MP3 Marty Whiddon - Christmas With Marty
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Marty Whiddon Bio (Resume of Musical Works and Experience)
"Marty Whiddon’s Country Music Biography" Updated 8-10-04
(More or Less)
Dear Country Music Fans, and Others, Please note: I’ll be referring to my self sometimes in the Third Person Tense -- in other words about Marty -- as well as in the ’first person.’ That’s because I’m modest, I suppose, and just find it more comfortable to refer to myself that way. Any way, thanks for your indulgence.
Marty Whiddon Started singing and writing songs before he was ten years old. Even before he got his first guitar, which was about the age of 12 for a Christmas present. "Mama and Daddy didn’t have the money, to buy me one, but one or two of my older sisters chipped in to make my dream come true. "My sisters and brother were wonderful to me! As well as my Mama and Daddy.
I learned my first three chords from an uncle, Dewey Buckner, my Mama’s only Brother, and a few more later from a Blind Man, Luther Dixon. In later years, I wrote a song about Luther, and how he overcame his handicap and, with his wife, became successful operating his own Newsstand Business in Selma, AL. Many years after those first guitar lessons (They were informal - but they were free - only way I could afford ’em) I had the privilege of visiting with him there.
Marty soon began to play for family and friends at social gatherings and Old Time Peanut Shellings.
At about the age of fifteen Marty and his twin Brother John joined a Saturday afternoon radio Jamboree in Dothan, Alabama at Radio Station WOOF. "Long John", as his twin came to be known, because he was about a foot taller than Marty who was born twenty minutes later than he, soon became more interested in Baseball. He had a remarkable high school record of shutouts Pitched and the number of strikeouts per game at Midland City High School in Midland City, Alabama under former big league player/coach Roy Knapp. After high school he signed a contract with the Cleveland Indians, and went on to play professional and semi-professional baseball for a number of years. (Pardon me, I’m getting ahead of myself two or three years.)
The first Grand Ole Opry Star Marty and his brother had an opportunity to play on the same bill with, was Wally Fowler and his Oak Ridge Quartet. It was at an appearance in Troy, AL., about 60 miles North of Dothan on Highway 231. The opportunity was not fulfilled however because the local Booker and Jamboree Manager was late picking up the Musicians. Most of them were teenagers at that time, and they were late getting to the show, There was such a little crowd in the Auditorium, which was only a big room over the City Hall, that Wally Fowler cut his performance short. Only the harmonica player that went with the local group got to play one number. It was a big disappointment to a group of young "wanted-to-be" singers and musicians.
Later, when Marty was old enough to get a driver’s license, he and a younger cousin, Harold Harrison, started an early morning radio show on the same radio station, WOOF, getting up to drive ten miles and be on the air for fifteen minutes at 4:30 in the morning. Then they had to get back home and catch the bus to school.
One incident of note when Marty was on that early morning show: They got a postcard from somewhere in California saying they had heard the show. We could hardly believe that a 5,000-Watt Station could skip across the top edge of the Gulf of Mexico all the way into California. That is until we read where they told us some of the songs we had sung that particular morning. They were pretty sure we wouldn’t have believed them otherwise.
At 650 on the dial though, 5,000watts can go a pretty long way if the weather’s right. Guess it was that morning. After graduating from High School, Marty later did a stint at Radio WOOF as Copywriter (ads) and a little DJ work.
Marty, some ten or twelve years later, got his cousin Harold a recording session with Summit Records in Mobile, Alabama. A Montgomery Fiddle Player named Freddie Beach owned the label.
This was after Marty moved to Montgomery, Al. in 1951. He got a job with Western Electric, the Installation Unit of the Bell Telephone System. But music and radio was in his blood, and he soon found an early morning radio show at Station WMGY with a solo singer named Johnny Williams. The station was located right around the corner from where he worked, so he could do the show at 7 AM and rush around the corner to be at work by 7:30.
Marty met Freddy Beach in Montgomery while playing on the Bar 20 Barn Dance. He and "Rocking Chair Daddy", Braxton Schufert, both had played with Hank Williams when he was still working out of Montgomery. They were both on the WCOV Barn Dance, the same show Marty was on. Freddy, who worked with The Good Will folks later went to Mobile to Manage a Facility for them down there, and he later set up his own Recording Label and Publishing Co., Azalea Trail, which also published some of Marty’s songs.
Other Publishers of my songs include: Granny Music, Trio, Beechwood, Tangi, API, Amqi, Al Cartee Music, later sold to Buddy Killen, Central Songs and Hit Kit, publishing arm of Sound Wave Records, which was run and managed by Joe Gibson and sons, at Nationwide Sound Distributors. in Nashville. The Company publishing my most recent songs, in later years, is Woodrich Recordings, a Company initiated back in the beginning of the Muscle Shoals Sound era by legendary Producer, Writer and Singer, Woody Richardson. Also, Gladys Mitchell of Glad-way.
Uncle Bob Helton, a legend in his day, and Doug Benton were still the prime DJ’s of Country Music in Montgomery at the time I first went there. I played one or two shows with them, and on one Radio Show with Uncle Bob, I met and played Steel while a young Lamar Morris, 12-14 years old at the time, played electric Guitar. Lamar was an excellent guitar picker even at that age and later went on to play with Hank Williams, Jr. a good many years.
While in Montgomery Marty played on several radio stations with various bands. Most of the time he played Steel guitar with various local bands like "Dot Conway and Sadie", The Barker Brothers, Jay and Carl, and The Bill Eubanks Band with Bobby Radford and Bert Lafosse, a Louisiana Cajun. Also, Big Carl Reeves. Carl helped a young teenager, Ray Andrews, who was just learning to play fiddle get started in his Band. Ray went on to become a well-known Pedal Steel Guitar Player in Country Music. When not working or playing Steel and rhythm guitar, Marty was continuing to write and sing whenever and wherever he got the chance.
Later, when working with the Barker Brothers on WJJJ, if memory is right, he was invited to go with them to WCOV Radio, which was in the process of opening Montgomery’s first TV Station. The Country Music DJ on WCOV Radio, Walt Spiro, lured us over to his station with the idea of starting a TV Country music Show soon as the Company went on the Air in 1953 with the First TV Station in Montgomery.
I went with the Barker Brothers to WCOV, along with a friend of mine whom I talked the boys into letting come on and sing solos since most of the Brothers’ songs were done as duets.
They were reluctant, but finally agreed, and that’s how me and my friend Jack Turner got to be on that First TV show, "The Bar 20 Barn Dance" the first day, the first Saturday they were on the air.
Before I arrived in Montgomery in 1951, I understand Jack Turner previously had a 15 minute Saturday morning solo gig on station WMGY, for awhile. If my memory serves me right I think he, too, was on a WJJJ "Jaybird Jamboree" which the Barker Brothers had starred on. But that was before I got there.
After about six months, Jack and I left the show and went to the first 50,000 watt radio station in Montgomery to do a Saturday matinee Jamboree type of show with local artists and country music groups. Renowned DJ’s like Paul Simpkins, and Joe Rumore who was legendary in Birmingham, AL radio, also, broadcast and worked on "The Big Bam" Radio, WBAM. In a year or so another renowned DJ of that era, Fred Wambles came to WBAM. I played steel Guitar with a number of groups and artists on that show for awhile. Shorty Sullivan also worked on WBAM.
(Rebe Gosdin and Rabe Perkins were also Bluegrass and Bluegrass Gospel favorites on that station, known as Rebe and Rabe.) I played Steel Guitar with a number of groups and artists on that original show for awhile, and later appeared on a TV show in Selma, Al with Rebe after Rabe had left Montgomery to return to Birmingham where the two of them had started out.
While in Montgomery Marty helped some other local artists, who recorded some of his songs in Nashville, get released on such labels as ’Nashville’, the subsidiary to Starday. Barbara Sanders recorded Marty’s "Jumpin’ Jack" and "The Heart of The Matter". Barbara and Don Hamilton both recorded at the old Starday studio with such great studio musicians as Pete Drake, Lloyd Green, and Billy Linneman among others.
Marty first released Don’s songs, "The Heart of an Angel" (With a Honky Tonk Mind) b/w "Here I come, Looking for Love" on his own M/G label and later they were picked up and released on Atteiram out of Atlanta, Ga. by Carl Queen, President of API Records.
Barbara and her brother in-law Jay Sanders also recorded some of Marty’s songs in Birmingham: "Alabama Has Everything" was recorded during the tenure of Governor Lurleen Wallace, Alabama’s first Woman Governor. The flip side was "Everybody Wants To Dance" a.k.a. "Don’t Nobody Want to Pay The Fiddler" (But Everybody Wants To Dance) that I later recorded. I also did a rewrite and recording on "Alabama Has Everything" and put it on an album.
Jay and Barbara Sanders also recorded two of my songs, "Curtains For Me" and "You Can’t Get There From Here" while I was in Montgomery.
Jack Turner hired a ’better’ and more prominent Steel player, Jimmy Porter, who had previously toured some with Opry Star, Curly Fox, after we were on WBAM a few months. But, before that
I went with Jack to Nashville when we went for him to audition for Steve Shoals of RCA. We were both hoping to audition but as fate had it, I never got the chance. *
Following Hank Williams, Sr.’s death. Hank Williams’ Mother, Mrs. Lillian Stone had referred Jack to Mr. Shoals, because he had painted and given her a full size portrait of Hank. (Jack was an excellent artist and a pretty good country singer). Through her and Hank’s wife, Miss Audrey, the interview and audition was set up. I drove Jack to Nashville for it.
Mrs. Stone had ’taken a liking to Jack’, especially after he painted that full size Portrait of Hank and gave it to her. She invited the entire group from our TV show over to her house once or twice for dinner.
My wife, Robbie, and I got acquainted with her and Hank’s cousin, Marie Harvell, and had several visits in the home of Mrs. Stone. It was there that we first saw Hank’s little daughter, just a toddler, now known as Jett Williams. This of course was after Hank had died. I never got to meet Hank in Person, though I did visit in his Nashville home with Miss Audrey a couple of times when Hank Jr. was about six years old and Audrey’s daughter, Lycretia was a beautiful ten year old - if memory serves me well. I’m not too good on ages/dates.
But, back to the Audition: When we got to the old RCA Studio down town, Johnny and Jack were just winding up a pretty long recording session, and Mr. Shoals, they said, was just too tired to listen to anyone audition. * But, with Marie’s persuasion... (Hank’s cousin, who went with us as an intermediary,) he finally did let Jack Turner sing parts of one or two songs, and that was it. Jack had intended to ask him to listen to me sing a song or two, but I think he was a little hesitant to push his luck, so as far as I know he never got around to it. In fact, he was a little disappointed in the way things had gone, and told me that he didn’t think he would ever hear from RCA again. But he was wrong.
One thing I remember about that session: Johnny and Jack’s last song was the old Spiritual Gospel song, "God Put A Rainbow In The Cloud." And, Shot Jackson, the maker and builder of The Shobud Steel Guitar, was their Dobro Player. He was also helping to sing the Bass Part. He was supposed to put a tag on the last line with a low-low, bass note. For some reason he just couldn’t pull it off just right. After about a half-dozen or so takes, Mr. Shoals said, "well let’s just let it go and we’ll come back and ’over dub it" (or add it on) later. To this day I don’t know if Shot did it or someone else came in and added it to that last line.
Somewhat to his surprise, Jack Turner subsequently got a contract with RCA for a couple of releases and a song writing contract with Acuff-Rose. But with limited success he was dropped from RCA and Fred Rose helped him get a release with MGM, and following that, a release on Hickory. He never caught on Nationally, but it did help him get local bookings as he continued his Artist Career with Civil Service at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery. He was an excellent Graphic Artist and Painter. He later returned for a stint on television with the newest TV Station in Town, WSFA. Both WSFA and WCOV are still operating, though the latter station had a pretty big fire in later years and had to be rebuilt; at least part of it.
I did some guests appearances on WSFA with Wiley Walker of Gene Sullivan and Willy Walker fame, ("When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again") after he returned to Alabama, semi- retired. Curt Blair was working at WSFA at that time. In fact we were to do a show together in a little town south of Montgomery, I think it was Ramer or Ada. Maybe someone reading this can refresh my memory... the night of the day President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed. We knew there wouldn’t be anyone to show up, just a handful, but true to the adage "the show must go on’ we were booked and we showed up, did a short interlude, returned the money to the few fans, and went home.
When I left Montgomery in 1970 to transfer to Orlando, FL, I slowed up on my weekend playing and started concentrating more on my writing, and did more singing in churches than clubs. After a double by-pass heart artery surgery in 1973,
I was eventually retired from W E. Co. after 23 plus working years and a year’s sick leave and returned to my old homestead near Headland, AL where I graduated from High School. I moved back to the old home site where I grew up after the house I was born in burned down when I, and my twin Brother John were only about five or six years old. We had four sisters older than we who were still at home at that time.
But I soon got back into playing music as a singer and fiddle player on the Taylor Made Opry, a WTVY radio station show broadcast from the old Houston Theater in downtown Dothan. It was produced by Farley Taylor. There I got to mix, mingle and play fiddle some with such Grand Ole Opry stars as Dell Wood, Duke of Paducah, Ernie Ashworth, the late Nat Stuckey, and David Frizzel, brother of Lefty. Other stars that appeared on that little Opry included Earnest Tubb and Justin Tubb.
After that show folded a couple of years later I went to the J & J Opry which was a community type Opry house in Ashford, Alabama which was run by Mr. Jack Cochran, now deceased. But, he became a good friend of mine and helped make it possible - along with another good Pharmacist Friend in Midland City; Al. named Jack Sewell - for me to get one of my record albums produced. We stayed with the J & J about ten years.
During all the above mentioned years I was writing and recording some of my material and getting a few songs by some local artists recorded in Nashville and some local studios. That’s where I got to record with some of the best in country music. Such legendary studio musicians as Bunky Keels, who played with Jim Reeves up until the time Jim died in a plane crash. Bunky just missed being on that plane because of a prior committment down in the state of Georgia, he later told me.
Also, Fred Carter, Hargus Robbins, Lloyd Green, Dave Kirby, D. J. Fontana, Scotty Moore, Vic Jordan and Al Gore. Al both played some and engineered on a dozen or so of my first recordings in Nashville, both at The Old Starday Studio, and at Music City Recorders, and others, including Porter Wagoner’s Studio. Al is the same big ol’ loveable guy that was a co-writter on "Diggin’ Up Bones" with Paul Overstreet. He played a demo cut of the song for me on one of my visits to Nashville, just before it was released. He told me that he was really excited that it was going to be released by a young singer named Randy Travis, whom I hadn’t heard of at that time. I agreed with him though that it was gonna be a hit, and it was. I sure was proud for him, because he had been working in those dimly lit studios for 12 to 16 hours a day and night for about 20 years and he deserved a break. Besides, he’s a good songwriter. Al and his wife Jean are still my friends and I always try to see them and visit in their home in Hendersonville where he has those big Gold and Platinum Records hanging on the wall.
Other Nashville musicians that I used several times were Jim Baker and his wife, Sudie Calloway. And Sudie and her sisters did some great backup vocal work on one of my Christmas Albums, titled: "Everyday Can Be Christmas." I also had Billy Linneman on Bass on a number of songs. Also, Jeff Newman of Steel guitar fame played on a half-dozen songs for me.
One of the best Piano Players, I ever had record with me that didn’t live in Nashville was a Blind Piano Tuner. He, with his wife Billie, (and she was almost blind, too) proved what determination, persistence and hard work can do. They ultimately at one time owned three Piano Restoration and Rebuilding and Selling stores in Atlanta, Smyrna, and Marietta, Ga. Charlie Parris could play country or Bluegrass in a Honky Tonk Style so invigorating that it made me want to write a song about him.
In Fact I did, and one of these days I hope to record it, and dedicate it to the School for the Blind in Talladega, AL. where he and Luther Dixon, both learned to play music. Charlie helped me record "Little Bit O’ This, Whole Lotta That," and "That’s the Way it Goes."
Mr. Jim Stanton, who was instrumental in bringing Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper to the Grand Ole Opry, as he related it, also befriended me when I did my second Christmas Album in his old Broadway Studio. Also, Roy Baham of "Charlie’s Shoes" fame, who produced that Album along with me, and was publisher on many of the songs...he and his wife, Mrs. Helen, befriended me, and put me up over night while we were there.
Al and Jean Gore also took me in as their guest at least once or twice. That’s the kind of folks that have helped me in my efforts, and they are the kind of folks any poor ole country boy from Alabama or else where needs when struggling to survive in the music business.
Some Montgomery musicians I was about to forget that also played on WBAM radio and toured with Shorty Sullivan (brother to Lonzo and Oscar) who was making a name for himself, were Calvin Bodiford, Roy Gibson and a couple that I can only remember by their ’nick names’. "Sugar Moon" and "Cue Ball". I think the latter, though, played more with the late "Half As Much" Curly Williams who had moved into Montgomery in the Fifties, and opened up a Club with his Georgia Peach Pickers. We played out at Curly’s place on the Mobile highway once or twice. He later took over as the "Bar 20 Barn Dance Band" on WCOV-TV.
I would be remiss if I didn’t also acknowledge with Grateful Thanks the Hospitality with which my Producer and Publisher with Woodrich Recordings bestowed upon me when I visited a weekend with them several years back as we worked on getting some recordings cut and released, and distributed. Mrs. Cybil and Woody Richardson are super nice Friends, and I love them both.
And one more Record Producer, Publisher and Friend who helped me and Put Out my First Christmas Album, was Mr. Carl Queen and his wife in Smyrna, Ga. He had API Records at that time and a whole bunch of Bluegrass Artists are still available on API to this day as far as I know.
And, lastly, Mr. Julian Tharpe, one of the best Steel Guitar Players that ever sat down at a Steel, tried to help me get my songs published and recorded the last year or so he was in Nashville, not too many years before he died. He even called up Bill Carlisle while I was in his office and told him about my ’Goof’ Song, to be on another album, and tried to get him interested in recording again, but I understand Bill said he didn’t think he would record anymore. He was getting on up in years by then, but still on The Opry as ever. (Note: Seems like I was always a little late, eh, "Lefty", but that’s another story for another time.)
Julian was born and grew up in Ozark, Alabama (Around Penuel Church community). When he returned to Alabama in the 80’s before his last run in Nashville, he and I worked together with a Video Production Co. that was seeking a cable channel. That never materialized, but we did record a Title song for a little comedy show script that I was working on with another writer or two.
Ozark was about twenty miles from where I grew up, and a young Julian Tharpe cut his teeth with a local band called Bobby Jones and The Pine Valley Gang. That group was one of the top country bands in our Wiregrass Alabama area, along with the King of Saturday Night Dance Hall Bands, Herman Callaway and The Pea Pickers. They held sway for a good number of years back in the late 40’s and 50’s, every Saturday night on the East Side of Dothan in Melvin White’s Pea Picker’s Hall.
Melvin was another blind musician, and had a younger brother, Mack White who went on to write some songs, and had a space in Acuff-Rose’s publishing facilities. He had several good records of modest success before a tragic illness took his life. He recorded one of the most beautiful renditions of "Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain" I ever heard. And, if Willie Nelson hadn’t come out just after it’s release with his simplistic vocal and Nelson Guitar version, I think Mac would have at least had a Top Ten, if not number one record. He was really excited about it. He told a good Fiddler Friend of his and mine, Bill "Billdad" McGlaun that he finally got to record with an orchestra that had sixteen (16) violins in it.
Billdad fiddled not only with Mac, his brother Melvin White, Herman Callaway, and Bobby Jones, but many other local country and Bluegrass musicians in The Wiregrass. (Fiddlin, and doing comedy, especially with Jones’ group). He also helped finance one of Mack Whites recording sessions of a song or two they cowrote. "She Only Has my Name" b/w "I Can’t Forget" was Mack White’s first recordings while he was still a teenager. I think they cut it in Mobile and added voices in Birmingham, Al. Bill also wrote "Just Turn Around and Go the Other Way." that Mack recorded. He also let me write one with him that I recorded on one of my country Albums, "I Hate To See You Go."
McGlaun had the opportunity to Fiddle one booking with Bill Monroe in his younger Opry days down in the Florida Panhandle in the Vernon-Caryville, area when Monroe’s regular fiddle player, Vassar Clements, I believe it was, was late showing up for a performance.
Herman Callaway finally gave up the dance hall music, trading it for Gospel and Religious Music after he became converted and was ordained as a Minister in the Free Will Baptist Church. He was Pastor and Minister for a great many years, and I had the privilege of visiting him and playing in his Church and Home a number of times before he died. I was so impressed with his conversion to The Gospel of Jesus Christ and his ministry that I later wrote a song about him and how he went from a ’Square Dance Caller’ to a Preacher, a "Caller of Men" to the Gospel of Christ.
Some of the latest Radio work I did was as an assistant to a Southeast Alabama DJ legend and Country Music Promoter, Charlie Gilmore on his WTVY Saturday night show. Six PM to midnight every Saturday night for several months until throat problems made it necessary for me to give it up.
Charlie is more than just a local DJ, he is known in many Country Music Circles and in Southern Gospel Quartet singing as one of the premier Bass Singers around the country, and in Nashville, where he worked the Tour Circuit with his three sons, "The Rangers" for several years. I believe he also sang some Bass on one of Monroe’s Bluegrass recordings.
I’m still writing, and I plan on doing some more recording soon as the Lord lets me get this ’throat and coughing’ problem cleared up.
I think I’m like the painter (artist) who paints a little bit of every thing, not stuck in just one mold, but I’m Southern Born and Southern Bred, so it mostly has to be country, real country or have a pretty good country flavor. But in this genre can be a little humor - need it to survive -- Love songs and ballads - what would the world do without Love? We need more of it, but I’m not so much on silly, mushy love stuff. -- Too Southern and practical for that I guess.
But I have to write something ’funny, comical, and novelty flavored for a Change of Pace. And I can be serious on social issues, themes like "Stop And Think About It", and "Will Santa Claus Be There."
I cowrote the latter with a dear friend, Dewey Douglas, who passed away before I could get it recorded. But I promised him I would, and so I did. It’s a song about a tragedy caused by drunk driving. We hoped that it would cause those who drink to stop and think before getting drunk then getting into a car and driving. Mike Keels, son of legendary Piano Player Bunky Keels does a great job. It’s on the CD, "The Best of Marty Whiddon, Vol. 1".
I also felt I needed to put at least one Gospel--Southern Gospel Type Song on my CD, "The Best of Marty..." so I included one that I co-wrote with a very nice lady and good friend from Texas, Gladys Mitchell, owner and Publisher of Glad Way Music. It’s titled "God Has Built A Bridge." I think it turned out really well and William Ray from Nashville did a great job on the vocals. Steve Cooper from Nashville also worked on that session. I later added my voice to the same tracks.
Gladys’ brother, Wayne Carter, and I also cowrote a song on my CD, ’The Best of Marty Whiddon’, titled "Little Willie’s Cold." If it doesn’t tickle your funny bone then you ain’t ’country.’ Wayne is another great Country-Western singer from Texas who also has an album on CD Baby and other Internet sites.
About the closest thing to a cute and ’puppy love’ type song on this CD, I guess is a little idea I got while trying to use the Internet, and was privileged to co-write with a wonderful fellow from England named Leo McSorley who wrote the music for it. John Daniel Coe from Nashville recorded it for us. It’s titled: "Loving by E-mail."
Dewey Douglas was an Old Time Fiddle Player and Banjo Picker. He, and I and another good friend, Bass Player and Singer, Henry Head, played a lot of Nursing Homes. Also we played some local auctions before they both passed away in1999 with cancer, only about six months apart. That was a big blow to me, and slowed me down quite a bit. It’s hard to replace old musicians, especially when they’re such good Friends. In fact, you can never replace them!
This doesn’t cover all my life’s work and experiences, in Country Music but it sums up a good bit of it. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit, Nashville many times, The Grand Ole Opry, and a good number of Fan Fairs where I got to perform on Star Banquet Showcases, etc. with such people as Jim and Jesse and The Virginia Boys, Joe Stuart, and Joe Meadows, a fantastic Fiddle Player.
I also got the chance to mix and mingle, and share the same Bill, with others like Jeanie C. Riley, Melba Montgomery, Little Jimmy Dickens, Jack Greene, Gene Watson, Martin Del Ray and Stonewall Jackson, and Conway Twitty. I also got to meet and talk with Patsy Montana, the legendary Singer and Western Movie Cowgirl.
I had a song released on Woodrich Recordings, out of The Muscle Shoals Sound area, that was later picked up and released in Europe on WIR Records, that received a good bit of air play, titled "Too Fat." That was in 1997. The CD title was "Country Pure", Valleys 12. It had an Introduction and liner notes by Pete Lenloy, a veteran musician of over 25 years at that time, and the "Guiness Book record holder for the longest Country Music Radio Program that ever aired (34.5 hours)" according to notes on the insert. The program aired on ’radio Carinzia, Italy.
"Too Fat" is a spoof of ’Fad Diets’, yet not making fun of people who like to eat a lot. We ’spoof’ what we see as the folly of chasing one diet after another, usually with little or no results that last.
It’s also on the CD, "Best of Marty..." along with the "Private Turkey Shoot" which is a ’riot’ about some ole boys who got in the ’cane skimmings’ too much, and decided they needed their own little Turkey Shoot. It’s a "hoot."
A dear young friend and Neighbor Mike McNeal, now deceased helped me with the music and some of the ’cut-up’ stuff on that one. I really miss him.
I had another song that was picked up on Options down in Australia titled "Computers", but as far as I know it was never acted upon. But, we have included our version of it on my latest CD.
Dear Country Music Fans, Thank You Sincerely for Playing and Buying My Tapes, Records, and now CD’s. I Hope you greatly enjoy everyone of ’em, and like ’em all a whole lot. I’m not trying to prove anything except that you never get too old to write, play or sing good songs, Country, Gospel, or Hymns - whether they’re funny, sad, loving, or just plain ole enjoyable songs. I just happen to like mine with a little Real Country Flavor no matter what style it is. Let’s All Sing!
I might make mention, in case I haven’t elsewhere, the names of some other local Musicians and songwriters that have helped me or been instrumental in my music career at different times. The late Mike McNeal, a very talented young Musician, singer/songwriter, friend/neighbor. The late Jack Bartee, and his co/owner, my Friend/producer, B.C. Barbour- BCB Records, Huntsville, Ala.
Norwood Hall, a small Country Bandleader and singer and up-right bass player (Also deceased). Dave Anderson, Elbert Nixon, Leonard Williams, Leo Suiter, Charlie and Kevin McLean; Square Dance calling Friend and WWII Veteran and survivor of The Battle of The Bulge, Bill Hasty.
Also, Calvin Bodiford, Buddy Hudson, Roy Gibson, and Billy Wayne Williamson, and Eugene Messick. And, in Montgomery, Bill Eubanks who managed a band that played on a radio station in Montgomery where we taped the shows that ran on early mornings. I think it was WMGY. I also played some Bluegrass music with Ken Jennings, Booney Knowles, Joe Berry, Howard Justice, and Linda and Renee Thompson. Also, Effie and Jim Thompson, Maurice and Paul Richardson.
Others include Wilburn Martin, Jr., Curtis Johnson, John Beasley, Ray Matthews, Wayne Berry, Doug and Carol Duncan and Fred Knighton. Another wonderful musician friend was Bill Farmer, a paraplegic, but great piano player with his own band; and Herman Andress. Also, friend and well known Bluegrass Festival promoter Rex Locklar in Hendersonville, Alabama who has several big festivals a year in an old School House. It’s located between Brundidge and Luverne, Alabama.
A couple of pastor friends of mine, Brother Herman Calloway and Brother Tommy Martin. Also, another deceased friend and Steel guitarist, Buford McCallister. Buford is the father of former professional Musician, and Steel Player, Tommy McCallister. (Also, a friend James Cunningham.)
Tommy played a number of years with Lois Johnson and her band, touring the country. He has also recorded in a number of local studios with various singers. He’s now an architect, I believe. His brother Phillip is also a good musician. I also played with Jim Keen and Lunnie Holton. And, Starla Dean, "Little Robert", Larry Kirkland, D.W. Roland, and others from the Taylor made Opry.
Too, David Atkins, a great Piano player and guitarist, and brother of John Rainey (now deceased) has worked on several of my local recording sessions. Both played, I believe, with Bobby Goldsboro and Roy Orbison. By the way, Bobby is another Dothan boy who made good in music.
Like the old Kentucky Chicken Colonel, I’ve been cooking up Country Music a long time, like he did Chicken, before he struck it big. But I don’t want to make millions of dollars, I just want to keep on helping older guys like me get their music heard. They deserve it! If anyone’s reading this, and I hope many do, I’d like to hear from you at my e-mail address: Currently it’s >> mwhiddon@https://www.tradebit.com. At CD Baby or Café https://www.tradebit.com or other web sites - what ever, to get here.
Perhaps there may be someone out there who remembers some of these people and events, that I’ve tried to list as a way of Thanking them and honoring them for helping me and working with me down through the years. And, they may be able to fill in some of the blanks, names and dates, (and spelling errors) etc. that I don’t immediately recall. I would very much appreciate that
I do remember two more late fiddle players and Friends, Horace Hancock from Abbeville, and also a Champion fiddle player, Grady Walker from Headland, Alabama. And, DJ, Rudy Armstrong.
Post Notes: I played the National Peanut Festival in Dothan, AL opening the show for Jeannie C. Riley in 1968. Several years before that I was in a group that opened for Porter Wagoner. I also played Steel ’n rhythm guitar backing Jimmy C. Newman at a Naval Weather Station Club in Ala.
I had Bob Johnson (with whom I played Steel Guitar at Gunter Air Base in Montgomery) on one recording session in Montgomery, along with a great Steel player, Tom Windsor. Also, Bob’s son Mike or Paul played Drums when only about 10-12 years old. Mike and his brother both went on to Nashville and played with Bill Anderson and others. I understand that both Bob Johnson and Tom Windsor are now deceased. I played many-a home-sessions with my late friend Gene Taylor.
Also had another well known Montgomery DJ, Wayne "Po-Boy Cobb" do a recording for me, a great recitation on a little Christmas thing I wrote called "Christmas With Po-Folk Kin." It was on a 45 rpm Universal Records. Leo Hudson, now deceased played some beautiful Xylophone tones on it. I later changed it up a little bit and sung it on my first Christmas album as "We’re Gonna Have An Old Fashion Christmas." Another musician friend from Montgomery was Buddy Hawk.
Billy Gant recorded my Christmas song, "The Heart of Christmas is Love", and Richard Burke, III also did one of my Christmas songs, "Come On and Sing." Both were recorded at Studio Four in Dothan, Alabama. Sonja Raley and Gordon Dodson also did a duet of one of my Christmas songs. Little Beverly Key did an intro on a Christmas recitation I had on that album.
I was about to forget a dear songwriting friend of mine, Hugo Tharpe. We wrote several songs together and had three or four recorded by other local artists and myself. He is now deceased. He had a number of songs recorded by a well-known West Coast singer, Ray Sanders. He also published several books of Poetry. He helped me and a local band record something we wrote together called "Hank Williams, Thirty Years Later." I did the recitation and Butch Wells sung it.
Another writer friend just came to mind, Margie Thomley. She and her daughter Tara recorded several songs on "Every Day Can Be Christmas" my second Christmas album. Also need to mention Laura and Debbie, and their Mother, Joyce McKee who sang on my first Christmas album. Too, their Dad and husband, Royce McKee who was a good Steel Guitarist. And, Recording Studio Engineer, and Piano Player, co-owner with the late Jerry Wise of Studio Four in Dothan, Alabama, Steve Clayton, and Steel guitarists*, Jimmy Miller. *There were more than two.
Other musicians of note that I’ve played with down ’through’ the years: Dave Anderson and Elbert Nixon in Montgomery; Luther Hasty, Howard Lindsey, Buster Watson, and Frank Tyson. Also, Charlie/Glenda Ray, and John Alderman. Too, Glenda Kirkland Bowman of Dothan. Sister to Ray Kirkland who has played with many Opry Stars and groups in Nashville and recorded in his own right. . And, a co-writer that first told me there were words to an old fiddle tune, "Whistlin’ Rufus". He could only remember two or three lines, so we made up some more. He was Doug Booth, a brother to Author, Sterling Booth, from Raleigh, N.C. Doug and Sterling are both deceased. And I jammed many sessions with my late friend, Gene Taylor, one of the first Fiddlers I played with.
I must be getting old. Seems like a lot of my good musician friends that I’ve played a good bit with have all gone on to be with the Lord. These include Irwin and J. T. Glover. They were brothers who played with us at the J & J Opry in Ashford, Alabama. J. T. played Bass and Irwin the 4-string Tenor Guitar. They came from a well-known Gospel Singing Family in our local area, The Glovers.
And how could I forget "Ole Sarge", my friend, fellow church member, and Banjo Player. We played several outings at Dothan’s Historical Landmark Park. ’Sarge’ as he was affectionately known from his Navy Days during WWII, could blow the ’Train Whistle’ as good as Roy Acuff.
And I certainly can’t forget two of the most unique and talented musicians I ever worked with, though for a short while, back in the early Fifties, "Fiddlin’ Doris, and the late Oliver Harrell, I met them while working at Radio Station WOOF where they had a radio program. They worked out of Donalsonville, Ga. and around the Bainbridge, Ga. area. Their Band was known as "Fiddlin’ Doris and the Pine Cabin Folks. Oliver was a veteran of WWII and a good friend of one of the Georgia Governors (can’t remember which one). He wound his own guitar and fiddle pick-ups. They had a unique sound, but they worked really good.
I have been fortunate enough to have recorded four albums and a number of singles, four-tracks and cassettes and several song releases on CD compilations. The Album titles are "Peanuts - Friends - Music" on M/G Records. "Back To The Country" on API (Atteiram). "We’re Gonna Have an Old-Fashion Christmas" - API (Atteiram) and "Every Day Can Be Christmas" on Moonflower Productions. Another CD release with ’yours truly’ singing is in the works for the near future. 5-24-4
The CD compilations thus far have been on a series of Woodrich Recordings, "Potpourri" Nos. 1 - 6. And one release in Europe on WIR (World International Records). Woody Richardson who was inducted into the Alabama Country Music Hall of Fame in 2003 owns Woodrich. Congratulations, Woody!
My singles have been on Summit Records, House of Wax, B.C.B, Touché, Hoe-Bow Records, Sharp Records, M/G Records, and Sound Waves Records. Can’t think of or know of any others.
I’ve had songs cut that were released on Morgan Records, Universal Records, and the Nashville label as well as API, and Moonflower. Mel Williams recorded songs of mine and ours (we cowrote) for Moonflower, initially, but they have never been released. Really good cuts, too. He sang great.
Besides playing on some of my own recordings I’ve done some Steel and Fiddle work on TSP records which was owned by Tony Scott in Dothan, and Morgan, BCB, Pep, and Summit Records.
With over Eighty (80) songs now in my BMI Catalog I won’t try to list them all here. Perhaps later I’ll try to do a more complete discography, etc. As of 5-24-04
Mike Bodiford, Luverne, Ala. Has the most complete Collection of Hank Williams’ Original recordings of anyone I know of. I’m honored that he probably has everyone of mine, too.
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