Who first said, “A picture is worth a thousand words?”
He was a wise man.
Someone, a treasured fan, emailed this picture to our office this week. I had never seen it. The note with it said it was taken in 1965 at a concert somewhere in New Jersey. If so, and I have no reason to doubt it, it would have been our first year, first months actually, with the Johnny Cash Show. At this time it was just John, June, The Tennessee Three and The Statlers.
I can attest to and confirm that this is for sure The Statler Brothers and June Carter. The extremely handsome young fellow on the far left is, of course, me. The extremely older brother next to me is Harold. Phil is easily recognizable as he has not changed in 48 years. And I say that with all honesty. He has the same amount of hair and still wears the same size jeans he wore as a sophomore in high school. But Lew was the one who struck me with the most interesting fact about the whole picture. That fact being that this was before any of us were wearing facial hair of any kind.
In just a few years after this, Harold, Lew and I would always wear some form of beard, mustache or goatee. But that was not the style yet. It was 1964, I was 19 years old and none of us yet had any wrinkles to cover up so we were clean-shaven and even baby-faced.
And then there is June. We were sort of June’s boys. She took us to fancy restaurants in the big towns. We took her to the movies with us on long winter afternoons in towns across the country and the world and it was like having your big sister with you. She paid for us to join the union, The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, in April of ’64 so we could appear on the” Tonight Show” in New York because none of the four of us had the money to do it on our own. We listened to stories about the early Opry days and Hank Williams backstage with her and then sat around dressing rooms and sang old Carter family songs we all knew. This picture is a result of all that. She had just written a song called “Tall Lover Man.” We worked it up in the wings and came out on her portion of the show and sang it with her.
I look at this picture and just can’t stop looking at it. The memories and the tears keep flooding back. I miss all those folks so much.
July 4, 2013
It was a George Jones song that first got me interested in Country Music.
Tender Years – summer of 1961. I was still in high school. I listened to it over and over and was so taken by the way it was written and performed that I insisted the Statlers record it on an album ten years later. It was written by Darrell Edwards, a childhood friend of George’s but it was all Jones all the way.
George and the Statlers worked stage shows together; did tv together – many awards shows and he guested on the Statler tv show in the 90s. He gave us one of the most classic performances of Rockin’ Chair you’ll ever hear or see. But here is my favorite George Jones story:
Our comedy album of Lester ‘Roadhog’ Moran and the Cadillac Cowboys had just come out in the early 70s. He and Tammy Wynette, who were married at the time, were riding down the road one day and a cut from our album came on the radio. It happened to be us as the Cadillac Cowboys butchering a song called Why Baby, Why. It made George very mad and he turned the radio off and said, “that kind of stuff shouldn’t be allowed on the air”. (And this is even funnier when you know that George wrote Why Baby, Why.) Tammy immediately says, “Wait, George, turn that back on. I think there’s more to this than we first thought.”
He turned it back on and got the full story that it was the Statlers doing a comedy album and they both laughed and were big fans of the album from then on. George and Tammy both have told us this story and loved telling it.
Wilson/Fairchild, who are my son, Langdon and my nephew Wil, have been working with George for the last couple of years. They were his opening act. They can tell you also how loved he was by a wide range of fans. The last show, the one they had to cancel in Huntsville, AL this Saturday night, was a sellout. And that’s pretty good for a man who had been doing it for sixty years.
Go in peace, George. You’ve earned the rest.