In de twee voorgaande afleveringen van deze serie speelde de keuze van een nieuwe ‘State song’ voor de Amerikaanse staat Virginia (een keuze die tot op de dag van vandaag niet beslist is) een hoofdrol. In deze aflevering blikt Bill Clifton terug op zijn lange carrière in de muziek en haalt hij herinneringen op aan oude vrienden…

Highlights & Doc and Chickie Williams


You’ve mentioned working over a period of more than 50 years. We can imagine that, especially in the beginning, it wasn’t all that much fun. Well, it was all fun. It wasn’t always easy, but it was always fun.

What do you consider to be the highlights of your career? Well, I don’t know where I could say the highlights are really. I guess the first recordings were important to me. When I first went to the Wheeling Jamboree, WWVA. That was a highlight. I got there in July and there was work. And I worked on through until October. And then I saw the handwriting on the wall. I didn’t have any records out, I didn’t have any other income and there were no personal appearances coming in for the winter. And I thought: ‘we’re gonna starve to death, you know, here in Wheeling if we don’t get out of here’. And I already knew some other people who were already starving to death, who needed to get out, also. Did you ever hear of ‘Buzz & Jack & The Bayou Boys’? No? Well, Buzz Busby and Jack Clement, well they had come up as ‘Buzz & Jack & The Bayou Boys’ and every time they’d come to my apartment, where all we had was Johnny Clark and [?] as a fiddle player and we didn’t have a bass player anymore. We left him in Richmond. And so the three of us had this apartment and we had a small refrigerator. Whenever we had enough money we’d buy some food and we’d put it in that refrigerator. And then here would come Buzz and Jack and the refrigerator door would be open and all of a sudden we’d be cleaned out, you know. And so we knew that none of us were gonna make it through the winter and we had to get out. So we did. But that was a highlight and going to the Wheeling Jamboree was a highlight. It was an important step up from local radio because Wheeling reached a whole audience that we hadn’t been reaching before in New England and Canada and so on.

It was also an established show. And it was an established show that people not only were listening to on radio but they were coming to Wheeling, especially to see the Jamboree. Just like people go to Nashville to see the Grand Ole Opry, they were coming in those days to see the Jamboree in Wheeling. And there were some established artists. Hawkshaw Hawkins was still there. Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper were still there. Doc and Chickie Williams were very well established, the most established artists there at the time. I guess over the years, if one looks back at the Wheeling Jamboree, if any one name would come to mind for any listeners I’d say, well, Doc and Chickie Williams.

Doc & Chickie Williams en hun drie dochters. Van links naar rechts: Karen, Barbara en Madeline. Op het podium hadden de drie dochters bijnamen: Punkin, Peeper en Poochie…

Are they still alive, by the way? Yes, they are. Chickie has been in very poor health for a long time and I’m not sure how well she is. Doc was a healthnut for years. He was always telling me how to eat and what I shouldn’t eat and all those kind of things. And Chickie was always kind of a mother for me. I mean, she was always mothering me,  and I, well… I didn’t use to date her but I’d date Barbara a little bit there, their oldest daughter. I guess about the last time I saw her was at that disc jockey convention in Nashville. And I asked their permission. I said: ‘Do you think I could take Barbara out?’ And they said: ‘If you have her back by eleven o’clock’. So I did. And we understood the rules of the game and I always loved Barbara. She married a German, as a matter of fact. It didn’t last very long. She got a divorce but he was very domineering, a very Arian male personality. And she had been raised by a family who respected her femaleness. Because Doe and Chickie only had three children and they’re all daughters. The girls got wonderful consideration all the time from Doc.

Was Lee Moore on as well? Yeah, Lee Moore was on at night as the disc jockey at night and Lee Sutton, who I, I liked Lee Moore but Lee Sutton played better music. He played about two hours or three hours before Lee Moore came on. And when I came out with my first recordings for Blue Ridge and for Starday Lee Sutton wore them out, you know. Lee Moore played them a little bit but not very much  and of course I was not at Wheeling anymore. I’d left by the time those records came out. I’d go back and do an occasional show there with The Country Gentlemen or take another band I could find. One time I took Earl Taylor up. I didn’t have a mandolin player and I didn’t have a tenor singer at the time. And John Duffy couldn’t go so I asked Earl if he could go and he said ‘Yeah’, he’d go. And I said: ‘Now there’s only one song you have to open on the mandolin’. And I said: ‘I think it’s not too hard, it’s just a turnaround and it’s called ‘Mary Dear’ and it is our newest record and I want to do that on the Jamboree’. And of course you’re singing the chorus with me. And he said OK. And all the way up to Wheeling he sat in the backseat of the car and played that little turnaround ‘ta-da-da…’. We got to Wheeling, we got on the Jamboree and I turned around and said: ‘And here to start us off is Earl Taylor on the mandolin’. Earl just looked at me like ‘What?’. And he didn’t have an idea of what he was supposed to play. But we used to go back to the Jamboree occasionally. Even after that occasion they still invited me back. So I’d go up there occasionally and play up there. I never really got to know Lee Moore probably until Lee retired and I never got to know him well but he had started living up in New York State. And I used to do a festival for Smokey Green up in New York State. Lee and his wife were always there so I’d sometimes talk to him.

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.