Sunday, May 1, 2022

Girls Night Out With The Judds

Wynonna and Naomi Judd, the successful mother-daughter singing duo, released their debut EP in 1984. It peaked at number eight on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. In October of that year, their debut studio album, "Why Not Me," was released. It peaked at number one on the country albums chart. Three months later they walked out onto the stage at the Clinton County high school gymnasium. It would be a night we would not forget. The date was January 18, 1985. Lisa Beaty of the Clinton County News wrote in a follow up article that it was "girls' night out" that night in Albany.

Without a doubt, the Judds were country music's hottest act when they came to town that night. The price of admission was $9 for reserved (floor) seating. General admission tickets were $8 in advance and $10 at the door.

Naomi did most of the talking for the duo that night. "As if we haven’t bragged about it enough, we’re from Ashland, Kentucky, and let me tell you, it’s great to be home, she said.” Most people around here first new about Naomi and Wynonna Judd by seeing on Ralph Emery’s morning show in early 1980, where the host named them the “Soap Sisters” because Naomi said she used to make her own soap. The duo signed a recording contract with RCA Nashville in 1983. Later that year, their debut single was released called "Had a Dream (For the Heart)." Their next release, "Mama He's Crazy", became their first number one hit on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.

Over the course of seven years, the Judds collected fourteen #1 singles. Between their concert in Albany and today, they amassed six studio albums, three live albums, 18 compilation albums, five video albums, two extended plays, one box set, five music videos, 28 singles and one album appearance. They won nine Country Music Association Awards and seven from the Academy of Country Music, and together earned five Grammy Awards. After they won the Horizon Award at the 1984 CMA Awards on the success of their early single “Mama He’s Crazy,” Naomi started her speech by saying “Slap the dog and spit in the fire!”

In 1990, Naomi announced her retirement after being diagnosed with Hepatitis C. The group disbanded in 1991. In 2016, she opened up about mental illness during an appearance on "Good Morning America," saying she had been diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety. In announcing her mother's death yesterday, just nine days after the Judds had performed at the CMA Awards, daughter Ashley, the actress, said, “We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness.” The Judds had earlier announced a return to performing, their first tour in over a decade. "The Final Tour," as it was being billed, was to be a 10-date arena tour beginning this September 30th in Grand Rapids, Michigan and ending at Bridgestone Arena on October 28th.

That night in Albany, reporter Lisa Beaty wrote down The Judds' set list. They opened with “Girls’ Night Out,” from the "Why Not Me" album, and followed it with “Had a Dream About You Baby," one of their first hits. The other songs in the set list were“Mr. Pain”,“ Drops of Water,” “My Baby's gone," "Bye Bye Baby Blues," “Love Is Alive” and “John Deere Tractor.” They also sang the Elvis Presley hit, “Rip It Up,” and Ricky Skaggs' song, "One-Way Rider.” Near the end of the show, as the band began playing the intro to “ Mama He’s Crazy,” Wynonna smiled and said, “Love you all for this one.” They closed with “Why Not Me."

Snow was in the forecast for our area that night and it dampened attendance figures just a bit. Concert promoter David "Red Mule" Piercey estimated around 2,000 people attended the show. While it didn't snow that evening, seven inches was recorded here a week later. Red Mule told Beaty in a follow-up interview that the Judds were real easy to work with. “We took them down and fed them beans and taters at a local restaurant, he said."

January 18, 1985 was definitely a night to remember. As you know, Wynonna went on to have a successful solo career. This evening (Sunday, May 1, 2022), she and her mother are being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, along with Ray Charles.

Diana Ellen Judd was born in Ashland on January 11, 1946 to gas station owner Charles Glen Judd and his wife, Pauline. Her first child, Christina Ciminella (Wynonna), was born when Naomi was 18. Daughter Ashley was born three years later, in 1968.

"Had a dream about you baby
Had a dream about me and you
Had a dream and woke up crying
Well, I can roll but I just can't rock
And the time's goin' by, tick-tock
For the heart, I just can't love no one but you"

We all loved you, Naomi Judd!

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Are You Washed in the Blood?

The book of Hebrews draws a contrast between animal sacrifices and Christ's sacrifice. The former could never take away sins, but when Christ shed his own blood, it was a once and for all sacrifice that removes sins.

Beginning with verse 9, the scripture says, "Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. (10) By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (11) And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: (12) But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God."

In 1878, Elisha Hoffman, a Presbyterian minister in Ohio, shared this truth by writing a hymn that asks the reader if they have been restored and redeemed by the blood of Jesus.

"Lay aside the garments that are stained with sin
And be washed in the blood of the Lamb
There's a fountain flowing for the soul unclean
O be washed in the blood of the Lamb!"

This weekend, as we reflect on the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and celebrate his resurrection, I wonder, have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

"Are you washed in the blood
In the soul cleansing blood of the Lamb?
Are your garments spotless?
Are they white as snow?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?"

Saturday, April 2, 2022

So Long, Rubber Duck, Keep the Hammer Down

Bill Fries, an advertising executive better known as C.W. McCall, who had hit country records in the 1970s about long-haul truck driving and renegade truck drivers during the height of the citizens band radio craze, died April 1st at his home in Ouray, Colo. He was 93.

Quoting from a Washington Post article by Matt Shudel, the character of C.W. McCall came from Fries (pronounced "Freeze") in a series of commercials for a Midwestern bread company. His best-known song was “Convoy,” which became a #1 country and pop hit in January 1976.

In that song, the name, or “handle,” of the song’s central character, Rubber Duck, chats with another driver, Pig Pen, hauling a load of foul-smelling hogs, which becomes a running joke throughout the song.

"Ah, breaker, Pig Pen, this here's the Duck
And, you wanna back off them hogs?
Yeah, 10-4, 'bout five mile or so
Ten, roger, them hogs is gettin' in-tense up here"

“Convoy helped popularize the lingo that truck drivers used over their citizens band radios," writes Shudel. "People went full tilt into the CB radio craze because of it. The song came along when truckers faced rising fuel costs and a nationwide 55 mph speed limit. While laced with humor, the song also had a rebellious feeling about it and people responded to it."

"Pig Pen, this here's the Rubber Duck and I'm about to put the hammer down!"

"Convoy" sold an estimated 7 million copies and spawned the 1978 film of the same name, starring Kris Kristofferson, Ali MacGraw, Burt Young, Madge Sinclair, Ernest Borgnine and Cassie Yates. During the same period, Burt Reynolds’ “Smokey and the Bandit” movies were box-office hits, and the “outlaw” country music of Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson was gaining popularity.

"Ah, breaker one-nine
This here's the Rubber Duck
You gotta copy on me, Pig Pen, c'mon?
Ah, yeah, 10-4, Pig Pen, fer shure, fer shure
By golly, it's clean clear to Flag Town, c'mon
Yeah, that's a big 10-4 there, Pig Pen
Yeah, we definitely got the front door, good buddy
Mercy sakes alive, looks like we got us a convoy"

Monday, March 28, 2022

Clear Fork's Beginning, 220 Years Ago

Preacher Isaac Denton was among the early settlers who arrived on the Kentucky-Tennessee border between 1798 and 1799, just as the second great awakening was getting underway. That event, which lasted into the early 1800's, brought comfort in the face of uncertainty after our founding fathers changed the way of life by establishing the separation of church and state in the first amendment to the Constitution.

While the first great awakening some sixty years earlier had focused on religious reform, the second one focused on moral reform. It also brought about an outpouring of religious fervor and revival. Extraordinary numbers of people converted from Congregationalists, Anglicans and Quakers to evangelical Baptists and Methodism. On the local scene, soon after his arrival, Bro. Denton held a camp meeting and began preaching to the other settlers. One of the results from that was the organizing of Clear Fork Baptist Church on April 1, 1802.

This week we are celebrating 220 years as the oldest continuing congregation in this region. Only by the grace of God has this "Lighthouse in the Wilderness" been allowed to exist all these years. She has faced many struggles and hardships, but thanks be to God for sending great men like Isaac Denton to lead us. Today, our pastor, Bob Sawyer, has been leading us now for 30 years. God has truly blessed us!

"Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." (2 Timothy 1:9)

Monday, March 21, 2022

A Bridge Not Made By Hands

Hanchrist Carlock came to America from Holland around 1725. Before the American Revolution, he was the road foreman in Augusta County, Virginia. About the same time, George Washington was working as a civil engineer in Augusta County. George was given the task of surveying a road from the mouth of the Potomac River to Natural Bridge. One of the wonders of the world, Natural Bridge approaches Niagara Falls in grandeur and exceeds it in height (215 feet) and natural mystery. Natural Bridge is 100 feet wide. Its span is 90 feet. Under its arch men look like small boys, and giant trees like small bushes. Thomas Jefferson was the first owner of the land surrounding Natural Bridge. He spoke of it as yet to be 'a famous place that will draw the attention of the world.' John Marshall, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court 1801 to 1835, named it 'God's Greatest Miracle In Stone.' American statesman and orator Henry Clay wrote of 'the Bridge not made with hands.'

To assist him in the survey of this great scenic wonder, the future president hired Hanchrist to be his foreman. One day, George chiseled 'G. Washington' in capital letters 23 feet up the Southwest wall of the canyon. Hanchrist chiseled 'H. Carlock' about 12 feet below and 10 feet to the right of Washington's. Both signatures are still visible today.

Hanchrist's son, Job, migrated to Overton County, Tennessee sometime around 1805 and married Sarah McDonald. Their daughter, Nancy, married Presbyterian minister Clemens Means, son of irish immigrants, about 1820. Clemens' brother, Benjamin, was the great-great grandfather of my grandmother, Dimple.

In his own biographical sketch, Clemens Means wrote, "It is for me to remember that the Lord is a stronghold in the day of trouble." I thought about how many times George Washington, John Marshal and even Henry Clay might have turned to God for help as they were helping form this great country of ours. I imagine Hanchrist Carlock needed a higher power as he left his homeland for America, and so did his son, Job, as he migrated west from Virginia to Tennessee.

It really is a small world, sometimes hard to live in. But, just like the characters in this story, it is a whole lot easier to live in when we realize that we are connected by a 'bridge not made by hands.'

Friday, February 25, 2022

Gene Ferrill

One November day, back several years ago, Jack Bell stopped by the radio station to tell me that his birthday that year was going to be on Thanksgiving Day. I was scheduled to work that day and told him to come by around 12:30 and I would put on a long-playing CD and we would go to Horseshoe Grill, where I would buy him lunch.

Somehow Gene Ferrill found out about it and suggested I bring him to the jail. Since he and his wife would be serving Thanksgiving meals to prisoners that day, we were welcomed to join them, and we did. There was even a birthday cake! Afterwards, we took Jack outside, where he posed for a photograph beside the Clinton County Jail sign. In that photograph he was holding a shotgun, a throwback to the days when Jack worked as a deputy under sheriff Johnny Cummings. Both Gene and I felt good about all that had transpired that day and in the years to come would often reminisce about it. It was, and will always be, my most favorite Thanksgiving Day.

Gene Ferrill was a household name in Clinton County. He was our jailer for five terms, and was currently serving a second term as city councilman. Precisely put, the definition of him was 'someone who possessed a quiet and gentle spirit, one of humility and immense love for other people.' He liked reading my stories, he said, because it was a way for him to keep up with me during stretches when we were unable to see each other to talk about old times. "Good times," he would say, and good times they were.

One of my favorite memories of Gene, when his mother was living, was when he would advertise on the radio, be it a campaign ad for jailer, or a Christmas greeting. He would always end his speech by telling his mom how much he loved her. His devotion to family and friends is worth mentioning, because none of us will be forgetting him anytime soon. His gentleness and tender love towards people spoke volumes.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Richard Wade, A Local Man, Served Under Daniel Boone

In 1777 Richard Wade, who had already served one term as a revolutionary war soldier, re-enlisted in the Bedford County, Virginia militia to defend the frontier. Soon afterwards he was sent to Boonesboro, Kentucky to serve under Daniel Boone. When the fort ran low on salt, Boone took Richard and twenty-seven others to gather more at Blue Licks at Carlisle, where they were surrounded by Indians and taken to Detroit and sold to the English. Seven of the prisoners escaped and made their way back to the Ohio River only to be recaptured and taken back to Detroit and then on to Montreal, Canada. After two years in prison, Richard and a few others managed to escape. He made his way to Pittsburgh and then down the Ohio River to Boonesboro, where he stayed.

Richard helped bury the dead soldiers following the Battle of Blue Licks, in Robertson County, Kentucky, on August 19, 1782. A force of about 50 Loyalists al with 300 American Indians had ambushed and routed 182 Kentucky militiamen. Richard was up for court martial for refusing to fight, but was excused by General George Rogers Clark. It would be one of the last battles of the American Revolutionary War.

After the war ended, Richard remained at Boonesborough for several years. His son, John, was born there in 1781. His older son, Elisha, who had been born in Virginia, served with the Kentucky Militia and fought in the War of 1812. In 1801, Richard moved his family to a part of Wayne County that later became Clinton County. He died on February 7, 1844, at the age of 92, and is buried at Cartwright Cemetery with his wife and sons.

Girls Night Out With The Judds

Wynonna and Naomi Judd, the successful mother-daughter singing duo, released their debut EP in 1984. It peaked at number eight on the Bill...