Skip to main content

Remembering Buddy Holly in 2015

For me, every day is a Buddy Holly day, not just on Feb. 3rd, the anniversary of the day the music died. I've been a Buddy 'Holly-ic' as long as I can remember. In 1990, I found and purchased "The Complete Buddy Holly," a $100 valued set of the entire discography, for $20 at a Somerset pawn shop.

Since then, I have been able to secure the autographs of the remaining Crickets as well as the real Peggy Sue, who sent me a copy of her book. Tommy Allsup, the session guitarist on many of Buddy's recordings, was on that ill-fated 1959 tour. He was supposed to be on the plane with Buddy but Ritchie Valens, who was sick, won a coin toss and boarded the plane instead. In 1990, Allsup came to Burkesville, along with Nashville session fiddle player, Buddy Spicher, and performed at a barbecue put on by the late Tom Parkman. Lucky for me, I was friends with Parkman so I was invited to attend his party. While there, I took a picture of Tommy Allsup and got his autograph. When I mentioned I was a Buddy Holly fanatic, he just lowered his head and did not reply. The only Buddy Holly-related autograph I was never able to get was Crickets guitarist Niki Sullivan and Waylon Jennings, who was also on the 1959 tour as Buddy's bass player.

Buddy Holly's music was fresh and energetic. Buddy knew how to arrange. Vie Petty's piano playing on those songs is amazing and, of course, Buddy Holly was a phenomenal guitarist. Buddy Holly greatly influenced the Beatles, Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones. Buddy once said, "Without Elvis, none of us would be here." In the mid 70's, before his own death, Elvis said, "Looking back over the last 20 years, I guess the guy I've admired most in rock and roll is Buddy Holly." Now, that's respect. On January 31, 1959, Robert Zimmerman, the future Bob Dylan, went to see Buddy Holly perform at the Duluth, Minnesota National Guard Armory. Three days later, Buddy was killed. Accepting a Grammy for Album of the Year for Time Out Of Mind in 1998, Dylan said: "When I was sixteen or seventeen years old, I went to see Buddy Holly play at Duluth National Guard Armory and I was three feet away from him…and he looked at me. And I just have some sort of feeling that he was — I don't know how or why — but I know he was with us all the time we were making this record in some kind of way."

Here is a nice 'local' connection to Buddy Holly. Sonny West wrote two of the Crickets' hits: Rave On and Oh Boy. In 1960, he started frequenting Mike's 66 Bar on Route 66 in Grants, New Mexico. The reason was a guitar player by the name of George Hudson. George was my dads guitar playing partner and friend. Every year at this time I try to write something about Buddy Holly, to help bring some awareness of Buddy Holly to my little corner of the world. It's not so much about the day the music died as it is about the man who took rock and roll to a whole other level. In his book, "Rock 'n' Roll: The 100 Best Singles," Paul Williams wrote, "It only fully became rock and roll when Buddy Holly started singing it."

Rave on...Buddy Holly Lives!

"Memories will follow me forever, Tho' I know our dreams cannot come true, All those precious things we shared together, Time goes by, I'll still remember you" (from Buddy's song, That Makes It Tough).


Popular posts from this blog

The Tornado at Beaty Swamps

Shortly after midnight on Wednesday, May 10, 1933, Beatty Swamps, TN ( also known as Bethsaida), a small rural community located in Overton County, Tennessee, approximately 6.7 miles from Livingston, was struck by an F4 tornado that completely devastated the community. The funnel, anywhere from one-half to three-quarters of a mile wide, destroyed every home in the community, and killed or injured virtually every single resident. Much of the area was swept clean of debris. This is the second deadliest tornado ever to strike Middle Tennessee.

There have been tornadoes that have gained greater notoriety, such as the Super Outbreak of April 3, 1974, but never has a tornado affected a community as completely as the one that struck Beatty Swamps.

According to the National Weather Service, it had been a humid evening in the rural Cumberland Plateau community. In nearby Allardt, the temperature that Tuesday afternoon had climaxed at 82 degrees, a warmer-than-normal reading for early May. …

Ode To A Mule

James Arness died today. Gunsmoke was every one's favorite TV show back when I was a kid. For years, at my house, we watched every single episode that came on the TV. There's isn't any need to explain the show because I am sure that most of you have seen an episode of Gunsmoke at one time or another.

When I heard that Mr. Arness has passed away, I went online, because I wanted to read some quotes from the TV show - more specifically, I wanted to read some dialogue between Festus, played by singer Ken Curtis (Sons of the Pioneers), and the rest of the cast. Festus had a way of speaking, but he always spoke the truth and what he said always made sense, well in a Festus-sort-of way, I guess.

So, I went online to do that, and well, one click led to another click, and then another and another, and before I knew it, I found myself on YouTube, and that's when I heard, for the first time in many years, this beautiful story that I want to share with you.

If you paid close atte…

Long Live The Goat Man

(This photo was made in the 1950's as the Goat Man passed through my town)
Charles McCartney was born on July 6, 1901. In 1915, at age 14, he ran away from his family's Iowa farm. He eventually wound up in New York, and was soon married to a Spanish knife-thrower. When she got pregnant they tried to make it as farmers, but bad weather and the Great Depression wiped them out. About the same time, he experienced a religious awakening. A man on a mission, he hitched up his team of goats to a wagon and took to the open road with his wife and son. His wife made goatskin clothes for him and his son to wear as a gimmick during their travels, but she quickly grew tired of the road and returned to Iowa, taking their son with her.

Charles McCartney looked like a goat. He smelled like one, too because he rarely took a bath. You take a fellow who looks like a goat, travels around with goats, eats with goats, lies down among goats and smells like a goat and it won't be long before peop…