Tuesday, December 21, 2004


Martha Carson dies; 'Rockin' Queen of Happy Spirituals'

From The Tennessean
Martha Carson, the ''Rockin' Queen of Happy Spirituals'' whose gospel sound influenced Elvis Presley, Connie Smith and numerous others, died yesterday at 1 p.m. in Nashville. She was 83 years old, and had been in fragile health for the past year.

''She was the first Grand Ole Opry star I ever saw in person,'' said Smith, now an Opry star in her own right, who saw Ms. Carson play at an Ohio theater in the early 1960s. ''I remember the way she played that guitar, the red hair, the curls coming down the front. She was so energetic and so powerful: If she'd walked out of the building and kept singing on down the street, I believe everybody in that theater would have followed her.''

''We played a lot of package shows together, back in the late '40s and early '50s,'' said Bluegrass Hall of Fame member Mac Wiseman. ''She had that electricity on stage, and she was a great guitar picker. She showed no mercy on that guitar.''

Ms. Carson also made contributions by recording and touring with the Carlisles and by writing hits for Faron Young, Clyde McPhatter and other artists.

Read the article
The Tennessean


'Beverly Hillbillies' singer dies in Westlake

From The Ventura (CA) County Star
The man who sang the "Ballad of Jed Clampett," that catchy theme song for "The Beverly Hillbillies" television show, has died in Westlake Village.

Jerry Scoggins died Tuesday morning at his home. He was 93.

As a young man, Scoggins sang with the Cass County Boys, a country-Western trio.

One night, Gene Autry heard the group sing in Texas and invited them to work with him. So they packed up their bags and moved to California, said Judy Headley, Scoggins' daughter.

Among the movies the trio made with Autry: "Sioux City Sue," "Twilight on the Rio Grande," and "On Top of Old Smoky."

Well into his 80s, Scoggins was performing at local senior centers and hospitals. He was also a regular in the choir at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Westlake Village. And when the movie version of "Beverly Hillbillies" came out, he sang the theme song once again -- at the age of 83.

Read the article
Ventura County Star


Hillbillies singer Scoggins dies

From the BBC (UK)
Country and Western musician Jerry Scoggins has died in Los Angeles at the age of 93, his family has said.

Scoggins was best remembered for singing the theme tune to popular US TV show The Beverly Hillbillies.

The Texan-born singer approached the producers of the programme with theme tune The Ballad of Jed Clampett for the pilot which was screened in 1962.

When a film version of The Beverly Hillbillies was made in 1993, Scoggins came out of retirement to perform the theme tune.

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Hawaiian star lived as ordinary Hoosier

From The Star Press (Muncie, IN)
A former television star, Haleloke Kahuaolapua sang and danced her way into American homes in the 1950s in the cast of Arthur Godfrey's variety show.

Years after her career blared through the radio and was broadcast on national television, Kahuaolapua, known as "Hale" to her friends, retired to Union City. She died there Thursday at age 82.

Kahuaolapua was part of Godfrey's cast of characters for five years, from 1950 to 1955. During the 1951-52 season, the show was at the top of the charts, and Kahuaolapua and Godfrey were featured on the cover of TV Guide. A year later the show was knocked out of the top spot by I Love Lucy.

Before television she was popular on a Hawaiian radio program, Hawaii Calls.

The city of Winchester hosts the Aloha International Hawaiian Steel Guitar Club's annual convention, and the summertime event features musicians from all over the world. Even though she wasn't able to perform, she did attend some of the gatherings. Zearbaugh remembers seeing her there.

Read the article
The Star Press


State hoping for solution to Cowboy Junction flooding

From the Citrus County Chronicle
The state surveyed Cowboy Junction this week and sent lawyers to talk to owner Boris Pastuch about how to solve a nagging flooding problem that Pastuch blames on stormwater runoff from nearby State Road 44.

Pastuch, who has asked Gov. Jeb Bush for help, said his Cowboy Junction Opry House last flooded on Aug. 8. Stains and debris from the flood water rose to about 6 to 8 inches in parts of the building.

Vickers said the site elevations taken by the survey team would give the agency a better idea of what is causing the flooding and how to correct it. He said DOT engineers would use the information to develop options.

He said the possibility of using eminent domain to condemn the Cowboy Junction Opry House and replace it with a stormwater retention area remains one option. DOT would construct a new opry house at Cowboy Junction at no cost to Pastuch.

Read the article
Citrus County Chronicle


Roots music: Old fashioned tunes draw crowds to Evansville

From The Northwest Arkansas Times
Anybody who worries about the survival of old-time country music only needs to make a trip to K. T. ’s Cafe in this southwest Washington County community on Saturday night for reassurance.

Every week, beginning at 7 p.m. on Saturday, songs that have been Grand Ole Opry standbys for decades are performed by live bands. "This is my kind of music," said Lynnwood Holloway from Lincoln while listening to Four Star, a group from the Van Buren area, on Saturday night. "This is better than what I paid $15 to hear the other night at Springdale."

K. T. ’s, located on the east side of Arkansas 59 in Evansville, was opened by the Trenthams in 1989. "When we first opened, Jay had been used to playing in different places," said his wife. "He built this room onto the cafe so he’d have a place to play. He can play anything he picks up. My husband and his bunch play every other Saturday night. We let others come in other weeks. We do it just to have a good time. We’ve got regulars who come every week. People come from everywhere — Van Buren, Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Lincoln, Stilwell. Some come and eat, some don’t. It doesn’t make any difference."

K. T. ’s is not a honky-tonk. "We don’t allow no drinking or dancing," said Kaye Trentham. "That way we get a lot of families."

Read the article
The Northwest Arkansas Times


Grave site thefts an act of terrorism

From the Daily News Journal (Murfreesboro, TN)
Alice Sweeney isn't asking for much this Christmas: All she wants is for people to leave the grave sites of her late parents alone.

For several years, family members of those buried at the Coleman Cemetery in the Kittrell community on Old Woodbury Highway have been reporting thefts of everything from cement plant holders to a statue of Jesus.

In spite of complaints made to local authorities, nothing seems to work, and the problem continues, even in this holiday season.

Sweeney, who now lives in Rome, Ga., but visits her brother and her parents' grave sites here regularly, placed Christmas decorations around their headstones Sunday, then returned home.

The fact that this heinous crime has continued unabated for some five years is troubling. It seems someone would have seen something in that time and turned information over to the sheriff's department.

Coleman Cemetery, where Grand Ole Opry star Uncle Dave Macon is buried along the Old Woodbury Highway, is off the beaten path and easy pickings for vandals and thieves.

Read the article
The Daily Journal

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