1) I have been a big fan of Roy Drusky since I was a kid, and I’ve been listening to “A Lonely Thing Called Me.” The steel guitar on that song is great. Do you know who played it?
I looked it up, and found that song on a 1965 Greatest Hits collection from Mercury Records. I was not able to find any session credits, however, but I am assuming it was either Pete Drake or perhaps Doyle Grisham. Pete, who just became the first steel player inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, developed much of his signature sound playing on Roy’s early Decca records…songs like “Another” and “Anymore.” And Doyle, who is still active today as part of Jimmy Buffet’s band, was once a regular with Roy in one of his early groups. Either way you’re right. It’s some good pickin’.
2) I have been enjoying one of Charley Pride’s last albums which had some great new songs. Did he ever record any songs that you wrote?
I never had a hit with Charley, but he cut an old song of mine in his last album called, “You Lied To Me.” Earlier in his career, he covered one I had put in one of my own albums called, “You’re Still The Only One I’ll Ever Love,” but it was never a single. His biggest hit, “Kiss An Angel Good Morning,” was actually written for me, but that’s another story for another time.
3) Of all the items you placed in the Hall of Fame Museum was there any particular item that had so much meaning to you that it was hard for you to let it go? If so, what was it and why?
No, because I didn’t GIVE my items to the Museum. They are only on loan. Any of them that I’d like to have back will be returned to me after the exhibit closes next year.
4) FROM THE U.K. – I have been to Nashville 11 times in the past 11 years, and I’ve seen several country artists in the bars and some do a song or two. Do you ever wander downtown and have a pint and sing a song?
No, because I can never find a parking place!
Question Of The Month from Jaxie in Michigan: You have always had excellent band members, and I wonder how you found them. Did your manager find and hire them? Or did you find them through the musicians union? Did you hear them play with another artist or at a club? In my opinion, you have always had the best of the best on stage with you…and you still do.
Thank you. I’m prejudiced, but I have to agree. I have never had any one set way of hiring musicians, and over the years have hired them in every way you describe except one: Nobody ever hired them for me. I chose each and every one myself. In the beginning, my band members just sort of “fell in” together, but by the late sixties, I had a waiting list of players wanting to join my band. In those days, I was touring steadily, I had my own syndicated TV show, I played frequently at the Grand Ole Opry, my band members were recording with me and as a group for a major label, and as a result, our gig was one of the more prestigious and better paying gigs in town. I tried to hire people who were not only good musicians and good performers, but good traveling mates as well. I didn’t hit the jackpot every single time, but I had a pretty good track record. The fact that so many of my musicians stayed with me for long periods of time is probably the thing I am the proudest of.
Quickies: Did you have a hand in selecting which older songs went on your new CD? No, I could have, but the label seemed to have its own vision for the project, and I tried to stay out of their way. I think they did a great job of choosing. Thank you for including “Sometimes” on your new album. Is it your biggest duet hit ever? Both “Sometimes ” with Mary Lou Turner and “For Loving You” with Jan Howard were #1 records, and I’m not sure just which one was the biggest. Regardless, I’m glad you like it. What song did you write that was supposedly “Too Country?” “When A Man Can’t Get A Woman Off His Mind,” which was recently very successful for Gene Watson, and has also been recorded by yours truly and by Craig Morgan. Does a singer/songwriter get paid every time their song is played or sung? The songwriter does, yes, but in the U.S., traditionally the singer has not. Many of those old rules are being revised, however, and are in the process of being made more equitable and fair for everyone.
Thanks for sending some great questions my way this month…so many, in fact, that I’ll be holding some over for next month. If you’re wondering about something related to me or to country music in general, send your question to email@example.com and I’ll get to it as soon as I can. Thanks and stay curious….