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2009 News

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L. V. Bryant


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Photo: Courtesy of Vickie Lightle

J. D. Micals, Percy Sledge, Ronnie Dove,
Sheila Miles, Narvel Felts & Leon Everette
Reception, Phoenix Inn, Greenville, SC
Dec 4, 2009

(Click on photo for larger view)

 

Side Note (See Show Dates for time and date):
The TV show I'll be filming Jan. 21 in Nashville is:
"Country Family Reunion 2010" for RFD-TV

        December 2009

December 5th I was one of the artists on the "Legends and Memories" concert at the "Carolina First Center" in Greenville, SC. The other artists were Ronnie Dove, Percy Sledge and Leon Everette. We had to be up at 5am on Friday the 4th to be on an early news show between 7 and 9am on Fox Carolina TV. We each sang a song and did a short interview. To end the TV show the four of us jammed on "Johnny Be Good" together.

J. D. Micals and co-host, Sheila Miles have an amazing radio show originating from WOLT-103.3 in Greenville from 10am to 2pm EST, Monday through Friday. Ronnie, Leon and I were in-studio guests this same Friday. They played many of our records and talked with us. They even went far enough back to play Slim Whitman and Elton Britt. To hear this great show on the internet go to www.starlight-shows.com and click on "Listen". They were the promoters of our concert the next night. They tell me my two most requested songs on their show are "Pink and Black Days" and "Even Now".

At 7pm that same Friday night all of us attended a meet and greet reception at the ballroom at our hotel. A full room of fans awaited us.

A very receptive crowd attended our concert the following night. Each of us got standing ovations. I was introduced on stage by J. D. Micals. Ronnie Dove's band did a great job backing me. I was blessed with five standing ovations and three encores. They were after "Somebody Hold Me", "Even Now" and "My Prayer". A some three hour autograph line awaited me at Huey's Record Rack. I've always stood for my autograph lines. After about two hours I had to say, "Folks, I'm sorry. This is the first time I've ever done this. Would you please follow me over to the table. I must sit down!" They did and my line lasted about another hour. Through it came Danny Daniels, who from 1979 to 1991 played my records in regular rotation on WNGC in Athens, GA. Wayne Morton from 96.3 WGOG in Walhalla, SC came through the line and recorded a short interview with me. He plays my records now. A young man all the way from Boston, MA came through my line and said he'd seen me at "Rockin' 50's Fest" in Green Bay, WI. He came down to see what my country side was all about.

Reggie Williams and her camera man video recorded the entire concert plus interviews with each of us and with fans in our autograph lines. She has edited a documentary composite for www.greenvillehd.com It will be made available to be seen on each of our web sites.

The following day Huey and I took our some 12 hour drive back home, 1267 mile round trip. This ends my 53rd year in the music business. I'm home for Christmas and New Year's Eve with Loretta and our family.

 

   

Narvel's video on YouTube
To see more go HERE


Terry Wood From 95.9  Radio Joins Narvel On Stage to Jam, "Shake, Rattle and Roll"
Collins Theater, Paragould, Arkansas
Nov. 6, 2009

Photo courtesy of Sherry Long

        November 2009

On November 6th I did my annual concert at the Collins Theatre in Paragould, Arkansas. Though my competition 21 miles down the road in Jonesboro that night was the Oak Ridge Boys, I had a full house again for the fourth year in a row. Terry Wood from Classic Country 95.9 "The Wolf" in Jonesboro did a great job as MC of the show and singing "It's Only Make Believe".  Gary Prince did a great opening show. I've never had a band do  better job backing me me than Sugar Creek did that night; correct vocal backgrounds and all! My show included my top country hits from the 70s, a trip back to my Rock-a-Billy days of the 50s, Two that were big multi-format regional hits in that area in the 60s; "Mountain of Love" and I'd Trade All of My Tomorrows". I called Terry Wood back on stage to jam, "Shake, Rattle and Roll" with me. I included one that had been a top 30 country hit for me in 1978 but I hadn't sung it in concert since 1979, "Just Keep it Up". My top hit from 1976, "My Prayer" closed the show and brought a complete standing ovation plus an encore with my top 10 hit from 1975, "Funny How Time Slips Away". A some two hour autograph line awaited me at Huey's Record Rack in the lobby. Arkansas supported me well. Others were there from as far away as the coast of Texas, St Louis and Cincinnati. Lee Lampkins visited me backstage. I'd first met him Christmas night of 1955. That night Harold White, J. W. Grubbs and I sat on the counter stools at the Highway Cafe Near Bernie, MO with our acoustic guitars. For the first time, I sang for strangers. Lee pointed his finger at me,, looked me in the eye and said, "Son, don't you ever pick another bowl of cotton 'cause you don't have to!" He was an Air Force Sergeant at the time. He's now in failing health.

November 11th I turned 71at home with my wife, Loretta. Thank you for your cards and calls.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We spent it at our daughter, Stacia's house which used to be our son, Bub's house. It was a joy spending time with our family. Danny showed us a video on YouTube. It was me singing, "Lonely Teardrops" with Bub playing drums. It was from the 1983 International Festival of Country Music. We performed to a full Wembley Arena in London, England. This show was shown across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on BBC TV. Bub turned 19 while in London that weekend.

Final Farewell: Bobby Caldwell, Jerry Whitman, Lois Felts
 


Narvel on Stage
Riverview Amphitheater, Lady Luck Casino, Caruthersville, MO, Oct. 10, 2009

Photo courtesy of Ruth Bryant

(Click on photos for larger view)

   

Narvel on Stage


Narvel Autographing

                      October 2009

October 10th I did my 7th annual afternoon show at the Riverview Amphitheater at the Lady Luck Casino on the bank of the Mississippi River in Caruthersville, Missouri. Each year, until this one, the weather had been beautiful for this outside concert. They do have a concert hall in case of rain or bad weather. When I left home at noon I called and was told they were in a meeting, deciding whether or not to move the show inside on this cold, cloudy day. I left a voice mail saying, "It's 49 degrees and the show needs to be inside." When I arrived they'd decided to have it outside.

Double Edge did their usual great job when they opened at 5pm. I was to come on at 5:20 but it was 5:30. This show has to be over by twilight as there are no stage lights. It was dark by the time I finished my hour. Some who had shivered through the show were walking out on my last two songs. 700 were in the audience. Though it was cold and a damp breeze blew off the river they gave me a warm reception, blessing me with standing ovations. Some had made the 500 mile drive from Louisiana. Some had made a 700 mile drive from Ohio to be there. our daughter, Stacia and Danny were there. She said their teeth were chattering. Our nephew, Billy Joe and Sissy were there. Most were from Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee and Illinois.

Lucy, who used to run the Rebel Club at Osceola, Arkansas was there. It was the first club I got paid to play, in the spring of 1956 when I was 17. Johnny Cash once told me that the first time he heard of me, he saw my poster in the Rebel Club.

j. D. Beardon was there. He'd owned "Becky's Club Charming" in Cario, Illinois. He also hired me in 1956. His was the show place between Memphis and St. Louis in those days. The night would start with a duo playing dinner and danced music. The MC would then come to the dance floor with the spotlight on him. He'd tell some jokes wearing his tux then do a tap dance. We'd then do our show. The night would end with a review of strippers.

Back to Oct. 10, '09 - Michael Steele from Classic Country "The Wolf" 95.9 in Jonesboro, Arkansas introduced me. Keith Michaels from Thunder Country 96.3 in Blytheville, Arkansas was seated in the front row with his mother. (Bob Logan from that station had interviewed me the morning before). Double Edge did a marvelous job backing me. I've never heard better sound than what Highland House Production provided. A very dedicated line of fans more than two hours long waited in my autograph line by Huey's Record Rack. I came prepared with a heavy coat, hat and gloves. One of the many was Ruth Bryant whose late husband, William J. Played my records faithfully on WDSG in Dyersburg, TN from the time I met them in 1965.

For a more in-depth review focused on my show go to Reviews, Faye Huffman wrote a great one!

Final Farewell: Shelby Singleton, Jess Forester, Juanita Morris, Billy Deaton

Photos taken at:
Riverview Amphitheater, Lady Luck Casino, Caruthersville, Missouri
Oct. 10, 2009
(Click on photos for larger view)

Photos by Faye Huffman

   

Diane & Wink Luitjens with Narvel
Narvel Fan Club members since 1992

Guida Brown, Narvel and Dave McGrath
Dave and Guida ran Gene Pitney's Fan Club

Photos courtesy of Jerry and Bev Mackey
 Taken at the Midwest Country Theatre
Sandstone, Minnesota
September 19th, 2009
(click pics to see larger view)
                      September 2009

I was home with Loretta September 14th. It was the 14th anniversary of our son Bub's death.

September 19th I performed a matinee plus a night show at the Midwest Country Theatre in Sandstone, Minnesota. The theatre was comfortably full for the matinee and more than half full for the night show. The audiences blessed me with many standing ovations!

These shows are always taped and a few songs used from time to time on the Midwest Country Show on RFD TV which is shown at 7:30 Central. This time only the first show was taped as Joe Jensen who oversees the taping suffered a warning stroke between shows. The Midwest Country Band did a good job backing me. They also did the opening set and backed the Mellow-Ds.

Jerry and Bev Mackey parked their motor home near the stage door for me to have as a place to stay between the noon rehearsal and the first show, between shows and as a dressing room. Other Minnesota friends and fans, Manley and Benetta Olson, their son, Wade and Jennifer plus Holly, also Larry and Linda Armstrong and their son were there. They've all made long trips to catch my shows in the past.

Wink and Diane Luitjens were there from Waterloo, Iowa. They've been fan club members since 1992. Diane loves my record, "Blue Darlin'" so much that she bought a new blue pickup truck and and had "Blue Darlin'" painted on the sides of it.  (see photo of the Luitjens on the left)

Dave McGrath and Guida Brown were there from Kenowsha, Wisconsin. They used to run the late and great Gene Pitney's Fan Club plus do his merchandising for him. I included Gene's hit, "I'm Gonna Be Strong" in my show for them.  (see photo  of Dave and Guida on the left)

 Through my autograph lines came fans from as far away as Texas Canada and Wyoming.

Huey and I made the two day drive up and two day drive back home in my white Dodge Grand Caravan, a 1,876 mile round trip.

   

Narvel on stage, Rock-a-Billy Fest
Jackson, TN 2009


Leroy Van Dyke & Narvel
Country Legends Show
Will Rogers Memorial Center, Fort Worth, TX 10-19-08


Cousin Carl & Narvel Felts
Eagles Club, Cape Girardeau,  MO 8-29-09

Photos courtesy of Faye Huffman
Click photos for larger view

                      August 2009

August 8th I did my show at the "Rock-a-Billy Fest 2009". This was the 10th annual show. I've been a part of each one. This fest is staged by the International Rock-a-Billy Hall of Fame in Jackson, TN. This year it was held in the auditorium at the Jackson Fairgrounds. There was banquet seating. At the table directly in front of the stage were the girls from Tupelo who have been to each one. At the table next to them was Faye Huffman and her sister, Patsy Martin who have been to some 50 of my shows in the past dozen years, traveling from their homes in Louisiana to each side of the Atlantic! With them was Tom and Annie Costello from the Cincinnati, OH area who have been from Clear Lake, Iowa to Michigan, to Cleveland  to catch my shows over the past several years. The audience was from the USA from Missouri to West Virginia, to Maine plus from Canada, England and Germany. I took the stage backed by Double Edge who did a great job backing me. I was blessed with several standing ovations on such songs as, "Somebody Hold Me", "Kiss-a-Me Baby", "If Ever Two Were One", "Danny Boy", "My Prayer" and "Funny How Time Slips Away". A three hour autograph line awaited me at Huey's Record Rack. Other artists on the show were Little David Wilkins, Travis Wammack, Sonny Burgess and the Pacers and Wanda Jackson. Wanda's life size portrait was unveiled by Marshall Grant who made her induction speech. Marshall was bass player with Johnny Cash. I had been honored with my life size portrait being unveiled in 2006. Ed Salamon, President of the Country Broadcasters Association made my induction speech. For more information about my show and the Fest go to "Reviews" on this web site. Faye Huffman wrote a great one.

August 19th I was booked to be one of the artists on the Country Gold Tour at the Grandstand at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia, Missouri. Huey and I made the drive up arriving the night before. Our former Bernie, MO  high school class mate Bill Crutchfield met us there. The next afternoon all of us artists met at the grandstand for our sound check. The weather was threatening at show time. The grandstand was full, as were the open air seats  between the grandstand and the stage. The Auctioneers did their opening song, Leroy Van Dyke did his show as did Jimmy Fortune. It then started pouring rain with lightning. The show had to be stopped then cancelled. Waiting under the stage in the green room, watching the show on the big screen the rest of us were waiting to go on: Moe Bandy, Steve and Ruby Gatlin, Helen Cornelius, David Frizzell, Gene Watson and me.  Gladys Van Dyke then organized two vans to take us around under the grandstand where the State Patrol had organized an autograph line for all of us to autograph and meet the fans. The first ones I saw were Wink and Diane Luitjens who had driven down from Waterloo, Iowa and were in the audience. They've been fan club members and attended many of my shows since 1992, from Minnesota to South Carolina. They had to walk a  half a mile in the pouring rain back to their car! Huey and I drove home the next day; a 693 mile round trip.

August 29th was my third year to play the Eagles Club in Cape Girardeau, MO. Thanks to C-106.1 Pure Country Radio I had a full house again. Rick Sinclair from this station introduced me on stage. I called cousin Carl from this station on stage to do, "Rollin' in My Sweet Baby's Arms" with me. They play such records of mine as, "Somebody Hold Me", "Reconsider Me", "Lonely Teardrops", Drift Away, Fraulein, "Blue Darlin'", Stranger on the Shore, "Even Now' and at Christmas time, "The Little Drummer Boy". You can listen on the internet at www.KWKZ.com and request  your favorite Narvel record. Tell them where you're from. Double Edge did a great job backing me and doing their opening and closing set. I was scheduled to do my longest show of the year, an hour and 20 minutes. It turned out to be 2 hours! It was also my only club and dance to play this year. My other shows have been concerts at auditoriums and theaters plus festivals and fairs.

During the show I called Fred Horrell, Steve Schaffner and Mike Smith, "The Hillbilly Cat" on stage to do, "Shake, Rattle and Roll" with me. Fred and I were Buddy's in our late teens, he played bass with me on occasion. Steve traveled with me from mid 1979 to late 1981. He would rehearse the bands and open my shows. The Hillbilly Cat does a 50's Elvis show. A couple was there who said they'd seen me sing with Jerry Mercer's band at the Four Way Inn at Dudley, MO. That was my first time with the band, March 24th, 1956! Fans were there from as far away as Rockford, Illinois, Arkansas plus the girls from Louisiana, Faye Huffman and Patsy Martin were there. A long line awaited at Huey's Record Rack for me to autograph. For more details of this night go to "Reviews" for Faye's review.

 


Loretta and Narvel Felts
Craighead Forest Park
Jonesboro, Arkansas - July 4, 1988

                      July 2009

I was happy to be home with Loretta on her birthday, July 3rd. I've been gone on way too many of them! I remember 10 years ago I did a show in Austria on her birthday. Before daylight the next morning I was up, to be driven to Germany to  catch my flight to the French Riviera. There I headlined a festival on the seashore that night. The next day I flew to England for a show there the next weekend. Then I returned home.

Back to 2009: July 11th I did a matinee plus an evening concert at the Plummer Family Theatre near Farmington, MO. A receptive crowd welcomed me to the stage for each show. They blessed me with a standing ovation and encore at the end of each. A long autograph line awaited in the lobby after each show. It was a touching moment when a gentleman who had waited patiently in line handed a picture to me and asked me to write "Happy 89th Birthday" to him! He said he loved watching me on Midwest Country on RFD. Someone said they'd enjoyed my full concert from Branson on RFD-TV.

Southern Rain did a good job backing me at Farmington. Huey and I had driven up the night before. We drove back home after a long day, which consisted of a noon rehearsal, a 2pm show and autograph line, then a 7pm show show and autograph line and a 249 mile round trip.

Last month Terry Wood on Classic Country Radio "The Wolf" from Jonesboro, Arkansas did an hour and 20 minute on air interview with me by phone and played 15 of my records. He was the first to play "Drift Away" by me on the radio when he was with KWOC in Poplar Bluff, MO in 1973. It would go on to be my country breakthrough hit when it went to the top 10. Between 1973 and 1987 I would make the Billboard Country Singles and Album Charts 50 times.

 

Final Farewell: Billy Lee Riley, Aug. 2nd

Photo - Left: Jerry Lee Lewis, Billy Lee Riley, Narvel Felts
(Photo by Wade Olson)
State Theatre, Cleveland, Ohio
Nov. 10, 2007
Narvel performed at the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH in honor of Jerry Lee Lewis as did many of his friends, including Billy Lee Riley.



 


Gene Watson and Narvel Felts
Back stage, Florida State Fair
Tampa, FL
Feb. 11, 2009
Photo courtesy of L&S Hamilton Photography
Click on photo for full size printable photo.

                       June 2009

June 27 I was headliner on the "Fun on the Farm Jamboree" at the Dixie Carter Performing Arts Center in Huntingdon, TN. The theater was nearly full. The receptive audience blessed me with two standing ovations, one after "Danny Boy" in memory of our son, Bub, the other at the end of my show. Kelly Green from 100.9 "The Farm" gave me a great introduction. The entire show was simulcast on the radio. Double Edge did a great job backing me. Other artists on the show were Andy Lee Williams, Daniel Thomas, Jayne Nelson, Danny Eastin and Linda K. After my show a long autograph line awaited in the lobby.

Huey and I had driven over the night before as my rehearsal was at 11 AM, the show at 2 PM. Dave McGrath and his wife Guida Brown flew down from Kenosha, Wisconsin to catch my show. They used to run the Gene Pitney Fan Club and did his merchandising. Soon after I returned from doing Slim Whitman's Farewell Tour of the UK in 2002 with him. I got a call from the promoter that was booking Gene Pitney's 2003 tour. He said, Gene was keen on me doing his UK and Ireland tour that year with him. I was excited about that as I'd always been a Pitney fan and had never met him. Fool that I was I allowed a London promoter and a Nashville agent make the decision that I would not do that tour. I'll always regret that as Gene died died April 5, 2006. I did his hit, "I'm Gonna Be Strong" for Dave and Guida on my June 27, '09 show.

While in Huntingdon it was good visiting with Bob Timmers, Diane and Fran from the Rockabilly Hall of Fame plus my Rockabilly buddy, Carl Mann.

After supper, Huey and I made our drive home, a 329 mile round trip.

Final Farewell: Gale Storm


Happy Birthday Loretta Felts - July 3rd!
Cards can be mailed to:
Mrs. Narvel Felts
2005 Narvel Felts Ave.
Malden, MO 63863


PR Shot 1979
Click on photo for full size printable photo.

                       May 2009

As I didn't do a show in May, I'll take you on a trip back in time... 30 years back to 1979.

That year started with my 21st major hit in a row, "Everlasting Love" making the highest chart debut of my career. It's 1st week in the Billboard Country top 100 it came in at #38. It started racing up both the US and Canadian charts, looking like it was on it's way to #1. The label I recorded for at that time was ABC. The UK Division of ABC had decided to release a 16 track LP and "Sea of Love" as a single and put a major push on me there. The German division of ABC wanted me to come there and record some of my tracks in German (with a diction coach teaching me the words).  With all of this happening word hit the streets that MCA had bought ABC, which would cease to exist. MCA wound up with more artists than they could handle and they had their own priorities. Despite all this, "Everlasting Love" became a top 10 hit, going to #8 in the US Cashbox chart and #7 in the Canadian RPM chart.

My band, The DriftAways and I traveled the USA each weekend doing one nighters. Usually about three a week in my '77 GMC Coach. We also did a week stand in Reno. My wife Loretta and our children, Stacia, 16 and Bub, 15, flew with us for a 30 day tour of Germany and Belgium. When the family would travel with us in the USA, Loretta, Bub,  Stacia and I would drive either in her yellow '77 Cadillac Eldorado or my '78 black Lincoln Town Car. A lot of the time in those days I'd fly to the first show, ride with the band from show to show then fly back home. We did shows with such artists as Jerry Lee Lewis, Mickey Gilley, J. D. Sumner and the Stamps, Glen Barber and Sammi Smith.

Final Farewell: Donna Combs (from 1997 to 2005 Donna was Secretary of my fan club while her husband, Roy was President.) Donna passed June 18th. Condolences may be sent to Roy Combs, 422 Glover Hills Lane, Glasgow, KY 42141
See photos of Roy and Donna Combs at "Marli Meets Narvel" on the second page.

April 2009


Narvel Felts 2009
Though he didn't go to Paris on this trip to France, this photo was prepared to honor him.
Photo courtesy of: L&S Hamilton Photography

Click on photos for larger view.
See many more photos of Narvel's trip here!


Narvel in France 2001
Center Culturel, Mehun-Sur-Yevre, France April 14, '01
Photo courtesy of: Meunar Jean-Guy

April 1st would have been our son Bub's 45th birthday but he will forever be 31.

Still having problems from my double hernia surgery of February 26th. I was given another 2 week prescription for inflammation of the nerves. On April 22nd I made the some 3 hour drive to the Memphis airport. The courtesy van driver was kind enough to lift my suitcase and guitar for me at the parking lot. The airline arranged for me to have rides through the airports. We flew through the night to Amsterdam, Holland. There I changed planes and flew on to Lyon, France arriving mid-afternoon on the 23rd. Jacky, the promoter, met my flight and drove me to my hotel about an hour away in Bourg en Bresse. I was there to headline the "7th Annual Good Rockin' Tonight Festival" at the Centre Culturel Es Pace Salvert in nearby Attignat on Saturday the 25th. The fest drew some 1700 fans with 500 attending the Friday show with Huelyn Duvall, Rip Masters, Wildfire Willie and the Ramblers plus others. Some 1200 attended my Saturday show which also featured the DiMaggio Brothers plus others. Mars Attack did a great job backing me. The audience gave me a great reception which included 3 encores! When I autographed, they gathered around me holding stacks of my vinyl albums plus magazines with my picture on the cover.

Monday the 27th I was up early for the trip back home. In less than 24 hours I was there.

Loretta and I spent our 47th anniversary together on April 30th.

Farewell: Vern Gosden, Bob Jones, Glen Hopwood



Narvel Sings for Fans
They were part of the crowd that mobbed him when he arrived. Flint Michigan, 1957 - His first record, "Kiss-A-Me Baby" was a big hit at that time.
Photo courtesy of: Jerry Tuttle


Narvel Felts & Jean Shepard Backstage
Florida State Fair, Tampa, FL, Feb. 11, 2009
Photo courtesy of: L&S Hamilton Photography

March 2009

Loretta has now been dismissed by both surgeons who did her back surgery Dec. 8th. She still has the same instability and back pain she had. It has given her some relief from the nerve running down her leg.

As for my double hernia surgery on Feb. 26th, my surgeon told me the right one was a big, bad hernia and he had to reconstruct that side and he hopes it will hold. The severe pain lasted for weeks. It was inflammation of the nerve resulting from the surgery. A two week round of pills, which I finished a few days ago so far have taken that pain away. I'm still sore and haven't been allowed to lift or sing. As I write this on April 13th I must leave for France in 9 days. I'll have to lift my suitcase, guitar and clothes bag plus drive myself to Memphis, walk the distance of the Memphis, Amsterdam and Lyon airports. My doctor tells me I need 8 full weeks of recovery. I'll arrive in France 8 weeks to the day. I must then do an hour rehearsal plus my hour show on the 25th (say a little prayer for me). I'll return home on the 27th and will be with Loretta on our 47th wedding anniversary, April 30th.

Earlier this year my recording, "Begging to You" was released to the DJs across Europe, Australia and New Zealand who report to the Hot Disc Country Chart. It has made their top 20. I'd first made the national US top 100 in 1959 when "Three Thousand Miles" made the Music Reporter Pop Chart. This gives me a 50 year international chart span. This includes 53 times in Billboard plus uncountable times in other charts around the world.

Please go to the "Review" part of this web site for some recent show reviews, complete with pictures from Faye Huffman. She did a great job.

I received mail from California, Texas and Connecticut during my most painful days of March. I was slow getting ready to reply. When I was ready... they were gone. If you're reading this, please write again and explain again the way you did then.

My congratulations to friends who are 2009 inductees into the Halls of Fame. Roy Clark, Barbara Mandrell and Charlie McCoy into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Wanda Jackson, D. J. Fontana into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame plus to the family of the late Bill Black for his induction there.

 

Click on photos for larger view.

Final Farewell: Hank Locklin

February 2009

I know some of you are wondering how I'm doing since my double hernia surgery on Feb. 26th. As I write this it's been 11 days. This is the first day I haven't been in severe pain so things are looking up! My doctor assures me I'll recover in time to make the long flight to France and do my next show on April 25th. Thank you for your cards, calls and prayers.

On February 11th, I was one of the artists on the Country Gold Tour at the Florida State Fair in Tampa. The other artists on were Leroy Van Dyke, Moe Bandy, Bobby Bare, Jean Shepard, Gene Watson, T. Graham Brown, Jimmy Fortune and David Frizzell. Some 5,000 fans attended our two shows. I was blessed with a standing ovation plus long autograph lines after each show. Huey and I made the 2 day drive each way, a 1,910 mile round trip.

On February 22, I was part of the Legends and Memories Concert at the Memorial Auditorium in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The other artists on this show were Ronnie Dove, Billy Joe Royal, Ronnie McDowell and Leon Everette. Some 1,600 attended this show. I was blessed with three standing ovations on my part of the show plus a some three hour autograph line at Huey's Record Rack in the lobby. Friends and fans of mine from as far away as Iowa, Louisiana, Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia made the long drives to be there. A bus load of Ronnie Dove fans came from Baltimore. Ronnie's band did a great job backing me. Huey and I made the 1,211 mile round trip drive.

Leroy Van Dyke's band did a great job backing me in Tampa. Through my autograph lines there came fans from Florida, Missouri, Illinois plus across Canada from Newfoundland to Alberta. These were two of the most amazing shows I've had the honor of being a part of.

Final farewells: Ernie Ashworth, Irby Mandrell, J. C. Caughron

Photo: Leona Williams & Narvel Felts
Will Rogers Memorial Center
Fort Worth, TX
October 19, 2008
Photo taken by Faye Huffman

 

Back in Time - 1959
 
Narvel Felts, Then and Now
"Then and Now"
Photo taken by Jerry Mackey
Click photo for larger view

On New Year's Eve, 1958 my band, The Rockets and I played Pop Werner's in Malden, Missouri. We also played there Thursday, January 1st, Friday the 2nd and Saturday the 3rd. It came an ice storm while we were playing that Saturday night. Getting off at 1am, we took our equipment down, loaded our cars, scraped the ice off our windows and headed north in my gray '58 Studebaker 4-door sedan and Jerry Tuttle's green and white '57 Ford station wagon. Jerry played sax, steel guitar and piano; Leon Barnett lead guitar, J. W Grubbs bass and Bob Taylor drums. We drove the remainder of Saturday night, all day and night Sunday and arrived in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada mid-morning on Monday in deep snow.

We opened that night Jan. 5th at the Flamingo Club in Hamilton. The marquee read: "Narvel Felts - Conway Twitty Says He's Great!" Conway had pioneered that Canadian show club circuit. He then recommended Ronnie Hawkins and me. My band and I would wind up packing them in and the Flamingo would hold us over for four weeks. We would then open at the Brass Rail in London, Ontario on Monday, Feb 2nd. The next day we heard the tragic news that Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper had been killed in a plane crash shortly after taking off from the Mason City, Iowa Airport!

Two DJs from CKSL Radio in London had been at our opening night. They were Dave "Dean" Hagopian and Dick McFarland. They invited us up to the station one afternoon that week to record some songs we'd written the month before in Hamilton. One of these recordings, "Three Thousand Miles" would become my 1st nationally charted record that summer in the Pop chart. It would also get some major R&B plus Country radio play. We were held over for four weeks in London also. Most of our shows in '59 were in that circuit. The Le Coq Dor in Toronto would hold us over for eight weeks that summer!

We worked next door to such artists as Duane Eddy, Bo Diddley, Link Wray plus The Four Lovers (soon to become the Four Seasons) as our competition but we kept the club full. It was back and forth from Canada to home. We'd play USA dates in Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky and Ohio plus to Memphis, TN to record, "Honey Love". We were back in Toronto when it was released late that year. We spent more time in Canada than the U.S. that year.

 

January 2009

Narvel Headlines in France
Narvel Headlines in France
Click photo for larger view

 

I saw this new year in at home with Loretta in Malden, MO. She continues to recover from her spinal surgery of Dec. 8th. Jan. 17th I did my annual concert at the Florida Sunshine Opry in Eustis, Florida. Though I'd usually fly a trip this far I decided to drive this one. I'd developed a double hernia and was reluctant to lift the suitcase of CDs, Guitar and clothes bag as I must do when I fly. Huey made the 1,828 mile round trip drive with me and did the lifting. I wore a truss for the rehearsal and show to try and control the hernia when I hit the high notes, as I put my entire body into a song. I'll do my February shows in Florida and South Carolina. They are already highly advertised. I've scheduled surgery for Feb. 26th. That gives me two months to recover before the next highly advertised show in France on April 25th. My thanks to a show in Missouri and recording sessions in Nashville in March for letting me reschedule them.

On Jan. 26th freezing rain started falling across northeast Arkansas, southeast Missouri, southern Illinois, northwest Tennessee plus Kentucky. It kept on falling for about 48 hours. Our yard looked like a war zone with 2 inches of ice stripping the limbs off the trees, power lines, poles and transformers fell! We were without power for 6 days and nights. We were warm the last three days and nights. Our town was under marshal law with the National Guard helping patrol our streets. Most businesses were closed. There was a 6pm to 6am curfew. When two service stations got gas there were long lines. Many in these areas still don't have power, limbs are every where. As I write this, Feb. 5th, it will be a long time before things are normal again from what officials call a catastrophic natural disaster!

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