Steel Guitar News

Hello fellow players,

I ran across a list of musicians that played on the road with Faron Young on a permanent basis over the years.  I thought it was very interesting as most of the players were definitely first class, over the top, great players.  No, not good players, they were all great players with eight of the players now being in the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame.

The steel players were Big Ben Keith, Dicky Overbey, Sonny Burnette, Lloyd Green, Joe Vincent, Buddie Emmons, Johnny Paycheck, Jerry Merhar, George Edwards, Jimmy Crawford, Doug Jernigan, Bobbe Seymour, Skip Jackson, Hank Corwin, Al Lewis, Cal Sharp, Daryl Hornberger, Ron Hogan and Stu Basore.  

Faron seemed to always have some of the finest, most popular, crazy, good ole boy musicians that he could hire and that would work for him.  Faron was a real mess, but I loved working for him.  He never gave me any trouble and always seemed to be very proud of me and my work.

However, my great friend Lloyd Green back in the early sixties had a lot of trouble with Faron and they came very close to fisticuffs several times according to Lloyd.  I can understand it because Lloyd�s personality was very quiet, laidback and very intelligent.  And Faron probably lashed out at him because of those very traits.

I always found Faron extremely funny and no matter what he said, I found great humor in it.  Like the time Charley Pride got on the bus and Faron was sitting in the third seat back reading a book and Faron just yelled out, � All n----rs to the back of the bus.�  

Now to all my readers.  I have hesitated telling this story for over six years of doing these newsletters because of not wanting to use the words that Faron used, but it was just so darned funny, at least after it was over, when Faron jumped up and grabbed Charley and kissed him right on the mouth, but at the time it truly terrified me.  

Then Charley�s wife Rosine got on the bus and Faron slapped me on the back and said, �Hey Seymour, this is the famous Charley Pride with his wife Rosine.  This guy has out sold Elvis Presley on RCA Records.  He�s the greatest star in country music today (1970).  You�d think he could afford a white woman by now.�

Like I say, I have held off for a very long time telling everybody this story but it was just too hilarious not to tell.  It seemed like Charley might have enjoyed it more than anybody on the bus at the time.  I later found out that Faron and Charley were very dear friends and Faron just thought Charley was one of the greatest people in the world.  But good gosh, what a sense of humor Faron had.

This opens up one of my subjects I�d like to talk about.  It is the reason people loved country music stars.  The reason they did is because country music stars weren�t like everyday people on the street, they weren�t any better, but they were different.  Most of them were extremely funny, from the old days anyway, and uniquely different.  

They all sung differently, had totally different reputations, dressed differently in Nudie suits and seemed to have had a lot of fun aggravating policemen everywhere.  I asked Faron Young one day why he was so darn weird.  He looked me right in the eye without hesitating and said, �Who�s gonna pay to see anybody normal?  People see normal people every day.  I�m going to be totally different than anything they�ve ever seen before.�  And he was.

I started thinking back about stars in the fifties and the golden era.  Hank Williams was totally different as was Hank Snow, Kitty Wells and Johnny Wright.  I was the first steel player that George Jones took on the road, and believe me, this guy was different.  Stonewall Jackson was a different kind of star.  George Morgan was one of the most hilarious practical jokers ever to come out of Nashville.  I loved this guy.

I�m sure you�ve heard about Johnny Cash painting an entire luxury hotel room and everything in it flat black and about him buying a thousand baby chicks, having them delivered to the basement of the Andrew Jackson Hotel in Nashville, putting them on the elevator and pushing all the buttons and letting out a hundred of them to run free on each floor during the disc jockey convention of 1965.

The guys today just don�t have that ole magic pizzazz.  And it wasn�t just the guys.  Jeannie Seely, Jean Shepard, Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton and Martha Carson, these girls were about as crazy as the guys were.  Thank God.

I cannot see Shania Twain, Taylor Swift or Patty Loveless or any of the new singers of today being able to pull off any of the silliness with the style and grace that the great singers of the golden era pulled off.  

I remember my grandfather telling me about a WWVA show that he saw in 1948.  He was awe struck when he saw Big Slim, the Lone Cowboy, come out of the back door of the Jamboree, walk over to a brand new stretched Cadillac limo, reach in his pocket, pull out the keys and started to get in when my grandfather caught him and said, �Wow, I love your car.  Singing hillbilly music must pay pretty well.�

Big Slim just looked at him scornfully, pulled out another set of keys from his pocked and said, �Yeah.  I got another one at home just like it.�  Grandpa said, �Well, I have a �38 DeSoto and a �40 Ford Ferguson tractor.�  Grandpa said he never bothered Big Slim anymore after that.

I do remember grandpa telling all his friends about Big Slim having two new Cadillacs.  He use to kid about them being so long that they were hinged to bend in the middle to go around corners, which reminds me of that hit song that I wrote that was stolen from me by Whitey Shafer.  I wrote �I Never Go Around Corners� and Whitey changed it to �I Never Go Around Mirrors�.  I�m just kidding about this, however I did do the original demo on �I Never Go Around Mirrors� for the great Whitey Shafer.

Remembering the older days in Nashville now, I loved doing demo sessions and made a very good living doing so.  It kept me in new motorcycles and sports cars and I enjoyed working with all the crazy musicians that were too loose to settle down and do masters.

Star songwriters are in a world of their own, a lot like star singers.  We musicians were definitely a different class and breed from the stars and the writers.  I love being a musician, but if I had it to do again, I would work a lot harder to also be a songwriter in Nashville.  I would have made a lot of money and I wouldn�t have had to work the road.

Being a songwriter would have set me up for many years where money would be continually coming in without me having to spend a lot of time slaving over a hot steel guitar.  I was living right on Anchor High Marina and one of my closest friends was a songwriter named Mickey Newberry.  Mickey and I enjoyed each other�s company and spent a lot of time on the water on Old Hickory Lake which is really the Cumberland River dammed up.

Mickey died a few years ago, but his wife Susan I hear from once in a while.  Kris Kristofferson was another great friend before he got so famous and I needed a two and a half year waiting list just to say hello to him, even though he�s one of the very nicest people I�ve ever met, without a speck of ego.

I saw a sign in front of a drug rehab center, Keep Off The Grass.  I remember when Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones was arrested for carrying marijuana.  The headline read, A Rolling Stone Gathers No Grass.

Have you bought your second Nashville 112 yet?  I�ll make you a deal you won�t understand.

Check out our monthly specials at    We can save you a lot of money.

Your buddy,

Steel Guitar Nashville
123 Mid Town Court
Hendersonville, TN. 37075
(615) 822-5555
Open 9AM � 4PM Monday � Friday
Closed Saturday and Sunday

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