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Allen Karl Interview Part 1

This interview is with Allen Karl of Century II Records, Murfreesboro, TN, 37130

by Donna Cunningham for Country Music News International

 

 

Donna Cunningham:  Do you remember how old you were when you realized you wanted music and performing to be a major part of your life?

 

Allen Karl: I was 12 years old

 

Donna Cunningham:    What was your first job in music and how old were you?

 

Allen Karl: I was 14 yrs. old when I was offered my own country music program on Saturdays in Pottsville, Pa. at WPPA a 50,000 watt station.

 

Donna Cunningham:   Where did things go from there?

 

Allen Karl: While in high school I started a group called “The Shuffles”. We did a mix of current rock & roll and country music, performing at local dance, festivals, street fairs and private parties

 

Donna Cunningham:    I understand it took off when you won a talent contest.

 

Allen Karl: Yes, at the age of 17 I won a talent contest in Redding Pa. at Shorty Long’s Santa Fey Ranch. The prize was opening for Ms. Patsy Cline. She asked me to do a duet with her, and it was a memory for a lifetime. She truly was a lady born before her time. That led to opening for lots of other big names at the time. A treasury of memories and a wonderful learning experience.

 

Donna Cunningham: Did your service in the Air Force during the Viet Nam War interfere with your music?

 

Allen Karl: Well, of course a little, but on my down time, while there I formed a band with some great Japanese musicians calling ourselves the Dixieland Playboys. We performed in Thailand, Japan, Korea, Okinawa, etc.

 

Donna Cunningham:   Tell me about the Canyon River Band. When did you put it together and how long did you tour the U.S.?

 

Allen Karl: We had 23 years together, touring, playing live performances on the Sudzen show and tv shows. We played Atlantic City Va Beach, mostly the eastern half of the US.

 

Donna Cunningham:   When did you finally hit Nashville?

 

Allen Karl: I first played Nashville in the mid eighties. Played so many spots Moxies Lounge, Gaylord’s Opryland Hotel, Nashville Palace, the Limelight also did three Northstar pilots at Northstar Studios in Dickson, the Razzle dazzle show at the Gaylord among others. And, of course the highlight was playing the Grand Old Opry.

 

Donna Cunningham:   Do you have any stories about shows and relationships with other singers? You told us about Patsy Cline.

 

Allen Karl: Oh my, I did shows with Wanda Jackson, Johnny Cash, Vern Gosdin, Roy Clark and many more. I was on a show with Wanda when backstage she was writing a new song and asked what we all thought of it! The song was “Right or Wrong”. I became friends with Roy Clark spending some afternoons at horse races together.  In fact, we bought a race horse, but he wasn’t a winner. I played the opry in Japan with Cash, Snow, Husky, just to name a few.

 

Donna Cunningham:   Can you talk a little about your relationship with Jim Ed Brown? I know he was a very good friend. Tell us a little more.

 

Allen Karl: I first met Jim Ed at the GOO in the 80’s at that time I was also friends with Roy Acuff, while visiting Roy at the Opry Jim Ed and I found some time to visit. We hit it off became friends. Jim Ed was such a gentleman, in fact he embodied that word…he was a fine man and a great friend.

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