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Review: Oct. '08 Country Legends

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L. V. Bryant

 
 

Narvel & Freddy Hart
Narvel & Leroy Van Dyke
Narvel & Jim Ed Brown

JOE BIELINSKI'S 17TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW AND DANCE
FORT WORTH, TEXAS, OCTOBER 19TH, 2008

 

June Huffman, my sister-in-law, called me in mid July. My all-time favorite country singer, Narvel Felts, was coming to her hometown of Fort Worth, Texas, on October 19th, which she found out listening to DJ Joe Bielinski's Sunday morning Country Legends Show 92.1 radio station. He played Narvel's "Somebody Hold Me," so she called and asked, "Did you just play a Narvel Felts' song?" "Yes," he replied. "Well, play another one," she requested. Joe told her of Narvel's upcoming appearance in Fort Worth, and she quickly got tickets for four of us: our friend O'Lee Cantrell from Fort Worth, my sister, Judy Standige, from Muldrow, Oklahoma, as well as June and me.

Over 80 artists performed in eight and a half hours, the first 70 usually singing one song each. There were so many talented performers in this group. Justin Trevino had an exceptional voice. Robyn Young, son of the late great Faron Young, took us down memory lane sounding just like his dad doing Faron's "Hello Walls" and "Four in the Morning."

Top artists included Johnny Seay, Leona Williams, a warm and gracious singer, Ralph Mooney playing steel guitar, Leon Rausch also known as "the voice" of Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys who just celebrated his 81st birthday and sounded as pure as ever, Tony Booth, and David Ball who did a great job with "Thinking Problem."

For the first six hours, the dance floor was crowded for almost every song. There's lots of Texas Two-Stepping going on in Fort Worth. But for the highlight of the show, for me, the last two hours went much too quickly.

Narvel Felts in black pants, a shiny charcoal shirt, and royal blue jacket, stopped the dancing on the dance floor where there was Standing Room Only doing four of his Top 10 records leading off with the 1975 Billboard and Cashbox Song of the Year "Reconsider Me", following up with "Drift Away", his 1973 song making him an "overnight sensation" after 17 years in the music business. "Somebody Hold Me" and "Lonely Teardrops" quickly followed. Narvel mentioned onstage that if any of us are, by chance, in Austria Saturday night, October 25th, that he'd be there headlining a Rockabilly Show. He had to hurry home to catch a plane.

Leroy Van Dyke dressed in black with a rich gold jacket aced his million selling (or did he say three million?) record singles: "Walk On By" and "Auctioneer". The audience sang along with his distinctive voice. After he would sing, "Just walk on by," the audience would chime in with the next line, "wait on the corner."

Jim Ed Brown, another class act, resplendent in black with a rich red jacket, began with "Looking Back To See" and did a beautiful job singing "The Three Bells", the story of "little Jimmy Brown" with background singers, a mother and daughter duo, The Brattons, who he called his "Bom Bom Girls," referring to the chorus in "The Three Bells". He concluded with "Pop A Top Again".

The show closed with one of my all-time favorites, Freddie Hart, who looked like the star he is with a charcoal western suit complete with red boots, whose voice is as pure and crystal-clear as ever singing "I Just Took A Trip To Heaven", "The Key's In The Mailbox", and closing the show with "Easy Loving", the Country Music Association Song of the Year two years in a row, 1971 and 1972. It was a privilege and honor to see him, hear him sing, and talk to him.

The band consisted of Gary Carpenter on steel guitar; Junior Knight, guitar; Jim Loessberg, drums; Reggie Reuffer, fiddle; and Ronnie Shultz on bass, and did a fine job backing all the performers for this eight and a half hour show. Leroy Van Dyke proudly introduced his son who joined the band playing guitar during his performance and who also backed up Narvel Felts as well on guitar.

In my opinion, a fine Country Legends Tour could easily consist of Leroy Van Dyke, Narvel Felts, Jim Ed Brown, Freddie Hart, David Ball, Robyn Young singing his dad's songs, and I would add Ferlin Husky. All of these performers are still top-notch singers sounding great, looking like the pros they are, and worth the trip to see them.

Faye Huffman
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

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