LEGENDS AND MEMORIES CONCERT
SPARTANBURG, SOUTH CAROLINA
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 22ND, 2009
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
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
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.
Baton Rouge, LA
(Click photos for larger view)