Friday, April 20, 2018

Till The Storm Passes By

During a recent singing at my church, friends Rob and Debbie sang Mosie Lister's great song, "Till The Storm Passes By." Before they sang, Debbie spoke about how God spared her family from a tornado that completely destroyed their brand new home in 1998, and how a shelter Rob had built in the basement had protected them from harm. For me, it was an all too familiar story of a tornado that came to my family's home when i was a small child.

The date was March 19, 1963. We lived in an apartment above my grandparents' garage at 601 Hopkins Street. My parents had gone out of town that day and my grandmother, Dimple Speck, was left to babysit us kids; Mike (4), Randy (me, age 3), Darilyn (2) and Ronnie (4 months). As a storm intensified outside, my grandmother looked out a window just in time to see the tornado that was fastly approaching. With only seconds to spare, she quickly gathered all of us together underneath the kitchen table and then, realizing she could not physically protect all of us at the same time, she told Mike and I to run to our parents' bedroom and get underneath the bed. We were overcome with so much fear that, no sooner had we got there, we decide to run back to the kitchen table.

By that time, the roof was already beginning to be pulled away from the building. My grandmother would later recall the haunting sound of hundreds of nails being ripped out of the wood. I cannot imagine how horrifying it must have been for her to see us running back to her at that moment. She was already holding our sister in one arm and our baby brother in the other. There was no way she could have physically handled two more kids, much less try to hold the table down.

My grandmother was a very spiritual woman. You could always find her sitting at the table with her bible either opened in front of her or laying beside her. There is no doubt that she did an awful lot of praying between the time she saw the tornado through the window and the sound of the roof coming apart. Instead of it crashing down on top of us, the tornado sucked the roof and most everything inside the apartment, outward. In the quiescence that followed, one thing that remained was that kitchen table, and all who were underneath it. God had spared my family, just like He spared Rob and Debbie and their family.

"Till the storm passes over
till the thunder sounds no more
till the clouds roll forever from the sky
hold me fast let me stand
in the hollow of thy hand
keep me safe till the storm passes by"

Thursday, April 5, 2018

The Farmer and the Bicycle

Old farmer Jacob Rust lived about four miles from Albany, said a letter to the New York Sun. He had a good mountain farm and was very well-to-do in a rough and thinly populated region where a man with $10,000 was considered rich. Farmer Rust had several daughters and Ellen, the oldest, was considered the most 'handsomest' of them all.

This particular summer, a young man named Henry Curtis from Ohio, whose parents had moved there from Albany, had gone back to visit his relatives. He brought with him a bicycle. It was the first one to be seen in Clinton County, the letter said, and people came from miles around to see it. Henry, it said, was an expert rider and frequently displayed his bicycleship before the eyes of the mountaineers. He was even kind enough to let a number of the young men try his "velocipede," as it was called in Albany, but their bruised faces and sore joints soon made them very shy of the machine.

Henry fell in love with Ellen Rust. He pressed his courtship and was accepted, but farmer Rust was opposed. He objected to Henry because, as far as the farmer's knowledge went, he did not technically have what was known as any visible means of subsistence, or has farmer Rust termed it, "he was a lazy good-for-nothin' who had nothin' to do but go gallopin' around the hills on two wheels." Henry assured him he had a good business and fine prospects in Ohio, which was later transpired that his statement was true, but the farmer did not believe him.

So, Henry and Ellen waited. She was of legal age and they could have easily eloped, but they did not wish to do that. They wanted the old man's consent. The bicycle appeared to be farmer Rust's chief objection. He did not believe in it. "My gal," he said, "shan't marry any fellow who fools away his time on such a derned thing as that. Why, he might break his neck any day and then I'd have his 'widder' to take care of. I don't want for a son-in-law any man who rides on a velocipede. If he had a horse or a buckboard it would be all right."

Henry would not put away his beloved machine. The letter stated that he loved that bicycle, next to Ellen of course, and he meant to have them both. On Monday, Ellen was visiting a relative in town and Henry went to see her. They were getting angry at the old man's obduracy. "I will ride right out now, see him, and ask for your hand," said Henry, "and if he does not consent I will come back and we will get married anyhow. You are of legal age and we can have the ceremony performed here in town."

Ellen agreed.

Henry mounted his bicycle and headed for farmer Rust's place. The old man had just come in from a journey and his horse and buckboard were still at the yard gate. The young man immediately made known his errand.

" I told you once before that you could not marry her," said the farmer.

"Well, I am going to marry her, anyhow," replied Henry. "She is in town now. I am going back there and in less than an hour she will be my wife!"

"Then you will have to beat me to town," said farmer Rust. "I don't think any velocipede can get ahead of my old mare and the buckboard. If you get there ahead of me, i guess you can have the girl."

With that said, Henry mounted the bicycle and the old man jumped on his buckboard and the race was on. On a good turnpike or level road, read the letter, Henry could have easily outdistanced the old mare, who was not as swift as she once was, but it was altogether a different matter over those hills. But his recent experience with such difficulties stood him in good service, and, in spite of his rough path, Henry soon had the satisfaction of passing the farmer's bumping buckboard.

Henry waved his hand gleefully at his perspective father-in-law, who was swearing at his old mare and endeavoring to whip her into a faster gait. He wrecked twice, but each time Henry was able to right himself and his wheel without harm to either, and passed into town a quarter of a mile ahead of farmer Rust. He then stopped and waited for the farmer to come up.

The farmer looked at the bicycle for a moment and then exclaimed, "Well, I'll be derned!" Together, they went to fetch the Baptist preacher, brought him to the house where Ellen was visiting relatives, and it was there, on that day, that she and Henry were married.

- from the Sept. 26, 1889 edition of the Parsons (Kansas) Weekly Sun.

The story also ran in the Chicago Tribune, St. Paul Globe, Salt Lake Tribune, Daily Bee in Omaha, Times Democrat in New Orleans, the Clinton, Missouri Advocate and several other newspapers.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Medal of Honor Recipient: Oliver Hughes

Harry Truman once declared he’d rather have a Medal of Honor than be president. The area i live in is blessed to have had three Medal of Honor recipients so far: Sgt. Alvin C. York during WWI, Lt. Murl Conner during WWII and Cpl. Oliver Hughes during the Civil War.

Most people may not know about the heroics of Cpl. Hughes. The first soldier from this area to receive the citation, he was born in Fentress County, TN in 1844 and lived in the Static area, close to where Conner lived and not far from York's place at Pall Mall, TN. Cpl. Hughes was awarded the Medal of Honor for an act of extraordinary heroism which he performed on February 20, 1865, while serving with the Union army's 12th Kentucky Infantry at Town Creek, North Carolina.

The Union army had came up on Confederate lines along the road from Wilmington to Fort Fisher. Finding themselves in a comparatively open country with only a few pine trees, the federal troops were exposed to a merciless fire from the rebel artillery. Seeing that desperate measures were necessary, Lieutenant-Colonel L.H. Rassieur ordered an attack on the rebel lines. When it began, Cpl. Hughes saw the color-sergeant carrying the flag of the 11th South Carolina Infantry Regiment. The flag, in those days, was used to signal advances and retreats. Determined to capture it, he made a rush toward the color-sergeant, who retreated to within a short distance of his company. Still, Hughes persisted and within 3 feet of the mouth of one of their cannon, killed him and captured the colors. In the disray, the union was able to counter because with the Confederate flag gone so were the communications it provided.

Cpl. Hughes saved thousands of lives that day Town Creek, North Carolina. After the war, he returned home to farm, but a few years later moved to Macon County, Missouri. He died there in 1911 at the age of 69.

The flag of the 11th South Carolina regiment was returned by the U.S. War Department to the state of South Carolina on March 25, 1905.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

U.S. Rexroat

One early newspaper publisher/editor was a man by the name of Ulysses Sampson Rexroat. U.S. was born in 1869, probably in Russell County, to Sampson and Susan Absher Rexroat. His grandfather was Bro. William Rexroat, a popular Baptist preacher. It is unclear when the family moved to Chapman, Kansas, but when he died, Sampson Rexroat was, according to newspapers, one of oldest settlers in Chapman, which was settled in 1868.

It is also not clear when U.S. moved back to Kentucky, but he married Lula Walker of Columbia in 1892. Their only child, a son, Walker Brice, was born in 1893. Lula likely died either in childbirth or shortly thereafter as Walker Brice was reared by her parents and took their surname.

In 1897, U.S. was the editor of The Liberty Tribune in Liberty, Kentucky. He was also the secretary of the Liberty Fair in 1897. He apparently moved to Russell Springs the following year, because he was listed as a stockholder when the Russell Springs Fair Association was chartered in 1898. He was the groups first Secretary. In 1902, he started a newspaper in Russell Springs known as Kentucky Mountaineer.

March 4, 1903 -- (The Adair County News) "The Journal is the name of the new paper just started in Albany. Mr. U.S. Rexroat is its editor and publisher. Clinton County has a republican majority of about 500, but the editor of the journal states that his paper will be non-political. This announcement leads us to conclude that the readers of Clinton County are Democrats. We hope Mr. Rexroat will give them digestible material and that his venture will meet with success."

Ulysses Stewart Rexroat was born in Russell County in 1869, the first-born child of Sampson Rexroat and his second wife, Susan Absher Rexroat. So, i suppose being a native Russell countian allowed him to publish this commentary in his paper:

March 25, 1903 -- The Adair County News "Running a newspaper is just like shooting fish. All that is necessary is knowing how. The editor of the Albany Journal perhaps did not have on his studying cap when he wrote and published the following: Attorney O.B. Bertram went to Jamestown, Ky. last Sunday where he thinks of locating for the practice of his profession. May the Lord have mercy upon him. We've been there."

Ulysses was listed as a stockholder when the Russell Springs Fair Association was chartered in 1898 and served as its first Secretary. Two months after starting up his newspaper business in Albany, it was discovered that papers weren't the only thing being sold at the concession stand.

May 13, 1903 -- The Adair County News "U.S. Rexroat, who is the editor of the Albany Journal, was arrested last week, charged with selling liquor."

This was the second time Rexroat had been in the clutches of the law, charged with the same offense. En route to Columbia, he gave the police officer the slip and escaped. Learning he was at Russell Springs, Deputy United States Marshall R.E. McCandless and Commissioner F.R. Winfrey, went there and, just as the Commissioner entered the Springs Hotel and inquired about him, Rexroat made his escape out the back way. The Marshall was stationed out back and after a chase of 300 yards and firing at him several times, Rexroat was apprehended.

June 3, 1903 -- The Adair County News "U.S. Rexroat, who is charged with retailing liquor, was arrested at Russell Springs Wednesday night and brought to Columbia and lodged in jail. Thursday afternoon he was tried and held over, his bond being fixed at $200. The prisoner not being prepared to execute bond, the officer immediately started with him to Louisville."

Immediately after his run-in with the law, U.S. left Kentucky and moved out West. He moved around a lot, from job to job, living Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas, generally working in the printing trade, oft times as a newspaper editor. But, the newspaper business wasn't Rexroat's only vocation. In between all of those jobs, he also worked in the cafe and grocery business, conducted a ranch and supply store in South Dakota, worked on a wheat farm in Kansas and worked nearly two years at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis.

In September of 1905, he married Maud Gravette in Bentonville, Arkansas. In 1915, he married Clara Peck, a native American of South Dakota. They had three daughters. In 1920, they were living in Strike Axe, Oklahoma, and in 1930, in Wynona City, Oklahoma. 

Here are the known newspapers where Rexroat was employed:

1897: The Liberty Tribune - Liberty, Kentucky
1902: Kentucky Mountaineer - R. Springs, Kentucky
1903: Albany Journal - Albany, Ky.
1910: Gravette News Herald - Gravette, Arkansas
1912: Elsmore Leader - Elsmore, Kansas
1913: Interior Journal - Tina, Missouri
1914: The Simpson News - Simpson Kansas
1916: The Advocate - Lakin, Kansas
1917: The Argonia Argosy - Argonia, Kansas
1918: The Rolla News - Rolla, Kansas
1921: The Hustler - Apperson, Okla.

Rexroat fell victim to life's circumstances at the start of the 1930's, as he explained in a letter to the Amarillo Globe-Times on March 9, 1931while living in Perryton, Texas:

"I am just another unfortunate person appealing to you for whatever assistance you may grant through your column of your highly esteemed newspaper. Circumstances over which i had no control have forced me into an unenviable position. I have been out of steady employment for a year, although i have sought work assiduously during that investment with a stock company, daily paper at Seminole, Oklahoma, boom oil town, broke me and the slump in oil, with its attendant depression, "nailed me to the cross," as it were, and I have been trying in vain to find some kind of permanent job in order to keep my three little girls in school...I would appreciate any other work that will enable me to help myself and family."

In late 1940 or early 1941, U.S. became ill and was brought back to Kentucky. He died on February 18, 1941 at the Central State psychiatric facility in Louisville. His death drew no notice in the Russell County News, but the February 26, 1941 edition of the Adair County News carried a brief obituary, which said services were held at the Christian Church in Russell Springs. Burial was at Rexroat Cemetery in Russell County.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Wop Plants A Tree

"Wop Plants A Tree" by randy speck William Oliver Perry McWhorter, who lived at Cartwright, Kentucky and eventually operated a general store there, attended the 1876 Philadelphia Exhibition. On his way home, he visited the tomb of George Washington at Mount Vernon, Virginia, and while he was there, picked up a walnut that had fallen from a tree, which cast its shadow over the tomb. A story in the Dec. 11, 1901 edition of the Louisville Courier-Journal said that, when he arrived back home in Clinton County, Wop (as he was known) planted the nut, which grew into a fifty foot high tree. William Oliver Perry McWhorter was born in 1834 and died in 1919. He is buried at Cartwright Cemetery.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Hillbilly Jim: WWE Hall of Fame

Mudlick, Kentucky's most well-known resident, Hillbilly Jim, is headed to the WWE Hall of Fame.

The former wrestler will join Goldberg, Ivory, The Dudley Boyz and Jeff Jarrett as part of the 2018 Hall of Fame class that will be enshrined April 6 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans during WrestleMania 34 weekend.

Hillbilly Jim, whose real name is Jim Morris, was born in Louisville, Kentucky but raised in Bowling Green, Kentucky, although during his wrestling days, and even at his current job as host of of Moonshine Matinee on Sirius XM's Outlaw Country, his character was/is from Mudlick, Kentucky, which, of course, goes much better with his Hillbilly Jim moniker.

Morris was discovered in Bowling Green during the early 1980's by wrestler Mike Mann, son of Dale "TNT" Mann, who trained the soon-to-be WWE hall of famer.

But, how did this giant of a man go from being an Allstate basketball player for Bowling Green High School to being a then-World Wrestling Federation Superstar?

After playing basketball for several colleges, Jim left the states to play for the European League, then tried out for the N.B.A. When that didn't pan out, he made his way back to Bowling Green and spent his time working out in the gym while looking for a job. Some of you probably remember the days when there was this extraordinary huge character working as a bouncer at the Brass A Saloon and Mr. D's in Bowling Green.

This is when Jim's positive attitude began to pay off. Dale Mann asked Jim if he'd be interested in wrestling. He later recalled those days by saying, "It comes down to knowing people, not only knowing them, but being ready to go when you get your shot. Sometimes you only get one shot. If you're not ready, they'll go on to somebody else." Fortunately, Morris knew this was it and went with it.

Soon, he was signed by the Continental Wrestling Association, where he wrestled around the Memphis area as a biker aptly dubbed, Harley Davidson. He started attending WWE marches and soon some of the wrestlers like Rowdy Roddy Piper began noticing him in the crowd. His fame ballooned once he joined WWE, then known as WWF, as a happy-go-lucky country boy babyface known as Hillbilly Jim, who would strut to the ring dressed in overalls. He began his run in the WWF in 1984. His role as Hillbilly Jim came naturally to him, he said. He drew on his Kentucky roots to morph into a larger-than-life version of himself.

"It was always a very doable and easy character to step into," Jim said. "I know a lot of country people. I know what that translates to. I did the best I could to bring that to the ring. It's a lot like I really am in person. I'm a happy, excitable kind of character. And I just wanted to denote happiness."

In the WWE, Jim was aligned with Hulk Hogan and his popularity soared as he was pitted against the likes of Mr. Fuji during the infamous Tuxedo matches. The two rivals battled in formal wear in Philadelphia, St. Louis and most notably at Madison Square Garden in New York.

For the now 65-year-old Hillbilly Jim, his popular Country and Southern rock radio show on Sirius XM is coming up on its 13-year anniversary. He is grateful to all of those who cheered for him from the stands and to WWE for giving him the platform in which he made his name. "I don't have my Sirius XM radio show because I'm Jim Morris. I've got it because I'm Hillbilly Jim," he said. "This company gave me Hillbilly Jim."

Monday, March 5, 2018

Randy "Macho Man" Savage versus Dale "TNT" Mann

The date was February 8, 1978. Gulas Pro Wrestling and the National Wrestling Association featured Randy "Macho Man" Savage versus Dale "TNT" Mann in one of two main events at Fairgrounds Arena in Nashville. It was the third match between the two popular wrestlers in eight days.

The match was billed as a "Winner Take All, Fight to a Finish!" Also on the same card, Tojo Yammoto and Leaping Lanny Poffo were featured in one tag team match and in another, Kurt and Karl Von Steiger, who at one point in their careers were known as The Germans. They were managed by my friend, Wendell Burchett (or Bur'chette, as he was billed). For all of you wrestling trivia fans, Wendell wore an army helmet and used it as a weapon of distraction during matches, although more times than not, as he once related to me, the helmet was grabbed by an opponent and used on him.

By the way, about that match between Randy Savage and Dale Mann forty years ago today, Mann won by disqualification. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, Feb. 8, 1978 was the third time in eight days that Savage and Mann had wrestled each other. The first, on Feb. 1st at Nashville, was for the NWA Mid-America Heavyweight Championship. Savage retained the title because of a time limit draw. The second time was on Feb. 7th at Birmingham, Alabama, and again Savage retained the title because of a time limit draw.

Another piece of wrestling trivia, for a time, before Savage ascended to the throne at the WWE in Samford, Connecticut, the Poffo family wrestled regularly throughout Kentucky. Most always, the ring they used was provided by Dale Mann.

Friday, March 2, 2018

A Eulogy for Billy Graham

A private (invitation only) funeral service for the Rev. Billy Graham will be held today at noon in a tent outside the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina. Graham died Feb. 21st at his home in Montreat. He was 99. He will be buried next to his wife Ruth, at the Billy Graham Library Prayer Garden. She was buried there on June 17, 2007. The tent is symbolic of the "canvas cathedral" in which Graham conducted his 1949 Los Angeles Crusade that lasted eight weeks and propelled him to national prominence.

  Following the private interment service, Graham's grave marker will be put in place. The marker is made of North Carolina stone. Written on it is a scripture reference to John 14:6, a bible verse he used regularly throughout his ministry.

  "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

  Billy Graham's casket was designed and built by inmates at the nation's largest maximum security prison, Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana. While touring the correctional facility after preaching there in 2005, Graham's son Franklin saw caskets being built. Inmates at Angola make caskets for other inmates who cannot afford to purchase one. Moved by this, the younger Graham requested that inmates make caskets for his mother and father. The casket s made of pine and lined with a mattress pad. A wooden cross is nailed to the top of the casket. Ruth Graham's casket is identical to this one.

  Graham conducted more than 400 Crusades on six continents beginning in 1947, taking the Gospel to some 215 million people in more than 185 countries. Hundreds of millions more have been reached through television, video, film and webcasts. Twice, during Crusades in Seoul, South Korea, Graham preached to crowds of more than one million people. In the United States, Graham preached in 45 states (plus Washington, D.C.) and more than 125 U.S. cities. More than 3.2 million people have responded to the invitation at Billy Graham Crusades. Millions more have done so as a result of broadcast outreaches.

  Born Nov. 7, 1918, four days before the armistice ended World War I, William Franklin "Billy" Graham Jr. grew up during the Depression and developed a work ethic that would carry him through decades of ministry on six continents. He was raised on a dairy farm in Charlotte. Back then, "Billy Frank," as he was called, preferred baseball to religion. "I detested going to church," he said when recalling his youth.

  But in 1934, that changed. At a revival led by traveling evangelist Mordecai Fowler Ham, 15-year-old Graham committed his life to serving Jesus Christ. No one was more surprised than Graham himself. "I was opposed to evangelism," he said. "But finally, I was persuaded by a friend [to go to a meeting]...and the spirit of God began to speak to me as I went back night after night. One night, when the invitation was given to accept Jesus, I just said, 'Lord, I'm going.' I knew I was headed in a new direction."

  Several years later, Graham's "new direction" led him to the Florida Bible Institute (now Trinity College of Florida), and later, Wheaton College in suburban Chicago, where he met fellow student Ruth McCue Bell, the daughter of medical missionaries in China. The couple graduated and married in the summer of 1943. Mr. and Mrs. Graham and their five children made their home in the mountains of North Carolina. They were married 64 years before Ruth's death in 2007.

  After two years of traveling as a speaker for the Youth for Christ organization, Billy Graham held his first official evangelistic Crusade Sept. 13 – 21, 1947 in the Civic Auditorium in Grand Rapids, Michigan, when Graham was 29 years old. It was attended by 6,000 people. But, it was his 1949 Los Angeles Crusade that first captured the nation's attention. Originally scheduled to run for three weeks, the "tent meetings" were extended for a total of eight weeks as hundreds of thousands of men, women and children gathered to hear Graham's messages.

  "I have one message: that Jesus Christ came, he died on a cross, he rose again, and he asked us to repent of our sins and receive him by faith as Lord and Savior, and if we do, we have forgiveness of all of our sins," said Graham at his final Crusade at New York's Flushing Meadows Corona Park, June 24 – 26, 2005 when Graham was 86 years old. More than 230,000 people attended.

  According to a 2005 Gallup Poll, 35 million Americans—one in six adults—had heard Billy Graham preach in person. He was regularly listed by the Gallup organization as one of the "Ten Most Admired Men in the World." In 1983, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Reagan —the highest honor the president can bestow on a private citizen. In 1996, U.S. lawmakers awarded Graham and his wife, Ruth, the Congressional Gold Medal — the highest honor Congress can bestow on a private citizen.

  In addition to his crusades, Graham provided counsel to 12 sitting U.S. presidents, beginning with Harry S. Truman. I was at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville on the night of May 28, 1970, when Richard Nixon spoke at a Billy Graham Crusade. I wrote about it in "Nixon's Night Out."

Saturday, January 20, 2018

June Stearns: Lady-in-Waiting for the Country Queen Crown

Country singer June Stearns was born on April 5, 1939 in Albany, Kentucky. Her family relocated to Franklin, Indiana when she was a small child. The Stearns' were a musical family and June learned to play guitar and was singing locally in her early teens. During the late 60’s and early 70’s, June Stearns could be considered to be one of the ladies-in-waiting for the Country Queen crown.

In 1957, on completing her high school education, June became a member of the WLW Midwestern Hayride in Cincinnati, where she remained for two years. Her big break came in 1960, she became a member of Roy Acuff’s Smoky Mountain Gang. She had written to Acuff, enclosing a photograph with her sister, under which she wrote, "I’m the one with the guitar." No doubt Roy had heard about her work on the Midwestern Hayride. She remained a member of "Smoky Mountain Gang," appearing on the Grand Ole Opry and on live dates. During this time, she also took time out to appear solo on the Louisiana Hayride. In 1965, she broke her ankle in an automobile crash in Roy Acuff’s vehicle and never returned to the group. She can be considered the last regular "Smoky Mountain Girl."

June Stearns first recorded for Starday in 1963, who teamed her with Gene Martin. She signed with Columbia Records in 1967. In December of that year, she and Lefty Frizzell recorded ‘Have You Ever Been Untrue’ and ‘If You’ve Got The Money (I’ve Got the Time),’ which Columbia released as a single under the pseudonyms of Agnes And Orville."

In 1968, June Stearns was voted third "Most Promising Female Artist" by Cash Box. That year, she enjoyed three Billboard country chart hits ‘Empty House,’ ‘Where He Stops Nobody Knows’ and the biggest, which peaked at #21, ‘Jackson Ain’t A Very Big Town,’ a duet with Johnny Duncan. They recorded an album together and had further chart success in 1969, with ‘Back To Back (We’re Strangers).’ She also had three solo hits that year, including ‘Walking The Midnight Road.' She moved to Decca Records in 1970, where she gained three Top 60 solo hits: "Tyin' Strings," "Your Kind Of Lovin" and "In Case Of A Storm / Man (Sensuous Man)."

(June Stearns' Discography)

June 1963 Starday Sound Studio, 3557 Dickerson Road, Nashville, TN – June Stearns and Gene Martin
001 6402 Three Sides to the Story - Starday 639/SLP-261 SLP 274
002 6403 Family Man - 660/SLP 276
003 6404 Just Another Song - 639/SLP-276

w. Roy Acuff - Starday SLP 274 The Country Music Festival (1964); Starday SLP 276 Country Music Cannonball (1964)

July 1963 Starday Sound Studio, 3557 Dickerson Road, Nashville, TN – June Stearns, and Red Sovine [1] Gene Martin [2] (Producer: Tommy Hill)
004 6493 A Dear John Letter -1 7014//SLP-261  SLP-341 SLP 9-385  S-SLP 9-449 NLP-2044
005 6494 Slippin' Around -2 7012/SLP-261
006 6496 Accidentally on Purpose-2 SLP-261
007 6497 We‘ve Got Things In Common -2 660/SLP-261  SLP-276
6495 is by Bobby Sykes and Helen Carter

May 15, 1967 Columbia Recording Studio, 804 16th Ave. South, Nashville, TN – June Stearns
010 NCO 120217 Habit Not Desire 4-44206/CS-9783
011 NCO 120218 Where Did The Good Times Go 4-44321
012 NCO 120219 I'm The Queen (Of My Lonely Little World) 4-44483
013 NCO 120220 Tear For Fear 4-44206

September 8, 1967 Columbia Recording Studio, 804 16th Ave. South, Nashville, TN – June Stearns
014 NCO 120277 River of Regret 4-44321/CS-9783
015 NCO 120278 Empty House 4-44483/CS-9783

December 5, 1967 Columbia Recording Studio, 804 16th Ave. South, Nashville, TN – Lefty Frizzell and June Stearns aka Agnes and Orville (Lefty Frizzell [vcl], June Stearns [vcl],  Grady Martin [gt], Ray Edenton [gt], Harold Bradley [gt], Joseph Zinkan [bass], Buddy Harman [drums], Floyd Cramer [piano]. Producer: Frank Jones)
016 NCO 120911 Have You Ever Been Untrue 4-44490/ BCD 15550
017 NCO 120912 If You’ve Got The Money (I’ve Got The Time 4-44490/C 30896 BCD 15550

March 1968 Columbia Recording Studio, 804 16th Ave. South, Nashville, TN – June Stearns
018 NCO 98496 I Cry Myself Awake 4-44575
019 NCO 98497 Where He Stops Nobody Knows 4-44575/CS-9783

August 9, 1968 Columbia Recording Studio, 804 16th Ave. South, Nashville, TN – June Stearns
020 NCO 98595 Some Of These Days 4-44795 4-44946

September 4, 1968 Columbia Recording Studio, 804 16th Ave. South, Nashville, TN – June Stearns and Johnny Duncan, and June Stearns (*solo) (Producer: Frank Jones)
021 NCO 98604 The True And Lasting Kind* 4-44656/CS-9910
022 NCO 98605 Jackson Ain't A Very Big Town 4-44656/CS-9910 CCM331-2
023 NCO 98606 Walking Midnight Road 4-44695/CS-9783
024 NCO 98607 No Good Man 4-44795

September 1968 Columbia Recording Studio, 804 16th Ave. South, Nashville, TN – June Stearns
025 Flower OF Love CS-9783
026 I Started Loving You Again CS-9783
027 NCO 98628 Plastic Saddle 4-44695/CS-9783
028 To My Sorrow CS-9783
029 The Future Ex-Mrs. Jones CS-9783
030 Time Wounds All Heels CS.9783

December 1968 Columbia Recording Studio, 804 16th Ave. South, Nashville, TN – Johnny Duncan and June Stearns (Producer: Frank Jones)
031 NCO 100582 If That's The Only Way 4-44752
032 NCO 100583 Back to Back (We're Strangers) 4-44752/CS-9910

March 28, 1969 Columbia Recording Studio, 804 16th Ave. South, Nashville, TN – June Stearns
033 NCO 100769 What Makes You So Different 4-44852
034 NCO 100770 unknown title unissued
035 NCO 100771 A Piece at a Time 4-44946
036 NCO 100772 Trouble in Mind 4-44852

May 23, 1969 Columbia Recording Studio, 804 16th Ave. South, Nashville, TN – Johnny Duncan and June Stearns (Producer: Frank Jones)
037 NCO 100835 We'll Get Married or Nothing 4-44992/CS-9910
038 NCO 100837 Now I Lay Me Down To Dream 4-44992/CS-9910

May 1969 [some tracks possibly recorded earlier] Columbia Recording Studio, 804 16th Ave. South, Nashville, TN – Johnny Duncan and June Stearns (Producer: Frank Jones)
039 We Had All The Good Things Going CS-9910
040 What Locks The Door CS-9910
041 Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain CS-9910
042 The Wild Side of Life CS-9910
043 Sweet Thang CS-9910
044 Can You Match That Kind of Love CS-9910

September 22, 1969 Columbia Recording Studio, 804 16th Ave. South, Nashville, TN – June Stearns
045 NCO 100983 He Was A Carpenter 4-45042
046 NCO 100984 Drifting Too Far (From Your Arms) 4-45042

July 7, 1970 Bradley's Barn, 722 Bender’s Ferry Road, Mount Juliet, TN – June Stearns (Producer: Owen Bradley)
047 122994/NA 16137 Pack Your Lunch unissued
048 122995/NA 16138 Tyin' Strings 32726
049 122996/NA 16139 Don't Trouble Trouble 32726

March 19, 1971 Bradley's Barn, 722 Bender’s Ferry Road, Mount Juliet, TN – June Stearns (Producer: Owen Bradley)
050 123463/NA 16381 Another 32876
051 123464/NA 16382 Sweet Baby On My Mind 32828
052 123465/NA 16383 How's My Ex Treating You? 32828
053 123466/NA 16384 Your Kind of Lovin' 32876

June 12, 1972 Bradley's Barn, 722 Bender’s Ferry Road, Mount Juliet, TN – June Stearns (Producer: Owen Bradley)
054 123984/NA 16806 Man (Sensuous Man) 32986
055 123985/NA 16807 In Case of a Storm 32986
056 123986/NA 16808 Am I Still A Part of You

ca 2009 Whiteway Recording Studio – June Stearns with Petie Stearns (Danny Shatswell [gt], Carl Lambert [steel], Dan Furmanik [bass/gt], Earl White [fiddle/gt], Terry Duncan [piano], Shelton Bissell [sax]. Producer: Earl White)
057 Fiddle Diddle Boogie*
058 Bouquet of Roses
059 If My Heart Had Windows
060 He Called Me Baby-Baby
061 The Heart of a Clown
062 All of Me
063 End of the World
064 Only You
065 Try Again
066 Kansas City
067 Some Day
068 Make The World Go Away
069 Too Many Rivers
070 You Belong To Me
071 No One Will Ever Know
072 Trouble In Mind

Starday SLP-261 Slippin' Around: [Gene Martin and June Stearns:] Slipping Around; 3 Sides To Every Story; We've Got Things In Common; Accidentally On Purpose; [Cowboy Copas and Dottie West:] Loose Talk; [Carter and Willis Brothers:]; Wild Side; [Young:] Window Up Above; [Wilson and Warren:] Back Street Affair; [George Jones and Jeanette Hicks:] Yearning; [Benny Martin:]; Sinful Cinderella; [Blue Sky Boys:] Don't Trade; [Bobby Sykes:] Release Me; [Frankie Miller and Dottie Sills:] Out of Bounds; [Red Sovine and June Stearns:] Dear John Letter - 64

Columbia CS-9783 River Of Regret: River Of Regret; Flower Of Love; I Started Loving You Again; Plastic Saddle; Empty House; To My Sorrow; Where He Stops Nobody Knows; Habit Not Desire; The Future Ex-Mrs. Jones; Time Wounds All Heels; Walking Midnight Road – 03-69

Columbia CS-9910 Back To Back: Jackson Ain't A Very Big Town; We Had All The Good Things Going; What Locks The Door; We'll Get Married Or Nothing; Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain; The Wild Side Of Life; Back To Back; Sweet Thang; Now I Lay Me Down To Dream; Can You Match That Kind Of Love; The True And Lasting Kind – 09-69 w. Johnny Duncan

"Release Me -The Best Of Dolly Parton Dottie West Jan Howard And June Stearns," was released in 1977 on the Birchmount label (BM 834).The album features June Stearns singing Three Sides To The Story and Just Another Song, Dolly Parton singing Release Me and Two Little Orphans, Dottie West singing Angel On Paper and I Should Start Running, and Jan Howard singing Weeping Willow and The One You Slip Around With.

Whiteway - Many Sounds Of Country: Fiddle Diddle Boogie (with sister Petie); Bouquet of Roses; If My Heart Had Windows; He Called Me Baby-Baby); The Heart of a Clown; All of Me; End of the World; Only You; Try Again; Kansas City; Some Day; Make the World Go Away; Too Many Rivers; You Belong to Me; No One Will Ever Know; Trouble in Mind – ca 09

Starday (1963-64)
639 Three Sides To The Story (w. Gene Martin) / Just Another Song (w. Pete Drake) - 63

07-63 (rev. Aug. 3)
660 Family Man / We've Got Things In Common (w. Gene Martin) – ca. 12-63

7012 Slipping Around (w. Gene Martin) / (The Willis Brothers:) The Wild Side Of Life-64

7014 A Dear John Letter (and Red Sovine) / (Eddie Wilson and Dorothy Warren:) ? - 64 Columbia (1967-69)

4-44206 Habit Not Desire / Tear For Fear – ca. 27-06--67

4-44321 Where Did The Good Times Go / River Of Regret -10-67

4-44449 Have You Even Been Untrue? / If You've Got The Money (I've Got The Time) - 02-68 w. Lefty Frizzell as by Agnes and Orville

4-44483 Empty House / I'm The Queen (Of My Lonely Little World) – 19-03-68

4-44575 Where He Stops Nobody Knows / I Cry Myself Awake – 23-07-68

4-44656 Jackson Ain't A Very Big Town / The True And Lasting Kind – 17-09-68 w. Johnny Duncan

4-44695 Walking Midnight Road / Plastic Saddle – ca. 29-11-68

4-44752 Back To Back (We're Strangers) / If That's The Only Way Back – 21-01-69 w. Johnny Duncan

4-44795 No Good Man / Some Of These Days – 69

4-44852 What Makes You So Different / Trouble In Mind – ca. 04-69

4-44946 Some Of These Days / A Piece At A Time - 07-69

4-44992 Now I Lay Me Down To Dream / We'll Get Married Or Nothing - 08-69 w. Johnny Duncan

4-45042 Drifting Too Far (From Your Arms) / He Was A Carpenter – 11-11-69 Decca (1970-72)

32726 Don't Double Trouble / Tying Strings - 09-70

32828 Sweet Baby On My Mind / How's My Ex Treating You? - 05-71

32876 Your Kind Of Lovin' / Another - 09-71

32986 Man (Sensuous Man) / In Case Of A Storm - 07-72

Source: PragueFrank's Country Music Discography

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

My "The Little Old Log Cabin In The Lane " Record Turns 100 in 2018

Several discs in my 78 r.p.m. collection turn 100 years old in 2018, including "The Little Old Log Cabin In The Lane," recorded by the Metropolitan Quartet. It is listed as 80484-L on the Edison Records label.

"The Little Old Log Cabin In The Lane" was a popular style song written by Will S. Hays in 1871, demonstrating that popular music was well known to southern musicians and performed by them in the early years. The lyric is typical minstrel fare, sung by a blackface character, and is nostalgic and sentimental.

The song tells the story of an elderly man, presumably a slave, or former slave, who is getting old and feeble, and can't work any more. Everyone is gone except his old dog. In earlier days, people would gather around his door and he'd play the banjo while they danced, but now his house is falling down and the footpath to it is overgrown.

"The chimney's falling down
And the roof is caving in
I ain't got long 'round here to remain
The angels watches over me
When I lay down to sleep
In the little old log cabin in the lane"

Performers modified the lyric over the years, eliminating some dialect, including the original reference to slavery. The song's melody has been widely used down through the years in songs set in the cowboy West, like "Little Joe, The Wrangler," railroad songs like "Little Red Caboose Behind The Train" and in one very popular hymn, "The Lily of the Valley."

It seems like everyone wanted to record this popular song and there are many variatons in different tempos that you might want to check out. Fiddlin' John Carson's version was one of the first commercial recordings by a rural white musician. Its popularity ensured that the industry would continue recording rural folk songs. There is a great version recorded by blind guitarist Riley Puckett in New York City that became one of the biggest country releases of 1924 and made him a star at Columbia Records.

"The Little Old Log Cabin In The Lane" was so popular that it was still being recording a century later. There were more than 20 recordings of it from 1903 to 1940. The Metropolitan Quartet's harmonized sentimental minstrel version was recorded in 1918.

Here is their version from my collection, presented in this video on an Edison Blue Amberol cylinder:

The song's writer, William S. Hays, was born in Louisville, Ky on July 19, 1837. He published his first poetry in 1856 while attending school at Georgetown College. The S stands for his nickname, "Shakespeare," so dubbed because of his writings. He eventually made it an official part of his name.

Hays finished school and returned to Louisville in 1857. He found employment at D. P. Fauld's music store, where he continued to write music and poetry. Over his career, Hays is credited with over 350 songs, and he may have sold as many as 20 million copies of his works, making him more prolific than most of his 19th century peers. In his later years, Hays claimed to have written "Dixie" but no evidence could be produced to back up his pretensions. Hays died on July 23, 1907.

Till The Storm Passes By

During a recent singing at my church, friends Rob and Debbie sang Mosie Lister's great song, "Till The Storm Passes By." Bef...