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Review: Feb. 22, 2009

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L. V. Bryant


The Legends - Narvel Felts, Ronnie McDowell, Ronnie Dove, Billy Joe Royal

Narvel On Stage

Billy Joe Royal

Ronnie McDowell

Ronnie Dove

Narvel with
Diane & Leon Everette

Narvel with DJs Tequila Sheila & Micals




Legends Ronnie Dove, Narvel Felts, Leon Everette, Billy Joe Royal and Ronnie McDowell took us  down many Memory Lanes during their fantastic show!!

I always thought you were supposed to save the best for last, but DeeJays JD Micals and Tequila Sheila, Radio Station 103.3, brought Ronnie Dove onto the stage first and he charmed the audience from the get-go. In 1965 Ronnie was CashBox and Billboard's Best Singles Male Vocalist. We were treated to some of his 23 national and international charted records which included "Say You," "Right or Wrong", "One Kiss for Old Time's Sake", "A Little Bit of Heaven", a powerful "Cry" and a beautiful "Unchained Melody".

Ronnie brought a chartered bus full of his Fan Club members with him from the Baltimore, Maryland, area and announced that his Fan Club's name has been recently changed to "Ronnie Dove and Friends", because, he said, "After all these years, we've become friends, plus I know your grandparents, your children, and your grandchildren." I brought some "Ronnie Dove Memories"  home with me by purchasing his "Golden Classics" and "The Country Side of Ronnie Dove" CDs which have some jewels which Ronnie hooks including, "It's Only Make Believe," "For The Good Times, "Cryin' Time", and many others.

After a fast paced 45 minutes with Ronnie onstage, Narvel Felts began his set with one of his Top  Tens "Funny How Time Slips Away", his 1973 "Drift Away" which made him "an overnight sensation in the music business after 17 years and 30 records" as Narvel says.
He took us back to his Rockabilly roots with a snappy "Pink and Black Days", the 1975 tearjerker "Somebody Hold Me", which got a standing ovation and he rewarded us by singing an extra ending. Then back to his Rockabilly days with a rousing "My Babe".

Narvel then set the stage for "Great Balls of Fire" by taking us back to Sun Records, 706 Union  Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee, in early 1957 when he had his first recording session. Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and Harold Jenkins, soon to be Conway Twitty, were there along with a new piano player, Jerry Lee Lewis, who was yet to have a hit, but it wouldn't be long.

Narvel's 1975 Billboard and CashBox Single of the Year "Reconsider Me" was as beautiful as ever. "Even Now" with the beautiful words, "My darling, I miss you even now" was dedicated to his only son "Bub" who he lost in a 1995 car accident. Bub played drums for his Dad and toured with him all over the world. The audience responded with another standing ovation as Narvel poured his heart into "Even Now".

"Lonely Teardrops" complete with the "Shooby Doo Oops" and the timeless and beautiful "My Prayer" produced a third standing ovation, but ended Narvel's too short show. He let us know while onstage that on April 30th he and Loretta will be married 47 years and that his next show won't be until the end of April in France due to double hernia surgery on February 26th. (Get well cards can be sent to him at 2005 Narvel Felts Avenue, Malden, Missouri 63863-1210.)

I was able to relive memories of his fine show by playing his "Drift Away", The Best of Narvel Felts  1973-1979" CD on the 700 mile trip home along with the other Legends.

After an intermission, Billy Joe Royal opened with "Cherry Hill Park", sang a beautiful "I'll Pin a  Note on Your Pillow", "Love Has No Right", "Stay Close to Home", "I Knew You When", "Still Waters Run Deep", "Out of Sight and On My Mind" and closed with "Down In the Boondocks", which launched his fine career over 40 years ago. His voice is as beautiful and powerful as ever. We found out that he had hurt his back only two days before the show and that he could have legitimately cancelled, but he refused to do so, not wanting to disappoint the auditorium full of country fans. Thanks, Billy Joe!! You were wonderful!!

I brought home memories of his performance with a copy of his CD called "Billy Joe Royal, The  Royal Treatment" which is a treasure with his top hits plus the classic "He'll Have To Go" and "It Keeps Right On Hurtin'".

Leon Everette was a complete surprise to me, but well known by the other Legends. He had a hit  streak in the '80s of 11 singles and big hits with "Hurricane," "Over", "Soul Searching" and many others. He jarred the stage floor with "Josephine". Fats Domino would have been proud!

Ronnie McDowell, the youngest of the Legends, was awesome and closed the show. He started out with "Older Women" and then took us back to his early career when he worked with Conway Twitty and did "It's Only Make Believe", an Elvis tribute "The King is Gone" plus the B side of Heartbreak Hotel, "I Was the One," "Don't You Feel Like Crying" from the movie "Dirty Dancing" and sounding like Elvis doing Patsy Cline's "He's Got You" and many others. I brought memories of his show home with me with his "Unchained Melody" CD and his latest, "Ronnie McDowell sings Elvis". "Love Letters" alone is worth the price of that CD.

All the Legends were brought back onstage for a finale and sang together. It was a beautiful moment to see them onstage together, such talented, charismatic and powerful singers in their own right, but utterly fantastic as part of one show. And the beauty of it all is that they're all friends and  respect and admire each other's talent.

I reminded Billy Joe Royal in his autograph line that I had spoken to him ten years ago in Nashville at FanFare. I had on my Narvel T-shirt at the time and as I approached him, Billy Joe said, "Narvel Felts, one of the greatest singers that ever walked on stage."

I told Ronnie McDowell in his autograph line that I was a big Narvel fan, and his eyes got big and he said, "Isn't he amazing!" And I know that Narvel and Ronnie Dove have been friends for a very long time.

Narvel mentioned onstage that Leon and Diane Everette were celebrating their 13th wedding anniversary, which told me that he thought a lot of Leon.

Thanks to my beautiful sister Doris DiLeo who now lives in North Carolina for jotting down what  everybody sang during the show. I was much too busy taking pictures. Thanks also to DeLena and Chris Stortz, my niece and her husband, for making the trip to Spartanburg. Narvel had Fan Club members Wink and Diane there from Waterloo, Iowa, a thousand mile one-way trip, me from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, over 700 miles, as well as fans who traveled from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

The bands backing the Legends were all awesome. Ronnie Dove has a fine band who backed him  and Narvel. Billy Joe Royal and Ronnie McDowell had their own bands who did great jobs.

The show was over three hours long, but not nearly long enough for this country fan who loved every minute of it and felt honored to hear and see so many fine singers on the same stage.

Faye Huffman
Baton Rouge, LA

(Click photos for larger view)

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My Kind of Country
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