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News From Narvel 2015

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Narvel and Loretta Felts and their wall of cards
Christmas 2015

December

 I've enjoyed our Christmas season, getting your cards and notes and answering them. We had a good Christmas gathering with our daughter Stacia and family.

December 10th I did a phone interview with Jerry Osborn on air at KSRB AM in Seattle, Washington. My record, "Pink and Black Days" led into the interview. He then played my record, "Dream World" from 1958. He said he loved it and had played it in regular rotation when he was at KOOL Oldies in Phoenix from 1971 till 1985. He asked how I'd met my wife Loretta. I told him she came to the band stand when I was playing the Twin Gables in Blytheville, Arkansas in 1962 and requested, "You Don't Know Me". She looked like she'd stepped from the silver screen! Our first date was the next week. Seven weeks later we were married. he ended the interview with my version of "You Don't Know Me" from 2002.

December 12th I made an appearance at the international Rock-a-Billy Hall of Fame in Jackson, TN. Curator Henry Harrison had called asking some of his Inductees to appear at the Hall of Fame Christmas Party. Legendary Sun Records sessions drummer, J. M. Van Eaton played drums for me on my five song set of, "Pink and Black days", "Reconsider Me", "My Babe", "Somebody Hold Me" and "I'm Headin' Home". Ray Walker of the Jordanaires then did a set. Ace Cannon came to Jackson but was too sick to leave his hotel room. Alex Ward, whose radio show, "Pink and Black Days" is on XM Weekly interviewed me for an update. My record is the theme of his show.

December 14th I called Cousin Carl and sung "Happy Birthday" to him on the air on 106.1 FM That night I attended a surprise birthday party for him at the Eagles Club in Cape Girardeau, MO. Also attending was the traditional country artists, Leona Williams and Ron Williams plus a club full of his family and friends.

We heard Cousin Carl say on the air that "The Little Drummer Boy" by Narvel Felts was the station's most requested song this season. We've also heard him and Susan play my recordings, "I want to Be Home For Christmas", "Even Now", "Christmas is Everywhere" and "Merry Christmas". We heard John play "Keep Holding On" and "When the Saints Go Marching In" on his Sunday morning Gospel show. We heard Levon play "Drift Away", my break-through top country hit from 1973. Terry Wood at 95.9 The Wolf in Jonesboro, Arkansas told me that again I'm his most requested artist this year with "Somebody Hold Me" my most requested song. He's played my song, "The Little Drummer Boy" during this season. Just before Christmas he added my record "It's Not the Presents Under the Tree (It's Your Presence Right Here Next to Me)". Darwin Lee Hill at WHVD AM in Poughkeepsie, New York played my recordings, "Seasons Greetings" and "It's Not the Presents Under the Tree" this season.

Final Farewell: Darrel Young, Bass player in my '70s band, "The Driftaways" from late 1976 to 1979. During that time we toured the USA, Canada, Germany, and Belgium. Darrel was a great singer. There was a single, "She's Too Much of a Woman" by The Driftaways featuring Darrel Young released during this time. WSIX in Nashville played it in regular rotation for awhile.
Doyle Nichols, my cousin; for part of his career he served in the US Air Force. I'm told he took his life! Why, Doyle, why?

I hope you and yours had a Merry Christmas. Hope 2016 will be kind to you.

Narvel
 

 

   

Isle Casino in Cape Girardeau, MO. 3-21-15
Photo courtesy of Leonard Fulbright

November

On November 11th I turned 77. I spent my birthday exactly where I wanted to be, at home with my wife Loretta. Thank you for all of your cards and calls plus your Happy Birthday messages on Facebook, which our daughter, Stacia showed me on her phone.

November 20th I did a concert at the Collins Theater in downtown Paragould, Arkansas. The theater was full and the crowd was very receptive. Terry Wood from 05.0 The Wolf in Jonesboro introduced me on stage returning near the end of my show to duet with me on "Runaway". Sugar Creek did a great job backing me. Gary Prince did a great opening set. A long autograph line awaited me in the lobby at the end of my show. Through it came friends and fans from as far away as Jackson, Mississippi, St. Louis, MO, Decatur, Illinois, and Bemidji, Minnesota. I enjoyed visiting with several of my kin folks. This was the last show of my 59th year in show biz.

The CD, "Those Rockabilly Days" that was released coincided with my appearance at Hemsby, England October 2nd has gone to #1 in the Bim Bam Chart that appears in England's "Now Dig This" Magazine and #3 in UK "Rock 'n' Roll" Magazine's vintage chart.

I have accepted four dates so far for 2016 but the details are not yet worked out. But it looks like there will be a 60th year. I'll call it my 60th Anniversary Tour.

Final Farewell: Tommy Overstreet, a great artist, man and friend. Among his many big country hits from the 70s are, "Gwen (Congratulations)", "Heaven is My Woman's Love" and "Send Me No Roses". In 1976 ABC/Dot Records put on a showcase for me at the Exit Inn in Nashville. He was the only country star that attended. That was my first time to meet him. Later that year we did the TV show, "All Star Anything Goes" together. He recommended me for tours in Germany. We did shows together in Nashville, Atlanta, Branson and his theater at Tightwad, Missouri.

   
 

 

Narvel at Hemsby, England 2012

 

 


 

October

October 2nd I was in England to headline the 55th Hemsby Rock 'n' Roll Weekender. S0oe 1200 attended my show. Thos was my 7th time to appear at Hemsby, more times than any other artist. The crowd gave me a rousing reception when I was introduced on stage and blessed me with an encore at the end of my who. Gene Gambler & the Shufflers from Wales did their usual great job backing me. A vocal group with members of The Roommates from England and The Velvet Candles from Spain came on stage and backed me on four of my songs. A long autograph line awaited at the end of my show.

Friends and fans from across England were there. Also from France, Germany, Holland, Sweden and the Czech Republic. Stompertime Records of England compiled a 30 track CD of Rockin' Recordings of mine from 1956 to 2001 with a 20 page booklet with rare photos from 1956 to 2014. The CD's titled, "Narvel Felts - Those Rockabilly Days". It's release was timed for this festival. A movie crew based in Switzerland came and did more than an hour on camera interview with me. They also filmed one of the songs on my show. They also interviewed Young Jessie. They intend to make this a movie documentary of how it was to be on the road in the 1950s. From a white and black artists' viewpoint of playing the Rock 'n' Roll circuit of that era. They plan to show it at the Film Festivals. They have high hopes of winning an Oscar.

From the time I had left my home till I arrived at my hotel in England 24 hours had passed. The day after my show I was driven back to London to be near the airport. I was up early the next morning to get to the airport, catch my flight to Newark, clear U.S. Immigrations, catch my connecting flight to St. Louis then make the 3 1/2 hour sleepy drive home. Twenty-five hours after getting up in London, I was back home with Loretta.

With only 3 days home I had to make the 525 mile drive to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This time my old friend Huey made the drive with me. I was there to be on a show at the Northern Lights Theater on Oct. 9th. The billing was Slim Jim Phantom's Rockabilly Circus #2 with Jack Scott, Narvel Felts, Hueylyn Ducall, Marti Brom and Chris Casello Trio. A very receptive crowd welcomed me to the stage and blessed me with an encore at the end of my show. the Chris Casello Trio did a great job backing me. The most excited autograph line I've known in years awaited me! Two DJs who used to play my country hits on the radio came through it. The last time I'd played Milwaukee had been in 1979.

October 17th I did my 13th annual concert at the Amphitheater at the Lady Luck Casino in Caruthersville, Missouri. It was a cold afternoon for an outside show. Double Edge from Memphis did their usual great job backing me. A long autograph line awaited. This being my home area, our daughter Stacia and her husband Danny were there as was my sister Ogareeda and husband Walter. Many fans and friend from Missouri, Arkansas and Tennessee were there and some from as far away as Ohio and Louisiana. My old friend Harold Boner made this drive with me. As most of my concerts are, this was a "Narvel" show, a mixture of my top ten country hits from the 70s and my Rockabilly Recordings from the 50s.

Final Farewell: Billy Joe Royal; He had pop hits in the rock era of the 60s such as "Down in the Boondocks". He had country hits in the 80s and 90s such as "Burned Like a Rocket". We did a concert together a few years ago. When Id finished my show and went back to the dressing room he said, "You're a great singer!"
Frankie Ford; He had the big hit, "Sea Cruise" in the Rock 'n' Roll era of the 50s. We did a show together about a decade ago.
Johnny Meeks; Lead guitarist with Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps he backed me at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa in 1994.
Buddy Emmons; He played steel guitar on my "One Run for the Roses" album in 1978.

 

   
"Bub" Felts

September

September 14th was the 20th anniversary of our son Bub's death in a car accident in 1995. Loretta and I spend the day quietly together. We visited his grave then drove to Campbell, Missouri to his cross by the highway.

We appreciate the card with it's touching note from Steve and Fay Hockman and the phone messages from Joe Keene and Wade Olsen.

Visit Narvel's "Ode to Bub"

   
   

1950s Mercury Session
Chet Atkins w/guitar, Anita Kerr Singers and Narvel Felts
Courtesy of Country Music Hall of Fame (Getty Images)

August

August 16th I was one of the artists on the Memphis International Rockabilly Festival. Among the artists was Sonny Burgess and the legendary Pacers, Stan Perkins, W. S. Holland, Lee Rocker, Dale Watson, Travis Wammack, Sleepy Labeef and Jason D. Williams. The only one I saw was Jason. We were on different stages, our shows were at the same time but Jason and his wife came and listened to my sound check. After out shows they came back bringing their son and visited a little while.

Fans in my audience were from as far away as California, Ney York, Canada, England and Australia. Double Edge sis a great job backing me. For a jam finale I called friends Jr. Rogers, Larry Frye and Jimmy Busby up for, "Shake, Rattle and Roll". The audience seemed to love it. I enjoyed visiting with the folks in my autograph line as Huey's Record Rack opened. Mine and Loretta's daughter, Stacia and her husband Danny came with us on his 276 mile round trip.

August 30th at 7PM Central, the "Hee-Haw" I was a guest on along with Sonny James in 1976 was a rerun on RFD-TV. It runs again on Saturday, Sept. 5th at 11:30 PM Central. Roy Clark introduced both of my songs.. they were current hits at that time: "My Prayer and my 1975 #1 hit, "Reconsider Me". I also told several short jokes they had written for me and saluted my hometown, Malden, MO.

September 14th will be the 20th anniversary of our son, Bub's death in a car accident in 1995. He was a great drummer and toured America and the world with me from Norway to New Zealand and played on some forty of my recordings. Rest in Peace, our son.

Final Farewell: Leon Barnett, Leon was a great guitar player and singer. He played lead guitar on all 38 of my 1950s recordings. He was in Jerry Mercer's   band at the same time I was in 1956. In mid December Mercer quit the music business. The band became "Narvel Felts and the Rockets" until the end of 1959. When we went to Sun Records Jack Clement said, "This is the best guitar player that's ever been in my studio!" When we did a Mercury session at RCA Studio in Nashville in 1957 Chet Atkins said to my Mercury producer, Bob Cloud, "Why don't you ever send me something like that guitar player?" Leon was the last surviving member of my 50s band, The Rockets. Rest in Peace, Bob Taylor, J. W. Grubbs, Jerry Tuttle and Leon Barnett.

   


Rodgers Theater in Poplar Bluff, MO 6-6-15
Photos courtesy of Leonard Fulbright

July

July 3rd I was home with my wife, Loretta on her birthday. Thanks for your cards.

July 4th I was the featured artist for their Annual Celebration in the Park at Corning, Arkansas. A big crowd attended my show and gave me a good reception. Double Edge did a great job backing me. JR Rogers and the All Star Band sis a great job on their set before we came on. A long autograph line awaited me after the show. Among the fans who came through it were Barbara Fairchild's sister and husband plus singer, Jimmy Busby. Several of my family members were there with me: our daughter, Stacia and her husband Danny, our grandson, Dakota and his fiancé, Katlin, His children, Koda and Brantley plus my niece, Lecia and her special friend, Richard. It was our great granddaughter, four year old Koda that reached in the jar and drew out the name of the winner of the new red Ford F-150 Pickup. The Clay County Courier did a great article on me and this event. This was a short 104 mile round trip drive.

July 19th I did a concert at the Midwest Country Theater in Sandstone, Minnesota. The theater was comfortably full, the audience receptive, blessing me with a long standing ovation. Maria Rose, Danny Elswick, Bev Rose and the Midwest Country Band did a great job backing me, as they did on their opening show. A long autograph line awaited as Huey's Record Rack opened. Fans were there from across Minnesota, Austin in the south to Bemidji in the north plus Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. It was good seeing friends, Joe, Kathy and Jeff Jensen, Manley Olsen, Wade Olsen and his lady friend, Sophia, Mike Bleese and Keing Winger, Larry Armstrong plus Wink and Diane Luitjens on this 1657 mile round trip drive.

July 26th I was one of the artists on the Country Gold Tour at the American Music Theater in Lancaster, PA. The other artists were: Leroy Van Dyke, Eddy Raven, Charlie Rich, Jr., Rex Allen, Jr., Steve and Rudy the Gatlin Brothers and Jimmy Fortune. All did a great job as did the Auctioneers who backed each of us. I was told that some 1400 attended. They were from across the eastern USA from South Carolina to New York to Ohio and some from Canada. A long autograph line awaited us in the lobby. It was good seeing friends: Ben Winter, Allen Case, Lee and Lori Gilkerson plus Steve and Fay Hockman. All of the Country Gold Tour shows are organized by Gladys Van Dyke. The MC is Leroy Van Dyke, the band leader is Ben Van Dyke. I am always honored to be a part of their shows from time to time. This was a 1906 mile round trip drive for my old pal, Huey and me.

Final Farewell: Billy Dilworth, Had a TV talk show in Tacoma, Georgia. I was a guest many times.
Jim Case, was one of my Nashville agents for many years. His career had started as a musician, singer and band leader. He had appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and the Arthur Godfrey show. In her his band backed Loretta Lynn on occasion. I first became familiar with him around 1970 when I would often see his name on the schedule of coming attractions at many of the NCO clubs I was playing at the military bases.
Lynn Anderson, Between 1966 and 1989 she charted 60 hits in the Billboard Country Charts. Her signature hit being the number 1 country, number 3 pop, "Rose Garden" in 1970. I first did a concert with her in South Carolina probably in the late 1980s. I was on the show with her at the Missouri State Fair in recent years. For many years she was with Mentor Williams who wrote my break-through hit, "Drift Away". I last saw her in the green room where we waited before our shows at this year's CMA Music Festival in Nashville.

   

Narvel's push-ups!
Rodgers Theater in Poplar Bluff, MO 6-6-15
Photos courtesy of Leonard Fulbright

June

June 6th I performed my 6th annual concert at the Rodgers Theater in Poplar Bluff, MO. As I was walking to the stage I was told there were 650 in attendance. I was introduced on stage by Cousin Carl from 106.1 Pure Country Radio from Cape Girardeau, MO. I walked on stage with Double Edge playing the intro to my 1975 top 10 country hit, "Funny How Time Slips Away". They did a great job backing me! The crowd was receptive and blessed me with standing ovations. When there was an encore at the end of the show I called on Cousin Carl and theater manager, Brent Davis to join me on, "Rollin' In My Sweet Baby's Arms", which I ended with push ups. A lobby full of people awaited me as Huey's Record Rack opened and I autographed. Fans from as far away as Decatur, Illinois, Grenada, Mississippi, St. Lois and Fletcher, Missouri were there. Some friends that I went to high school with at Bernie, MO were there as was a friend I lived by near Keiser, Arkansas before either of us started to grade school. It was good seeing all of them. I was glad to have our daughter, Stacia and her husband, Danny, My sister, Ogareeda and husband Walter and my nice Lecia and special her special friend Richard there.

June 14th I was one of the artists on the "Country Gold Tour" which was featured on the "CMA Music Festival" in Nashville. The other artists were: Leroy Van Dyke, Rex Allen, Jr., Helen Cornelius, Steve and Rudy the Gatlin Brothers, Leona Williams, Charlie Rich, Jr., Janie Fricke and Bobby Bare. We did two songs each which were broadcast live on 650 WSM Radio. My two songs were my top 10 hits from the 70s, "Lonely Teardrops" and "Somebody Hold Me (Until She Passes By)". The crowd blessed me with a standing ovation after my songs. A long autograph line awaited us. Through it came fans and friends from across the USA from Buffalo to Tupelo and from around the world from England to New Zealand. Afterwards Huey and I made the drive home, a 485 mile round trip.

Final Farewell: Jim Ed Brown, had three hit careers. With his sisters Maxine and Bonnie as, "The Browns" they had the #1 country and pop hit, "The Three Bells" in 1959. As Jim Ed Brown he has the #3 country hit "Pop a Top" in 1967. As Jim Ed Brown and Helen Cornelius they had the #1 country hit, 'I Don't Wanna Have to Marry You" in 1976. He recorded a song I wrote, "Four Seasons of Life" in 1971. We did some concerts together through the years.

   

April

April 1st would have been our son Bub's 51st birthday but he will forever be 31.

April 30th Loretta and I will celebrate our 53rd wedding anniversary quietly at home together.

Shane Isom writes and tells me that KFTX 97.5 in Corpus Christi, Texas plays my 1973 top 10 hit, "Drift Away" quite often. Joe Keene tells me he heard my 1975 #1 country hit, "Reconsider me" on the Classic Country channel on his TV in Kennett, MO. Loretta and I recently heard Cousin Carl play my recording, "Stranger on the Shore" on KWKZ 106.1 from Cape Girardeau, MO. Also on this station we recently heard John Anderson play my recordings, "Sprit in the Sky" and "My Father's Love" on his Sunday Morning Gospel Show.

Final farewell: Bobby Emmons; He played piano and organ on most of the recordings I did for Hi Records in Memphis in 1966, '67 and '68. He became one of the top session men in Nashville.
Percy Sledge; I did a concert with him in Greenville, South Carolina in 2010. We had breakfast together that morning. He grew up working in the cotton fields, as did I. His, "When a Man Loves a Woman" is on of the most popular records of all time.
Mark Collier; Started in the music business as a performer around 1957. He lived in Malden, MO at the time. Some 30 years later he came to my show in Florida. I called him on stage to sing. In 2005 he was in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. He had a record company sending various artists CDs to country radio around the world. He included my recording, "Away" which made it to numbers in the Hot Disc Country Chart across Europe that year.

 

   

Isle Casino in Cape Girardeau, MO. 3-21-15
Photo courtesy of Leonard Fulbright
 

March

During the first week of March the Hee-Haw show that I did in 1976 was a rerun on RFD-TV. It ran three times that week. This was my first time to see it since it was on the CBS network in 1976. The songs I sang were, "MY Prayer", which was my current hit at that time and "Reconsider Me", which had brought me the Country Single of the Year Award from Billboard and Cashbox in 1975.

March 21st I did a concert at the Isle Casino in Cape Girardeau, MO. The 700 seats were sold out a week and a half before time plus there was a waiting list of 130. Double Edge did the opening then I was rough on by Cousin Carl from KWKZ 106.1. I took the stage to a standing ovation. There were five of six more by the show's end. A long autograph line awaited. A wonderful start to my 59th year in show business.

Final Farewell: Leroy Williams who was the jukebox operator in our area. When my first record, "Kiss-a-Me Baby" was released in 1957, not only did he buy the records from the distributor for all of his jukeboxes but bought more and gave them to other jukebox operators! My barber told me this.. Leroy never did.

See more photos of the show HERE and don't forget to visit Leonard's site to see more great pics! Click his link and then look for "Concerts" and that's where you'll find Narvel and many other greats!

   

February

Our daughter Stacia's birthday was Feb. 3rd. Our granddaughter Nicole's birthday was Feb. 6th.

I just proof-read a short story about me by Dan Whittle, "A Boot Heel Boy Goes Global", It will be a book about behind the scenes influences of country stars.

I just did an interview with Steve Hankins of Semo Times. My story will be in their March issue. Their feature story in Feb. Was Sheryl Crow. This is a magazine plus it is online at www.semotimes.com

I am proof-reading a book by Morten Reff of Norway, "Narvel Felts Discography". It features all of my releases around the world from 1956 to 2012. He did a lot of collecting through the years. It amazes me what what he has found.

I look forward to seeing you at one of my shows during this, my 59th year in show business.,

 

<---- Narvel at the Rialto Theater 3-27-2010. Photos courtesy of Leonard Fulbright
 

   

Johnny Cash, Narvel Felts and Roy Orbison
hanging out together at the 1957 DJ Convention in Nashville

Many thanks to Trevor Cajiao of "Now Dig This" magazine.
The photo is copyrighted to Getty Country Music Hall of Fame
 and Museum

January

Hope 2015 will be kind to you and yours. On January 9th the Porter Wagoner Show with yours truly, Narvel Felts as his guest, filmed in 1974, was a rerun on RFD-TV.

The RFD Magazine says I'll be a guest on Hee-Haw Sunday March 1st at 7pm Central time. This show was filmed in 1976.  This will be on RFD-TV.

During the first week of the year I did an on air phone interview with Cousin Carl and Susan on KWKZ 106.1 FM in Cape Girardeau, MO. He played my top 10 country hit from 1976, "Somebody Hold Me" and my 1999 recording, "Begging to You".

January 14 I did an on air phone interview with terry Buford on KZHE FM 100 in Magnolia, Arkansas. He played my top 10 hits, "Funny How Time Slips Away" and "Somebody Hold Me" from the mid 1970s, then ended with "Reconsider Me", which brought me the Country Single of the Year Award in 1975.

The 30th I heard "The Story Behind the Song" with Doug Davis on KWKZ FM 106.1. He talked with Bill Rice who co-wrote my 1994 top 10 hit, "When Your Good Love Was Mine". He also produced my record. After Bill's story, Doug played my record.

I received my December 2014 copy of "Now Dig This" magazine from England. On the first page of a story about Roy Orbison is a photo of Johnny Cash, Narvel Felts and Roy Orbison hanging out together at the 1957 DJ Convention in Nashville. I'm so glad this photo surfaced.

Final Farewell

Little Jimmy Dickens: We did a concert together in Elyria, Ohio in 1978 and in Memphis in 1992.
Millie Kirkham: She was the girl voice on my 1958 Mercury record, "Little Girl Step This Way".
Henry Strzelecki: He played the upright bass on my original break through country hit, "Drift Away" in 1973.
Chip Young: He played rhythm guitar on my "When Your Good Love Was Mine" album released in 1974.

 

 


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