Stories From the Road #12

STORIES FROM THE ROAD!A series of first-hand tales from a Texas Musician and songwriter...

This is part of a 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 bus 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 I’m going to switch gears again and talk about another Country Music Legend Rick had the pleasure of working with.

Rick:

“I had the good fortune to work with Red Foley in 1963. He had a great voice and stage presence that propelled him to stardom in the fifties. We got the tour through an agent I had in Waco. When I got the gig, my grandmother, who was a God-fearing woman, said, “I’m so proud you boys are going to work with a good Christian man. Maybe he will help y’all straighten up and do right.” Red had just finished up his last episode of the TV series, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” and flew in from California. I had never met him and didn’t know much about him other than admiring him on the Grand Ole Opry for many years, and of course, his records. I told the boys in the band, “Y’all don’t drink or cuss in front of him. Be on your best behavior. This is a good job, so let’s not blow it.”

That first night, his plane was late and he met us at Mission Stadium in San Antonio. He came rushing into the dressing room with his guitar and ran back out to get his suitcase out of the cab. We introduced ourselves to him and all shook hands. He asked the guitar player to tune him up with us and he showed us the songs which had difficult chords. Then, he opened his suitcase and pulled out a fifth of Vodka, unscrewed the cap and tossed it into the trash can. He took a long swig from the bottle (straight) and offered us a drink. We all declined, of course. He had just gotten his dentures and had to keep sucking them up, making a funny sound. But, when we went on stage, he was great and had the audience spell-bound. He always said a little prayer at the beginning and end of the shows. He’d also say, “My, isn’t this a lovely crowd we have boys?” We’d always say in unison, “Yes, Mr. Foley.” That tour was an eventful and exciting gig.

Pat Boone (Red’s son-in-law), had a big interest in the Hushpuppy Shoe Company at that time. Of course, all of us guys wore cowboy boots, but Red Foley wanted us to wear patent leather Hushpuppies that they were just beginning to market. He gave each of us a pair of bone white, maroon and black patent leather shoes, which he insisted we wear. So, that’s what we wore on stage. None of us had seen patent leather shoes before and they were really shiny. You could take a little bit of vaseline on a cloth and shine them up where they were glassy. People asked us many times how we got our shoes to shine so good. I’d tell them, “Well, when you work with Mr. Foley, you have to keep your shoes shined like this because he insists.”

So anyway, one night, one of the guys let the fire fall off his cigarette onto the top of one of his shoes. They were basically plastic and the fire sat on top until it burned through the shoe onto his toe. He did quite a little dance for us on the bandstand. Needless to say, he didn’t care much for the plastic shoes after that.

But, I got to meet a lot of the Grand Ole Opry stars on the tour with Red Foley. One show we did in Lufkin, Texas had Sonny James, Uncle Cyp Brasfield, Frankie Miller, Marsha Lynn and ourselves. The newspaper article advertising the show misspelled my name, putting Sykes instead of Sikes. But things like that happened often. I remember one time I had a show at Fort Sill Air Base in Lawton, Oklahoma and when we pulled up at the venue, the marquee said, “Appearing tonight, Red Skies.” So, having my name misspelled wasn’t unusual.”

Red_Foley1

Red_Foley2

Uncle_Cyp_Brasfield_Rick_Sikes
Uncle Cyp Brasfield and Rick Sikes

 

I hope you've enjoyed this segment of-STORIES FROM THE ROAD-from Texas SingerSongwriterRICK SIKES

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25 thoughts on “Stories From the Road #12

  1. I Loved have behaved they became:) Another interesting story that I enjoyed! For some reason I think of hush puppies as leather, but plastic that melts–yikes!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Rick’s grandmother was clearly an optimist, judging my some of these stories!
    The one about the Hush Puppies shining with Vaseline reminded me of our very modern “wooden” doors that had faded in the sun – we do have sun in the UK, but this process took 10 years – I found my husband restoring them to their former glory with clear boot polish. “Who gave you that tip?” “The dog.” She’d rubbed the natural grease from her coat on it so often he’d noticed a shiny patch, but it isn’t the answer I expected!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh how funny, Sarah! Obviously, your husband is very observant and what a great discovery! Yes, Rick’s grandmother prayed for him a lot and she just knew Mr. Foley would turn him around. 🙂 She didn’t know he was an alcoholic. Thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jan- another wonderful story from the road. Rick certainly ran with some very inspiring singers. I just love these stories, it’s amazing how looking back at these stories, I think Rick left his mark & influence just as much on them, as they did him. Great memories you’re sharing.
    Love you and I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s an interesting thought, Tonya. He only thought of how they influenced him and don’t think he ever considered that he left his mark on them as well. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. Love you and wish you a very Merry Christmas too!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Annette. I wish you could have sat and listened to them coming out of his mouth. He was quite an animated storyteller. 🙂 I am thankful that he took the time to write these down, so I can share.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love these Stories From The Road. They really capture the personalities and the adventure. Thank you for sharing this world with us – especially those of us who are not performers. ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment, Gwen. I am happy to share this world with you all and am thankful that Rick had the foresight to write them down.

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  5. I get such an education from these posts, Jan! They’re like a time capsule 🙂

    I wasn’t familiar with Red Foley but when you mentioned Pat Boone, that name I remember. The connection to Hush Puppies and the shoes just being introduced on the market made me grin. What really amazed me was reading the newspaper print and seeing that tickets sold for $1 for adults and .50 cents for children. Wow!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s true, Mae, they are like a time capsule. The price of tickets nowadays just to get into a club is certainly way more than that and concert tickets are over the moon! Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. I truly appreciate your interest and glad you get tidbits of information from these posts. 🙂 They are a step back in time.

    Liked by 2 people

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