Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2015

The Earl of Doublin'

Major League baseball player Earl Webb was born on Sept. 17, 1898 in White County, Tennessee. In 1931, he broke a major-league record by hitting 67 doubles in 589 at-bats, averaging one every 8.79 trips to the plate. Today, it is one of the longest-lasting records in major league baseball. It earned him the nickname, Earl of Doublin'.

William Earl Webb was born on a farm in Blue Spring Cove community of White County, less than 10 miles from Sparta. His father worked in the coal mines and when Earl was 6, the family moved to the Ravenscroft community, another seven miles or so from Sparta. Earl’s father not only mined but served as assistant deputy sheriff. He also pitched and played the outfield for the Ravenscroft baseball team and taught singing in the local school. Earl’s mother was the former Helen Victoria Palmer. She is listed in the 1920 Census as “matron” in a hotel. (she ran the coal company’s boardinghouse.) Before baseball, Earl was a coal miner. He claimed to have be…

Sports Announcers I Grew Up With: Marv Albert

There is a special place in my heart for the radio and TV sports announcers I grew up with. From ABC's Wide World of Sports to roller derby and wrestling, and everything in between, sports was a big part of my life growing up. At my house, we watched on TV whatever sport was 'in season,' especially on Saturday's. If there was a sports event on radio, we listened to it. I was very blessed to grow up with many now-legendary voices and characters.

Marv Albert was known as the voice of the New York Knicks from 1967 to 2004 (getting his start by being a ball boy for the Knicks before getting his first break on New York radio by sportscaster Marty Glickman). He has called the play-by-play of six Super Bowls, NBA Finals, seven Stanley Cup Finals and Wimbledon Tennis Championships and worked in two World Series (1986 and 1988). Albert is currently lead announcer for NBA games and NCAA tournament action works for Turner Sports and CBS Sports.

He was born Marvin Philip Au…

Sports Announcers I Grew Up With: Pat Summerall

There is a special place in my heart for the radio and TV sports announcers I grew up with. From ABC's Wide World of Sports to roller derby and wrestling, and everything in between, sports was a big part of my life growing up. At my house, we watched on TV whatever sport was 'in season,' especially on Saturday's. If there was a sports event on radio, we listened to it. I was very blessed to grow up with many now-legendary voices and characters.

Pat Summerall was born on May 10, 1930 at Lake City, Florida. He died in Dallas Texas on April 16, 2013 at the age of 82. Summerall was a football star at Lake City. His position was place kicker. He played college football at Arkansas and was drafted into the NFL during the 4th round in 1952. He spent one year with the Detroit Lions, four years with the Chicago Cardinals and three years with the New York Giants. He was later named to the Florda High School Athletic Association's All-Century Team.

After retiring from fo…

Sports Announcers I Grew Up With: Dick Engberg

There is a special place in my heart for the radio and TV sports announcers I grew up with. From ABC's Wide World of Sports to roller derby and wrestling, and everything in between, sports was a big part of my life growing up. At my house, we watched on TV whatever sport was 'in season,' especially on Saturday's. If there was a sports event on radio, we listened to it. I was very blessed to grow up with many now- legendary voices and characters.

Enberg was born in Mount Clemens, Michigan. Following high school, he played college baseball and earned a bachelor's degree in 1957 at Central Michigan University. Enberg then went on to graduate school at Indiana University, where he earned master's and doctorate degrees inhealth sciences. While at Indiana, Enberg voiced the first radio broadcast of the Little 500, the bicycle racing event popularized in the film Breaking Away. He was also the play-by-play announcer for Indiana Hoosiers football and basketball games…


Life can be hard.


Crops fail...

Sickness comes...

Friends will fail you...

Wives betray you...

Husband's will turn to drink...

That awful sound that comes from your child's stomach when you put him to bed hungry at night.


Losing your mama...

Burying your child...

Without God, who can bear it?

Life breaks your heart.

Life will drive you to your knees and then you have finally gotten somewhere, because then the only way there is for you to go is UP!

We're not stuck here crying out in the night...

Crawling through the darkness...

Broken and alone...

Separated from the ones we love forever...

No sir, we are not, because we have the promise of Heaven.

(Bro. Jake Owens/Dolly Parton's Coat Of Many Colors)

The Deaf Taxi Driver

George A. Guinn was a deaf taxi driver, who transported people between Albany and Monticello. Born on August 4, 1868, he was the grandson of Reuben Bayless Wood, who was murdered by Champ Ferguson during the civil war.

(From Albany's New Era newspaper...)
"Mr. George A, Gwinn, successful farmer and influential citizen of near town, died in a Nashville hospital, Sunday, June 16, where he had been following a stroke of paralysis at his home Friday. His death removes one of the county's most prominent citizens. He was seventy-two years of age, and is survived by his wife, formerly Mrs. Ida Mae Armstrong, and one brother, Mr. R. W. Gwinn of Danville. Funeral services were held at the Baptist church here Tuesday morning at 10:00 a. m., and were conducted by Rev. G. H. Lawrence through Sewell Funeral Home. The burial was in the Albany cemetery following the services at the church."

Happy National Pfeffernüesse Day!

Pfeffernüesse Cookies are one of the oldest and most popular holiday cookie in Germany, Denmark and The Netherlands. Known as Pepernoten in Dutch (plural), Pebernødder in Danish and Pepper Nuts in English, Pfeffernüesse cookies are so beloved in many European Countries that there is a National Pfeffernüesse Day, held each year on December 23rd honor of these little cookies.

Pfeffernüesse are great for dunking in hot mulled cider, amug of hot tea, hot chocolate or a steaming mug of Gluhwein.

Pfeffernüsse Cookies are spicy, small, round cookies, made with butter, molasses, and lots of spices. Pfeffernüsse are hard when they come out of the oven but soften with time....if they last that long! Pfeffernüesse cookies are a variant of the German Lebkuchen or gingerbread. Pfeffernüesse are a special treat, left for children by St. Nicholas!

"Sid Scott, What A Man"

Laying Sid to rest yesterday was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, but the service was exceptionally great, especially the words of Sid the Kid and Courtney. Loved it. Sid's death is the end of an era for me. He was the last of a group of a group of broadcasters I grew up with at WANY radio. It is an era that I did not want to see come to an end. Sid was such a huge part of my life and life is not going to ever be the same again. I am not looking for sympathy, but it has been a rough year, with the loss of my aunt Pat on June 3rd, followed a week later by the death of my sister. Sid was in the hospital during the entire month of July. He kept bouncing back, as he had done years before during a previous episode with sickness, but God's will is not always what we wish to happen. Sid came from Lillydale, Tennessee. His family were neighbors to my great grandfather Hige Boles and they were sharecroppers. Both families migrated to Clinton County when Dale Hollow Lake…

In Memory of a Legend

I started in radio in the spring of 1976 and was blessed to work with or be close to many legendary on air personalities and radio executives around the area. People like my grandfather, Cecil Speck, my uncle, Wallace Allred, my dad, Darrell Speck, Welby and Mae Hoover, Elmer Goodman, Ray Mullinix, Eddie Neal, Bob Glover and Eddie Paul Coop. And then, after a couple of decades I started having to write most of their obituaries. Writing obits was part of my job, but what had been routine became difficult when I found myself writing them for the very people I had worked with and idolized. Today, I wrote one more and it was hardest of all. Hard because Sid Scott was like a second father to me. Hard because his passing marks the end of an era that I was not ready to shut the door on.


This photograph has lots of memories for me. All through my childhood, up into my earlier adult years living at home, it hung on the wall facing our kitchen table. Times, life in general, were simpler back then. Sometimes I long for those days to return.

Grace was photographed by Eric Enstrom st his studio in Bovey, Minnesota. Most sources note the year as 1918, though Enstrom's daughter Rhoda, born in 1917, claimed to remember being present when the photograph was taken, and it may have been taken closer to 1920. The man in the photograph, Charles Wilden, was a Swedish immigrant who lived in nearby Grand Rapids, earning a meager living as a peddler and living in a sod house. While the photograph conveys a sense of piety, the book shown in the photo is a dictionary, not the Bible.

What happened to Wilden after the photograph is unclear. In 1926 he was paid $5 by Enstrom in return for waiving his rights to the photograph. He disappeared thereafter. After the photograph became p…

John Mulkey Reneau (1844-1910)

"Bear up all you can, the hardest stroke falls to me..." John Mulkey Reneau was born in Clinton County, KY on June 25, 1844. The son of Rev. Isaac Tipton Reneau, John married Eleanor Ann "Nelly" Means, daughter of my 3rd great-grandparents, Azel and Susan Wright Means, on January 10, 1867.

Nelly had been born a week after John, on July 2, 1844. To them were born 3 children: Alice, born in 1867, Susan, born in 1869 and Azel Tipton, born in 1871. On August 18, 1873, Nelly died giving birth to twins. Both babies died two days later.

A few hours after his wife's death, John wrote the following to his father:

"Dearest Father:
It falls to my lot to record to you the death of my loving companion and your affectionate daughter, Nelly. She died about sunrise this morning, praising her God and maker. She was not delivered. She flooded to death. I would be proud if you could be here, but you could not get here in time, and I thought you would not wish to be gone so…

Ronnie's Apple Cake

It was not always known as Ronnie's Apple Cake. Originally, it was simply known as the delicious apple cake that mom baked. We all loved it, but Ronnie, my brother, loved it the most and let it be known that it was his favorite dessert. Only later did that matter, because that apple cake would be the very last food item of moms that  Ronnie would ever eat. It was on the late afternoon of May 6, 1981. He died the following morning in a car accident just five-tenths of a mile from home. Not long after that, mom announced that she could no longer bare to bake another apple cake again and that was the end of it. We understood.

President Dwight David Eisenhower once said, "There's no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to the way they were." But, one day, 30 years after my brother's death, one memory did come back. It was Sunday, Thanksgiving Day week. J.D. and I had driven to mom's house for lunch. I wasn't expecting to see that…

Daddy's Postcard

The postcard, dated September 20, 1944, was sent by my grandfather to his daughters while he was stationed at Camp Peary, near Williamsburg, Virginia.

Hello girls,
How are you. I'm still fine. Sure will be glad to see you. I'll be home in 7 more nights. Won't that be fine. Be good & help mama & I'll bring you a little present. I will be glad to see your new sailor dresses and new shoes. Lots of love. Daddy.

As you see in the photo, he indeed came home and got to see his daughter's in their new sailor dresses and new shoes...

Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody

"This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.

There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.

Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.

Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody's job.

Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it.

It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done."

Need a Stamp?

Of course, it is fake...

A New T-Shirt Design?

A Resting Place

Today, I visited Mill Springs National Cemetery at Nancy, Kentucky. My mother's uncle, who served with the U.S. Army during World War I, is buried there. There are over 4,000 graves at Mill Springs, including many of the Union soldiers killed in the battle that took place just across the way on January 19, 1862 during the American Civil War. It was a somber experience standing among all of those graves. It was a day full of proud emotion and respect for our soldiers. Red roses mark the grave of my loved one.

Jesus, Saviour of my soul
Let me to thy bosom fly
While the waves of trouble roll
While the tempest still is high

Hide me, O my Savior, hide
Till the storm of life is past
Safe into the haven guide
O receive my soul at last

(Charles Wesley, 1740 - from "Prayers Suitable For The Times In Which We Live," Charleston: Evans & Cogswell, No. 3 Broad Street, 1861)

A Moment to Remember

Life is not measured by the amount of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away (Micalea Smeltzer, Finding Olivia).

Such was the moment that day as I walked across the parking lot of the grocery store when - above the hustle and bustle of the busy street that lay behind me, above the noise of the shoppers walking to and fro from the store in front of me - suddenly, I heard the voice of a child calling out my name over and over again.

I looked toward the store in front of me and saw nothing. I looked toward the street behind me and saw nothing, I looked to my left and still nothing. I thought that perhaps the voice I had heard was only my imagination. That is until I looked to my right.

Across the street in the school yard there had to be at least a hundred kids enjoying recess and, right in the midst of all those children, I saw one solitary outstretched arm reaching up toward the sky and the hand that was attached to it was waving frantically at me! It was …

Running the Race

Remember the football gag where Lucy tells Charlie Brown that she will hold a football while he kicks it?


At first, he refuses because he doesn't trust her. Eventually, she talks him into it and, just as he is about to kick the ball, Lucy picks it up. "AAUGH," yelled Charlie Brown as he went flying through the air, followed by, "WHAM," as he hit the ground. Over the years, the message from that gag became clear to me..."Don't Give Up!" While Charlie Brown may not have ever kicked the football held by Lucy, he never stopped trying. So it is with life, where the impossible can become possible if we are determined enough to not quit. Hebrews 12:1-2 says "let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith." Don't Give Up! A quitter never wins, but a winner never quits. Be the winner! (Philippians 4:13)

A Milestone...

The country classic, "I Love Country Music (And I'd Rather Fight Than Switch)" by Jack Barlow, made it to #21 on Cash Box 50 years ago this week (September 28, 1965). The song, co-written by my dad and released on Dial Records, was produced by legendary producer Buddy Killen, who owned the label. Killen also owned Tree Publishing, which published this song and two other songs co-written by dad, "I Love Her Still" and "Number One In The Nation," which were also recorded by Barlow on Dial Records. The records were distributed by Atlantic Records of New York. Barlow first sang "I Love Country Music (And I'd Rather Fight Than Switch)" on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry on November 8, 1965.

Killen shut down the Dial Records label in 1979 to concentrate on other music interests. Today, the Dial Records catalog is owned by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, the largest music publishing company in the world with over 2 million songs under management. …

Sports Announcers I Grew Up With: Brent Musburger

There is a special place in my heart for the radio and TV sports announcers I grew up with. From ABC's Wide World of Sports to roller derby and wrestling, and everything in between, sports was a big part of my life growing up. At my house, we watched on TV whatever sport was 'in season,' especially on Saturday's. If there was a sports event on radio, we listened to it. I was very blessed to grow up with many now-legendary voices and characters.

One of my favorite voices, Brent Musburger, went to work for CBS TV in 1973, doing play by play for NFL and NBA games, the US Open, college basketball and football, the Masters and the World Series on radio. In 1990, he went to work for ABC, hosting Monday Night Football, as well as broadcasting college basketball and football. Presently, he does play-by-play for college basketball. His past record includes broadcasting the Little League World Series, Rose Bowl, World Cup, NASCAR, Indianapolis 500. He presently works for the…

Standing by the Side of the Road (A Baseball Story)

Former U of L basketball player, Bill Kidd, coached basketball and baseball at Clinton County from 1954 through 1957. He believed in the strictest of discipline and allowed no talking during practice. On away games, he had a "point of no return," which meant players could not talk out loud until the bus was a certain distance from where it had taken off. After passing Waterview enroute to Tompkinsville for a district tournament baseball game in May of 1955, two players in the back of the bus, which happened to be Sid Scott and my dad, Darrell Speck, thought they had gone past that point of no return and broke the silence by singing a song. As it turned out, they were mistaken about where the point of no return was. Coach Kidd stopped the bus and left both of them standing by the side of the road. Lucky for them, J.R. Craig, who was on his way to the game, stopped and picked them up. There is that shortcut to Tompkinsville that most locals know about and J.R. took it. They a…

The Game (Sept. 12, 1931)

EVENT: Baseball game
OPPONENTS: Indian Creek vs Creelsboro
DATE: Saturday, September 12, 1931
LOCATION: Pete Conner farm
Ucum community/Russell Co., Kentucky
(Now under water, Lake Cumberland)
TIME: Afternoon

Some 400 people gathered to watch the baseball game between Indian Creek and Creelsboro. Indian Creek was originally scheduled to play a black team from Burkesville, but that team cancelled. Because it was a last minute notice, Creelsboro could only round up four of its players, however, they managed to find some fill-in players and the game was on.

Here is the play-by-play of the event that transpired that day, as told by three members of the Creelsboro team: Monk Oliver (the batter), Carlos Mann (the third base coach), and Kermit Mann (a runner, who was on third base).

"Oliver fouled the only baseball they had over in an adjoining field. While someone went to get it, George Elmore, who had been standing in a crowd of people along the third base side, near the backstop,…

Tinker Dave Beaty: A Rough, Uneducated Mountain Man Who Never Forsook The Flag Of His Country

Along about the 1st of February, 1862, several of Captain Scott Bledsoe's men came to Tinker Dave Beaty's house in the Buffalo Cove area of Fentress County, Tennessee and told his wife to tell him that he must take sides in the Civil War or leave the country. They kept returning to the area every few weeks, killing and driving people off. Beaty told his sons that before he would leave home or run away, he would fight the enemy until Doomsday and if they killed him, let them kill him. Beaty raised a company of men, sometimes as many as 60, sometime as low as five. Included were his brother-in-law and nephews, my third great-grandfather, John Boles, and his sons, John Jr. and my great, great-grandfather, George Boles. The independent scouts also included my great, great uncles, Asa and Ahijah Smith. Beaty's Independent Scouts received no pay, but the government furnished them with all the ammunition they needed. At Champ Ferguson's trial, Beaty said, "I don't …

Darrell Speck & the Rebel Rousers Discography

Darrell Speck and the Rebel Rousers
Side A: "Take Me Back" (AV-45-100)
Side B: "How I Love You" (AV-45-101)

Written by: Darrell Speck

Label: Al Vic Records, Harrodsburg, KY

Date Recorded: June 1959

Pressed at King Records, Cincinnati OH

Discography The Bop That Never Stopped, Vol. 11 - Bison Bop (Hamburg, Germany) 1981 LP 2014

1. Jimmie Martin Combo - Rock The Bop
2. Carl Mann - Gonna Rock And Roll Tonight
3. Jimmie Martin Combo - Red Bobby Socks
4. Howard Mayberry - This Just Can't Be Puppy Love
5. Jackie Goetroe - Raised On Rock
6. Darrell Speck - How I Love You
7. Charles Looper - She's My Baby Now
8. Alan Lee - Broken Hearted Baby
9. Don Hager - River Rock
10. Don Hager - Liza Jane Bop
11. Don Hager - Try Me Out And See
12. Glenn Johnson - Little Heart Attacks

Primitive Sound - White Label (Netherlands) 1981 LP 8830

1. Glen Barr & Roger Harrison - Only Cowgirl In Town
2. Glen Barr & Roger Harrison - I'm In No Position…

Wichita Lineman

Lately, I have been compiling a list of my 1,000 all-time favorite songs. 1968's "Wichita Lineman," is one the first ones I wrote down. I played it countless times during my 38 years on the radio. The image of the record label is forever etched in my mind.

What always got to me, aside from the lyrics, was the opening bass line and the awesome solo that comes where the third verse should be. Jimmy Webb wrote the song specifically at the request of Glen Campbell, who was in the studio searching for a song about a town, something 'geographical,' he said. Not only did Webb not think it was a hit, in his mind it wasn't even finished. In late 1967, Jimmy had written “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” for Campbell. Now Glen and his producer were calling him every couple of hours and asking if the song he had asked for was finished. Finally Webb sent the song for them to preview with the notion that if they liked it, he would finish writing it.

Little did Webb know, Cam…

William Wilberforce

“Can you tell a plain man the road to heaven? Certainly, turn at once to the right, then go straight forward.” - William Wilberforce

Today is William Wilberforce Day.

William Wilberforce was an English politician and philanthropist who lived from 1759 to 1833. A native of Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire, he became the independent Member of Parliament for Yorkshire. In 1785, he became an Evangelical Christian, a spiritual journey that changed his life. He started to rise early to read the Bible and pray. His conversion led Wilberforce to question whether he should remain in public life, but he resolved to do so with increased diligence and conscientiousness. His desire was to promote Christianity and Christian ethics.

"It makes no sense to take the name of Christian and not cling to Christ. Jesus is not some magic charm to wear like a piece of jewelry we think will give us good luck. He is the Lord. His name is to be written on our hearts in such a powerful way that it creates with…