span>1) I just came across the song “Double S” on my playlist. What was your inspiration for writing that song?
I was on the bus killing time between a matinee and a nighttime show when the idea struck me. I was making the band laugh by seeing how many words I could come up with that started with the letter “S,” and the more they laughed the crazier I became. Finally, I went to the rear of the bus and began to construct a story out of all these words. I never intended for it to be a song…it was a joke as much as anything else. But when I got back to Nashville and showed what I had written to my producer, Buddy Killen, he began putting a melody behind it and a song was born. It was one of those love/hate records in my career. People either loved it or they hated it. I’ll be nice and not ask which side you fall on!
2) I have seen a lot of your appearances on different game shows. Which was your favorite to be on? And did you pattern your great hosting style on Fandango after any one game show host?
I think I enjoyed being on “Password Plus” more than any other game show, probably because I did better there than on some of the others. I like words and word games, and it was fun to help my contestant partners win lots of money. I have never tried patterning myself…either as a singer or as a game show host…after anyone else. I just tried to be myself and hoped that somebody somewhere liked what I attempted to do.
3) How are you able to perform a song that you have literally sung for decades and still sing it with energy for your audience?
I’m sure different artists handle this in different ways, but to me a song is new every time I sing it. Somebody in that audience may be hearing it for the first time. Somebody else bought a ticket just to hear that song. Either way, it’s up to me to deliver it as best as I can. Before I go onstage every night I tell myself that the show I’m about to do is the most important one I have ever done. I’ve never done a perfect show and I never will, but it won’t be because I didn’t try.
Quickies: Is there any chance the Country’s Family Reunion Road Shows will return to Branson? I never say never, but I doubt we’ll be bringing those back anytime soon. I have looked and looked for the sheet music to “Walk Out Backwards.” Is it available anywhere? That song came out in 1960, and back then they didn’t publish a lot of sheet music for country songs. I can’t find where any was ever printed. Have you ever co-written songs with Skip Ewing and Paul Overstreet? They are among my favorite songwriters. Mine too, and I have written with both of them. Skip and I had a #1 hit (along with Debbie Moore) on Mark Wills’ “Wish You Were Here.” Paul and I haven’t been quite that lucky….yet! One of my favorite female singers was Penny DeHaven. Did you ever do any shows with her? I helped Penny get her first recording contract with Imperial Records, and she recorded several of my songs. I’m sure we must have toured together, but I can’t recall any particular instances. Have you ever thought of doing a duets album? I’ve only done six of them…four with Jan Howard and two with Mary Lou Turner. Plus I’ve recorded duets with Roy Acuff, David Allen Coe, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Vince Gill and others. Where have you been??
Thanks as always for your questions. My mailbox is open 24/7 at email@example.com or in care of P. O. Box 888, Hermitage, TN. 37076 if you’ve got one you’d like to send me. See you back here next time.