Country Reunion Magazine, September 2021

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Country Reunion m a g a z i n e

September 2021

Mandy Barnett Razzy Bailey Keith Bilbrey

The Gatlin Brothers Lacy J. Dalton

Milton Estes David Allan Coe Minn ie Pear l Glenn Sutton

June … and2021more


Country Reunion Magazine Who’s inside? Mandy Barnett, p. 4 Razzy Bailey, p. 6 Lacy J. Dalton, p. 8 Connie Smith, p. 8 Music Row Memories, p. 10 The Gatlins p. 12 Milton Estes, p.14 Apple Pie, p. 16 Star-Grave – Minnie Pearl, p.17 BlackHawk, p. 18 Diner Chat, p. 20 David Allan Coe, p. 22 Heart of Texas, p. 25

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 Online Subscriptions $15 per year http://countryreunionmagaine.com/ Annual Print Subscriptions $29.95; renewals $24.95 To subscribe or renew call 1-800-8 20-5405 or mail payment to November 2020 PO Box 610 Price, UT 84501


November 2020


The Sweet Dream of Mandy By Claudia Johnson Mandy Barnett’s career has been a sweet dream. “I've been performing since I was a kid, so I ' v e h a d s o m a n y wo n d e r f u l , f u n n y a n d memorable experiences out on the road and on stage,” said Barnett, who began singing at age five. As a 12-year-old, Barnett won a singing competition at Dollywood and made her first appearance at the Opry. “I've been blessed to be a frequent guest on the Grand Ole Opry for many years,” said Barnett in an exclusive interview with Country Reunion magazine. “I've shared the Opry stage with an amazing group of true legends such as Porter Wa goner, Loretta Lynn, Jean Shepard, Jeannie Seely, Jan Howard, Bill Anderson, Jim Ed Brown, Connie Smith, and of course, Little Jimmy Dickens. There's no place as special as the Opry stage.” Page 4

See more videos on Country Road TV While still in her teens, the Crossville, Tenn., native gained international accolades by portraying country music legend Patsy Cline in the stage show “Always . . . Patsy Cline” at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. “I always considered it an honor to step into Patsy's (high-heeled!) shoes and bring her music and style to audience members, who in all likelihood never got to see Patsy herself perform, as Patsy was tragically young when she died,” Barnett said. September 2021


Barnett said she’s been proud to keep Cline’s memory and songs alive, even releasing “Sweet Dreams” in 2011, an album featuring her renditions of songs previously recorded by Cline. However, Barnett has also forged ahead with her own successful recording projects and concerts. Her album "I've Got a Right to Cry" was a huge critical success, named b y Ro l l i n g Stone magazine as 1999’s top country album. Barnett’s songs are featured movie soundtracks for “Drop Dead Gorgeous,” “A Walk on the Moon,” “Space Cowboys” and others. Her rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” from her 2010 Christmas album “Winter Wonderland” was used in USA Network’s drama “Political Animals.” Barnett said that her fondest career memories, however, are of performing with artists whose work she’s admired. “Countr y Music Hal l of Fame member and renowned guitarist Harold Bradley used to be in my band, and he still sits in with us once in a while,” she said, adding, that Bradley played with her at her Nashville Symphony Orchestra debut last year. “When Harold's with us, sometimes while I'm singing on stage, I'll turn and just watch him and listen to him play. It's a treat that always makes me smile.” Bradley was among the stellar lineup of musicians who played on Barnett’s 2013 album “I Can’t Stop Loving Yo u : T h e S o n g s o f D o n Gibson,” which she recorded in keeping with a promise to legendary songwriter and her 2021-22 Tour dates close friend, Gibson, before his death. “Besides my memories of performing with amazing artists and musicians, I also cherish memories about fans I've met,” Barnett said, calling them “welcoming and loyal.” Page 5

She muses that every so often, things happen out on the road that illustrate how truly loyal country music fans are. “Years back, I was playing an outdoor festival during the day, and it was sweltering hot,” she recalled. “I could feel my make-up melting, and audience members were using their hands as fans to try to cool themselves down. A woman at the show was a die-hard country music lover and was so excited to be there, but at some point, she got terribly overheated and had to be taken by ambulance to get medical attention. About three hours later, though, she was back in the audience because she didn't want to miss Marty Stuart's performance that came after mine. That was one devoted country music fan!” Barnett continues to maintain a rigorous performance schedule that includes stage, radio, theater and television, and she has no intention of s to p p i n g . He r 2 0 2 1 s c h e d u l e , a v a i l a b l e a t mandybarnett.com, has the performer appearing at a variety of venues, including “Larry’s Country Diner” on August 26. “I wouldn't trade my performance and road memories for anything,” she said. “Singing for an audience is what feeds me. When I'm on stage, there's nowhere else I'd rather be. It's been a dream come true.”

Mandy at as Patsy Cline singing "Crazy" September 2021


Razzy Bailey Passes Away at 82 by Sasha Dunavant

Singer-songwriter Rasie Michael “Razzy” Bailey, 82, passed away Aug. 4, 2021, at his home near Nashville. In a 2008 interview with Bronson Herrmuth, Bailey discussed his music career, including when he made his first recordings at 10-years-old. “We didn’t even have electrical when I was 10years-old,” Razzy Bailey revealed. “We lived in an old farmhouse out there in Five Points, Alabama, and didn’t have runnin’ water or electrical or anything. I hadn’t really even started playing the guitar until I was 10.” He explained to Herrmuth about how he learned to play guitar. “I didn't know anybody that I knew that could play the guitar, so I played harmonica, you know just self-taught on the harmonica for about a year or two and then one day there was a guy that came to our school that was teaching guitar lessons so I signed up with him and took about four or five lessons,” Bailey said. “Pretty soon I could play ahead of myself. In other words, he would show me something, and I'd just run through it. I was supposed to be learning how to read notes, and he'd get aggravated because I'd play it without the notes. The rest of it was self-taught and sitting in with older musicians.” Bailey got his first experience at musical performance as a member of his high school's Future Farmers of America string band. At 15 he led a string band took second place at a talent show at Auburn University. However, Bailey married young, leaving little time to pursue music fulltime, yet he continued writing and playing gigs in Alabama and Georgia. He founded several bands, including Daily Bread and The Aquarians, but his recording success was slow to come. “I had been recording through the ‘60s occasionally, just like the single I did when I was 19,” he told Herrmuth. “About every two, three or four years I'd manage to get a single out on some label, and sometimes it'd be something I wrote and sometimes I didn't. The first real success I had was with "I Hate Hate," a song that I'd written.” Page 6

Bailey wrote several successful songs for Atlantic Records. One of those, “9,999,999 Tears,” reached No. 3 in 1976 after being recorded by Dickey Lee. His first hit as a singer-songwriter, "What Time Do You Have To Be Back in Heaven?," was on the charts for more than four months. His first hit as a singer-songwriter, "What Time Do You Have To Be Back in Heaven?," was on the charts for more than four months. Bailey recalled with amazement the day that three major labels offered him recording deals within a 20 minute period. “I was rehearsing with the band in Macon, Georgia, and I got a phone call from Bell Records complimenting me on my single and asking if they could pick up the album,” he said. “After hanging up the phone and going back to the practice session, it wasn’t but just a few minutes later that MGM and Capital called.”

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By 1978 Bailey had signed with RCA Records. After “Heaven,” he had six consecutive No. 1 hits, including “Loving Up A Storm,” “I Keep Coming Back,” “Friends,” “Midnight Hauler” and “She Left Love All Over Me.” Bailey had three double sided No. 1 singles in succession on the Countr y chart, a feat never accomplished by any other artist. He was named Billboard Magazine’s named Country Singles Artist of the Year in 1981. His career produced 13 No. 1 hits and 32 Top 10 singles. “Razzy wanted all his fans around the world to know how much he loved each one of you,” read a statement from Bailey’s family on his Facebook page. “He always said he had the greatest fans in the world. Razzy was a tremendous driving force in the country music community of Nashville.” Bailey was an elder of the Nashville Cowboy Church and a longtime member of R.O.P.E. He also operated Razzy's Hit House, his recording studio where he helped other artists with their projects. “So many entertainers looked to Razzy as their mentor and for his guidance in the music industry,” his family stated on Facebook. “Razzy was always the first to reach out and help a struggling newcomer to Nashville.” Born Feb. 14, 1939 in Hughley, Alabama, he was the son of the late Erastus Bailey and Adella

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Singleton Bailey. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sisters Marlene Bailey Jackson and Tanya Bailey; grandson Brice Bennett; son Dean Watson. Bailey is survived by his wife Faye Bright Bailey, daughters Tammy Paxton, Jenita Hefler, Jenevra Mayberry, Teressa Bennett and Paula Butler Baxter, sons Rasie M. Bailey, Jr. and Douglas Alan Watson, 17 grandchildren and seven greatgrandchildren, and sister Vanda Bailey McIntire. He is entombed in Nashville’s Historic Spring Hill Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family asked that donations be made in Bailey’s name to Music Health Alliance.

September 2021


Lacy J. Dalton Saving Wild Horses & Singing Her Songs First hitting the Country Top-20 in 1979 with “Crazy Blue Eyes,” Dalton was one of the most successful female vocalists of the format during the 1980s with the CMA-nominated anthem “16th Avenue,” as well as hits like “Takin’ It Easy,” “Everybody Makes Mistakes,” “Hillbilly Girl With The Blues” and “Black Coffee.” Prior to signing with Harbor Records in 1978 as Jill Croston, she like many before her, held many jobs to survive and support her family. As a truck stop waitress and singer, she would wait tables and then jump on stage to sing a few songs. Her hard work and dedication paid off in 1979 when she was awarded the Academy of Country Music “Top New Female Vocalist of the Year.” Dalton quickly rose to national prominence with "Crazy Blue Eyes," a song that raced to No. 7 on the Billboard Country Charts. “In 1978, Mary McFadden, my longest friend since we were 7, was at my cabin in the Santa Cruz mountains recovering from a divorce,” recalled Dalton.

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“I had gone downstairs and put on a pot of coffee, and as I was writing the song, I realized that my friend Mary was in the perfect state of mind to write it with me. We originally called the song “Letter to Mamma,” and magically it was the song that attracted offers of record deals from almost every major label and interestingly even from Mick Jagger.” Dalton said that Billy Sherrill and his partner Al Gallico signed her immediately to CBS records in June 1979. “I’m so glad Billy was my first producer, because he believed in me more than I believed in myself – I really am truly grateful for that,” Dalton said. “The song went on to become a Top 20 hit.” During her career, she has collaborated with such Country Music Hall of Fame members as Bobby Bare, Glen Campbell, Willie Nelson and George Jones. She toured with outlaws like Hank Williams Jr. at a time when it was very unusual for a woman to do so. She also toured for a long period of time with Willie Nelson and was the only female on his “Half Nelson” album, which also included duets with Ray Charles, Merle Haggard, Carlos Santana, Neil Young and more. The album went Platinum, and Dalton received a gold record for her contribution. She also received a Gold Record from Hank Williams J r. i n 1 9 8 5 f o r h e r s u p p o r t p e r f o r m a n ce s throughout his “Five-0 Tour.” After the release of “Crazy Blue Eyes,” she continued her streak with “Takin’ It Easy” and “Everybody Makes Mistakes” before releasing her signature song, “16th Avenue.” All four reached the Top 20 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs. Ji l l Ly n n e B y r e m o n O c t . 1 3 , 1 9 4 6 , i n Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, Dalton is a 2017 inductee of the North American Country Music Association International Hall of Fame. She also brought home numerous Grammy nominations and three prestigious, back to back (1979, 1980, 1981) Bay Area Music Awards for Best CountryFolk Recordings.

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In early 2019, she received several awards from the board of Strictly Country Magazine and the Spirit Awards, including the President’s Choice award for best written music for “Boundless Skies” and their most prestigious award, the Pete Huttlinger Award for Music Excellence for the CD “The Last Wild Place Anthology.” The “Last Wild Place Anthology” went to No. 1 on the World Independent Chart, a year later the CD was No. 1 on the American Western Music Chart. Allison Eastwood, Clint Eastwood's daughter, used the hit song “Slip Away” from the “Anthology” CD on the soundtrack of her independent film, “Don't Tell.”

predators and just as importantly where populations can be managed by means of compassionate birth control. “Expertly administered and marketed, these sanctuaries will provide eco-tourism opportunities where visitors from all over the globe can come and interact with the animals in a non-invasive way and truly experience the American west in all its glory,” the Foundation’s website letemrun.org, states. In cases where horses or burros are in danger, are injured or need to be rescued, the Foundation acts aggressively to save them. “In the event they have been rounded up and sent to holding pens or to auction, or need medical care in the wild, we take all actions necessary to save or rescue them,” states the Foundation. “Once a wild horse or burro has been saved, we are dedicated to finding it a permanent and safe home, either with concerned and responsible citizens, on a horse ranch, or, preferabl y, on a large wild horse preserve.” To donate or find the schedule for an upcoming charity concert event, visit letemrun.org.

Dalton continues to perform live and on television. Several concerts each year are held to benefit The Let 'em Run Foundation, a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization she founded, which is dedicated to preserving, recovering, and providing sanctuary and homes for the America's wild horses and burros who have no voice. The Let 'em Run Foundation’s vision is to encourage the government and private stakeholders to set aside a number of 100,000- to 250,000- acre sanctuaries to provide permanent grazing areas where the wild horses can run free, safe from encroaching development, safe from human Page 9

September 2021


Memories of Music Row Welcome back to my Memories of Music Row as I share stories and day-to-day happenings through my personal interviews with the “architects of music row” – record producers, songwriters, artists, studio musicians and recording engineers. by Areeda Schneider Stampley

An Incredible Songwriter: Glenn Sutton Glenn Sutton wrote or co-wrote numerous award-winning country hits for Lynn Anderson, Tammy Wynette, David Houston and many others, and one of the biggest was Almost Persuaded by David Houston. “Sutton’s song lyrics and melodies were often yearning explorations of sadness and desire, though his outlandish sense of humor made him one of Nashville’s most colorful characters,” stated the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame upon his death April 17, 2007. Royce Glenn Sutton was born Sept. 28, 1937, in Hodge, Louisiana. He formed a band while serving in the Air Force, then made his way to Nashville in 1964. He signed a writer’s deal with Al Gallico Publishing, where he teamed up with producer/ songwriter Billy Sherrill. “Billy had just taken over the Epic label,” Sutton said, “and he was producing acts like David Houston, Tammy Wynette, Charlie Walker and others.” I was interested in how he and Sherrill worked as a team. Love” for Conway Twitty; and “I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail for Buck Owens.” Howard was married to vocalist Jan Howard. Sutton explained, “There was nothing typical. Many times an artist would be booked in the studio and we had no songs. So Billy and I would spend quick time together discussing ideas, wrote separately, and then finalized it together. We wrote a song the actual day of a David Houston session. We wrote a chord sheet, no words except ‘numbers and

dah, dah, dah.’ We played it to the musicians, an entire track with no lyrics. We had one line, ‘4 men in a big truck came today.’ We cut the track at 2:00, wrote the l yrics at 5:00, and Houston wa s overdubbing by 6:00. The song was a No. 1 hit, “Where Love Used to Live.” We were pretty bra ve, but confident, because we were having No. 1 hits. Convincing an artist it would be okay was kinda hard, but they learned to trust us.” David Houston’s “Almost Persuaded,” written by Sutton and Sherrill, spent nine weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart starting in August 1966 and has since become a country standard. It reached No. 24 on the Billboard Pop Chart. For the next 46 years (until 2012), no No. 1 song matched the chart-topping longevity of “Almost Persuaded.” It won a Grammy for Best Country & Western Recording of 1966 and numerous CMA Awards. Tammy Wynette’s “Bedtime Story” was recorded November 1971 and was her eleventh No. 1 record. “Billy had this idea, and sent me to the Baptist Bookstore to purchase nursery rhyme books. We started reading through them. They all started ‘Once upon a time …. ‘. We just drew from that and applied it to a modern day of daddy/mommy breaking up and the kids being left behind.” September 2021


How did Tammy react to this? “She was a little taken back at first by the reality, but she trusted us,” Sutton said. A song written and recorded on the same day was not uncommon. Such was the case when Joe Stampley was in the studio with producer No r r o Wi l s o n . Sutton walked in t o “ s e e w h a t ’s happening” and very excited about a song he and George Richey had just written. Stampley asked Sutton to “sing a little bit of it.” Sutton started with the opening, “I know - you know - we know- that I’m still loving you.” “That’s a killer opening! I’ll record it today!” Joe said. “I’m Still Loving You” was released in 1973 and hit the top of the country charts! As a record producer, Glenn Sutton’s biggest hit was Lynn Anderson’s “I Never Promised You A Rose Garden,” written by Joe South. It spent five weeks at the top of the charts in 1970, earning Anderson a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. Lynn and Glenn married in 1968 but divorced in 1977. Sutton explained how he wrote Jerry Lee Lewis’ “What Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out Of Me).” “Gallico called to tell me that Lewis was recording in a few days and to get something to his producer Jerry Kennedy,” Sutton said. “I didn’t have any songs that fit Lewis’ style, but Gallico was persistent. I sat down to write a song, but glanced over at a newspaper on the floor with an ad for Schlitz Beer. An idea hit! I wrote the song, took it to Jerry Lee the next day and he cut it.” The record was released in June, 1968 and topped the charts at No. 1, staying on the charts for 16 weeks.”

In 1999, I interviewed my friend Glenn Sutton, and we reminisced about how great Music Row was in the 1960-1970s. “A lot of the spontaneity is gone,” he said, observing, “songwriting has changed from being a creative experience to a programmed mindset. Publishers are signing new young songwriters, and trying to place them in writing sessions with accomplished songwriters. I did that a few times, and decided ‘Hell, I’m not in the training business!’ At a writing appointment, I’d say, ‘hey, do you have any idea that’s burning a hole in your mind? They’d usually say ‘No, but I was hoping you would.’”

Merle Kilgore,Glenn Sutton,Al Gallico,Norro Wilson(sitting)

Gl e n n w a s i n d u c te d i n to t h e Na s h v i l l e Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1999. Glenn was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1999. Producer Jerry Kennedy said it best, “Glenn was one of the funniest human beings in the world. If you didn’t know him, you really missed something!” “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy

God: I will strengthen thee, yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10 Areeda Schneider-Stampley is a writer, longtime employee of CBS Records, cookbook author and lives in Nashville with husband country music legend Joe Stampley. areedaschneider@bellsouth.net.

September 2021


Gatlins Visit “Larry’s Country Diner” Sept. 9

The Grammy Award-winning trio Larry, Steve and Rudy, better known as the Gatlin Brothers, are set to appear on “Larry’s Country Diner” on Sept. 9 in an all-new episode. The brothers have dazzled audiences for decades with a lifetime of noteworthy achievements in their stor ybook career that includes a Grammy for Best Country Song (“Broken Lady”), three ACM awards for Single of the Year (“All The Gold In California”), Album of the Year (Straight Ahead) and Male Vocalist of the Year for Larry Gatlin, along with five nominations for CMA Vocal Group of the Year, Single, Album and Male Vocalist of the Year. The Brothers have accumulated seven No. 1 Singles, 32 Top 40 Records, 22 Studio Albums and five BMI “Million-Air” Awards. His massive song catalog has been recorded by the Who’s Who of entertainers, including Elvis Presley, Barbara Streisand, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Glen Campbell, Kris Kristofferson, Sir Tom Jones, Dottie West, Charlie Rich, Johnny Mathis and dozens of others, securing his legacy as one of BMI’s top solo songwriters of all time He ranks fourth as a solo writer with the most selfpenned Top 40 Billboard hits! How It All Started It all began in Abilene, Texas, in 1955 when Larry was seven, Steve four and Rudy two. The brothers grew up singing gospel music after listening to James Blackwood and the Blackwood Page 12

Brothers, Hovie Lister and The Statesman Quartet as well other accomplished gospel artists. As children the brothers would sing for anyone that would listen. Soon they were singing from coast to coast and appeared at the World’s Fair in 1964 in New York City. They recorded four Gospel records early in their career. In 1966 Larry went to college where he studied English and Law at the University of Houston. In 1971, he auditioned for the legendary group, the Imperials, Elvis’ backup group. While he did not get the job, he met Dottie West, who was the opening act for Jimmy Dean. Dean would later become one of Larry’s oldest and best friends. We s t w a s i n i t i a l l y t a ke n w i t h L a r r y ’s resemblance to Nashville songwriter Mickey Newbury. She told him one night in their backstage dressing room at the Landmark Hotel in Las Vegas that he looked so much like Newbury, that he had to be able to write great songs. Larry returned to Houston and wrote eight songs. He sent them to West, and she liked them so much she sent him a plane ticket to Nashville. Through West, he met Kris Kristofferson, who championed Larry’s talent as a writer and singer. Kristofferson introduced Larry to Fred Foster at Monument Records which resulted in a recording contract with the label. Larry’s first album, The Pilgrim, was released later that year. Johnny Cash wrote the liner notes for the album and dubbed him “The Pilgrim” a name Cash called Larry his entire life. September 2021


Steve and Rudy were still in college at Texas Tech University, and in 1975 they moved to Nashville to sing backup with Tammy Wynette. The two later joined Larry in 1976 to form Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers. In 1976, the Gatlin Brothers were on the fast track, thanks to the chart-topping success of the Grammy Award-winning single “Broken Lady.” The hits continued throughout the decade with their signature song “All the Gold In California” followed by “Houston” (Means I’m One Step Closer To You). The next decade brought number one hits with “I Don’t Wanna Cry,” “I Just Wish You Were Someone To Love,” “Statues Without Hearts”, “Love Is Just A Game” and “Night Time Magic.” They have performed at famed venues, including the White House, the President Reagan Library, Air Force One, Ford’s Theater, Camp David, President Bush’s 80th Birthday Party, West Point, Dollywood and The Mall in D.C. for July 4th. The brothers have also proudly entertained U.S. Troops in Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Germany and at many military bases in the United Page 13

States. They have appeared at famed sporting events performing the National Anthem for everything from the World Series to the Rose Bowl to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. In 2015 the brothers celebrated their years of making music together by releasing a new album, “The Gospel According To Gatlin.” Larry even wrote and produced a musical, “Quanah,” which was performed in April 2017 to rave reviews. The brothers are touring throughout the country this fall. Visit gatlinbrothers.com for concert ticket information.

September 2021


Milton Estes: Versatile Early Country Performer By Sasha Dunavant Milton Escoe Estes first performed at the Grand Ole Opry after his move to Nashville in 1937. While working as a bass singer and an emcee with Pee Wee King’s Golden West Cowboys in the 1930s, Estes sang with Cowboy Copas, Eddy Arnold, Redd Stewart, Tommy Sosebee and others. The artist took a break from Country music when he briefly moved to Raleigh, N.C., where he is listed a s a lodger in a b o a r d i n g h o u s e o n Ne w b e r n Avenue in the 1940 U.S. Federal Census. There he began a Southern gospel music career by becoming lead singer for the Lone Star Quartet. The group was originally out of Texas but found success in Raleigh on radio station WPTF. Estes continued incorporating his love for

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Southern gospel into his music-related jobs for the remainder of his life. A longtime member of the quartet, he not only sang but served as their emcee. His developed a character known as “Uncle Milt” that captured audience attention through comedy routines as well. When Estes registered for the draft in 1940, he stated that he was living i n L o u i s v i l l e , Ke n t u c k y, a n d working at WHAS radio. He had married Mary Rosaline Gore of Livingston, Tennessee, in the early 1930s, and they were the parents of a son, Dennis Milton Estes (1936-1999). E s t e s s e r v e d i n t h e In f a n t r y, Armored/Mechanized Units during World War II. In December of 1944 he was wounded in battle and was admitted to a military hospital for shrapnel removal from his hand and foot, according to this military records.

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In 1946 at age 32 Estes returned to Nashville to perform on radio station WSM. Estes soon formed a group called the “Musical Millers,” which signed with Decca Records in 1947. Milton Estes and his Musical Millers released 10 singles and four singles. One of their singles was a cover of the song “House of Gold,” a song that had been recorded by Hank Williams as a demo but never released commercially. He was regularly intertwining Southern gospel and Country music on the Grand Ole Opry stage, where he was one of the key performers of the period. He also called dances Opry and recorded square dancing records along with his band. Estes became a host, or as he called it “the flour peddler,” for The Martha White Flour segment for the Grand Ole Opry on WSM radio during which he hosted popular acts such as, Jimmy Selph, Lew Childre and String Bean. Estes began the segment with “New Filipino Baby” and ended the show with the widely-known gospel song, “I’ll Fly Away.” Additionally, he hosted other morning and after noon radio shows on WSM, including “Noontime Neighbors” with Owen Bradley. Estes recorded vocals on four singles for Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys. The recordings include the song, “I’m Working on a Building.” At the start of the 1950s, Estes co-wrote “20/20 Vision and Walking Around Blind” with Joe Allison.

Milton Estes and His Musical Millers - Whoa Sailor

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Singing cowboy Gene Autry recorded the song first, and it was later covered and popularized by Blue Grass singer Jimmy Martin. In 1953 Estes left Nashville for Detroit, Michigan, where he served as a promoter for the musicians on the Grand Ole Opry and emceed for the Motor City Jamboree. He had lived in Michigan as a teenager with his widowed mother who worked for the railroad in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Ne w s p a p e r s o f t h e 1 9 5 0 s d e l i g h t e d i n mentioning that Estes had piloted his own plane into the town where he was set to emcee or perform. Estes eventually relocated to Columbus, Georgia, and worked as a television announcer. Born on May 9, 1914, in the small community of Arthur in northeast Tennessee, Estes died on Aug. 23, 1963, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He is buried in Drummonds Cemetery in Tazewell, Tennessee.

Pee Wee King & Golden West Cowboys, Slow Poke

September 2021


Areeda’s southern cooking by Areeda Schneider Stampley

Apple Pie No dessert can usher in Autumn like a delicious fresh apple pie!

5 cups Granny Smith or tart apples, peeled and sliced 1 ½ cups sugar 3 tablespoons cornstarch ¾ teaspoon cinnamon 2 tablespoons lemon juice 5 tablespoons butter 1/3 cup apple juice (or water) 2 pie crusts In a large bowl, combine apples, lemon juice and apple juice. Combine sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon, and spread over apple mixture, coating apples well. Pour mixture into a pastry-lined pie pan. Cut up butter and spread over mixture. Take your second pie crust; cut it in strips ½ to ¾ inches. Lay half of the strips on the filled pie about 1” apart. Place the other half in the opposite direction, forming a diamond pattern. Flute the edge of bottom crust, securing the strips into it. In a preheated 450° oven, bake for 10 minutes, then reduce temp to 325° for 45 minutes more.

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.

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Where the Stars are Buried by Renae Johnson, Renae the Waitress

Minnie Pearl: 1912 - 1996 Sarah Ophelia Colley was born Oct. 25, 1912 in Centerville, Tennessee. She majored in theatre and taught dance for several years. She produced and directed plays and musicals in small towns throughout the southeastern United States. In 1 9 3 9 , s h e p e r f o r m e d a s Minnie Pearl on stage for the first time after meeting a young mountain woman. She actually purchased her famous hat only hours before the show. The following year, she appeared on the Grand Ole Opry and introduced Minnie Pearl to the Countr y Music world. Her catchphra se “Howdeee! I’m just so proud to be here!” became a trademark for the comedian, along with her hanging price tag from her hat. Cannon portrayed Minnie Pearl on television, on stage, and on TV with the Hee Haw show from 1969 to 1991. In 1975 she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. In reality she was known as a very kind, gracious and classy lady. She was a competitive tennis player who lived down the street from the Tennessee Governor’s Mansion. Her contributions to humanity won her numerous awards. Minnie’s advice to all performers on connecting with audiences was “Love them and they’ll love you right back.” Minnie was diagnosed with cancer in 1985 and underwent a double mastectomy. She recovered, and continued to perform and do volunteer work for the American Cancer Society. In June 1991, a stroke brought her career to an end. After the stroke, she resided in a Nashville nursing home until her death at Centennial Medical Center on March 4, 1996, from a second stroke. She was 83 years old. Page 17

Celebration of Life Funeral services were 2 p.m., Wednesday, March 6, at the Brentwood United Methodist Church in Brentwood, Te n n e s s e e , a n d were open to the public. 1,600 fans and friends attended the 55minute ceremony. Fo r m e r G o v. Lamar Alexander a t t e n d e d . Tw o hours earlier he had withdrawn from the Presidential race. Garth Brooks brought his three-year-old daughter, Taylor Mayne Pearl. Amy Grant and Connie Smith sang hymns at the service.

Resting Place Mt. Hope Cemetery, 608 Mount Hope St. Franklin, Tennessee. There is a large monument that says “Cannon.” Directions to Grave September 2021


BlackHawk and The Outlaws hold Cancer Benefit in October

The 5th Annual Freeborn Jam Benefit is set for Oct. 23, 2021, at City Winery in Nashville with the traditional Country duo Blackhawk and Southern rockers The Outlaws performing. For more than 20 years BlackHawk has shared a distinctive sense of harmony with their voices, their songs and their fans. It’s a harmony that has sold more than 7 million albums, scored some of the most distinctive country radio hits of the ‘90s and still draws tens of thousands of fans annually to their electrifying live performances. “When we started,” said BlackHawk co-founder & lead vocalist Henry Paul, “our individual careers as writers and performers gave us somewhat of a more creative sensibility. We were three guys whose goal was to approach country with smart songs and unique harmonies for people who may not automatically like country.” Paul had previously co-founded The Outlaws as well as leading the The Henry Paul Band. Van Stephenson had mainstream pop success as an ‘80s singer-songwriter-guitarist (“Modern Day Delilah”). Dave Robbins had written hits for Eric Clapton and Kenny Rogers while partnering with Stephenson to write a series of classic No. 1 hits for Restless Heart,

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including “The Bluest Eyes In Texas” and “Big Dreams In A Small Town.” “Even though the three of us had a love and appreciation for traditional country music,” said Robbins, “we knew we weren’t going to be that. Paul was coming from Southern Rock; Van & I were in Nashville but were writing country songs with pop sensibilities. What set us apart from the very beginning musically was being true to who we were individually.” BlackHawk’s 1993 self-titled Arista debut album launched with the smash single “Goodbye Says It All,” followed by the Top 5 hits "Every Once in a While," I Sure Can Smell the Rain,” "Down in Flames" and "That's Just About Right." The album soon certified Double-Platinum, and the band received an ACM nomination as Best New Vocal Group Of The Year. BlackHawk followed up with the hit albums “Strong Enough,” “Love & Gravity” and “Sky’s The Limit,” which collectively featured such hits as “I’m Not Strong Enough To Say No,” “Like There Ain’t No Yesterday,” “Big Guitar,” “Almost A Memory Now,” “There You Have It” and “Postmarked Birmingham.” It was an unprecedented run of hits for a band that never quite fit the standard country mold.

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September 2021


“Getting a BlackHawk record on the radio was often a tough sell,” explained Paul, “But we were committed to smart, strong songs whether they fit the format or not. And the fans responded.” At the height of the trio’s success in 1999, Stephenson was diagnosed with an aggressive form of melanoma. “Van’s contribution to the group was enormous,” Paul said. “He could be a tremendously gifted songwriter and a deeply spiritual guy. We found ourselves at a crossroads as a band, and it would have been an easy time for Country music to count us out.” “Two days before Van passed away, Paul and I went to visit him,” Robbins remembered. “Van was in a wheelchair at this point, and we took him for a stroll around his neighborhood. We spent the morning just talking, reminiscing about our career and good times together. Towards the end of our visit, Van said ‘I’ve got two things to ask of you guys. First, do what you can to help raise awareness and find a cure for this thing. The other is, don’t quit. There’s still a lot of great music left in BlackHawk.’” Since Van’s death on April 8th, 2001, the band and its fans have raised nearly a quarter of a million

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dollars for The Van Stephenson Memorial Cancer Fund at Nashville’s Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. Paul and Robbins regrouped and soon returned to the album charts with their “Greatest Hits” – dedicated to Van and featuring his final track “Ships Of Heaven” – as well as 2002’s “Spirit Dancer” and 2011’s “Down From The Mountain.” “Our audiences today are often full of 18- to 30year-olds,” said Robbins. “They listened to us as kids, and still have a love for the music we made. That’s a big part of what propels us to keep creating as writers and performers.” For the fans, for the music and for the brotherhood of Paul and Robbins, harmony remains a powerful force. “BlackHawk has a 20-year history of a certain kind of song craft as well as a quality of performance,” Paul said with pride. “When we take the stage, we work as hard as we ever have. We owe it the music, we owe it to ourselves, and Van, and we owe it to the fans. Now more than ever, that’s the true legacy of BlackHawk.” For tickets to the charity concert, go to www.blackhawklive.com.

countryreunionmagazine.com

September 2021


Diner News Happy Labor Day AMERCIA…a great day to remember and celebrate all of the men and women who worked so hard to make America the greatest country in the world.

New shows… Whooooo Hoooooo. You will be seeing NEW Diner shows this month. We had so much fun taping new shows and I think you will understand why. Many of you already know that LaDonaa Gatlin is my sister-in-law so that means The Gatlin Brothers claim me as their sister-in-law…or wait do I claim them????? I have always said with the Gatlins around it’s always a fun time.

Branson…here we come. We are getting ready for a week of shows at the Clay Cooper Theater in Branson, Mo. Call the theater and get your tickets before they are all gone. Stop by the merchandise table in the lobby and say “Hello.” I will be there selling merchandise and I hope to have my NEW Memorial book there “Countr y Mu s i c Legends…..GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN”. It will include such greats that have passed over the last year or so like: Jan Howard, Jimmy Capps, Charlie Daniels, Kenny Rogers, Glen Campbell, Charlie Pride, Mac Davis, Harold Reid and more.

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NASCAR Phil and I will be heading to Las Vegas for the NASCAR RACES this month. We go every year and sure look forward to it. I think I got hooked on racing after we filmed “Stock Car Legends Reunion”. It was such a fun series with car drivers and announcers in a circle telling their stories. We even added footage of some of the car races and wrecks that talked about. Of course Daryle Waltrop has a car dealership here so I have always liked him…he’s crazy…. lol Reminds me of Larry Gatlin. If you would like to buy any of the Stockcar DVD’s call customer service 800-820-5405. They have a few still for sale. Add the 2022 Calendar to your order and save on shipping. $6.95 per order, so order as many books as you can afford and save, save, save.

Update on the Bilbreys Thank you all for your love and prayers for Keith Bilbray and his wife. They are putting their lives back together after the horrible fire that destroyed their home. Stuff can be replaced…Keith even had some of his special awards replaced and family and friends have replaced special photos. They honestly do feel blessed to have their dog and lives saved. Thank you again. countryreunionmagazine.com

September 2021


In Loving Memory Dave Brown, husband of Mona Brown (otherwise known as Nadine), passed away from complications of Covid on August 2. Dave was a great friend to all of the Larry’s Country Diner family as well as Nadine’s fans who met him on the set or on the cruises. He was quiet, but friendly to everyone he met. Dave lived and worked as an optometrist in Franklin for 45 years and was an incredibly devoted husband, father, grandfather, friend and follower of Jesus. He attended Brentwood Baptist Church where he always enjoyed the community of his Sunday School class. Dave and Mona were married for 47 years and had two sons and a daughter, as well as five grandchildren. A Celebration of Life ser vice was held Brentwood Baptist Church Monday, August 16th. The passing of Dave has left the entire “Larry’s Country Diner” and Country Road family grieving.

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Dave & Mona

September 2021


David Allan Coe, July 2004 by Michael Buffalo Smith, www.kudzoomag.com The following interview appears In the book “My Kind of Country: Conversations with Cowboys, Gamblers, Outlaws a n d S o n g w r i t e r s ” b y Mi c ha e l B u f fa l o S m i t h www.kudzoomag.com

L e t ’s f a c e i t , D a v i d A l l a n C o e d e f i e s categorization. For three decades, Coe has performed virtually every type of American music known, from country to hip hop. And he always does it on his own terms. The last of the original out- laws, Coe has served as an inspiration to a whole new breed of outlaw rock and country artists like Kid Rock. Besides being a singer, songwriter and guitarist, David is also a magician, deep sea treasure hunter and movie star. His movies include Stagecoach, The Last Days of Frank and Jesse James, Lady Grey, Buckstone County Prison and Take This Job and Shove It, to mention a few. David signed with SUN Records in 1968 and recorded his first album Penitentiary Blues, containing all songs that he wrote in prison. In 1973 Columbia Records bought David's con- tract from Sun and he r e c o r d e d h i s f i r s t a l b u m T h e My s te r i o u s Rhinestone Cowboy. Just a few of David’s many accomplishments include playing Farm Aid and touring with Neil Young, Willie Nelson and the aforementioned Mr. Rock. David's song "Take This Job and Shove It" has received a Million Airplays Certificate from BMI. His Greatest Hits album was certified platinum, and his First Ten Years is gold. He has had sixty-three songs on the Billboard Singles Charts, including "Mona Lisa Lost Her Smile," "The Ride," "Please Come to Boston," "Willie, Waylon and Me," "Jack Daniels If You Please" and "You Never Even Call Me By My Name." He has written songs for Johnny Paycheck, Tanya Tucker, George Jones, Willie Nelson, Leon Russell, Charlie Louvin, Del Reeves, Tammy Wynette, Melba Montgomery, Stoney Edwards, The Oak Ridge Boys and Kid Rock. Both "Would You Lay With Me" and "Take This Job and Shove It" are million seller songs penned by David. Johnny Cash recorded David's songs including "Would You Lay Page 22

With Me." His tour schedule is a never-ending list of sold out shows. He performs both country and rock shows depending on the venue. David also plays in many casinos where he does his Las Vegas-type shows. If you ask David what he does he will likely tell you he is a song- writer, followed closely thereafter by “an entertainer.” In 2004, I spoke to David about his rich musical history, his friends and the Coe-Pop Records label he founded with friend Steve Popovich.

David Allan Coe Tell us for people that might not know, where you were born and raised? I was born in Akron, Ohio and spent most of my youth in reform schools and penitentiaries. By the time I was 9 years old I had been in prison for two years.

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Who were your earliest musical influences, or those that made you want to get into doing music?

Oh, I liked that because you mentioned The Marshall Tucker Band in the song. Oh yeah. Oh, yeah. Definitely.

Oh, well my musical influences span a pretty big horizon. My Mother was a singer, and she was into the big band thing so through her I grew up listening to Glen Miller, Spike Jones and Tommy Dorsey and that kind of music. Then I got involved myself with Bobby Blue Bland and Muddy Waters, and Jimmy Reed and Howlin’ Wolf, mostly blues singers. Then I got involved with groups like Hank Ballard and The Midnighters and then Hank later on became one of my best friends. Then I listened to group music, and of course I went through the Little Richard, Fats Domino, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis phase. It’s kind of funny because I was never a country music fan, or per- son, until I went to Nashville and then that is when I got involved in the history of country music and learned about all of those people and everyone from Lula Bell to Bill Monroe and I was involved in bluegrass music. I don’t think that there is much of any kind of music that I have not been involved in, except for opera. In my early days, Willie Nelson, Waylon and I were man- aged by the man who managed Miles Davis. We were big into Miles’ music. I was in prison with Sonny Logan Rollins, a great saxophone player and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. My musical influences just spanned such a wide range. Then, of course, these days, being in the music business, involved like I am, as a songwriter I have become aware of so many different kinds of people singing m y s o n g s . L i ke I n e v e r k n e w w h o T h e Dead Kennedys were and then they covered “Take This Job and Shove It.” Then I did an album with Pantera and started getting into the heavy metal scene. Then I wrote some songs with Kid Rock and went out there with Kid Rock and Uncle Kracker and wrote songs with them and got involved in that kind of stuff there. There has been a wide range of musical experience. Just about everybody. Yeah, that is why my songs and music are so different. I am not stuck in any one style of music. Page 23

Jumping back a little bit, I wanted to ask you about where you originally came up with the idea of the Mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy. Well, I guess I have to blame it on Mel Tillis. I met him when I first went to Nashville, and he had an office down on Music Row. I was over there talking to him in his office and he opened up the closet to get something and he had a whole closet full of rhinestone suits. I just freaked out on that. He looked at me and said, “You like that shit, I don’t even wear those, if you want ‘em take ‘em!” He gave me those rhinestone suits and I wore them everywhere. Then I got the mysterious rhinestone thing from my father. He asked me, "You know the only way that The Lone Ranger can go into town?” I said, “No I don’t know what you mean.” He said that he has to take his mask off. I thought, what is my dad talking about and trying to tell me? He said, “Well son, you have to wear a mask and then when you don’t want to be David Allan Coe you can take your mask off and go anywhere and not be like Elvis with people messin’ with you all the time.” That’s how that came about. I wore the mask for the first two years. I wanted people to like the music rather than me personally. It seems like over the years everyone writes about me rather than about the music. Yeah, focusing on personality rather than the music. Well, I am trying to touch on a little bit of all of it. Your songwriting is astounding, and I am still waiting for them to put you in the Country Music Hall of Fame. I don’t understand why that has not happened yet. I am in the Walkway of Stars, they have me in that. But I have never been asked about the songwriting. Nashville has always been kind of shitty to me. I was nominated for a Grammy award for “Take This Job and Shove It” and they sent it to me in the mail and didn’t even invite me to the Grammy Awards. I have been a member of CMA for almost 40 years, and they have never asked me to even be a presenter at one of their award shows.

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September 2021


It seems like you have been more on the outside of that Nashville establishment, on the fringe. Do you think that has helped or hurt your career more? Well, I don’t know but there have been some people in Nashville that have been very good to me. People like Ralph Emery. Ralph was great. Bill Anderson is another and Marty Robbins and Minnie Pearl were awful good to me. They all helped me along the way, and they were interested in the music rather than anything else. Ernest Tubb was very good to me as well. Speaking of the music, tell us about “Take This Job and Shove It.” Is it tr ue that Paycheck kind of snubbed you on national TV and didn’t give you any accolades or anything? Yeah, I mean even when the guy died it said Johnny Paycheck, “The Working Man’s Hero” and it didn’t say anything about me writing the song. Yeah, at that time my mother had Alzheimer’s disease and then it got much worse and she eventually lived to be 103. When she was having a good day and called me to tell me that Johnny Paycheck was on TV and singing my song. The thing about my mom was that when I was in prison for 20 something years, she was the only one that stuck by me. All her relatives told her to leave that boy alone and he would never amount to anything. She used to say “someday that boy will prove y'all all wrong.” She was the one that stuck with me. She called all the people at the hospital and told everybody to watch because her son’s song was being sung on TV. I think it was on Johnny Carson, or Joey Bishop, one of those guys asked him who wrote the song and he said he didn’t know but it was “some guy in Nashville.” Then, on another show I heard him say that he got the idea from his grandfather for the song. If you had to pick a couple of highlights of your career so far, what would you say? Being on the Grand Ole Opry with Bill Anderson as his guest. That was very important. And being on tour with Kid Rock, that was an important thing. Willie Nelson’s Farm Aids and Picnics were special Page 24

in my life, and then the movies. Meeting my friends Kris Kristofferson, who is of course one of my best friends. Between him and Johnny Cash and Waylon and writing the liner notes for Johnny Cash’s album, that was a big deal in my life as well as singing a duet with Johnny Cash. There have been many great things. That would be cool. A couple of your friends that passed away recently were a couple of my real heroes, give me just a little brief thought on Waylon and then Johnny Cash. Well, right before Waylon died, I hadn’t seen him in a couple of years and we had gotten put on a show with him. Waylon had gotten there late and they pushed him onstage in a wheel- chair and he couldn’t hold his guitar and he couldn’t play it. I spent some time talking with him and then he had his leg amputated and I knew after that he wouldn’t last long. Who would have ever thought he would have been one of the first one of us to go. Like Willie says you would have thought Waylon would have been one of the last of us to go. Johnny’s death is a heartbreaker. I am a gambler and when I am gambling, I play slot machines and everyone that works with me knows when I am playing not to bother me. One day I was playing the machines and my girlfriend Kimberly came down and she said, “Honey, your daughter Tonya just called and said that Johnny Cash just died.” I started crying and had to leave and then I went up and called my management company to find out when the funeral was. They had not heard anything about him dying. They called his sister and he said that he was very much alive. Then I called my daughter and asked her and she said that she was at a friend’s house and saw it on TV. What they actually saw was the guy that owned Sun Records, Sam Phillips had died but they had put Johnny Cash’s picture up and people just assumed that Johnny Cash had died. So when he really did die, I was already prepared for it because I had already been through it! Thanks for the interview, David. No problem, Buffalo, I wouldn’t do this for just anybody. I came up off the slot machines to do this. September 2021


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June 2021


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