Lefty Frizzell memorabilia donated by Ralph Spicer will
be displayed at the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in Carthage. Daily Sun
8/16/2003 Texas Hall calls Lefty: Enshrinement of
country legend Frizzell is tonight
By DEANNA PAWLOWSKI/Daily Sun Staff
Bobby Fluker is hitting the road. His destination is
Carthage, home of the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame. And he's carrying
precious cargo with him in friend Billy Lewis' airstream.
A pair of personalized cowboy boots, two western shirts
and a vest once belonging to Lefty Frizzell were donated by former band member,
Ralph Spicer, to the museum in Carthage on the event of Lefty's induction into
the Hall of Fame tonight.
The Texas Country Music Hall of Fame was founded six
years ago by Tommie Ritter Smith, a cousin of Tex Ritter's. Smith is also the
executive director of the Panola County Chamber of Commerce, and wanted to do
something special to commemorate Ritter and others in her town.
Carthage is located near Shreveport, the home of the
Old Louisiana Hayride.
"The Hayride is where many Grand Old Opry folks got
their start," Fluker said.
Smith started a Tex Ritter museum in Carthage, and came
to Corsicana for the dedication and unveiling of the Lefty Frizzell statue. She
returned to Carthage with the dream of having a statue of Tex with his horse,
which she has since realized. However, Smith encountered initial opposition to
her idea in the form of city leaders who did not want their town known as a
"Tommie solved that problem by getting a group of folks
including city council members, the mayor, and others together and took them to
Tennessee to the Grand Old Opry Museum to see the Tex Ritter exhibit. That
convinced them," Fluker said.
"Our Lefty Frizzell Museum has done more for tourism in
town than just about anything else. People just didn't realize how big Lefty
Fluker also said that Ralph Spicer was the greatest
contributor of items for Corsicana's Lefty Frizzell Museum. Smith came to
Corsicana to borrow some local items just for the induction ceremony weekend.
Then Spicer, who lives in North Carolina, made a trip here and brought the
boots, shirts and vest to be permanently displayed in the Texas Country Music
Hall of Fame in Carthage.
Ralph Emery will host the induction ceremony at 7 p.m.,
and in addition to Frizzell, Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Bush will also be
inducted. Kristofferson has enjoyed a full movie and music career, and Bush is
the writer of "Whiskey River," Willie Nelson's signature song. He also played in
Nelson and Ray Price's bands.
Scheduled performers for the induction ceremony are
Kristofferson, David Frizzell, the Geezinslaws and Willie Nelson.
Fluker, who has attended the ceremony every year for
the last six years, is taking his guitar. Friend Billy Lewis is taking his
"We're planning on doing a little picking in Carthage,"
Deanna Pawlowski may be contacted via e-mail at
Willie Neslon, right, signs autographs at the Texas
Country Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony Saturday. Corsicana's Lefty
Frizzell was among the inductees. Courtesy photo
contingent on hand as Frizzell inducted
By ROY MILLER/Special to the Daily Sun
The sixth annual Texas Country Music Hall of Fame award
ceremonies were held Saturday at the Hall of Fame auditorium in Carthage, as
Corsicana's Lefty Frizzell was among those enshrined.
Ralph Emery of Nashville, Tenn. and a member of the
Disc Jockey Hall of Fame acted as emcee for the evening. He and TCMHF President
and CEO Tommie Ritter Smith welcomed the overflowing crowd to the night's
festivities, which began with a musical salute to the Hall of Fame. Casey Rivers
of Lindale, a former winner of the John Rex Reeves Pickin' Party competition
held in conjunction with the weekend's activities, introduced a special song
written for the occasion by 1998 inductee Cindy Walker of Mexia. The song,
"Tribute to the Hall of Fame," honored all of the previous 19 inductees and the
night's honorees as well.
Sam and Son, (Sammy Allred and Dwain Porter) the
Geezenslaw Brothers from Austin, opened the night's entertainment with musical
selections and their self-depreciating humor. Sam's humorous stories about the
misadventures of Son kept the crowd in stitches and readied them for the night's
First to take the stage was David Frizzell. Along with
brother Alan and a tight sounding band from Nashville, David entertained the
crowd with a selection of his own hits including "I'm Gonna Hire a Wino (To
Decorate our Home)," "You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma" and others. Alan
Frizzell showcased his guitar picking abilities as well as his singing as the
brothers of the first inductee of the evening honored Lefty Frizzell with a
slide show and musical selections.
In accepting the award for his late brother and the
Frizzell family, David made mention of several from Corsicana (Bobby Fluker, the
late Don Steely and Roy Miller) who had established the Lefty Frizzell Country
Music Museum in Corsicana. He also thanked the audience for their acceptance of
the honky tonk music of Lefty Frizzell. Frizzell, born in Corsicana on March 31,
1928, was noted as the only country artist to have four songs in the top 10 on
the country charts at the same time. His No.1 hit "I Want to Be With You Always"
spent 11 weeks atop the charts and "Always Late" spent 12 weeks as the No. 1
song. "Saginaw, Michigan" recorded in 1964 was Frizzell's last No. 1 song. He
died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 47 in Nashville and was enshrined in
the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1982.
The next inductee to be honored was Johnny Bush of San
Antonio, composer of Willie Nelson's theme song, "Whiskey River." Bush's musical
background included stints with Ray Price and Willie Nelson before he launched a
solo career, with Nelson's financial backing in 1968. His initial releases were
on the Stop label whose roster also included Bobby Stone and the Newsboys
(Corsicana resident B. Jeff Stone) where he enjoyed hits such as "Sounds of a
Heartache," "You Oughta Hear Me Cry" and "I'll Be There." In 1972, Bush signed a
recording contract with RCA records where he stayed until a rare throat problem
forced him into early retirement.
Through a series of experimental treatments, he was
able to regain approximately 80 percent of his previous vocal abilities and has
continued his performing and recording career. In accepting his award from
former boss, Willie Nelson, an inductee into the TCMHF in 1998, Bush
acknowledged the debt of gratitude he owed Nelson. He also acknowledged his
mother who was in the audience and introduced her as "The prettiest woman ever
born in Montgomery County," and thanked her for giving birth to him in Texas so
that he might be inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame. Considered
by many to be "The Country Caruso," Bush continues to travel and record
throughout the southwest.
Brownsville native Kris Kristofferson was the final
honoree of the evening. Nelson again did the induction honors, calling
Kristofferson one of the finest songwriters ever. Kristofferson, a former Army
helicopter pilot, Rhodes Scholar and graduate of Oxford University in England
where he earned a Master's Degree in English, instructor at West Point and a
janitor at Columbia Studios in Nashville, got his first break in the music
business when the late Roger Miller recorded his "Me and Bobby McGee."
A subsequent cover of the song by Port Arthur native
Janis Joplin in 1969 sold a million copies, and in 1970 Ray Price's recording of
Kristofferson's "For the Good Times" became a No. 1 hit and won a Grammy for
Price. Johnny Cash's recording of "Sunday Morning Comin' Down," also in 1970,
became another No. 1 song and in 1971, Sammie Smith's recording of "Help Me Make
It Through the Night" was named the Country Music Association's Single of the
Year and Kris won his first Grammy Award for Best Country Song.
A standing ovation for the performers ended the evening
as Smith thanked the audience for their support of the Texas Country Music Hall
of Fame and offered congratulations to the honorees on their induction. Those in
attendance from Corsicana for the induction included Lefty Frizzell Memorial
Committee members Fluker and Miller, and Billy Lewis and Robert Keathley.
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