I’ve had a lot of time lately to think about musicians that work for major and minor acts. My memory is very good when it comes to things that happened many years ago. It’s finding my things that I put away this morning that I seem to have trouble with.
I remember for instance, working with a very famous drummer named Paul McGee that had spent many years with the Hank Thompson band. When he left Hank he went to Colorado Springs and put his own band in the Navajo Hogan Club on Tejon Street.
I was working with Paul at the club and George Jones was booked in. This was before he was well known, so he did show up. I guess he needed the $100 he was getting paid. He had many dates around Colorado and asked me if I would like to play steel guitar with him.
I told him yes, since he was paying more than the club did, which I believe was $25 a night. That’s about the same as $100 a day now. Since I got to go home and sleep in my own bed every night, this was quite a deal for me.
He asked me to move to Nashville and keep working with him, but after I saw how he acted after he got drunk, I thought better of it. However, he was very nice to me. After I did move to Nashville, I worked with several acts that included some package shows with George and his new band called The Jones Boys.
I will have to say I did like his material and he was very nice about giving me my head when it came to what I wanted to play behind him. Fills and instrumental turnarounds were about anything I wanted to play.
I think he got worse over the years because I know The Jones Boys had their problems, but seems he adjusted in how to take care of them. Some of the things that went on between George and the band are pretty funny looking at it from the outside.
I was working with the late Ferlin Husky when we did some package shows through Canada in the winter of 69-70. It was a cold, snowy, hard winter and Ferlin wanted us to travel in a medium length poorly insulated and heated Winnebago camper. I wouldn’t do it and borrowed a friend’s Cadillac limousine to do the tour.
Freddy Haas and Jim Vest, steel player with David Houston, decided they liked the limousine better than their buses, so I didn’t have any trouble finding company to travel with me. I remember pulling up behind the Winnebago in a little town in Canada when it was blowing snow and the wind was about 40 mph. Ferlin ran out of his Winnebago and back to us and I rolled the window down about 4 inches.
I said, “What do you want Ferlin?”
He said “It sure is cold in that camper”, hinting that he would like to ride in the limo with us. I informed him that we didn’t have room. I kind of felt bad as he trudged back to the Winnebago. However he could’ve rented a bus liked the other acts on tour with us had.
The limo turned out to be a lot of fun since it gave me a lot of freedom on the road and made dear, lifelong friends out of Jim Vest and myself. Jim reminded me of this story when I saw him a few days ago.
Jim has lost a lot of weight and is doing much better. His steel guitar playing is as fine as ever. Jim is doing a lot of songwriting and demo sessions around town.
As the workshop date gets closer and closer I’m getting more and more excited because I know I’m going to get to see some of you. Make sure you call the store and get your reservation nailed down. All of you that will be attending the workshop will be given a set of Cobra Coil strings, your choice of steel guitar CD and a t-shirt of your choice. I want to make this as good a value as possible to you.
We picked November 30th for the workshop so people coming to town for North Tennessee Steel Guitar Association Christmas Party happening the next day would be able to attend two events the same weekend on consecutive days.
I’m happy to be back doing the newsletters again even though I’m not doing much else.
Steel Guitar Nashville
123 Mid Town Court
Hendersonville, TN. 37075
Open 9AM – 4PM Monday – Friday
Open 9AM – 2Pm Second and Third Saturday of each Month