Country Music People March 2019 - Page 11

The David Allan Page A detailed assessment of the career of Harold Bradley , “The Dean of Nashville Session Men”, who died last month appears elsewhere, so I’ll just add a couple of personal memories here. Described with justification as “the most recorded guitarist in history”, he was modest and keen to underplay his career and talent. He told me that, during one period in the sixties, he was often working on four recording sessions a day from nine in the morning until midnight, four or five days a week. “It was like being part of a club, being invited to a party every day with different hosts and hostesses. One minute Patsy Cline (right) and Tammy Wynette, the next Conway Twitty and Roger Miller”. My BBC Producer at the time, Colin Chandler, came up with the idea of asking Harold to pick fifteen of his favourite recordings, each prefaced with a “live” sample of his rhythm guitar work. It proved to be a memorable hour of radio, but in some ways it was a mission impossible as Harold had contributed to so many classics and he was seriously worried that he might offend many of his friends if he left them off the list. In the end he did come up with the titles and was careful to make the point that there were many others he could have chosen had we got unlimited time. From memory I can recall only a handful. He certainly included Make the World Go Away, Crazy, Harper Valley PTA, The Battle of New Orleans (Harold’s distinctive guitar riff sets it all off), Hello Walls and Stand By Your Man. He was quite clear on the song that was to have pride of place – his first Nashville recording, Chattanooga Shoeshine Boy with the great Red Foley. Describing some of the other memorable stars he had worked with, he put Patsy Cline at the top for the “amazing emotion she could create in the studio and the fact she usually cracked the songs in one or two takes”. He told me he had started out playing the banjo but it was his brother Owen who persuaded him to turn to the guitar as “there was more work available” – something of an understatement as it turned out! I t’s always good to hear from the legendary Charley Pride, who informs me that he has a major part to play in the forthcoming Ken Burns’ documentary series on country music which airs in September with a launch gathering at the Grand Ole Opry next month. Charley also assures me that the project to produce a major movie charting his remarkable life and career is still very much a work in progress. “Paramount put it on the back burner but now we are determined to get things moving again”. Lots of reaction to the comments made in this column last month by Stuart Cameron (by the way, his website should have been www.hotdisc. co.uk), that there’s nothing like a ‘physical’ CD rather than a download. A couple of readers insisted that even a CD pales before the mighty vinyl! It was encouraging to hear the new owner of HMV declare he was firmly behind both CD and vinyl, especially as sales of the latter are on the increase. Several British country acts are also being released on vinyl, including the King of Western Music, Clint Bradley. Another icon, Randy Travis, whose career was cut short when he tragically suffered a stroke – is planning to publish his autobiography in May. Co-penned with Ken Abraham, it will be titled “Forever and Ever, Amen: A Memoir of Music, Faith and Braving the Storms of Life”. I did one of the last major radio interviews Randy gave in which he spent most of the time quickly glossing over his own remarkable achievements (fifty plus chart singles and record sales of twenty five million), preferring instead to talk about his idols, especially George Jones and what constituted real country music. This new book, hopefully controversial, is widely anticipated by his many admirers, including me. I also hear that acclaimed author Diane Diekman who wrote the definitive biogs of Faron Young and Marty Robbins, is considering doing the same with Randy. “This would be an objective, third person telling of his life”, she tells me. Sorry to hear of the passing of Terry Jennings, oldest son of Waylon, at the early age of 62. I came across likeable Terry a number of times when he was working as a roadie for his Dad, and later in his office. A couple of years ago he published his memories, “Waylon – Tales of my Outlaw Dad”, in which he reflected on his close relationship with his father who took on the Nashville establishment. Amongst the many memorable quotes is this one from Waylon, discussing the CMA’s attitude towards him: “Nashville is hard on the living, but speaks well of the dead”. Willie Nelson said at the time of its publication “every country music fan – outlaw or otherwise – should have this on their shelf”. Good news, then, that Terry’s book is still available in hardback, paperback and Kindle form from Amazon. Also still available, by the way, is Waylon’s autobiography which is hard-hitting at times to put it mildly! I make no apologies to returning to one of my favourite British country ensembles, The Diablos. The movie they supplied background music for and appeared in, “The Beast”, picked up a major award at the BAFTAs last month. How very strange, then, that the Diablos are still being totally ignored as far as awards on the UK Country scene go. Meanwhile, you can listen to their foot tapping movie song East Coast Run by Googling the title and their name. Enjoy! It could, thankfully, only happen in America. For just under two thousand dollars, you can purchase your very own Conway Twitty Tribute Pistol. A fully working Colt 45 to “celebrate the man, the music and the legend”. The manufacturer also adds “we believe that this is the perfect firearm to honour Conway’s love for America as well as his proud service as a member of the United States Army”. A further search came up with the George Jones Winchester Rifle! cmp MARCH 2019 - cmp 11