Wednesday, December 30, 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 begun working in the mines at the age of 11, for 5 cents an hour.

Webb married Blanche Matthews of Fentress County, Tennessee at the end of 1920. (They had five children.) His father took him aside, suggesting that coal mining was a rough life and he should pursue the possibilities of playing baseball professionally.

Earl played right field. He was a left-handed batted who threw with his right hand. His Major League debut was on August 13, 1925 for the New York Giants. His last appearance was on October 1, 1933 with the Chicago White Sox. Webb played on five MLB teams between 1925 and 1933: New York Giants (1925), Chicago Cubs (1927-1928), Boston Red Sox (1930–1932), Detroit Tigers (1932–1933) and Chicago White Sox (1933).

His career batting average was .306 with 56 home runs. Webb finished second in the league in extra base hits in 1931 with 84. His .333 batting average that year was seventh-highest in the American League. He finished sixth in the 1931 American League Most Valuable Player voting.

After baseball, Webb returned to the coal mines, taking a position with the Consolidated Coal Company of Jenkins, Kentucky, both working as a foreman in the mines and managing the company baseball team. He managed teams in Kentucky and West Virginia into his 50's. Earl Webb died of coronary thrombosis on the night of May 23, 1965. He and Blanche are buried at Taylor Place Cemetery in Fentress,County, Tennessee.

Monday, December 28, 2015

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 Aufrichtig on June 12, 1941 to a Jewish family in Brooklyn, where he went to Abraham Lincoln High School. While Albert grew up, members of his family owned a grocery store on Brighton Beach Avenue between 3rd and 4th streets known as Aufrichtig's. He then attended Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Public Communications from 1960 through 1963. He then graduated from New York University in 1965.

Albert is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame and is commonly referred to as "the voice of basketball." As of this writing, Albert handles basketball duties for TNT and CBS.

Albert appeared on David Letterman's late night talk shows for NBC and CBS a total of 126 times. Each time, he brought with him a group of clips featuring sports bloopers and outstanding plays, which he had narrated and dubbed the "Albert Achievement Awards." He was placed as number 14 on David J. Halberstam's list of Top 50 All Time Network Television Sports Announcers on Yahoo! Sports.

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 football, Summerall joined CBS as a color commentator. He also worked for Fox and ESPN. In addition to football, he also announced major golf and tennis events. All total, he announced 16 Super Bowls on TV (more than any other announcer), 26 Masters Tournaments and 21 US Opens. He also contributed to 10 Super Bowl broadcasts on CBS Radio as a pregame host or analyst.

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, and in 1961 called his first NCAA basketball tournament event, the championship game between Cincinnati and Ohio State.

Dick Enberg joined NBC Sports in 1975 and for the next 25 years, broadcast sporting events for the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the U.S. Open golf championship, college football, college basketball, the Wimbledon and French Open tennis tournaments, heavyweight boxing, Breeders' Cup and other horse racing events and the Olympic Games. He later worked various sporting events for CBS and ESPN2. He currently does play-by-play for the San Diego Padres.

Saturday, December 26, 2015


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)

Thursday, December 24, 2015

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."

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

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!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

"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 was created. Sid first met my dad during the middle school years and the rest is history. Both shared passions for basketball, baseball and music. But, Sid's biggest love out of those three things was basketball. He would stand on a crate and peer into the small window in the door and watch high school basketball games because he did not have enough money to pay the price of admission. Years later, he would become a local basketball legend. The great Kenneth Conner said not he but Sid was the greatest basketball player to ever play for Clinton County. He got into broadcasting, which led to him becoming the 'Voice of the Bulldogs.' There will never be another like him. For me, walking into Lindle Castle Gymnasium will never be the same. If I was not helping him broadcast the games, which I did for several years before he retired the first time, I was sitting beside he and Sid the Kid at court side. I was drawn to him and I loved him. Yesterday, the preacher said Sid is probably already trying to organize a basketball game in heaven. On the inside I had to laugh, because I knew that Sid's punchline to that statement would have been, "There are no basketball games in heaven, because there are no referee's in heaven." My first real memory of Sid is dad asking him to touch his nose to his chin (one of his early claimed of fame's). I thought, "What a freak!" It was wasn't too many years later that my opinion of him changed to, "What a man!"

Saturday, December 19, 2015

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.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


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 popular, Enstrom attempted to track Wilden down but was unsuccessful. Various family members and local historians have also attempted to determine what became of Wilden but have not been able to locate definitive evidence.

Enstrom first licensed the photograph to Augsburg Fortress in 1930. In the 1940's, his daughter colorized the photo by hand. This version was used in prints produced in the 1940s onward and became the more widespread and popularly known version of the photo.

Enstrom earned a modest sum from the photograph for the remainder of his life. He died in 1968.

Monday, November 30, 2015

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 long and know nothing about it. Bear up all you can, the hardest stroke falls to me, my little motherless babes, for whom I crave your earnest prayers.

Your bereaved son,
John Mulkey"

Of their children, Alice never married. In 1920, at age 47, she was living in Union County, New Mexico with her brother, Azel. Susan married Dr. Richard Claborn of Clinton County in 1890. They moved to Knox County, Texas.

Eleven months after Nelly's death, John married Mary Dillon Mullins of Fentress County. They had seven children:

Elmore (1875-1940), Thomas (1877-1947), John (1879-1954), James (1882-1960), Margaret (1885-1889), Elizabeth (1888-1889) and William (1890-1951). Most of them moved to areas in and around Texas.

John Mulkey Reneau servd two terms as Surveyor of Clinton County.

On April 6, 1910, at age 65, John Mulkey Reneau died at his home in the Huntersville community after an illness of just three weeks. Mary died four months later.

(John Mulkey's sister, Mariba, is the great, great grandmother of actor Johnny Depp, who was born in Owensboro, Ky in 1963.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

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 apple cake sitting there on the food bar that day, but there it was. Naturally, a ton of memories came flooding back. I never expected things to remain the same after Ronnie's death, but who would? I'm not real sure when exactly it happened, but somehow, over the years, I had found a place in my mind to store the memory of him and those days, and eventually had won the struggle to go on with my life.

I suppose the same thing could be said for mom. Standing there, staring down at the apple cake I said to mom, "Wow, you baked that apple cake!" She said that she had found the recipe in her box, but did not know why she had not baked it. I reminded her how much he loved it and would always say he it was his favorite dessert. It was on that day that I renamed mom's apple cake, 'Ronnie's Apple Cake.'

For those of you who are curious as to why my brother loved that apple cake so much, here is mom's recipe. I hope you will enjoy it as much as he did.

Ronnie's Apple Cake

3 cups diced apples
1 1/2 cups of oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs well beaten
3 cups self-rising flour
1 tp cinnamon
1 tp vanilla
1 cup raisins or nuts (mix well)
optional -1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup of milk for a glaze

Using a baking pan, bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to one hour.

Monday, November 23, 2015

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...

Thursday, November 12, 2015

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."

Saturday, October 10, 2015

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)

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

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 then that I realized the voice calling out my name belonged to my niece, Chrissy.

My first thought was, "My, what great eye sight you have!" My second thought was, "My, what a great set of lungs you have!" Better to love me with, I decided, as I held up both my arms and frantically waved back to her.

I smiled as I turned to walk toward the store, wiping away a couple of tears as I went inside.

Later, as I recalled that wonderful event, I remembered something I once read by the Italian poet, Cesare Pavese: "We do not remember days, we remember moments."

What happened that day with Chrissy was one of those moments. Unexpected, but pleasurable.


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)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

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. Sony/ATV Music Publishing is co-owned by The Estate of Michael Jackson.

In June of 1965, about the same time that Barlow was recording "I Love Country Music (And I'd Rather Fight Than Switch)" in New York, rockabilly legend Hayden Thompson walked into WJJD-AM in Chicago and recorded his version of the song, released as side A on a 45 r.p.m. record, with "Funny How Time Slips Away," written by Willie Nelson, which went on to become one of the all time great country classics, on side B. In 1986 both songs were included on an album Thompson released on SunJay Records, entitled 'Early Days.' The liner notes states the Willie Nelson classic" could almost have been a Sun Records' cut, as could the hot side, "I Love Country Music (And I'd Rather Fight Than Switch)," where Johnny Cash would have been proud of the sound." Hayden's versions of both songs had been long forgotten about until he included them on the Early Days album.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

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 SEC Network.

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 arrived at the game before the bus, which infuriated the coach even further. Sid and Darrell were ordered to sit in the stands in their street clothes and were not allowed to come onto the field. During the fourth inning, our team found itself trailing by one run with two outs and a runner on first. It was at that moment that Coach Kidd decided it was best to rise above his principles for the good of the team. He called time-out, walked over to the grandstand and motioned for Sid to come down. Sid stood at attention as Coach Kid instructed him to go bat. Still in his street clothes, he hit one into the outfield that earned him a double and the runner on first scored, which tied the game. Well, we ended up winning and two days later we won the first district baseball championship in school history by defeating Glasgow 15-to-12 in eleven innings.
(Sid, left, and Darrell)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

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, came out of the crowd and started walking toward home plate. The day before, someone had sworn out a warrant on him for causing a disturbance. Constable Leo Mann, who had been watching the game from beyond first base, saw Elmore come onto the field and walked out to arrest him. It was reportedly after Elmore said he would only be taken in after the game was over, that Mann drew his gun. The two men began to wrestle over it and as they did, Elmore's buddy, Jasper Hadley, who had also been standing along the third base side, came onto the infield, drew his pistol, and shot Leo Mann. He meant to shoot Mann again, but his second shot accidentally struck Elmore. Leo Mann's nephew, Bill Mann, was standing in the crowd along the first base side. He came running onto the infield yelling at Hadley to stop. He drew his gun and shot at him, but the gun jammed. A second shot struck Hadley, but not before Hadley had fired at him, striking Bill Mann in the neck.

Elmore walked to near home plate before he fell to the ground. Leo Mann fell near where he was shot. Hadley, age 30, walked over to near third base, handed his pistol to Porter Conner, told him he thought he had killed Elmore, then fell to the ground dead. Bill Mann, age 35, walked up on a bank behind first base, where he dropped dead. George Elmore, age 23, was taken to Dr. Ballou's office at Rowena, where he died that evening. Leo Mann, age 35, was taken to Dr. McClendon's office in Russell Springs, where he died the next evening.

The entire episode only lasted one to two minutes. Four men lay dead and only four shots had been fired. None of the ballplayers, nor anyone else, was involved."

That was the last time Pete Conner allowed a baseball game to be played on his farm.

Monday, August 31, 2015

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 know how many men we bushwhacked and killed but I suppose we killed 25 or more." Some say more, many more. Major John Allen Brents of Albany would later write that Tinker Dave Beaty was a rough, uneducated mountain man, who never forsook the flag of his country.

Friday, August 28, 2015

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

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
3. Roger Harrison & His Jones Road Gang - Country Rock And Roll
4. Darrell Speck - How I Love You
5. Darrell Speck - Take Me Back
6. Norman Bullock w/The Southeners - Lies, Lies, Lies
7. Norman Bullock - w/The Southeners - Moanin' The Blues
8. Dan Johnson - My Ramblin's Over
9. Renfro Brothers/Playboys - Just Over A Girl
10. Renfro Brothers/Playboys - Every Ready
11. Jerry Cox - Lover Man
12. Joey Castle - Rock & Roll Daddy-O
13. Ray Scott & The Demens - Look Coming Yonder
14. Ray Scott & The Demens - Tennessee Shake
15. Evelyn Hopper - He's Headed South

The Bop That Never Stopped, Vol. 11 - Buffalo Bop (Hamburg, Germany) 1985 LP 2014

1. Jimmie Martin - Rock The Bop
2. Carl Mann - Gonna Rock And Roll Tonight
3. Jimmie Martin - Red Bobby Socks
4. Howard Mayberry - This Just Can't Be Puppy Love
5. Jackie Gotroe - Raised On Rock And Roll
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. Glen Johnson - Little Heart Attacks
13. Glen Johnson - Run Here Honey

Grab This And Dance, Vol. 22 - Club (Madrid, Spain) 1986 LP 022

1. Sundowners - Snake Eyed Woman
2. The Cals - Country Woman
3. Jimmy Copeland - Satellite Rock
4. Curly Coldiron - Rockin Spot
5. Invaders - Night Ride
6. Danny And The Galaxies - If You Want To Be My Baby
7. Turner Moore - I'll Be Leaving You
8. Hank Davis - One Way Track
9. Billy Wayne - I Love My Baby
10. Ral Donner - She's My Baby
11. Johnny Cooke And The Hy-Lites - Don't Knock No More
12. James Truck - Tootsie
13. Paul Perryman Satellite Fever - Asiatic Flu
14. Joey Castle - Rock And Roll Daddy O
15. The Crowns - Rebel Yell
16. Carl Phillips - Wigwam Willie
17. Darrell Speck - How I Love You
18. Earl Reed - Mama
19. Eddie Daniels - Whoa Whoa Baby
20. Ral Donner - Pray For Me

Rockabilly Ramblers Vol. 6 - Esso Records (France) 1996 Esso SP

1. Billy Lee Riley - Is That All At the Ball, Mister Hall
2. Ricky Coyne - Kaw-Liga
3. Johnnie Lee Wills - Levee Blues
4. Pat Davis - Spinner Hub Caps
5. The Polk Brothers - Caravan Rock
6. Coy Werley - Rock Bottom Luck
7. Jimmy Murphy - Granpaw's a Cat
8. Lanie Walker - Ennie Meenie Miney Mo
9. Darryl Vincent - Wild Wild Party
10. Mickey Barnett - Just a Memory
11. Dallas Wilson & Western Troubadours - High Steppin' Daddy
12. Buck Trail - The Blues Keep Rockin'
13. Mackey Beers & The Rockitts - That Jim
14. Billy Wagner - Hey Mama
15. Darrell Speck - How I Love You

Teen Town - Buffalo Bop (Germany) 1998, CD 55071

1. Jimmy Ballard - Say You'll Be Mine
2. Howard Perkins - Lovin' Baby
3. Billie J. Killen - I Wonder
4. Dodgers - Poor Little Fool
5. Jules Blattner - Teen Town
6. Jim Murphy - I'm Gone
7. Ken Davis - Gone Again
8. Kim Irwin - All About Cha Babe
9. Brien Fisher - Fingertips
10. Jules Blattner - Green Stuff
11. Dante - Baby Baby
12. Ronnie Pearson - Deep Blue Sea
13. Al Denny - Just Say Bingo
14. Jackie O'Neal - You Broke My Heart
15. John Worthan - Evalina Malony
16. Francis Zambon - Our Love Will Last
17. Royal Rhythms - The Wayward Wind
18. Darrell Speck - Take Me Back
19. Butch St. Clair - Tell Me Quick, Tell Me True
20. Sparkles - He Can't Love You
21. Earl Dukes - Spin The Bottle
22. Catalinas - Be Mine
23. Echo Man - You Broke My Heart
24. Jules Blattner - Till I'm With You Again
25. Wayne Cochran - Cindy Marie
26. Joe Popiel - I'm Crying Again
27. Doug Loveless - What More
28. Del Rays - Star Light
29. Buddy Shepherd - I'm Hypnotized
30. Doug Loveless - Coconut Girl

Campus Cutie - Buffalo Bop (Germany) 1998 CD 55072

1. Dwain Louis, Dwain - That's All Right
2. Darrell Speck - How I Love You
3. Orbits - Queen Bee Space
4. Ken Reed - Suzanne
5. Chuck Mills - She's Mine
6. Butch St. Clair - Get-A-Little
7. Bobbye Shadle - Please, Pretty Baby
8. Skip Goodspeed - Only Two Me And You
9. Harold Lee - Blond Headed Woman
10. Ken & Roy - Umm Chicki   
11. Fretts - Rock'n
12. Bobbye Shadle - Come On Baby
13. Sparkles - The U.T.
14. John E. - That's My Baby 
15. Del Tones - Rockin' Blues
16. Dove, Ronnie - Lover Boy
17. Chuck Hunt - Barnyard Rock 
18. Rudy Preston - Don't You Go Chicken 
19. Orbits - My Rosa-Lee
20. Deans - Humpty Dumpty
21. Billy Perkins - Campus Cutie
22. David Starr - Teen Doll
23. Del Tones - Moonlight Party
24. Roy James - Rock & Roll Mama
25. Rock 'N' Rollers - For You
26. Larry Duncan - Romeo's Teacher
27. Franklin Brothers - So Real
28. Billy Perkins - The World Can't Roll Without Love
29. Joe Popei - I Can't Live Without You
30. Cameos - I'll Keep Your Heart Forever

16 Red Hot Rockin' Hits Vol. 5 - Rockin' Rarities (France) 2007 R.R-2007-5 (LP)

1. The Fabulous Thunderbirds - My Girl Sue
2. Dave Johnson - International Runway
3. Bobby Lee - I Got Some News For You
4. The Rock-A-Tunes - Woman Fever
5. Bobby Roberts - She's My Woman
6. The La-Sabers - Goodbye Johnny
7. Darrell Speck - How I Love You
8. Jaguars - Jaguar
9. The Prowlers - Bongo Rock
10. The Rock-Its - Frankie And Johnnie
11. The Rock-Its - Don't Stop Don't Stop
12. The Centurys - Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On
13. Richard Wylie - Money
14. Mike Sanchez - Wicked
15. Eddie Moore - Touch Of Your Love
16. The Rivies - You Know What I Like

Big Bad Rockabilly Boppers Vol. 11 CD 1 - Presto Records (UK) 2012

1. Rick Bounty - Folsom Prison
2. Lonesome Lee - Cry Over Me
3. Jim Roby - Be Boppin' Baby
4. Bob Davies - Rock To The Music
5. Don Boots - Big Foot Annie
6. The Nite Rockers - Baby Let's Play House
7. Gene Watson - My Rockin' Baby
8. Andy Wilson - Little Mama
9. Don Cole - Saturday Night Party Time
10. Ray Whisnant - Rock That Rhythm
11. Bash Hofner - Rockin' A Boppin'
12. Jimmy Kirkland - Cool Daddy
13. Lavern Stovall - Left Behind
14. Gene Davis - Curfew
15. Darrell Speck - How I Love You
16. The Prowlers - Get A Move On
17. Don Deal - Don't Push
18. Bobby Hicks - Hassle It Jack
19. Ray Burden - That Kind Of Carrying On
20. Lou Josie - Why Did You Leave
21. Ray Scott - You Drive Me Crazy
22. Johnny McAday - Is There No Love For Me Love
23. Ernie Barton - Stairway To Nowhere
24. Malcolm Yelvington - Rockin' With My Baby
25. Buddy Miller - I Got Me A Woman
26. Len Barrow - Hades Highway
27. Tracy Pendarvis - It Don't Pay
28. The Chavis Bros. - Love Me Baby
29. Rick Bounty - It Don't Hurt Anymore 30. The Road Runners - Rains

Rare Rockabilly From Kentucky 2013

1. Eddie Gaines - Be-Bop Battlin' Ball
2. J.D. Orr - Hula Hoop Boogie
3. Tag And Effie - Baby You Done Flubbed Your Dub With Me
4. Jimmie Piper - Don't Play Around (With My Heart)
5. Dwain Bell - Rock And Roll On A Saturday Night
6. Dwain Bell - I'm Gonna Ride
7. Gus Pate - Kick Off
8. Gus Pate - Man Alive
9. Shadie Oller - You Sure Look Good To Me
10. Shadie Roller - Come To Me Baby
11 Dewey Rothering - Wild Side Of Life
12 The Rhythm Playboys - Wildfire
13 Jimmie Piper - Bonfire
14 Mike Page - Long Black Shiny Car
15 Hank Engkand - My Little Kangaroo
16 Darrell Speck - How I Love You
17 Gary Link - Rhythm Rock
18 Harold Montgomery - How Much Do You Miss Me
19 D.H. And The Downbeats - Bus Ride
20 Jay Fanning - It's Love
21 Buster Pack - Indian Boogie
22 Ked Killen - Crying Blues

Rockabilly Rock and Roll Nuggets Vol. 13 - Thundersqueak Records (England) 2014

1. Buddie Lillen - Whatcha Gonna Do Tomorrow
2. Kenny Loren - Brenda
3. The Accent - Lovin' At Night
4. The Relyea's - Country Boy
5. Reggie Olson - Lookin' Waitin' Searchin' Hopin'
6. Glen Pace - My Night Off
7. Merle Matts - Shake With Me Baby
8. Donald King - I Love My Baby
9. Chavis Brothers - Love Me Baby
10. Wayne Hammond (with The Starfires) - Can't See Why
11. The Rocks - Satellite
12. Darrell Speck - Take Me Back
13. Jesters III - Messed Up Woman
14. Billy Perkins - The World Can't Roll Without Love
15. Jack Rivers - Call On Me
16. The Temptations - Mad At Love )
17. Echo Man - You Broke Me Heart
18. Pat Davis - Spinner Hub Caps
19. Freeda Boxx - Havin' a Ball
20. Bill Sherrell - Kool Kat
21. Rudy Owen (with The Ravens) - Pretty Linda
22. J-keetie Clendening (with The Kats) - That's the Way
23. Coye Wilcox - You Gotta Quit Cheatin'
24. Ulysses L. Baxter - Beautiful Woman
25. Lee "Red" Melson - Mean Ole Bartender Blues
26. Deltones - Moonlight Party
27. Sonny Knight - Teenage Party
28. Johnny Shea - That's My Baby
29. Hiram Philmon - I'm Lonesome Baby
30. Bobby Bond - Sweet Love

Rockabilly Rock and Roll Nuggets Vol. 16 - Thundersqueak Records (England) 2014

1. Mark Damon - Party Crashers
2. Dennis Puckett - By By Blues
3. Jimmy Ford - You're Gonna Be Sorry
4. Tommy Lam - Blue Willow
5. Wendell & The Dreamers - That's Love
6. Roger White - Somebody's Stealin' My Baby
7. Lee Mcbridge - Confusion
8. Joe Welz - Boppin' the Stroll
9. Duane Schurb - Roly Poly
10. Billy & The Jokers - Katy D
11. Ray Whisnant - Rock That Rhythm
12. Darrell Speck - How I Love You
13. Sandy Scott - Mister Big
14. Harold Lee - Blond Headed Woman
15. Bobby Roberts - She's My Woman
16. Sammy Lara - Suzanne
17. Don's Rockers - Hold Me Tight
18. Dennis Smith - I Got That Queen
19. Joe Walz - Lovin'
20. J. Gale - Honey Moon Trip To Mars
21. Ronnie Knull - Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee
22. Chancellors - Gonna Work
23. Billy Nix - How About a Date
24. Pete Ciolini - Baby Sittin' All the Time
25. Alan Page - Jennie Lou
26. Red Berry - The U.T.
27. Jeujene & The Jaybops - Betty Joe
28. Fred Cuno - Rhythm Guitar
29. Vic Gallon - Somebody's Got My Baby

Rockin' Through The Years Vol. 121 "A Mega Collection of Boppin', Jumpin', Jivin', Shakin' Rockers" - Pocatello Records

1. Ace Brown - Starlight Rock 'N' Bop
2. Al Willis - Alone With You
3. Andy Lee Lang - High School Confidential
4. Bill Allen - Please Give Me Something
5. Bob & The Bearcats - Red Hot Rockin' Blues
6. Bob Silva - Weepin' And Wailin'
7. Bobby Mansfield - Rock At The Hop
8. The Bopshack Stompers - Kitty Rocks The Cradle
9. Carl Perkins - Honky Tonk Babe
10. The Catalinas - Why Oh Why
11. Chuck Miller - Boogie Blues
12. Conway Twitty - Shake, Rattle And Roll
13. Crazy Cavan - Gonna Leave This Town
14. Dale Hawkins - Gooblie Booblie
15. Darrell Speck - How I Love You
16. Earl & The Overtones - Blue Swinging Mama
17. Elvis Presley - Rock-A-Hula Baby
18. Frankie Avalon - The Bells Keep Ringin'
19. Gene Vincent - I Got A Baby
20. Harry Carter - Jump Baby Jump
21. Jack Baymoore - My Sweet Baby
22. Jackie Clark - Walkie Talkie
23. Johnny Angel - Rockin' At The
24. Johnny Watson - Let's Rock
25. The Marvellos - Boyee Young
26. The Masks - Polly Molly
27. Maureen Gray - Come On And Dance
28. The McCormick Brothers - The Billy Goat Boogie
29. Micke Muster - Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes
30. The Ramblers - Come On Back
31. Ray Sharpe - That's The Way I Feel
32. The Ray Thompson Combo - Marching Through Georgia
33. The Rays - Louie Hoo Hoo

Darrell Speck

Monday, August 24, 2015

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, Campbell recorded the song as it was, filling in what might have been a third verse with a guitar solo, one considered iconic and played on a Danelectro six-string bass belonging to legendary L.A. bass player and Wrecking Crew member, Carol Kaye, who is the one who came up with the famous five-note intro at the beginning of the song.

I am a lineman for the county
And I drive the main road
Searchin' in the sun for another overload
I hear you singin' in the wire
I can hear you through the whine
And the Wichita lineman is still on the line

I know I need a small vacation
But it don't look like rain
And if it snows that stretch down south
Won't ever stand the strain
And I need you more than want you
And I want you for all time
And the Wichita lineman is still on the line

And I need you more than want you
And I want you for all time
And the Wichita lineman is still on the line

Jimmy Webb's inspiration for the lyric came while driving through rural southwestern Oklahoma. Heading westward on a straight road into the setting sun, Webb drove past a seemingly endless line of telephone poles, each looking exactly the same as the last. Then, in the distance, he noticed the silhouette of a solitary lineman atop a pole. He described it as "the picture of loneliness."

At "American Songwriter," Webb was quoted as saying, “What I was really trying to say was, you can see someone working in construction or working in a field, a migrant worker or a truck driver, and you may think you know what’s going on inside him, but you don’t. You can’t assume that just because someone’s in a menial job that they don’t have dreams … or extraordinary concepts going around in their head, like ‘I need you more than want you; and I want you for all time.’ You can’t assume that a man isn’t a poet. And that’s really what the song is about.”

With “Wichita Lineman," less is more. The record is just three minutes long:

First Verse.
Second verse.
No chorus.
Guitar solo.
Repeat last two lines of second verse.

Why did such an unlikely song become a standard? There are many reasons, but here’s one from American Songwriter's Allen Morrison: "The loneliness of that solitary prairie figure is not just present in the lyric, it’s built into the musical structure. Although the song is nominally in the key of F, after the tonic chord is stated in the intro it is never heard again in its pure form, with the root in the bass. The melody travels through a series of haunting changes that are considerably more sophisticated than the Top 40 radio norms of that era. The song never does get “home” again to the tonic chord - not in either verse, nor in the fade out. This gorgeous musical setting suggests subliminally what the lyric suggests poetically: the lonely journeyman, who remains suspended atop that telephone pole, against that desolate prairie landscape...yearning for home."

The song reached #3 on the U.S. pop chart and remained in the Top 100 for 15 weeks. It topped the American country music chart for two weeks and the adult contemporary chart for six weeks. It was certified gold by the RIAA in January 1969. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" ranked it at #192. British music journalist Stuart Maconie called it "the greatest pop song ever composed."

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 within us a profound experience of His peace and a heart that is filled with His praise."

Happy William Wilberforce Day!

Long may our Land be Bright with Freedom's Holy Light

Officially, the Continental Congress declared its freedom from Great Britain on July 2, 1776, but after voting to approve it, a draft do...