I hear that Porter Wagoner, is in the hospital. I don’t know why or what, but, say a prayer for the Wagonmaster, would ya?
I meant to mention last week, the passing of Brent Burkett, who was part of The Fabulous Four Guys that were featured on the Opry for many years. These guys, I think were the only act to ever become members of the Opry without the benefit of a record deal/hit record. It’s a shame they never had a major record deal because I watched them perform many times from the side of the Opry stage from the time I was about #2’s age on up til I was grown…those guys ALWAYS lit up the crowd and got them going. Always. They were great singers and entertainers, always dressed impeccably…I never saw them not wake up a sleeping Opry audience. (I’ve seen many sleeping Opry audiences, too.) Interesting trivia about Brent is that he hailed from the same hometown as Dean Martin…Steubenville, OH. I don’t remember ever knowing that little tidbit.
And somebody else I want to mention, who died a couple days ago is Clarence “Tater” Tate. Tater was extremely well known and revered in the Bluegrass world. He was a member of Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys as a fiddler and a bass player. He worked with all kinds of people through the years and even played on Patty Loveless’ most wonderful Mountain Soul album. One artist he worked for was Wilma Lee Cooper. He worked with a teenaged Mr. Smiff in those days. Mr. Smiff has a hilarious imitation of Tater. He will be missed.
Thing about Tater and Brent though…one of the things I remember about both these guys is I never saw either of them without a cigarette, except when they were onstage. I can remember as a kid, all the way up til I had my own kids, seeing Brent at the side of the Opry stage, looking at the show schedule, in his fancy suits and he seemed huge to me when I was a kid, but always had that cigarette between his fingers. I believe both men died of lung cancer.