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News From Narvel 2014

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L. V. Bryant


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Rodgers Theater  6-7-14
Photo courtesy of Leonard Fulbright

November

November 11th was my 76th Birthday. Thank you for all your cards and calls. Cousin Carl and Susan plus the gang from Pure Country 106.1 in Cape Girardeau, MO called singing, "Happy Birthday" to me on the air. Darwin lee Hill from 950 AM in Poughkeepsie/Hyde Park, New York played 20 of my records from the 50s to the 90s on his "Real Hillbilly Music Show" as a birthday tribute to me. KFVS 12 TV in Cape Girardeau, MO wished me a Happy Birthday on the Breakfast Show.

The 21st I performed at my 9th Annual concert at the Collins Theater in downtown Paragould, Arkansas. Terry Wood from 95.9 Classic Country "The Wolf" in Jonesboro brought me on stage to a comfortably full house and a rousing reception. Terry told me I'm still his most requested artist. My most requested songs are, "Somebody Hold Me", "Reconsider Me" and "My Prayer". The show had been opened by Gary Prince. his band, Sugarcreek did a great job backing me. The crowd blessed me with standing ovations. Most were from northeast Arkansas and southeast, Missouri but some made the long drives from as far away as Fletcher and St. Louis, MO, Paducah, Kentucky and Decatur, Illinois. It was good having our daughter Stacia and her husband, Danny, my sister Ogareeda and husband Walter, my niece Lecia, y cousin Don and his wife Sandy there. A long autograph line awaited at Huey's Record Rack in the lobby. This was the last show of my 58th year in show business.

Final Farewell: Jerry Tuttle, my old pal played sax, steel and piano in my 50s band, "The Rockets". He played on all of my 50s recordings for Sun, Mercury and Pink. He toured the US and Canada with me from late 1956 to the end of 1959. He was a writer on my songs, "Foolish Thoughts", "Three Thousand Miles", "Darling Sue" and "Cutie Baby" plus on Bobby Bare's top ten hit from 1965, "It's Alright". He was a founding member of Tennessee Puley Bone who had the first hit of "The Door's Always Open" in 1973. Our instrumental, "Rocket Ride" in 1958 featured Jerry on sax. It was becoming a smash hit until our label Mercury suddenly replaced it with "Rocket Ride Stroll" trying to appeal to the new dance craze at the time. UK Rockers of a certain generation love, "Rocket Ride". There re CDs available from the Gusto Group of labels with the artists being listed as Nashville Sax - That's Jerry Tuttle. He passed away in his hometown of Malden, MO November 25th. He had turned 77 November 19th.

   

Harold Boner, Narvel and to the right, an unknown man.
Place unknown, 1975

October

October 4th I did a concert at Nelson's Music City at Knoblick, MO between Farmington and Fredericktown. I was introduced on stage by Debbie Connor who has a Classic Country show on Steelradio.com which is carried by the Armed Forces Network to 104 countries around the world. The crowd was very attentive and receptive blessing me with standing ovations. They came from as far away as northern Minnesota, south Texas and Decatur, Illinois. Double Edge was at the top of their game backing me, as they had been on their opening set. Dean Raymer who has booked many shows for me through the years told me, "I've seen you do many shows but this was the best." Dean and Dodge had first seen me at the Fox Theater in St. Louis in 1957. A long autograph line awaited in the lobby. Afterward I drove home.. a 250 mile round trip.

October 16th I left my Malden, MO home in my white Dodge Caravan. I drove half way to my Saturday show spending the night in Mr. Pleasant, Iowa. The next morning I was on the road early to drive the last half of my trip. Saturday the 18th I performed a concert at the Midwest Country Theater in Sandstone, Minnesota. The theater was comfortably full. I took the stage to a standing ovation. Others followed after, "Lonely Teardrops", Somebody Hold Me", "Kiss-a-me Baby" Reconsider Me", "Danny Boy" and at the end of my show. Maria Rose, Danny Elswick and the Midwest Country Band did a fine job backing me. They did a great job on their opening set. Portions of this show will be featured on the Midwest Country Show on RFD-TV during the next year. Fans came from as far away as South Carolina, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. A long autograph line awaited at the end of my show. Jerry Mackey said he'd seen all but one of my shows there since 2003 and this was the best. Wade Olson who has seen many of my shows said this one was special. The next morning I left for home and Loretta. This was a 1,685 mile round trip drive alone. Driving through Iowa I heard my 1976 top 10 hit, "Somebody Hold Me" on KWMT-AM from Fort Dodge.

   

Funny How Time Slips Away
Narvel 40 years ago, 1974

September

September 14th was the 19th anniversary of our son Bub's death.

Sept 20th I did my 12 annual concert at the Riverview Amphitheater at the Lady Luck Casino in Caruthersville, MO. Some 700 fans welcomed me to the stage. Michael Steel from Wolf Radio in Jonesboro, Arkansas welcomed the crowd and introduced the great band, Double Edge. Cousin Carl from Pure Country Radio in Cape Girardeau, MO came on stage to introduce me. The crowd blessed me with standing ovations after, "Danny Boy" and "My Prayer". It was good having our daughter Stacia and her husband Danny, my sister Ogareeda and her husband Walter and my niece Lecia and special friend Richard in the audience plus many friends.

A near two hour autograph line awaited me at Huey's Record Rack. Through it came fans and friends from Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois and the long distance travelers from 700 miles away in Steubenville, Ohio, Ray and Betty Hildebrand.

Final Farewell:
Allen Black who owned the company that printed my newsletters.
Teddy Riedel; His record, "Judy" was a hit in northeast Arkansas and southeast Missouri in 1960. We did shows together here and in England through the years. Elvis recorded his song, "Judy" for his "Elvis is Back" album upon his return from the army in 1960.
George Hamilton IV; His record, "A Rose and a Baby Ruth" was a top ten his in 1956. His record "Abilene" was a #1 country hit in 1963. Over a 50 year span I did several shows with him in the USA, England and Australia.
Gary Blanchard; He played in my band 1972-1975. Bass in '72, lead guitar in '73. He was the original guitarist when I named my band "The Driftaways" after "Drift Away" became my break through country hit.

Sympathy to my webmaster Marlene Slater and her family for the loss of her sister, Brenda Lasko (nee Brown).
 

   

Rodgers Theater  6-7-14

July

As I didn't so a show in July there's no show news to report. I enjoyed being with my wife Loretta on her birthday, July 3rd.

Final Farewell: Jimmy C. Newman; I read in the R.O.P.E. Newsletter that he has passed away. Long before he added the "C." to his name two of his records are among my all time favorites. When I was 16 in 1955, "Blue Darlin'" by Jimmy Newman was on the jukebox at the drug store in Bernie, MO. I would put nickel after nickel in to play it every time I was there. By 1957 I was also a recording artist. His record, "A Fallen Star" was on of my favorites. Both records remain favorites in my memory. The first time I was on the Grand Ole Opry in 1974 we shared a dressing room. The second time I was on that night he introduced me. I sand my top 19 hit at the time, "When Your Good Love Was Mine". The crowd gave me a standing ovation. he called me back for a bow. We did the Wembley Festival together in London in the 1980s. We were on Country Family Reunion together in 2010. We had a couple of good visits that day.

<----   Photo courtesy of Leonard Fulbright

   

Narvel Felts at the Manassas Fair, Virginia 1976
My hit singles this year were: "Somebody Hold Me" #6, "Lonely Teardrops" #4, "My Prayer" #12
On this night I opened for Ernest Tubb.
Photo courtesy of Millie Bowers

June

June 7th I did my 5th Annual concert at the historical Rodgers Theater in  downtown Poplar Bluff, MO. I first did a show there in late 1957. I was there early to do an interview with Kadee Brosseau from KFVS12 TV from Cape Girardeau, MO. She also took some film of our sound check then our show. She put together an edited version for the Sunday 10pm news. It also ran on the Monday morning Breakfast Show. She did a version with more footage for the KBS123 TV news which was shown at 9pm Sunday.
Back to Saturday; I took the stage to a receptive audience of some 700. I was introduced on stage by Cousin Carl from KWKZ 106.1 Pure Country Radio from Cape Girardeau. His wife Ann was also there.. it was her birthday. Others there from that station were Levon DeCourley and Robert Hayes. The show had been opened by the Moon Pie Band. Double Edge then took the stage for four songs then stayed on to back me. This Memphis based band always does a great job on my songs.

This audience was mostly from southwest Missouri though some were there from as far away as St. Louis, Paragould, Arkansas, Paducah, Kentucky and Decatur, Illinois. Then they blessed me with standing ovations after, "Danny Boy" and "My
Prayer". A some 2 hour autograph line awaited at Huey's Record Rack in the lobby. It was good visiting with all. It was good having our daughter Stacia and her husband Danny, my sister Ogareeda and her husband Walter plus my niece Lecia and her special friend Richard there.

                                                                        Rodgers Theater Memories
During the seven weeks my wife Loretta and I dated (from the time we met till the time we married on April 30th of 1962) I was booked almost every night. I had to keep Monday nights open for National Guard drills. (I was a member of the Poplar Bluff National Guard Company from 1961 till 1967). On Monday nights I would take her to the Rodgers Theater to watch a movie. I'd let the projectionist, Mr. Loren Lucas know where he could watch over her. I'd then go to my drill and come back to get her when it was over. Loretta's birthday is July 3rd.

Final Farewells: Jerry Lefler, A friend since we were teenagers. He played guitar then drums for me in early 1961. He played bass for me for about half of 1967. He was playing drums for me when I opened for Jerry Lee Lewis in 161. He also played bass for Ace Cannon. He was 72.

Look for new photos of this show by Leonard Fulbright on the Photo Page!

 

   

May

I didn't do a show in April. There was a TV rerun from 1975. My sister Ogareeda called and said she and Walter had seen me on "Pop Goes the Country". Three of four days later my Rock-a-Billy buddy, Sleep LaBeef called saying he and Linda had just seen me on "Pop Goes the Country". This would have been the same one my sister had seen. This show was hosted by Ralph Emery and the other guests were Dickey Lee and Barbara Mandrell. The songs I sang were, "Reconsider Me" and "Funny How Time Slips Away". This show was on RFD-TV. It was filmed on location in Nashville in 1975.

I will be on "Midwest Country" (also on RFD-TV) June 14 at 7:30 (Central Time) This will be a few songs from my concert at the Midwest Country Theater in Sandstone, Minnesota in Oct. of 2013.

An interview with Alex Ward was recently heard on "Pink and Black Days" on Sirus/XM Radio, the 50's channel. My recording, "Pink and Black Days" is his theme.

Loretta has had cataract surgery in both eyes. She is seeing much better now.

(From Marli: I found the show on YouTube so y'all can watch it right here. Just click on the little square in the right hand bottom corner to make it full screen! Great show!)

 

   

April

April 1st would have been our son Bub's 50th birthday. On April 20th I was one of the artists on the Sun Rock-a-Billy Show, which closed the Viva Las Vegas Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada. The other artists were Sonny Burgess, Carl Mann and Hayden Thompson. Each of us had recorded for Sun Records in the 1950s. That original Sun Rock-a-Billy sound is now iconic around the world. Three thousand fans packed the main ballroom o the Orleans Hotel. They were from some 20 countries around the world from Japan to Australia, from Brazil to Canada and from Spain to Russia. The VLV staff did an excellent job backing each of us on our individual shows plus all of us on our jam finale together. The crowd gave us a rousing reception and a some three hour autograph line after our encores.

April 30th was mine and Loretta's 52nd wedding anniversary. We're thankful for these years together. We celebrated it quietly at our home together. On that date in 1962 I awoke at my parents home in Powe, MO. After getting dressed I made the 65 mile drive to Steele, MO. There I married Loretta Stanfield who looked like she'd stepped from the silver screen. I drove her the 50 miles to Malden, MO to our waiting apartment in our metallic tan '61 Chevy Impala 2-door hardtop. There I carried her over the threshold.

Photo: Narvel and Loretta, Christmas of 2013
Courtesy of Stacia Felts

   

Narvel on stage 1-1-13
Photo courtesy of Leonard Fulbright


February

February 3rd was our daughter, Stacia's birthday. February 6th was our granddaughter, Nicole's birthday. The 11th I was up early. As I loaded my van it was 9 degrees Fahrenheit with a 5 below 0 wind chill factor outside our Malden, MO home. I stopped in Dexter to pick up Huey then on to the St. Louis Airport. There we boarded our flight and flew to Tampa, FL. Gladys Van Dyke met our flight and drove us to our hotel. It was 70 degrees in Tampa. I was there to do two shows the 12th as one of the artists on the Country Gold Tour at the Florida State Fair. Other artists on the show were: Leroy Van Dyke, Bobby Bare, T. G. Sheppard and Suzy Boggus. The Auctioneers did a great job backing each of us. The first show audience gave me a standing ovation after my part of the show. The second show audience blessed me with three standing ovations after three of the six songs I sang. Long enthusiastic autograph lines awaited me after each show. They were from the Canadian Provinces of Ontario and Brunswick and the U. S. States of Maine, Mew Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida. I had good visits with all the artists. Huey (who sold my CDs) and I had supper with T. G. Sheppard and his wife, Kelly Lang. The following afternoon the limo took us back to the airport. On arriving in St. Louis we made the 3 1/2 hour drive back home arriving after midnight. February 14th I was home with my Valentine, Loretta.

The next morning I was up early for the five hour drive to Dixon, MO. That night (the 15th) I did a show at "Music In the Barn". Double Edge made the drive up from Memphis to do the opening set plus back me on my show. They did their usual great job. The audience gave me a standing ovation at the end of my show. Through my autograph line came many from the local area plus a family of 15 who made the some 500 mile round trip drive from Decatur, Illinois. A couple also made the some 400 mile round trip drive from near the Iowa line. Also Ken, who played guitar for my late friend, Jack Reno was there with his wife. The next morning Huey and I were up early for the drive back home. In 6 days I did 3 shows plus traveled around 3,000 miles, driving 1,000 and flying some 2,000.

P.S. The long distance traveler to Dixon, MO was Wade Olson who drove all the way from Sunrise Minnesota to be there.

   

Narvel with Fan, Betty Ruger
American Music Theatre in Lancaster, Pa
1-18-2013
Photo courtesy of Betty Ruger
 

January

My first show of this, my 58th year in show biz was January 18th at the Exhibition Center of the Isle Casino in Cape Girardeau, MO. It was SOLD OUT a week and a half prior to the show! The full house blessed me with standing ovations after, "Sonny Boy, "My Prayer" and my encore verse of, "Funny How Time Slips Away". Double Edge from Memphis did their usual great job opening the show and backing me. I was introduced on stage by Rick Sinclair from KWKZ Pure Country 106.1. Other DJs from that station in the audience were Cousin Carl and Levon DeCourley. My family members attending included our daughter, Stacia and her husband, Danny, My sister, Ogareeda and her husband, Walter, My niece, Lecia and her special friend, Richard. It was Ogareeda's birthday the following day so I sand "Happy Birthday" to her during my show. My manager, Harold Boner was also there.

A near two hour autograph line awaited me at the end of my show as Huey's record rack opened. Through it came friends and fans from Illinois, Kentucky and Missouri including Dodge and Dean Raymer who had first seen me at The Fox Theater in St. Louis in 1957.

Huey and I made the 1 1/2 hour drive home afterwards, a 155 mile round trip.

Final Farewell:
Phil Everly, one half of the Everly Brothers. Their "Wake Up Little Susie" was at the top of the charts when our paths crossed in a little cafe in Nashville in 1957.
Ray Price: One of the greatest voices ever. More than 100 hits but best remembered for, "For the Good Times". I had a good visit with Ray a few years ago.
Clyde Stacy, Known to Rock-a-Billy fans around the world for his 50s record, "Hoy Hoy". We headlined a festival together in England in 2011.

 

 


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