2) When Cousin Jody appeared with Lonzo & Oscar, what instrument was he playing? It sounds like a dobro, but does not look like a conventional dobro. It doesn’t look like a lap steel either. So what is it?
Jody jokingly called it his “Biscuit Board,” but in truth it was more like a lap steel than anything else. He did not play with it sitting across his lap, however, but rather in a standing position with the instrument held up by a strap around his neck. It was electrified and had no resonators, which would eliminate it being an actual dobro. To be honest, it was an instrument that didn’t fit into any particular category. As you accurately wrote later in your letter, “Nashville is full of folks who play non-traditional instruments.” Cousin Jody, whose real name was Clell Sumney, was most definitely one of those people.
3) I think your song, “While Talking To Myself” is an awesome song. How did you come up with it?
Thank you. I’m pretty proud of that song myself. I borrowed the idea from the title of a book that I heard about….something like “Observations I Gained From Talking To Myself.” I thought the concept lent itself perfectly to a country song, and I still think so. Maybe somebody will discover my song someday and turn it into a hit. I tried, but my version didn’t make it.
QUICKIES: Did you ever work with Ernest Tubb, and if so, how was it? How about Marty Robbins? What was he like? I worked alongside them both, both at the Opry and on the road. I learned a lot by just standing by and watching how they conducted themselves both onstage and off. They were each amazing artists and stylists, and I remain a fan to this day. Did you know Linda Martell at all? Linda was one of the first African American singers who tried to carve out a career in country music. I may have met her somewhere along the way, but I can’t say that I “knew” her because I didn’t. Are any of your children or grandchildren thinking about a career in the music business? Or would you rather they didn’t? All I have ever wanted for my kids or grandkids is for them to be happy, and if a career in country music could do that for them then I’d be all for it. Right now, though, I don’t think any of them are headed in that direction. I’m sure George Jones recorded some of your songs, but was there one that you really wanted him to record? He did cut a few like “Once A Day” and “I Don’t Love You Anymore,” but nothing that I wrote especially for him. I can’t narrow it down to any one song, but I’d have been thrilled to hear George wrap his tonsils around anything that I might have created. He was truly one of the best.
Thank for your questions as always. I’m open to receiving new ones 24/7, so if you have something on your mind write and let me know. The address email@example.com P.O. Box 888, Hermitage, TN. 37076. I’ll look forward to hearing from you, and I’ll see you back here again next month.