It's Should Be Reading Wednesday, Y'all! To play, answer these 3 questions and add a link back to Miz B's.
• What are you currently reading? Jimmy McDonough's biography on Tammy Wynette, Tragic Country Queen... see more below.
• What did you recently finish reading? The first volume of Mark Twain's autobiography. Great read when you get a chance. It's huge!
• What do you think you’ll read next? The two Mary Roach books for my book club: Stiff and Spook. Looking forward to those.
Now, back to Tammy Wynette... I'm going to cut and paste a bit of this book here so you can see why every person alive should read this. These few paragraphs are worth reading the book, believe me. First, some history: Tammy sang with friends in contests and programs all over the southeast before moving to Nashville and getting her big break. She enjoyed an audience, to say the least. She got her first television exposure in Birmingham.
The Country Boy Eddie television show ran for 38 years beginning in 1957 at 5 am. - to 7 am. Monday through Friday on Channel 6 in Birmingham. “Eddie could get fifty-six minutes of commercials into an hour program,” said Mark Colvin. “You have never seen anything like it in your life. He’d have a singer come out, they’d get a little two-bar intro, doo doot doot, ‘My love…’, and Eddie’d cut ‘em right off. ‘That’s fine! Let’s have a big hand for her- and talk to YOU about some of those fine people down at Ellis Feed and Seed.”
Eddie had quite the collection of oddballs for a band. There was Whitney Puckett, an albino clarinet player who was legally blind and usually schnockered. Puckett, who drove a ’58 Edsel with a red-tipped cane decoratively attached to the front grille, carried a bucket of vodka that he drank from with a dipper as he drove down the street. “People jumped up on the sidewalk and into alleys to get out of his way,” noted (David) Vest, who played piano in the band for the princely sum of 35 bucks a week. Bass player Butterbean Flippo drew on his own freckles with the aid of a Magic Marker.
Johnny Gore, who played electric guitar and briefly toured with Wynette after she signed with Epic, was described by Vest as “a ladies’ man who played hot guitar but tended to solo all the way through every song.” There was a steel player whose name is forgotten, plus three acoustic guitarists, among them Mason “Tex” Dixon, who’d recorded some great country singles on various no-name labels (and a man Vest “expected to die of apoplexy every time Eddie didn’t let him sing a number”), not to mention Johnny Cash soundalike was an ode to the 56 foot-tall cast-iron statue of Vulcan the band passed on the drive to work. Actress and author Fannie Flagg was also a regular after Wynette left, contributing a zany weather-girl routine. Eddie even cut a self-penned theme song,“Hanging in There on a Rusty Fishhook.”
Augmenting this ragtag musical assembly was Mule Man, some poor would-be actor who donned a cape while scaling the walls of the money,” said Vest) and Mickey the Fire-Eater, an Italian fellow from the Birmingham projects who“had a badly crippled leg but was always challenging someone to a fight."
Now, I don't know about you, but this sounds like a three ring circus to me and I wish I knew where I could get my hands on some episodes of this show. I imagine it would be priceless. In the mean time, if I run across anymore wonderful paragraphs, I'll share them with you.