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Ode To Bub

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L. V. Bryant


"I would very much like to dedicate this web page to the memory of the precious son of Loretta and myself, Narvel "Bub" Felts, Jr. - April 1st 1964 to September 14th, 1995 - A wonderful person and a great drummer. "To know him was to love him." - NARVEL FELTS

Bub was born Albert Narvel Felts, Jr. at the hospital in Kennett, Missouri, April 1st, 1964 to his mom, Loretta and me. We took him home to Malden, MO and to his sister, Stacia, who would call him Bub.

Young Bub became interested in drums and in 1973 at age 9 he was good enough to join me on stage for the first time to play them as I sang, "Daddy's Home" and "Blue Suede Shoes" at the Bootheel Jamboree in Bernie, MO. My beginning as a singer/guitarist had been in the same town 17 years earlier in 1956. That performance also included "Blue Suede Shoes". When Bub was 11 years old in 1975. he joined me on stage again in Hamilton, Bermuda.

In his early teens Bub's dream turned to boxing where he build up a fine amateur record of "16 wins, 2 K-O's and 4 losses'. But being the kind-hearted person he was, hurting his opponents (who he liked) began to bother him and he gave up boxing at age 17.

Bub then became serious about drums and the next year, 1982, at age 18 he joined me as my full time drummer. Being a perfectionist, he worked and practiced hard, not only becoming a great drummer but a great showman as well. He traveled the USA and the world with me doing shows almost every weekend. His mom would travel with us and sell tapes and albums at the shows.

Bub turned 19 seeing the sights of London, England. We were there to play the International Festival of Country Music to a full Wembley Arena and the national BBC-TV cameras, plus their national radio microphones. Later in 1983, he made the long flight with me to the Land Down Under, New Zealand.

In 1986 Bub played a rock 'n' roll festival with me as we performed my rockabilly recordings from the late 1950's, it brought a new dimension to his musical taste and talent.

Later that year he received a memento from Elvis' drummer, D. J. Fontana when D. J. came to our show in Madison, TN and got up and played a few songs with me and D. J. then wrote on a napkin, "Bub, thanks for letting me sit in." That napkin hung on Bub's wall the rest of his life.

in 1987 Bub played the legends show at the "Grand Ole Opry" in Nashville with me during Fanfare. Later that year he played drums on the number one country TV show in the US and Canada at the time, "Nashville Now" on TNN.

In 1989 Bub returned to England with me for a two week tour which included the birthday party show for the world renowned rock 'n' roll magazine, Now Dig This" and for what would be his final British performance, playing drums with "Jack Green's Jolly Green Giants" as they backed me on the legend's show at the Grantham Country Festival.

As the fateful 90's dawned Bub played Mickey Gilley's Theatre in Branson, MO with me. Later in 1990 we toured Norway and Sweden. While in Norway, Bub played drums on a duet I recorded with Stephen Ackles. "Remember" became a number 6 Norwegian hit, staying in the top 10 most of May, 1992. In fact, Bub played on about forty of my recordings between 1987 and 1995, including re-recordings of my five biggest hits, "Reconsider Me", "Lonely Teardrops", "Drift Away", "Somebody Hold Me (Until She Passes By)" and "Funny How Time Slips Away" from the 1970's. He also played on sessions by other artists ranging from rock to bluegrass. He recorded in Kennett, MO, Memphis and Nashville as well as Norway.

Bub had a good commercial voice, well capable of recording hit records. Though being an artist was not his number one career interest... being a drummer was. This he certainly achieved! His goal was to be one on the cover of "Modern Drummer" magazine, a dream unfulfilled. I was such a fool to never record a studio session of him singing. His mom urged us to do a duet! I thought, "Someday we will". Now all we have left of him as an artist are these precious, priceless live recordings made on jobs with "The Bill Barnett Band" and the rock group, "Square One".

On May 30th, 1991 Bub was hit by a train in his white 1988 Chevy Spectrum at blind country crossing, grown up with bushes and trees between Malden and Campbell, MO. Agains all odds, a chain of miracles allowed him to survive his critical injuries. He worked hard, never complaining through his pain and agony and returned to work that October 4th. Three of the live recordings on this album were made that night. He would become a better drummer than ever.

Probably the highlight of his career was playing the 35th anniversary show of the last performance of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper at the place they did it, the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. Bub played drums with his favorite rockabilly band, "Gene Vincent's Blue Caps" (which Bub had been made an honorary member of) as they backed his favorite singer, his dad on February 5th, 1994.

Later that year Bub joined the Missouri based rock band, "Square One". They weren't booked every weekend, which gave us the opportunity for him to work more dates with me during his final year. His last show with me was August 11, 1995 in Dyersburg, TN. He had just rejoined the "Bill Barnett Band" August 20th, 1995, just three and a half weeks before his death. His final performance was with this band in Gideon, MO, September 10th, 1995.

On August 15th, 1993 Bub had been married. He loved his little stepdaughter as his own. Though he had been offered good drumming jobs in Norway, Canada and Texas, the family made their home in Malden, MO. However, in 1995 the marriage unraveled. His wife filed for a divorce, which was not yet final when his red 93 Dodge Stealth came off a hill and hit dense fog at the bottom, missed a slight curve, hit a shallow road ditch and rolled three times in a flat field of milo, throwing him out of the car with fatal injuries. The accident happened at 5 something AM, September 14th, 1995 on Highway 53 at the junction of of Highway H, about 4 miles northwest of his estranged wife's home town in Campbell, MO where she was living at the time. He left this world in the Campbell ambulance at 6:20 AM on Highway 25 just south of White Oak, MO in route to, and only a few miles from Kennett, MO and the same hospital where he'd been born 31 years earlier.

Hundreds of people from across America lined up outside and packed the chapel at Bradshaw Funeral Home in Malden, MO. The chapel was surrounded inside with the flowers from his friends and celebrities around the world. Many followed to Memorial Park Cemetery in Malden and stood in the pouring rain to say their final goodbye as he was laid to rest September 16th, 1995.

Later that year in Nashville "The Perpetual Golden Music Award" was presented by Eddie Bond in Bub's memory. The inscription reads, "Albert Narvel "Bub" Felts, Jr. April 1, 1964 - September 14, 1995 (Drummer for the Heavenly Saints Band).

To Know Him Was To Love Him!
Narvel Felts
September 1997

ODE TO BUB - 1997
(Written & Recorded in memory of Bub)

I started writing this song Sept. 24, 1995 driving home alone from Warsaw, MO and my first concert a week after Bub was laid to rest. Thanks to a wonderful audience, I somehow got through that show. I later changed the song some before I was emotionally able to record it again almost two years later.
                          Narvel Felts
              December 13, 1997

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In Memory of Albert Narvel "Bub: Felts, Jr.
April 1, 1964 - September 14, 1995

Total of 23 songs on CD including a full booklet
with pictures and stories from Narvel.

Since I Don't Have You 1997

Blue Darlin'- 1992

Sonny Man - 1997
When We Were Together - 1976

Even Now - 1991

Danny Boy - 1997

A Special Gift from Narvel to the Fans

Never before released recording that Bub made before his passing, that was just recently found.
It has been released to radio stations this month (Sept. '08) on the HotDisc compilation.
Also included... a special message from Narvel.
Download "Ruby's Red Lips" mp3
Download Narvel's Message in mp3
Songwriter:
Thanks to Stuart Cameron of HotDisc for creating the mp3

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"Bub" Felts


Dearest Son,

        This CD mourns your death, but it also celebrates your life. Your mom, sis and me are so thankful to have been blessed with having you for 31 years. You were one with various music tastes. There's certainly a variety here, from country to rockabilly, gospel, rock and Christmas. I'd have gladly died for you, but that's a choice I didn't have.

I'll love you forever
and I'll miss you 'til we meet again.
                  
Dad

Click photo at the right for larger view --->

Visit the Merchandise page to purchase "Ode to Bub"

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