Een groot gedeelte van deze post gaat over het Carter Family Memorial Album van Bill Clifton dat door Starday uitgebracht werd in de periode dat A.P. Carter kwam te overlijden. Don Pierce, de oprichter/eigenaar van Starday, begon al voorafgaand aan het overlijden van A.P. Carter met het maken van commerciële afspraken met betrekking tot het album. Wonderlijk is het, maar nu ik het verhaal achter deze LP beter ken zal ik een volgende keer toch ‘met iets andere oren’ naar deze LP gaan luisteren…

Carter Family Memorial Album and Songs


When we were at the conference in London it was mentioned that one of the reasons that the music of The Carter Family stayed so alive was that there was a small group of people but with high profiles and big influences that kept the music going. Yeah. Well, I think that’s true. Not forgetting Maybelle and the girls. I mean, Maybelle and the girls were out there. They weren’t doing original Carter Family songs. They were doing, except for once in a while; they were doing a lot of new material as well. Helen was writing, and they were just getting other songs from the song mills in Nashville, or whatever. But when I did my Carter Family album it was a tribute to A.P. primarily. That’s what, I mean it was [a tribute] to Sarah and Maybelle also, but mainly I was concerned about A.P. and I wanted him to know about it. And Starday… Don Pierce had just asked me, at the D.J. convention in November of, I guess it was 1960. Yeah. Or was it ’61? I can’t remember now, in what year A.P. died…

’60. He died in 1960? So it was in November of 1960 that Don, when I was at the D.J. convention in Nashville, that Don Pierce said ‘I want you to do an album of Carter Family music’. And I was thrilled. That’s wonderful. That I will do. I’m really glad to do that. And then when I found out from June, through June and Gladys, that A.P. was in the hospital in Kingsport, I immediately wanted to go to the hospital and tell him that. I didn’t want to tell him the circumstances of the album because when I talked to Don Pierce he said: ‘Now, I want half of the songs to be published by my publishing company’. ‘How can I do that? They’re all published by Peer International and Southern Music under A.P. Carter’s name’. And Don Pierce looked at me and said: ‘Yes, but you know which ones he didn’t write and which ones he did write and I want at least six of those songs to be publishable by Starday Music’. When I went to the hospital I didn’t tell A.P. that. I just told him that I was going to do the album. There was no recognition; I couldn’t see anything in his eyes that he even knew I was there. And to this day I don’t know that he heard me. I only hoped that he did. He was in an oxygen tent. But I did tell Gladys, the oldest daughter, I told her that same night. I said: ‘Gladys, there’s a catch to it. Don Pierce wants half of the songs to be publishable by Starday Music’. And she said: ‘Well Bill, you just have to do it. We want you to do it. Everybody in the family wants you to do it. So you do it. And if that’s the way you have to do it, you do it that way’. And they were very understanding about it. But I always wanted the royalties to go to the family. I mean, I figured: A.P. found those songs. Sometimes he didn’t find them. Sometimes Maybelle found them or had them in the family. Or sometimes it was a song that Sarah knew, you know.

Ralph Peer

But the way Ralph Peer did it: he always wrote down A.P. Carter and got A.P. to sign that it was their song. And sometimes the songs weren’t even twenty years old. I mean, they were new songs. And you’d look at it and think: ‘How did he get by with that, how did Ralph Peer get by with that?’ He didn’t always get by with it. He got by with it most of the time. You see, but he was the first person publishing this kind of music and, as the first publisher of that kind, of music very few people realized that there was anything going on under the table or that there was anything wrong with it. Not many people were paying any attention to the music; they were looking at the song titles. Well, Ralph Peer would change the song title. He would leave off one word. If the words were ‘You are’, or something, then it would be ‘Are’ and leave out the ‘You’. He would just change it, so that any publisher looking at the list of songs would think: ‘Oh, that’s not my song, that’s somebody else’s’, and not realize that that was the same song that they had published themselves. And there were a lot of new publishers that went by the board. They were in business for 25 years and the man died and [they] went out of business. I met Bob Miller when he was very active in the business. Bob was somebody who sent me every song that he published. All the Elton Britt songs were his, and I was singing some of the Elton Britt songs. I wasn’t a good yodeler but I was ‘The Yodeling Mountaineer’ on the radio station where I worked. So Bob would send me everything he published and all the sheet music to everything and all the songbooks you know. And what happened to Bob Miller music when he died? I don’t know. I’ve never heard of him since. I mean, as far as I know it ended. Paul Clayton had his own publishing company. It’s called ‘Afton’, after Afton Mountain, which was right behind his cabin. I don’t know what happened to Afton after he died; I’ve never looked into it.

Paul Clayton (links) en Bill Clifton (rechts)
Wie was Don Pierce?
DON PIERCE. One of Country Music’s Founding Fathers. With a few dollars and his discharge papers in his pocket, Don Pierce, ’39, headed to Los Angeles in 1946, mostly to play some golf and enjoy the weather. Little did he know it was the start of an odyssey that would see him become one of the moguls of country music. Pierce, 80, went on to own several record companies and produce the first recordings of stars such as George Jones and Willie Nelson. He also was the first to market country music overseas and helped found the Country Music Association. Not bad for someone who in the beginning ‘didn’t think much of cowboy music’, he says. The son of a King Street machine shop owner, Pierce (then Don Picht; he changed his name after the Army because he says no one could pronounce or spell it) grew up in Seattle. After receiving his bachelor’s in economics from the UW in 1939, he sold insurance until he was drafted into the Army. He planned to return to Seattle and the insurance business after being discharged but went to California instead while his wife stayed with his parents in Wallingford. When a Los Angeles friend offered him the chance to invest in a record label, he bit. He put $12,000 – which came from the sale of his dad’s shop – into Four Star Records. That company floundered, so he went to work selling country music records. ‘I helped teach radio stations how to play a country music format’, he says. After leaving Four Star, he invested $333,- in fledgling Starday Records with two others in 1952. Under his leadership, Starday released the first recordings by George Jones, Roger Miller, Dottie West, Jimmy Dean and Willie Nelson. Pierce and country music were on their way. By 1970, the label had the largest catalog of country music in the world. ‘When I started in the business’, Pierce says, ‘country music was struggling. Elvis Presley was big, rock music was starting, and there wasn’t much room for it. But our efforts worked’. And how. When he sold Starday in 1970, his $333,- investment was worth $5 million. He had relocated to the Nashville area by then to build and run recording studios, a pressing plant and a warehouse. He also set up publishing companies to handle the licensing and copyrights. He owned the rights to such songs as ‘Please Release Me, Let Me Go’, ‘Walking After Midnight’, and ‘Don’t Let Stars Get in Your Eyes’. After selling his music business, Pierce went into land development, mostly because he came to own much of the real estate surrounding Nashville. But his ties with the music industry remain strong as ever. He started a celebrity golf tournament, presents the Golden Eagle Award at the Country Music Association’s award shows and has a hand in getting people into the Country Music Hall of Fame, such as Dolly Parton and Jimmy Dean. ‘It was quite a ride’, he says from his home in Hendersonville, Tennessee, a Nashville suburb. ‘I had no idea things would turn out like that’. Especially as a kid growing up poor in Seattle. He had every intention of following his father as a machinist, ‘but I had no talent for it. So my dad sent me to school at the UW. I loved it’. Always a hard worker, he put himself through school by caddying at local golf courses, usually making 75 cents a round. While attending the UW, he also was on the golf team, playing at No. 3. His big thrill came at the 1936 Seattle Open, when he caddied for then-Masters champion Horton Smith. Besides being in awe, he also was paid $15,- for four rounds.

And then again: there are a lot of people that write songs under the same title. Yeah…

It could he like you have one title and fifteen different songs. Sure. I mean, that is true.

So, it’s hard to follow that up every time. It is. Yeah.

Vorige post Volgende post

Onderaan de post is een blokje waar u een reactie achter kunt laten. Ik stel dat zeer op prijs! U wordt gevraagd om een mailadres. Dit mailadres wordt niet gepubliceerd, maar stelt mij – als beheerder van deze site – in staat om te reageren op uw reactie.