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I just was programming country music
in ‘The Country & Western roundup’ ,for nearly three years,
way back in 1969, when I got the chance to visit the Silk Cut Country
Festival in Wembley-London and interview some of the greatest artists
of that time. First thing in the morning I had breakfast with Hubert
Long and Conway Twitty at the Royal Garden Hotel. It became a big
experience, meeting such a great as Conway, especially when he just
looked like ordinary people. No sign of the man who nearly outgrew
Elvis back in 1958 with his million seller ‘It’s only make
believe’ followed by some more good ol’ rocking songs. But in
1969 he had completely turned to country music and would have a very
long list of 1 songs.

Then that night at the
Wembley Arena, I got to interview some more grea ts like Bill
Anderson, Jan Howard, Loretta Lynn, George Hamilton IV, John Wesley
Ryles, They all were very friendly and hoped to visit Belgium in the
future, – a wish that never came true..
Promoting country music,
even on radio with quite some hard-dyed fans, didn’t result in any
Progress for the music,
simply because what I played was seldom picked up by pop programs.
On the other hand,
record firms were reluctant to releasing country music because it
didn’”t get a great exposure.
Back in 1977 I had to
change format to pop music, never letting country music get out of my
view or ears.
In 1986 was asked again to
do country music which resulted in ‘Countryside’that lasted till
1996 and then again I had to change to pop oriented programs, letting
country music have some 30% of my playlists. During that time we
organized several country shows in our own Radio 2 studios and always
to adience that filled the location completely.
Kees de Haan from Holland
was the man who brought so many canadian country artists to our
studio, and we’re still grateful for that.
However times changed
aagain and when the music division was moved to Brussels, I was again
asked to do a country program (The Countryclub’ which lasted until
I remember from that time
that our boss at Radio 2 said to me he didn’t like country music,
but when I mentioned ‘Release me’,’Green Green, Grass of Home”,
“Funny Familiar forgotten feelings”, Detroit City etc…he
wondered if that were country songs. Just to illustrate that most
people don’t know what country music is about…

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