Posts tagged ‘Grand Ole Opry’

Charlie Walker

Back in the early 70’s. the Collie’s went to visit the Charlie Walker’s at their home in Hendersonville.  My sister and I were little girls and we were standing at the top of the stairs, fighting over a doll when suddenly, Sandra sailed down the big ol’ staircase, rendering her unconscious momentarily.  (I think.)

Every SINGLE time I saw Charlie Walker for the rest of his life, be it at the Opry or the last time I saw him a year ago Easter at the Springhouse at the Brunch (Charlie was a big golfer) he would ask me “Now, were you the one that fell down my stairs?”  Heh. Nope. Still wasn’t me, Cholly.

Charlie’s passing today in Hendersonville is quite a bittersweet one.  (Here she goes…her Dad and Charlie) Yep…Dad and Charlie went all the way back to their very beginnings in radio in San Antonio, Texas.  In fact, most of my family in San Antonio knew Charlie and some of his older children (the man was fruitful and multiplied, folks.  To the tune of 10 kids, ranging in age now from upper 50’s to young adult. One of his girls was a professional basketball player and I believe, was, and may still be, a commentator for the WNBA).  Charlie and Biff were born the same week, actually, and now that Charlie’s gone, there’s only one or two of his contemporaries left, meaning the guys that started in radio around about the same time and were good, good buddies til Dad died in 1992.   T. Tommy’s gone…Joe Allison, Tom Perryman is still alive and kicking and on the air in Tyler, Texas. 

Charlie was a radio man, but, he was the voice behind one of my favorite hardcore, country records ever…this one right here. I wonder how many times in my life I saw Charlie Walker go on the Opry stage and sing this Harlan Howard gem? More times than I can count.

They Come In Threes, Fours, and Fives

I am not much on politics, however, I love me some Tim Russert and HATE to hear that he died this morning of a heart attack. Dadgum.

Danny Davis, leader of the Nashville Brass died yesterday in Nashville.  One of my favorite records as a kid…was Danny Davis and the NB doing “Running Bear.”  Shut up. I loved that. 

Another thing that kills me and makes me shake my head is when people refer to the Music Row types as “Good Ol’ Boys” when most of them are Yankees….Danny Davis (he was an A & R man, too ya know) was from Boston.

Gordon Lightfoot has also gone to that great Sundown in the Sky.  Loved him. I’ve always thought this was a cool song.   ***I have been corrected that Gordon is still amongst the living.  Heh heh.  Sorry Gordon.  Not trying to kill you here. 

And this one….loooove this song…

 
Also, Sam Bush’s dad, Charlie, who was a regular fixture backstage at the Grand Ole Opry as far as I can remember passed away yesterday.  Sam is STILL gonna be playing at Bonnaroo today and somewhere in Georgia tomorrow.  Amazing.

 

 

 

Happy Birthday WSM (a little late)

img_1734.jpgI’ve sorta become a collector of photos of the WSM Tower.  I’ve written before about how much and why I love pictures of that tower. I’m crazy about it.

A few weeks back, Mr. Smiff and some of Them were guests on WSM Radio the day they were celebrating the 82nd birthday of the historic radio station.  Because Mr. Smiff is getting elderly or because he needs to borrow some of my medicine, he did not mention to me until he was literally on his way to do this interview, that the interview was on the grounds of the WSM tower, a stones throw from my childhood home.  Had he not won Entertainer of the Year the night before, I mighta got a little testy with him.  I’ve never been on the actual grounds of where the tower sits. 

Anyway, my new pal Emy Jo Bellenfant-Bilbrey (Mrs. Keith) said I could show you some pictures she took from that event that day. I’ll show the pictures while I sulk at the same img_1735.jpgtime.  Even #2 got to go.  He was way more impressed with riding in Jamie’s red convertible than anything else.

I LOVE this picture of George Hamilton IV.  One of these days, I want a picture of me img_1747.jpglike this. 

Oh…Emy Jo is a Williamson County native and has a super cool antique store.  She’s having an Open House this weekend.  Go read about it here.

Grand Ole Opry Sorta Stuff

I hear that  Porter Wagoner, is in the hospital.  I don’t know why or what, but, say a porterwagoner.jpgprayer 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 guysmembers2_2_ssss-313x275.jpggoing.  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 tatertate.jpgmember 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.