Stories From the Road #20

http-www.ricksikes.com

TO CELEBRATE #20 OF “STORIES FROM THE ROAD,” I’M GIVING AWAY A $20 AMAZON GIFT CARD. ANSWER THE QUESTION AT THE END OF THE POST CORRECTLY TO BE ENTERED TO WIN!! 

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.

RICK:

Jimmy C. Newman was a Cajun from Louisiana. He was the real deal and spoke with a heavy accent. He was quite colorful and always wore the sequined Nudie suits. He was a big hit on the Louisiana Hayride and that’s where I first met him along with a fiddler named Rufus Thibodeaux. Rufus was one of those guys that could literally make the fiddle talk. I mean, form words. He was amazing. I tried for years to get Rufus to come and play for me, but he barely spoke English and wouldn’t stray out of his comfort zone. Anyway, I had booked Jimmy C. quite a few times and he and Rufus were a lot of fun.

One time Jimmy C. came in from Nashville and Tom T. Hall had driven him down. Tom T. was trying to get into the music business. He was writing then for Jimmy Key at New Keys Talent. I knew Jimmy and Scotty Key back when they were here in Texas booking high school auditorium shows. Anyway,  Jimmy was booking single at the time and asked if we would let Tom T. sit in, sing a few songs and play guitar. No one had ever heard of him yet, but we let him sit in. I thought he was okay and that he might just make it. Little did I know he would become a much bigger entertainer and songwriter than we could imagine with eleven number one hits and twenty-six more that reached the Top Ten.

He wrote, “Harper Valley PTA,” that was a huge hit for Jeannie C. Riley. At the time, she was a  secretary at New Keys Talent. If I remember the story correctly, they got her to record a demo of the song and they decided she was good enough they wanted to release it. I don’t know exactly how it went down, but that’s the way her uncle, Johnny Moore, from Anson Texas told the story. Well, of course, it took off from there and launched her career.

Johnny Moore had a song called, “15 Acres of Peanut Land.” He and I were good friends. He didn’t like to play honkytonks (he was pretty religious) so if he got a gig he didn’t want, he’d pass it off to me. I’d do the same for him with rodeos and school dances. Anyway, he used to bring Jeanie C. around with him when she was sixteen and ask different bands to let her sit in. Her last name wasn’t Riley then. I don’t remember what it was. She sat in with us a time or two and I didn’t really think she had anything going for her. But, I’d do it as a favor to Johnny.

Anyway, after I went to prison, I kept hearing this song, “Harper Valley PTA,” by this gal from Anson, Texas, Jeannie C. Riley. I wasn’t putting it all together. After all, it couldn’t be the same little Plain Jane Jeannie that had sat in with us. And, then I saw her on TV, and my God, she had changed immensely. She as “doin’ it” then, and was incredibly beautiful as well. But, it was her. It just goes to show how sometimes the whole key to success is being in the right place at the right time.

Later on, after I got out of prison, Johnny Moore and another performer I always thought a lot of, Frankie Miller, came to Brady to play at a little Opry house and I heard it advertised on the radio. So, Jan and I drove over to the radio station where they were doing an interview and we renewed our friendship. It was so great to see both those guys still out there doin’ it.

In 2001, Johnny invited me to be a guest at the annual Johnny Moore day in Anson. It was only the second time I’d been on stage in over thirty years. It was a great honor. Johnny remained a good friend and visited every time he came down from Nashville.

If I could do things over again, I would certainly make different choices and I would have stayed more serious about the music in spite of the dirty deals, swindlers and crooks out to steal your hard work.”

Rufus Tibedeaux, Rick and Jimmy C. Newman
L-R Rufus Thibodeaux, Rick Sikes, Jimmy C. Newman
Rick,Johnny Moore,Frankie Miller
L-R Rick Sikes, Johnny Moore, Frankie Miller
ansonrick2 (2017_03_11 18_36_10 UTC)
Rick onstage in Anson, Texas 2001

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

CAN YOU NAME RICK’S ONLY NUMBER ONE SONG? PUT IT IN YOUR COMMENTS TO BE ENTERED FOR A $20 AMAZON GIFT CARD! 

Stories From the Road #8

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 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.

Rick:

“There was a singer back in the sixties named Warren Smith. He was very good and charted some records. In fact, “I Don’t Believe I’ll Fall In Love Today,” got to #5 on the charts in 1960. He also did some recording for Sun records. I thought he was an excellent talent. We did a lot of backup gigs at that time and we backed him up at Round Rock, Texas at the Big G Club. Then, later on that night, we found out that after he finished the gig, he had gone into Austin and robbed a drug store for some drugs. That was the last I heard of Warren Smith.”

Warren Smith
This photo was taken from Rick’s collection

Kenny Price was a musical genius. He could play almost any instrument exceptionally well and could sing at least three parts of harmony. I booked Kenny on his first gig in Texas through Jimmie Key at New Keys Talent. I booked Kenny in at Pat’s Hall in Fredericksburg, Texas. He met me in Brownwood and I drove him down to Fredericksburg. We stopped at a restaurant in Brady, Texas to eat some lunch. Well, Kenny damn near cleaned ’em out. That guy could put away some chow. We got to Pat’s Hall and they had a Lone Star sponsored band out of San Antonio to back Kenny. There were seven guys in the band. Kenny asked one of them if they would tune his guitar with them and the guy said, “What’s the matter? Can’t you tune a guitar?” Kenny said, “Damned right I can tune a guitar, you sonofabitch, and if you guys get smart-assed with me, Rick and I will take your instruments away from you and play the gig ourselves. I can play every damned instrument you’ve got on that stage and probably a damned sight better than y’all can.” The whole band looked kinda’ stunned.

We went to a table and drank a little whiskey while the band warmed up. This curvy blonde came up to the table and gushed over Kenny. She was obviously star struck. She went on and on. I remember her saying,  “I can’t believe it. I just saw you on TV last night and here you are in Fredericksburg.” Kenny grinned and said, “Ain’t it a miracle, darlin’. Here, sit down.” He patted a chair beside him and she sat. “What’s your name, darlin’?”

I can’t recall what her name was, but she sat down and Kenny laid it on strong. After a couple of drinks, he told her, “Honey, I’ve got to go up and play, but I sure would like it if you’d come to the motel tonight with ol’ Uncle Kenny.” She giggled and batted her eyelashes and said, “Oh, I don’t think my husband would like that too much.” He pulled her up real close and said, “Oh hell, just tell him you’re going with me. He won’t mind.” She giggled some more and then said she had to go.

I told Kenny, “Man, these people down here are pretty clannish and they’re probably all kin in some way or another. If you fight one, you’ll have to fight them all.” He replied, “Hell, I’m from Kentucky and everyone is clannish there. I ain’t afraid of these bastards, are you?” “No,” I said, “but I don’t see any use in getting into it with ’em.” He slung back another whiskey and said, “Well, are you afraid to get an ass whipping?”

I leaned back in my chair hoping we would both get out of there without a fight. “No, I’ve had it before.” Then we both just started laughing. The old gal never came back over.

Kenny could tell a joke like nobody else. He could imitate the male and female voices and he was funny. I booked him several other gigs in Texas over the years, but I’ll never forget that first time.”

**Six-foot tall, 300-pound Kenny “The Round Mound of Sound” Price was best remembered for his work on the long-running television show Hee Haw; he was also a talented singer/songwriter and musician who never quite made it to the big-time, despite having 34 chart singles over his 15-year career.**

 

Kenny_Price
Kenny Price

 

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