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Showing posts from 2016

Peace On Earth...May Christmas Hasten That Day

The first months of World War I had seen an initial German attack through Belgium into France, which had been repulsed outside Paris by French and British troops at the Battle of the Marne in early September 1914. The Germans fell back to the Aisne Valley and in the subsequent Battle of the Aisne, the Allied forces were unable to push through the German line, and the fighting quickly degenerated into a static stalemate with neither side willing to give ground. To the north, on the right of the German army, there had been no defined front line and both sides quickly began to try to use this gap to outflank one another. In the ensuing "race to the sea", the two sides repeatedly clashed, each trying to push forward and threaten the end of the other's line. By November, there was a continuous front line running from the North Sea to the Swiss frontier. The action was swift and both sides were determined.

But, in December something unexpected happened: An unofficial truce …

The Christmas Story (Luke 2:1-14, KJV)

A Season of Legends: Lindle Castle and Sid Scott

The summer before my senior year in high school, I was confronted with a choice: sit on a bleacher beside a legendary broadcster or sit on a bleacher beside a legendary coach. While that might seem like a hard decision to you, radio was in my blood. I had just gotten my Radiotelephone Third Class license with Broadcast Endorsement on August 4, 1976. I knew that my destiny wasn't to play for the Kentucky Wildcats or star in the NBA. It was to be a radio disc jockey. I was, after all, born into it. I explained to the coach that my heart was in radio. 40 years later, it still is.

I was blessed to have grown up in an era that included both Lindle Castle and Sid Scott. Before starring at Morehead State University, Castle had started on a University of Kentucky freshman team that included future NBA hall of famers, Cliff Hagan and Frank Ramsey, and future NBAer, Lou Tsioropoulos. A few short years later, Scott made a name for himself as one of the all-time great pivot players at Clint…

Ronnie's Apple Cake

For me, Thanksgiving Day is a special time to reflect on the many things I am thankful for. Ronnie's Apple Cake was more than a dessert...it was a door leading to a time in my life that holds many wonderful memories. Memories of my family, when we were all there...together as one. It was a special time in my life. 

Ronnie's Apple Cake was not always known as that. Originally, it was just known as the delicious apple cake that mom baked. I am not sure how many pieces of that cake I ate from the time I was a youngster until I reached the age of 21, but it was a lot. We all loved it, but Ronnie, my brother, loved it more than any of us, and he let it be known that it was his favorite dessert. That was fine by me. I didn't mind who asked her to bake it, as long as she did. Only later did it matter which child asked her to bake it the most. You see, that apple cake was the very last thing Ronnie would ever eat of my mom's cooking and baking as he sat down at the kitchen …

Remembering A President

Eight months before President John F. Kennedy was assassinated (Nov. 22, 1963), he made a visit to Arlington National Cemetery. It is said that he passed beyond the soldiers' graves and walked to the top of a hill. The story goes that as he paused there reflecting on the beauty of the area, he was quoted as saying, "I could stay here forever."

On November 25, 1963, the President was buried on that hill after being shot dead three days earlier.



A Joyous Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving Long Ago

Thanksgiving Day didn't become an official federal holiday until 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens."

Both my great-grandparents, Grant and Hettie Frost, were born after the civil war; Grant in 1867 and Hettie in 1870. They were married on this day (November 23rd), four days before Thanksgiving Day in 1890.

That year, President Benjamin Harrison proclaimed November 27th as the date to be observed as a day of prayer and thanksgiving, inviting the people to "cease from their labors on that day, to meet in their accustomed houses of worship, and to join in rendering gratitude and praise to our beneficent Creator for the rich blessings He has granted to us as a nation and in invoking the continuance of His protection and grace for the future."

That protection and grace was extended to Grant ans Hettie as they were married 65 years. God blessed them with…

What is a Veteran?

A veteran is a person who has patriotism, love of country and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. Meaning simply, someone who, at some point in life, wrote a check to the United States of America for an amount up to and including his or her life. No other commitment matches this great value made to our country." (John Sanabia, retired SEAL Chief Warrant Officer Five)

It is important that the younger generation understands what Veterans Day means. It was or is no easy task to secure and defend the freedoms that we know today here in America.

We are blessed to live in the greatest nation in the history of the world. Veteran, no matter what capacity you served during your time in the armed services, America owes you a debt of gratitude.

God bless America, and God bless our veteran's.

HAPPY VETERAN'S DAY!

Carl Story: The WFLW Years

The first prominent artist to specialize in bluegrass-style gospel music was Carl Story. He is known as the "Father of Bluegrass Gospel." Story's career in traditional country, bluegrass, and gospel music spanned more than six decades.

Carl was born on May 29, 1916 in Lenoir, North Carolina. His father played the fiddle and his mother played the guitar and Carl mastered both of those instruments along with the clawhammer-style of banjo playing. He formed his Rambling Mountaineers band in 1934.

BMI's database credits Carl Story with 178 published compositions and arrangements, including: “I Overlooked an Orchid While Searching for a Rose," “Always Be Kind To Mother," "I Heard My Mother Weeping" and "Light at the River," which is probably the most important single in Carl Story's recording history."


From 1947 until 1953, Carl Story and his Rambling Mountaineers recorded eleven sessions for Mercury, cutting a total of fifty songs.…

Fred Sanford for President

"What if Fred Sanford ran for President and won?"

Lamont would be vice-president. The White House would be called Sanford Arms.

Pres. Sanford: "Looky here. This is the White Room." [Slams door]
Pres. Sanford: "Green Room." [Slams door]
Pres. Sanford: "Red Room." [Slams door]
Pres. Sanford: "Bathroom."
V.P. Lamont: "HEY!"
Pres. Sanford: "Excuse me." [Slams door]

Instead of "Hail To The Chief," we'd get to hear the Sanford & Son theme song at every public appearance. The official slogan would be

"The truth shall set you free, HALLELUJAH!"

Aunt Esther would visit the white house, er Sanford Arms, often...

Pres. Sanford: "Who's there?"
Aunt Esther: "It's Esther!"
Pres. Sanford: "Esther who?"
Aunt Esther: "You know Esther who! Open this door fool!"
Pres. Sanford: "I can't open the door!"
Aunt Esther: "Why not?&qu…

Mareen Duvall, The Immigrant

Mareen DuVal was a French Protestant, a Huguenot, who fled his homeland, Nantes, France, sometime around 1650 to escape religious persecution from the Catholics and the French Crown. After a stay in England, he arrived in Maryland on August 28, 1650. There, he became quite prosperous. His estates in Davidsonville, Maryland and La Val were as luxurious and courtly as any of the manors of the English gentry.

Before his death in 1694, Duvall had purchased sizeable tracts of land, including  Catton, later known as Belair, as well as owning Middle Plantation in Davidsonville, Maryland. Combined, he owned several thousand acres in Anne Arundel and Prince George's Counties.

"No more striking figure in colonial history is found than the personal achievements of this fleeing immigrant. He came as one of the one hundred and fifty adventurers, brought over by Colonel William Burgess. He settled in Anne Arundel County and became one of the most successful merchants and planters of th…

Eulogy for a Bluegrass Legend

WSM and Grand Ole Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs officiated the funeral service of bluegrass legend Don Parmley at Hicks-Vaughn Funeral Home in Monticello Tuesday night.

Parmley, who was born in Wayne County in 1933, died July 31st at the age of 83. His group, Bluegrass Cardinals, was an early influence in the world of bluegrass music. Stubbs said the standard of excellence set by that group was second to none.

"The Bluegrass Cardinals rose very quickly to become a very, very important product of their time, the late 1970's and all through the 80's. Their standard of excellence on record and in person was second to none. There was a lot of complexity within the Bluegrass Cardinals music, made in 3-chord songs they were doing, but it was that complexity within that simplicity that made that music so great with all those intricacies."

Stubbs said Bluegrass Cardinals deserve to be in the IBMA Hall of Fame. At a time when that organization was still in its infancy, Blue…

Don Parmley, Billy Strange - Bluegrass and Folk Blues...Five String Banjo with 12 String Guitar

"Don Parmley, Billy Strange - Bluegrass and Folk Blues...Five String Banjo with 12 String Guitar" (GNP Cescendo, 1964).

Side A
This Land Is Your Land
Flint Hill Special
Arkansas Traveler
Gotta Travel On
400 Miles
Ruben's Train

Side B
My Old Kentucky Home
Red Wing
Greenback Dollar
Cripple Creek
Ballad Of Jed Clampett
Cottonfields

Musicians:
Don Parmley, five string banjo
Billy Strange, twelve string guitar
Chris Hillman, mandolin
Vern Gosdin, guitar
LeRoy McNees, dobro
Rex Gosdin, bass
Hal Blaine, drums



Remembering Gentleman Jim Reeves

Country music's Jim Reeves was killed in an airplane crash on July 31, 1964.


August 4, 1964
Panola Watchman, Carthage, Texas)

REEVES DIES IN AIR CRASH By James Smith

"The body of Travis (Jim) Reeves returned to Panola County Tuesday afternoon just before dusk, to be buried in a site that will become a memorial. The site is a two-acre plot located one-half miles east of Carthage on the south side of U.S. Highway 79 near the Liberty Chapel Baptist Church.Double funeral services were held for the well-known country music singer from Panola County and his companion, Dean Manuel at 2 p.m. Tuesday in Nashville, Tennessee.The two men were found dead in the wreckage of a private single engine plane 10 miles south of Nashville. Manuel was Reeves’ piano player and road manager and they were returning to their homes in Nashville from a business trip to Batesville, Arkansas.In an interview with Ray Baker, manager for Reeves, he told the Watchman of the accident as near as possible. T…

Legendary Banjo Player and Wayne County, Kentucky Native Don Parmley is Dead at 83.

Wayne County, Kentucky native Don Parmley, a lifelong banjo player and patriarch of the legendary Bluegrass Cardinals, has died. He was 83 years old.

Born in 1933, Parmley’s family left Wayne County and moved west to California when Don was a young boy. There, he developed a fascination with bluegrass music and Earl Scruggs' style of banjo playing. In the early 60's, Don was a founding member of The Hillmen, which included future icons Vern Gosdin and Chris Hillman, along with Vern's brother, Rex Gosdin.


The Hillmen became popular in southern California, appearing frequently on television. While Earl Scruggs played the banjo on The Beverly Hillbillies theme song, Don played all the other banjo music for show.

In 1965, Chris Hillman left The Hillmen to join The Byrds. Vern Gosdin went on to become a major country music star and his brother Rex became a successful songwriter. In 1974, Don formed The Bluegrass Cardinals with his son, David, who was only 15 years old at …

Witnessing A Debate Between Ark Encounter creator Ken Ham and Bill Nye, the Science Guy"

A second unscheduled "debate" between Ken Ham, who built the new Ark Encounter at Williamstown, Kentucky, and Bill Nye "the Science Guy," best known as the host of a children's science show that ran on PBS from 1993 to 1998, occurred this past Friday, July 8, 2015 in front of hundreds of people, including myself and others from Clear Fork Baptist Church in Albany, Kentucky at the Ark Encounter. The first one occurred at Ham's previous project, the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, seven miles west of the Cincinnati Airport, in November of 2014.

The Ark is part of a ministry that teaches Old Testament stories as true historical events. Nye had previously called the ark "a danger to the nation's science education" and had said he hoped it would never be built, because it would "indoctrinate children into this extraordinary and outlandish, unscientific point of view." The ark opened to the public last Thursday, July 7, 2016.

Simon & Garfunkel - The Complete Collection (Columbia, 1980)

Simon & Garfunkel - The Complete Collection (1980), 60-song, 5-LP vinyl box set(P5 15333) manufactured by Columbia Special Products and originally made available by mail-order via Tee Vee Records.

Record One:
1. The Sounds Of Silence
2. So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright
3. Sparrow
4. My Little Town
5. The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)
6. A Most Peculiar Man
7. For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her
8. Keep The Customer Satisfied
9. He Was My Brother
10. Kodachrome
11. Somewhere They Can't Find Me
12. Bookends

Record Two:
1. I Am A Rock
2. Save The Life Of My Child
3. Peggy-O
4. El Condor Pasa (If I Could)
5. April Come She Will
6. Overs
7. The Boxer
8. Cloudy
9. You Can Tell The World
10. All I Know
11. Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.
12. 7 O'Clock News/Silent Night

Record Three:
1. Mrs. Robinson 
2. Second Avenue
3. The Sun Is Burning
4. A Hazy Shade Of Winter
5. Baby Driver
6. You Don't Know Where Your Interest Lies
7. America
8. Bye Bye Love
9. Last Night I Had The St…

Celebrating July 4th at Hale's Mill

The possible site of Hale's Mill, downstream from Wolf River Bridge on Highway 111 in Pickett County, TN.
"On the 4th day of July 1861, near a thousand men, women and children of Overton and Fentress Counties, Tennessee, met at Hale’s Mill and celebrated the day, as had been the custom in former years. They raised a hickory pole, on which was hoisted the old flag. Dr. Hale’s daughters and their teacher, sang the “Star Spangles Banner.” Mrs. Hale, read the Declaration of Independence, and the whole concourse of people partook of a bountiful repast prepared by our women, every one of whom opposed revolution in every shape." - J.D. Hale.

The Civil War had begun twenty-two days earlier. Our ancestors thought this area was too remote to be included in any war, but it came nearly three months later to Travisville. The date was September 29,1861. The Affair at Travisville, as it became known, was the first military action of any kind during the Civil War in Tennessee. Not only i…

God is Able

"I needed to hear this today," she wrote on Facebook, and then proceeded to write the lyrics to a song I had composed five years earlier.

"He leadeth me beside still waters
Holding to my hand I know
Whatever path I take God is able
And though the journey that I'm on
Might sometimes be too rough and long
No matter come what may
God is able

He walks with me and He talks with me
And He tells me that I'm his very own
He died for me on Mount Calvary
That by his blood I might be made whole
God is able
Yeah yeah, God is able"

I wrote this in 2011 following an instance where I was confronted with the phrase, "God is able." I remember posting the words on Facebook, but I don't know how she would have come across them five years later, unless she had shared it on her page. I prefer to think that it had to be the Lord.

I have learned that what we share on social media matters, as in this case. That is why I try to be uplifting.

"If I can he…

The Value of a Good Song

I was a junior in high school when I began my career in radio. I first worked Sunday nights. Even though the station format was country, I was allowed to play rock and roll records.

A few days after I first started, I was asked to fill in on a mid-morning shift. Sunday night's was all music and very litte commercials. It was a lot different through the week, so I was pretty nervous stepping into the 'big league' so soon. But, I was raised up in radio and had been around the station enough to know about the country artists. Twenty minutes into the shift, I cued up "Four Walls" by Jim Reeves. A minute into the song, the telephone rang. It was my grandmother. She said, "Now you're doing it! Keep that up and you'll be alright."

In that moment, my love for radio went to a depth I never imagined it would. I had learned the value of a good song. If there was any doubt about what I wanted to do the rest of my life, my grandmother settled it.

Waiting For The Right Thing To Be Done

President Obama is always talking about righting wrongs. On this anniversary of D-Day, I know of one wrong he can right: Award a Medal of Honor posthumously to First Lieutenant Garlin Murl Conner. 

He served with distinction and valor in the United States Army during World War II. He is Kentucky's most decorated war hero. He servedon the front lines for over eight hundred days in eight major campaigns. He was wounded seven times but returned to combat and continued to fight on the front lines after each wound.  

 Lt. Conner left the U.S. Army as the second-most decorated soldier during World War II, earning four Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars, seven Purple Hearts, the Distinguished Service Cross and the French Medal of Honor for his actions during 28 straight months in combat. 

Audie Murphy has always been recognized as the most decorated soldier during World War II. The Medal of Honor would give Lt. Conner one more award than Audie Murphy, thus making him America's most …

Ali & Cosell

“Don’t touch me,” i’ll beat your brains out.” - Howard Cowell speaking to Muhammad Ali.

I recently wrote a series of stories entitled, "Sports Announcers I Grew Up With." On March 15th of this year, I paid tribute to the late Howard Cosell. His style of hard news-like reporting transformed sports broadcasting. His distinctive voice, accent, cadence, etc. were a form of color commentary all their own. He admitted being arrogant, among other things, and he wore a toupee. Those things were all Muhammad Ali needed to rib Cosell. Ali loved to tease Cosell about his toupee and always threatened to remove it from Cosell's head. Of course, Cosell never let him do it.

According to sportswriter Dave Kindred, the relationship between Ali and Cosell made for some of the best theater in American sports. Whether the pair were discussing an upcoming title fight or the state of modern society, their conversations always sizzled.

In Kindred's "Sound and Fury: Two Powerful Liv…