This is part of a new series of posts I’ve entitled, “Stories From the Road.” Each week I will post a new story from Rick Sikes, a Texas musician who traveled the roads of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and out to California for well over twenty years. With hours to pass in a van full of sweaty musicians, they found ways to entertain themselves. These stories are told in Rick Sikes’ words. I’ll do my best to correct grammar, but I want to keep them in his own voice.
This week we are traveling back to the late 40s or early 50s with another tale from Texas Singer/Songwriter, Rick Sikes
“Here’s another experience I want to relate to you from my early formative years. Back in those days, bands would travel around and stop in every little town at every little radio station to promote their records. Sometimes, they’d do a live show of thirty minutes or so. Once, back in the 40s or early 50s, Webb Pierce came to Coleman. He was on his way somewhere else to play but stopped in at KSTA Radio to promote a record which I believe was “Wondering.” My mom took me and my younger brother out to the station to see him. I can gauge the year by the fact that I wasn’t old enough to drive yet. (A side note…my mom was a helluva piano player and she loved music almost as much as anyone I ever knew.) Anyway, she took us out to the station and we watched their show through the control room window. There was no one else there besides the DJ. I often wondered where everyone was. Perhaps they were working and couldn’t get away, as it was in the middle of the afternoon. At any rate, for whatever the reason, we had exclusive access. I distinctly remember the members of Webb Pierce’s band that were there that day: Jimmy Day on Pedal Steel, Tillman Franks on standup bass, Faron Young on rhythm guitar and fronting for Webb, Floyd Cramer on piano and Tommy Hill on fiddle.
After they finished their show, we got to visit with them. This was a real boost for me to see these guys because by then, I knew this was what I wanted to do the rest of my life – play music. They were driving a brand new shiny Pontiac car and had this nice little band trailer they were pulling. They were looking flashy for those times. I patterned myself after these heroes of mine when I launched my career. And while I never really cared much for Webb Pierce’s voice, I admired the hell out of him as a performer and businessman…”
Webb Pierce was known as the “KING OF HONKYTONK BLING” and this now famous car was lined on the inside with silver dollars while the outside sported a set of longhorns and pistols for door handles.