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CRB Unveils Narvel's Portrait

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L. V. Bryant

 

CRB Executive Director Unveils Narvel Felts Portrait
Aug 8, 2006

CRB-EdSalamon-Narvel.jpg (18887 bytes) Country Radio Broadcasters, Inc. Executive Director Ed Salamon officiated at the unveiling of a life-size portrait of Narvel Felts during Felt's performance at The International Rock-A-Billy Hall of Fame concert at The Carl Perkins Civic Center in Jackson, Tennessee on Saturday, August 5th. As well as being one of the most programmed artists on Country radio during the 70s, Felts has amassed a cult following based on his earlier rockabilly recordings. The portrait will be on permanent display, along with those of Elvis, Carl Perkins, Brenda Lee and others at the International Rock-A-Billy Hall of Fame in Jackson.

As reported by Tonya Smith-King in the August 6, 2006 edition of The Jackson Sun; "Ed Salamon, a friend and fan of Felts, presented a brief talk about Felts before the unveiling. Salamon met Felts while program director of WHN, a country music station in New York. In 1981, Salamon formed the United Stations Radio Network with Dick Clark and did interviews with Felts that were broadcast nationally on network radio shows. 'Narvel Felts was ranked as one of the top artists in country music,' Salamon told festival fans. 'He also has the distinction of hitting charts in each of the first five decades of his career.' Felts' painting will hang with the others at the International Rockabilly Hall of Fame."

Used with permission. Copyright 2006 Country Radio Broadcasters, Inc., all rights reserved. Visit www.crb.org

Remarks at Narvel Felts’ International Rock-A-Billy Hall of Fame Portrait Unveiling
Saturday, August 5, 2006 at Carl Perkins Civic Center, Jackson, Tennessee


It is fitting that we honor one of the original rock and roll artists, Narvel Felts, tonight at The Carl Perkins Civic Center, because it all began for Narvel at a high school talent contest where he sang Carl Perkins’ hit “Blue Suede Shoes”.

It’s also fitting that we are in Jackson, Tennessee geographically located between Memphis, where at seventeen Narvel made his first studio recordings at Sun studios for Jack Clement under the eyes of Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Conway Twitty and Johnny Cash, ……and Nashville, the center of Country music where Narvel has had such great commercial success.

Like many of you, I first became a fan of Narvel’s rockabilly music and bought songs like “Kiss-a-me Baby” on Mercury, “Honey Love” on Pink and “Mountain of Love” on Groove.

In the early 70s, I became Program Director of Country Music station WEEP in Pittsburgh and recognized Narvel’s name on a Country version of “Drift Away”. We played it, as did many other Country stations, and it became the first in a streak of Country hits for Narvel. We called him “Narvel The Marvel” because he had been in the business for seventeen years and on a dozen record labels before making it big.

A couple years later I became Program Director of WHN, the Country station in New York and Narvel and I became friends. I saw Narvel win over New York audiences as his list of hits grew to include “Lonely Teardrops”, “Funny How Time Slips Away” “Somebody Hold Me Until She Passes By” and the number one Country record of the year for 1975, “Reconsider Me”

Along the way, he gave up his original band, and was for a time backed by a young group called Wild Country. They have told me that they learned a lot from working with this seasoned entertainer and Country star..

In 1981, I formed the United Stations Radio Network with Dick Clark, and I was able to do interviews with Narvel which were broadcast nationally on network radio shows including “The Weekly Country Music Countdown” and “Solid Gold Country”.

Narvel then went on to gain an international fan base with overseas audiences, especially at England’s Wembley festival. And his back up band, Wild Country, did all right for themselves too….once they changed their name to ALABAMA!

Narvel Felts is ranked as one of the top artists in Country music. He also has the distinction of hitting the charts in each of the first five decades of his career.

It is now my honor – as a fan and a friend- to unveil the life-size portrait that will hang on permanent display in the International Rockabilly Hall of Fame. The portraits of other original rock and roll and rockabilly heroes Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Brenda Lee, The Jordanaires, W.S. Holland, Charlie Rich, Sonny Burgess, Carl Mann and Sam Phillips will be now joined by NARVEL FELTS


Ed Salamon
Executive Director
Country Radio Broadcasters, Inc.


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