As a child, every Saturday night was spent in my Dallas home (3103 Lanoue Street) watching the long stream of Country Music shows—I believe it was Channel 11. All my life I’ve known of Ernest Tubb, Porter Wagoner, Charlie Pride, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, the Wilburn Brothers, Loretta Lynn, Roy Clark, Buck Owen, Merle Haggard, and the many other country singers who were popular in that era. Listening to that music and those songs had a subtle yet permanent effect. I learned many of the Classic Country songs by heart, and to this day can still recite them word perfect. It also gave me insight into the music business. In addition, my father—who worshipped country music—would tell me stories of many of the performers. As a result of this childhood experience, I have so much country music trivia in my head that I’m sure I could easily win Jeopardy if country music were a category.
The country music muse–no doubt a hard-drinking, dancing, sexy one—must have been at work on me. My brother, Jimmy, paid little attention to those shows, but I sat there week after week mesmerized. Some of the songs were so sad that I cried in my iced tea. (We had no beer in our house). Sometimes I admit, the music was bad, but I still sat there, perhaps because of the fascination of the horrible.
My exposure to country music was constant, beyond Saturday night TV. When in the car, only country music on the radio was listened to. When my father returned from work, he usually worked on his race cars—he had a roadster, then a dragster—and he raced (and won) quarter mile drag races. After that, he would clean up, eat supper, and then play and sing country music till it was time for bed. Enough for now. I’ll pursue more of my musical life in future blogs.