Steel Guitar News

Hello fellow players,

I remember getting a phone call from a symphony conductor with the last name of Coleman from Atlanta, Georgia asking me to drive down to Atlanta to play steel guitar with the symphony to backup Mr. Charlie Rich.  I gave him my price and he said, �Sure.  That won�t be any trouble.�

I figured by the time I drove the 225 miles to Atlanta in my little Opal GT, I should clear a healthy profit before I returned to Nashville.  We were playing a place called Stone Mountain, Georgia which was a gorgeous setting, but at the end of our four hour rehearsal, we were about to go on break before the show when the conductor came out and said, �Everything�s cancelled.  Everybody go home.�

This of course was a devastating shock to me.  He said, �Go ahead and sign the card Bobbe and we�ll pay you through the Musician�s Union in Nashville.�

The check came through on time, but I was still disappointed that this show could be cancelled because of a star�s drinking problem.  There were about 32 people in the symphony that the promoter had to pay and I know there were thousands of dollars that had to be returned to the ticket holders that were waiting to see the show.

These stars just don�t realize or even seem to care when these shows are cancelled.  After George Jones� marriage to Tammy, he was extremely bad about not showing up on important sold out jobs.  I remember when I worked for George in the late fifties, he loved to drink and at times he wouldn�t show up and if he did, the people might have been happier if he hadn�t.

After I left George, I went to work for Ferlin Husky.  I also liked Ferlin very much, however he was another hardcore drinker.  In late 1969, we worked a job in Akron, Ohio at one of the major theaters downtown.  At the end of the show or rather what was supposed to be the end of the show, George and Ferlin decided they were going to do a duet together.  

That duet drug into another duet or five, then suddenly it turned into a singers jam session where everybody that had been on the show, that means all the stars came out on the stage and sung every song any of them knew.  Everybody in the band was totally worn out and wanting to go back to the motel and sleep since we had been on the bus all day long.

Ferlin, George, David Houston and the Stoneman family and others were wanting to stand and sing on the stage even though the audience was leaving in droves.  Too much of a good thing is just too much.

I stumbled out, got on the nearest bus and laid down and went to sleep.  Then the next day about one in the afternoon, I stumbled out of the bunk in the bus, made it to the restroom in the bus, came out, walked to the front of the bus before I realized I was not on our bus, but was instead on the bus the Stoneman family was using.  So as I was waking up I laughed and said, �Well, I sure don�t mind riding with y�all to the next job.�  World famous Ronnie Stoneman replied, �We�re not going to your next job.  We�re going to Nashville.�

I replied, �Oh no.  I�m supposed to play with Ferlin and George in Wichita, Kansas tomorrow night.�  Of course, I got home, jumped in my car and drove from Nashville to Wichita faster than the law wanted to allow and walked in about a half an hour before we were supposed to play.

Of course, my steel guitar wasn�t setup or even in the state of Kansas, but I played a guitar I borrowed from one of the other acts and struggled through Wings Of A Dove and Ferlin�s act without anyone really noticing.  When our show was over, I struggled back out, dead tired, and slept for three hours in my car, then followed the bus on to the next job in Chicago, then drove home to Nashville.

After searching all the busses that had been on the tour from Akron, I found my steel guitar and amp.  But the most miserable thing on this tour was trying to sleep in a 1967 Corvette.  I still have the emergency brake handle marks on my left side!  But I did get paid, I got my guitar back and I made all the shows.  Show biz.  You gotta love it.

We still have George around, but I sure miss David Houston and Ferlin Husky.  I�m still trying to avoid Ronnie Stoneman because not knowing what bus I was on when I got up out of the bunk, I didn�t have any pants on when I went to the front of the bus.  Ronnie still believes that I left them off on purpose.  

Ronnie is a great banjo player and the ironing board lady from Hee Haw and she has a great sense of humor and a great family.  I loved to watch them on stage and they loved to watch me on the bus!  Was I embarrassed?  Yes.  Deeply.

Check out our monthly specials at and we�ll try to 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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