On December 1st I played a concert at the
LCO Casino Convention Center in Hayward, Wisconsin, Huey and I had made the
2 day drive on the way up. It was below zero Fahrenheit on the Friday night
when we arrived. TV and radio was giving winter storm warnings for Saturday
which was the night of my concert. They were forecasting 16 inches of snow!
A small crowd braved the storm and came to my show. Some from as far as 200
miles away. Though it was very cold and snowy outside, the audience gave me
a warm and wonderful reception inside. Sandie Brookes and Blue Ridge did a
very interesting opening then a great job backing me! It seemed everyone in
the crowd came through my autograph line at Huey's Record Rack. They were
saying, "All who didn't come missed a great show!"
The next day it turned out that there'd been 14 inches of snow. They'd
cleaned the parking lot and the highways well enough that Huey and I got
back on the road for our 2 day drive home in my white '05 Dodge Caravan.
This was a 1673 mile-round trip. This ended my 50th Anniversary Year (as a
recording artist) Tour.
I was home for the holidays. December keeps me busy answering Christmas
cards from around the world. It would be a great help if all would include
their name and complete address printed clearly.
On a sad note: Former band member, Jack Seegraves passed away Dec. 9th at
his home in Rector, Arkansas at the age of 65. He had played bass and guitar
with me off and on from 1968 to 2005. He'd played guitar when the
Jordanaires backed me at the Riverview Amphitheatre Casino Aztar in
Caruthersville, MO in 2005. His picture is with us on the stage on the front
page of my '05 newsletter. He co-wrote the song, "Season's Greetings" with
me. He'd played bass on, "I'm Headin' Home" which is on the CD, "Super Songs
Another recent loss was Lou Hobbs who had been my band leader for awhile.
Other recent passings of legendary artists I'd done shows with along the way
are Porter Wagoner, Hank Thompson and Ike Turner They all will be missed.
My lovely wife, Loretta and I had a good Christmas gathering with our
family. Christmas Eve at my sister, Ogareeda's home. Christmas at our
daughter, Stacia's home. Hope you had a good one and that 2008 will be kind
to you and yours. I look forward to seeing you on my 2008 tour.
See December photos & November photo of
Jerry Lee and Narvel here
See Narvel's 2007 Christmas Card and the message on the back which
summarizes his 50th Anniversary year here
3rd Huey met me at my home in Malden, MO. We drove the some 150 miles to
Memphis, TN. I was there to do a show at the Al Chymia Shrine Temple. A good
crowd came. The atmosphere didn't lend itself well to a concert. The huge
dance floor in front of the stage separated me from the audience that had
come to experience a show. The Showtime Band was not as prepared as most
bands are for my show. My friend, Eddie Bond and his family were backstage.
My first package show had been with Eddie and Roy Orbison, August 7, 1956
when I was 17. It was great visiting with Eddie and his family again. I
called him on stage to do his 1956 Rock-a-billy classic, "Rockin' Daddy". He
sounded as good as he dud 51 years ago. An enthusiastic autograph line
awaited at Huey's record rack. The following day on our way home, I got off
of north I-55 and went through my childhood home town of Keiser, Arkansas. I
went on by where we farmed near the Etowah Community till I was 14. This
brought back many memories.
November 10th I was in Cleveland, OH. Huey and I had driven to St. Louis and
flew to Cleveland the day before The limo took us straight from the airport
to the State Theatre for my rehearsal with probably the greatest backing
band ever, led by Bobby Wood. I was there to be a part of the Rock 'n' Roll
Hall of Fame's concert honoring Jerry Lee Lewis as an American Master. After
I sang "High School Confidential" and "Cry" the entire audience gave me a
spontaneous standing ovation. Jimmy Swaggart told me afterward that he was
mesmerized with my performance! Jimmy also performed on the show as did it's
MC, Kris Kristofferson. The cast of artists included Wanda Jackson, Cowboy
Jack Clement, Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders, Billy Lee Riley, Shelby
Lynne, George Thorogood, Linda Gail Lewis, Sleepy LaBeef, Jason D. Williams,
Terry Adams of NRBQ and the Del McCoury Band. Another complete standing
ovation came at the end when they had us all to stand around the piano and
Jerry Lee came out and sang, "Over the Rainbow". Backstage we shook hands
and he said to me, "you did good". As my 69th birthday was Sunday, November
the 11th, the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame had a big birthday cake back stage
for me complete with lit candles. This made me a little misty-eyed. The 10th
then turned to the 11th. I made it home the next day late in time to spend
my birthday night at home with my wife of 43 years, Loretta. (above photo is
Narvel's PR shot from 1957 at age 17)
November photo of Jerry Lee and Narvel here
October 13th I did my 5th annual concert at
the Casino Aztar, Riverview Amphitheater in Caruthersville. MO. 1200
attended and were very receptive to my show. The Mississippi River runs
right behind the stage so the audience sees the stage plus the river flowing
behind it. Double Edge did an excellent job on their portion of the show
plus backing me. The weather was beautiful on this afternoon. My show ended
at sunset. A long autograph line awaited which lasted about 2 1/2 hours at
Huey's Record Rack. We'd driven the short 60 mile drive over that day and
returned home that night. Many fiends and some family members had attended
this show, including our daughter, Stacia and her husband, Tommy, my sister,
Ogareeda and friend, Walter plus our niece, Debbie.
Friday, October 19th Huey P. Long arrived at my home in Malden, MO. Our
Bernie High School buddy had made the trop with him, Bill Crutchfield. Huey
from Kansas City, Bill from Branson. We made the short 65 mile drive to
Paragould, Arkansas. I was there to lay a concert at the historical Collins
Theatre downtown. A sell out crowd of 500 attended and were very receptive.
Ida and husband had driven the 600 mile trip from south Texas to be there
but the long distance traveler award went to Harald and Martina who'd made
the long trip all the way from Germany to attend. I'd had a good overdue
visit with these long time friends at supper. Gary Prince & Sugar Creek did
a superb job backing me. On the show, I strayed from the script and added
"Fraulein" for my German friends, "A Tear Fell" in memory of Teresa Brewer
who'd just died and "Johnny B. Goode" in honor of Chuck Berry's 81st
birthday. I'd called my co-producer, Joe Keene on stage to help me on this
one. My cousin, Don and his wife, Sandy were there. Ken and Diane Johnson
who'd lost their daughter a few months more than a year ago came back stage
and visited with me. Lee Lampkins, who as an Air Force Sergeant sitting in a
corner booth at the Hi-Way Cafe near Bernie, MO on Christmas night of 1955
as I, at age 17 sang a few songs with my guitar sitting on a counter stool,
he'd bought me a coke, pointed his finger at me and said, "Son, don't you
ever pick another bowl of cotton 'cause you don't have to!". A some hour and
a half autograph line awaited in the lobby. Both October shows seemed like
magical events and both were close to home.
See Oct. 21st newspaper photo of Narvel here
September 7th Huey and I made the some 150 mile drive
to Newark, Arkansas. I was there to do a show at the Times & Traditions Festival in
the city park. It stopped raining by late afternoon, allowing a good receptive crowd to
attend this show. I took the stage that night backed by J. R. Rogers the All Star Band. J.
R. is an Arkansas State Representative. His wife, Michelle who is Mayor of Walnut Ridge
sang some songs on the opening set. The band did a good job backing me. Many in the
audience remembered the "Narvel Felts Show" on KAIT-TV, channel 8 from Jonesboro
in 1964 and 1965. They also remembered me playing a concert in the Newark high school gym
in 1964. I sure hope they don't wait another 43 years to have me back. I'll be 111 years
old! My sister, Ogareeda was there with her friend, Walter. Cousins Bettye and Loretta
were also there, as was a lady who had my 45s of "Kiss-a-Me Baby" from 1957 and
"Reconsider Me" from 1975. Many came through the autograph line at Huey's Record
Rack. The night was hot and very humid... especially under the stage lights.
September 14th was the 12th anniversary of our son, Bub's death in a car accident. He had
played drums with me. On this day of remembrance, I got up and had breakfast with his
mother, my wife of 45 years, Loretta... Then drove by grave in our home town of Malden, MO
and by his cross on the highway near Campbell, MO. I then drove on alone the near 300
miles to Clarksville, Arkansas. There I met my buddy, Huey P. Long and we drove on almost
that much further to Kingston, OK. I was there to play a concert at the Striper Festival
the night of the 15th. Prior to my show, Shotgun Red (the puppet who was with Ralph
Emery's co-host on TNN's Nashville Now) with his voice, Steve Hall were on, followed by
"The Imposters". The Imposters then backed me as I closed the show. Their lead
singer, Tom Gruber is Assistant Attorney General for the state of OK. He stayed on stage
and sang background with me. The band, though there were some tempo problems, did a good
job backing me. The seats were full during my show. The audience gave me a standing
ovation at the end. Friends and fans were there from OK, TX, LA and MO. I believe Faye
Hoffman and Essie Shell will be doing a review of my show for this website. Thanks Girls!
An autograph line awaited me at Huey's Record Rack. The following day we made our some 12
hour Sunday drive home, an 1130 mile round trip. Dean Raymer (who contacted me about this
show) and husband, Dodge were there. They'd seen me in concert at the Fox Theatre in St.
Louis 50 years ago in 1957.
See photo of Narvel on the International Hall of Fame
See the review and photos of Narvel's Kingston, OK show here
August 11th Huey and I made the some 125 mile drie to
Jackson, TN. I was thereto do my annual show at the Rock-a-Billy Fest. This is staged by
the International Rock-a-Billy Hall of Fame, which is located in downtown Jackson. This
year's show was outside in Rock-a-Billy Park next to the Hall of Fame. Among the others on
that night's show was Linda Gail Lewis Larry Cole, The Tennessee Three and Canada's Judy
Kanyo. The portrait unveiling was one of the record industry's major exectutives for the
past 50 years, Shelby Singleton. That afternoon's temp was 102. By the time I went on, the
night had cooled it down and it was pleasant. When I walked on stage every chair in the
park was full plus there were people standing n the street. They gave me a rousing
reception, then a long autograph line after my show at Hueys Record Rack. Double Edge did
a great job backing me. Fans were there from as far away as Cincinatti and Germany.
August 18th I was in Sandstone, Minnesota for a matinee plus a night show at the Midwest
Country Theatre. These concerts were with Grand Ole Opry legend, Connie Smith. The theatre
was sold out for both shows. Fans were there from Ontario, North Dakota, Wisconsin,
Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Texas and Minnesota. The audiences gave me standing ovations
and long rounds of applause. Leroy Glazier and the Midwest Country Band with Michelle
Johnson did a great job backing me. I had long autograph lines at each show at Huey's
Record Rack. My thanks to Jerry and Bev Mackey fo meeting my flight in Minneapolis,
furnishing their motor home for me to hang out in, furnishing food that agreed with my
stomach (since my gall bladder surgery) and taking me back to the airport. My shows are
taped at this theatre. Some songs are used from time to time on the Midwest Country Show
on the RFD Network. Connie Smith gave me a welcome surprise when she did a short dance on
my last song!
August 29th I was near Delton, Michigan. I did a show at Prairieville Old Fashioned Farm
Days. Prior to the show I taped an interview with Joe Suglia for his cable TV show that's
in several markets in that area of Michigan. That night's concert was opened by J. R.
Country. They did their usual great job. The crowd gave me a great reception which
included standing ovations. I did, "Danny Boy" in memory of our son, Bub who
used to play drums with me. The crowd started standing half way through the song and stood
till after their applause ended after the song. this was quite touching to me. I almost
choked up and got a little misty eyed. I'm told that my performance of this is on UTube.
The autograph line included some long time Michigan fan club members. Huey and I had
driven up the day before, arriving around midnight. We drove home the following day in
Loretta's white Lincoln. This was a 1,147 mile round trip.
See photos of Connie Smith and Narvel here
I was home in Malden, MO July 3rd, which was my wife,
Loretta's birthday. I enjoyed spending it with her. I've been on the road on way too many
Friday, July 13th Huey and I made the 300 mile drive to West Point, KY. My annual concert
at Music Ranch USA in West Point was Saturday the 14th. An enthusiastic crowd welcomed me
to the stage. They blessed me with several standing ovations during my show. Though the
Dixie Creek Road Show was less prepared than most bands that back me, with the rehearsal
taking about an hour and a half the guys were all superb musicians and did a great job on
In the audience were couples who'd driven the long distances from St. Louis &
Minneapolis to be there. Bob TImmers, who has the Internet Rockabilly Hall of Fame and his
lady, Dianne made the drive up from Nashville. A long autograph line awaited at the Huey's
Record Rack in the lobby The ones who really wanted to talk with me were waiting till the
end of the line. Rube and Nancy Yelvington, who manage this theatre plus adjacent
restaurant came and announced they'd open the restaurant for these to visit with me. Among
them were Roy and Donna Combs who ran my fan club for a decade. It was a nice visit with
Sunday Huey and I made the drive back home in my white Dodge Grand Caravan.
Note: See the newly added photo of Narvel's portrait
unveling from last year's Rockabilly Hall of Fame Fest! here
After having surgery to remove my gall bladder, May
23rd in nearby Dexter, MO, I spent the night in the hospital. Two weeks later, on June
6th, I had to be taken 200 miles away to St. Louis for an E.R.C.T.,to remove two stones
that were lodged in my bile duct. My buddy, Huey P. Long made the drive down from Kansas
City and took me to St. Louis and back. This was a 1250 mile round trip drive for him. A
friend in need is a friend indeed! I'd recovered enough to do my show in Indianapolis on
I was the Saturday night headliner at the Rockabilly Rebel Weekend at the Clairon,
sponsored by the James Dean Museum. Roy Wilson & the Buzzards, Jerry King & the
Rivertown Ramblers, Al & The Black Cats, plus the Sundodgers who did a great job
backing me. The crowd was very receptive to me. The applause kept on long enough that I
had tow encores coming after "Crying", "Since I Don't Have You" and
"My Prayer". As I was having to conserve my energy (it being only a month to the
day after my surgery) I only took the encore on "Since I Don't Have You", which
I did in memory of my former drummer, our son, Bub. A long autograph
line awaited at the end of my show at Huey's Record Rack. Most were from New York, San
Francisco, Chicago, Detroit and Cincinnati. There was a lady from Spain who also came
through my autograph line. David Loehr, who has staged this annual event for some 15 years
was unable to be there as he was undergoing medical treatments. Please remember him in
Huey and I drove the near 400 miles up on Friday the 22nd in Loretta's white Lincoln Town
Car. We drove back on Sunday.
Notes from Marli:
Please read the latest update about the Fan Club here
See new photos of Narvel with artist friends here
May 5th I made the near 300 mile drive to Osage Beach,
MO. I was there to be inducted into the Missouri Country Music Hall of Fame. The show and
ceremony was May 6th at the Main Street Music Hall, located in the Landing, in Osage
Beach. On the show I was presented an induction award plus a proclamation signed by
Missouri Governor, Matt Blunt. After my thank you remarks I sang 4 songs. The entire
theatre of people gave me a complete standing ovation after my second song, "Somebody
Hold Me (Until She Passes By)". they gave me another one after my last song,
"Lonely Teardrops". The Hall of Fame Band did an excellent job backing me. On
"Lonely Teardrops", band leader, Dave Owens' daughter plus 3 other girls from
her high school chorus class did the "Shoobie Doo Wahs and "Say You Wills"
dressed in black skirts and silver tops... Great! At the end of the show a long autograph
line awaited me in the lobby. Other inductees were, The Kenballs, Bobby Caldwell and Lee
Mase. The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Leroy Van Dyke. Also performing on
the show was Leona Williams, who is a Hall of Fame member. Ferlin Husky also attended.
May 15th, Huey P. Long and I made the 700 mile drive to Green Bay, Wisconsin in his new
Gold Buick Lucerne. It rained all the way. My show was May 16th at the "Rockin' 50's
Fest III at the Oneida Casino. That night's line-up started with Big Sandy & the Fly
Rite Boys, continued with Little Richard, Jack Scott, The Five Keys , then yours truly,
Narvel Felts. Some 8000 tickets were sold for this 5 night event at $50 each. There was a
different line up of hit artists each night. A big crowd stood in front of the stage for
my show. I asked, "How many of you are from the USA?" Loud shouts let me know
there were many. I then asked, "How many of you are from around the world?"
Louder shouts let me know there were more! They gave me a great reception which included
encored on, "Since I Don't Have You" and "My Prayer". The Dave Biller
Trio from Austin, TX did a superb job backing me. A long autograph line awaited in the
lobby at Huey's Record Rack. In it were fans from about a dozen different countries from
Finland to France, Brazil to Britain, to Australia and Japan. In it were Marc and Gaby
Bristol, editors of the magazine, "Blue Suede News". As I was leaving the next
morning, Terry stopped me and we had a short visit.
On May 23rd, I had surgery to remove my gall bladder, which had made me really sick during
4 attacks this year. I'd lost 14 pounds (which I didn't have to spare). I'm healing well
and look forward to gaining those pounds back! My next show will be June 23rd at the
Rock-a-billy Rebel Weekend at the Clairon Hotel Ballroom in Indianapolis. Hope to see you
Till we meet again,
April 1st would have been our son Bub's 43rd birthday
but we lost him at 31.
The 6th I was one of the headliners at the 10th annual
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Festival. Fifty five hundred fans from around the world bough
tickets to this event. Other artists on this show were: Billy Lee Riley, Mac Curtis,
Sleepy La Beef & Don Woody. Big Sandy did a great job as MC. His "Fly Rite
Boys" did a great job backing us. The main ballroom at the Gold Coast was packed with
people standing shoulder to shoulder. The crowd gave me a rousing reception and tremendous
applause. shouts and screams after each song. All of us artists joined on the stage for a
"Shake, Rattle & Roll" finale.
A long autograph line awaited in the lobby at Huey's
Record Rack. In it were fans from across the USA from California to New York. Also from
Canada, England, Wales, Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Australia
Huey and I had traveled out the day and night before.
We'd driven some 200 miles to the St. Louis Airport, then the hours in the airport and
some 4 hours on the plane. We shared the same hotel room. After the show, autograph line,
all the the talking to Huey while we traveled to and from Vegas, then when I got home my
voice was worn out! It didn't recover in time for me to do my show in West Point, KY on
the 14th, so I had to have Harold (my manager) move it to July 14th. My apologies to all
who were inconvenienced by this.
I rested my voice until the 19th. that day, I was still
hoarse but had a rehearsal plus two one-hour shows at RFD-TV at the theater in Branson,
Missouri. The live shows were taped to be played on the RFD-TV network. They'll be titled,
"Solid Gold Country". Leroy Van Dyke did 3 songs then introduced me. His great
band, "The Auctioneers" did an excellent job backing me. Thankfully I got
through the shows. The audiences were receptive and gave me standing ovations, plus and
autograph line after each show at Huey's Record Rack. Leroy's wife, Gladys organized this
series of shows with 33 artists. I look forward to being a part of some of their Country
Gold Tour, package shows in 2008. Ronnie Prophet was in the audience. I had a good visit
with him in my dressing room. I'd been a guest on his national TV show in Canada,
"Grand Ol' Country" a few times in the 70's. His wife, Gloryann (please forgive
if I've misspelled) did background vocals with me in Branson. Benny Gilley, who I'd done a
show with in Norway in 1996 was a featured part of the opening show.
As I write this on the 28th, my voice is back in good
shape. Loretta and I are looking forward to our 45th wedding anniversary on April 30th.
On a sad note: Our son-in-law, Tommy's mother and
sister passed away minutes apart on the 23rd.
On Sunday afternoon, March 4th I did a show at the
Double D Music Hall in Crump, TN. Nearly 300 filled the hall and gave me a great
reception. Eddie Bond was in the audience. I called him on stage to sing his Rock-a-Billy
classic, "Rockin' Daddy". I then asked Eddie to stay on stage and join me on,
"Shake, Rattle and Roll". I invited Eddie's sidekick, Bo Jack Killingsworth plus
Ray Austin from "K 93" Radio to join us on that one. I was told by the promoter
that Gracie Sheffield had won a singing contest and that her prize was to do a duet on
stage with me. We sang, "Help Me Make it Through the Night". I did an hour show
plus included the guests in the middle. The crowd gave me a standing ovation at the end,
then blessed me with a long autograph line as Huey's Record Rack opened. Buford Pusser's
daughter, Dwana came out and was glad to hear the memories I have of her dad. Huey P. Long
had driven down from Kansas City to make this trip with me. We'd driven over Saturday
night. We drove back to my home in Malden, Missouri Sunday night; a 375 mile round trip.
Saturday, March 24th I had a complete sell out in
advance at the Eagles Building in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. A very receptive crowd of near
600 welcomed me to the stage as Cousin Carl from "Pure Country 106" introduced
me. The Bill Barnett Band did a great job of backing me. In the audience was our former
congressman, Bill Burleson, fan club member, Faye Huffman from Louisiana, plus many from
Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas. Also a young lady from Italy. Rick
Jones from "C 106" also joined us on stage in the middle of the show. Many
people were taking pictures and holding their cell phones up for someone to hear certain
songs. My manager, Harold Boner made this short trip up with me as did Huey. At least a 2
hour autograph line awaited at the end of my show as Huey's Record Rack opened. We
returned home that night, a 143 mile round trip. Lead guitarist, Larry Swift was there
(and did a great job) under trying circumstances. His wife, Sharon was in a Springfield,
MO hospital with inoperable lung cancer! Please remember her in your prayers. March 26th
was the 51st anniversary of the first time I performed with Jerry Mercer's band. This was
at the Four Way Inn near Dudley, MO in 1956.
My 50th anniversary as a recording artist is this year.
My 1st recording session was at Sun Records in Memphis, TN, January 23rd., 1957 - my
second, April 5th. I moved quickly on to Mercury in Chicago. My first session there was
May 6th. My first release was on June 10th. It was "Kiss-a-Me, Baby" B/W
"Foolish Thoughts". It became a regional hit in some parts of the USA. It went
to #12 in Flint, Michigan, #7 in Sikeston, MO. It also got some national radio play and
was included on the "American Forces Network" Disc that went to RFN stations the
world, receiving some world play.
A nice anniversary gift came my way when on March 15,
2007, "Earth Angel" from my latest CD, "Super Songs Narvelized" went
to #10 in the Hot Disc Major Chart in Europe. This chart is compiled from country DJ
reports from some 20 countries. Other artists in the top 10 included Hank Williams, Jr. at
#7, Tracy Lawrence at #4 and Rob Crosby with Carl Perkins at #1. It was Carl's "Blue
Suede Shoes" that I sang, winning that high school talent contest back in Bernie, MO
in early 1956. I'm glad to see that my late friend's legacy is living on. I'm thankful to
still be getting played, making the charts and having successful shows after all these
years, in this uncertain business that has been kind to me.
On Feb. 3rd, once again I was gone on our daughter,
Stacia's birthday. Seems no matter how I try to avoid this it keeps happening. This time I
got up early that very cold morning, drove the some 200 miles to the St. Louis Airport,
flew to Minneapolis, changed planes and flew on to Hibbing, Minnesota. When I stepped off
the plane around 11 PM it was 21 below 0 with a 39 below chill factor as I walked through
the snow to the terminal. By the time I was driven to Grand Rapids, I arrived at my motel
around 12:30 AM..
My show the following night, Feb. 4h was at the
Greenway Auditorium in nearby Coleraine, Minnesota. It was with the West Range Country
Show. They did a great job backing me! Thought it was Super Bowl Sunday and the
temperature was 29 below with a 47 below chill factor, a good receptive crowd came. They
included the Olson's and Mackey's who'd made the some 200 mile drive from their homes to
be there. Huey P. Long made the 650 mile drive from Kansas City to handle my CD sales. The
audience blessed me with several standing ovations during my show plus an autograph line
at the end.
A few days after my return home a really bad cold and
throat hit me. This caused me to have to move my show Feb. 17th at the Eagles Building in
Cape Girardeau, Missouri. It was a near sell out! The Doctor told me not to talk for a
week. This show has been rescheduled for March 24th. My apologies to all! Those who have
tickets for the Feb. 17th show will be admitted on March 24th. Thankfully this hasn't
happened many times in all my years. It happened in Canada in 1959, in Germany in 1978, in
Arkansas and Tennessee in 1995. On a lighter note, the doctor tells me the next 50 years
of my career will be rougher than the first 50!
Well, hello there,
Hope all is well with you and yours. Hope 2007 will be
kind to you.
On a sad note, Norma Williams (who has handled my mail
order recordings for about the past 15 years) passed away on January 6th. She was 68 years
My first show of 2007 (my Golden Anniversary year as a
recording artist) was at the Florida Sunshine Opry in Eustis, FL on Jan. 20th. I'd gotten
up early the day before, made the near 200 mile drive to St. Louis Airport, flew to Tampa,
rented a car and made the more than 100 mile drive on to my motel near Eustis, arriving
A good receptive crowd welcomed me to the stage. The
Sunshine Opry Band did a really good job preparing for my show and backing me. In the
audience was a friend and fellow Mercury Recording artist I'd first met in 1957. He had a
hit, "Love Bug Crawl" which made the pop top 40 and the country top 15 that
year. I called him on stage during my show to sing that one. I did my best to play the
intro and guitar ride Chet had played on his record. At the end of my show, the audience
blessed me with a standing ovation, then a long autograph line in the lobby.
The following day I made the trip back home, arriving
Jan. 23rd was the 50th Anniversary of my first
recording session. It was at Sun Records in Memphis. Roy Orbison, Conway Twitty, Johnny
Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis were hanging around.