseries. one. Spotlight and much more. See the ad on page 12 or call for Country Road TV is available on more information

T.G. Sheppard and Kelly Lang release Christmas in Mexico Country music power couple T.G. Sheppard and Kelly Lang have released a brand-new holiday single titled “Christmas in Mexico.” The duet is a sweet and romantic trip to sandy beaches and warm sunny days, buoyed by the sounds of mariachi trumpets and steel drums. An accompanying music video premiered exclusively on Music Crowns featuring footage of the duo in the studio recording the song. “We’re always singing and making music together and it just felt like the right time for a fun and dreamy song about Christmas,” says Lang,

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who has been married to Sheppard since 2007. “Christmas in Mexico” kicks off Sheppard’s new licensing deal with Time Life Retail and will be followed with digital reissues of nine albums that feature 10 of his 21 #1 hits as well as “Iconic Duets,” the fanfavorite album he recorded with Lang in 2014. The catalog reflects 25 years of Sheppard’s career, beginning with his 1979 release, “3/4 Lonely.” “Smooth Sailin’,” “I Love ‘Em All” (with T. G.’s first top 40 pop hit, “I Loved ‘Em Every One”), “Finally!,” “Perfect Stranger,” “Slow Burn,” “One Owner Heart” and “T.G.” are also included in the deal. “As long as I’ve got Kelly and my family by my side, I’m in paradise,” said Sheppard, “but picturing all of us heading down to Mexico for Christmas is like looking into a little slice of heaven.”

MERRY CHRISTMAS to all of our friends of Larry’s Country Diner. What a year we have been through. I don’t know about you guys but I am ready for a BRIGHT NEW YEAR. I am excited about new Diner show tapings and some shows on the road!! There are so many new ideas and plans for 2021 so stay tuned.

Order at

I am also working hard finishing up the 2020 Country’s Family Reunion News book, which has every publication from 2012 until 2020. There are hundreds of articles, interviews and columns you will not find anywhere else.

AND one way to stay tuned is getting the NEW 2021 DINER CALENDAR.

It has all of the legal holidays listed, birthdays of the cast, and over 24 photos of the cast and friends. I will only have them available for a few months so don’t miss getting one. Price $19.95 + $6.95 s/h

December 2020 I am also working hard fin‐ ishing up the 2020 Newspaper Book. Every

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December 2020

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