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Re: This week marks sad anniversaries for the music industry
The fascinating account of your friend's connection with Buddy Holly was of particular interest to me, Larry. My three where-was-I-moments during my early years in Dublin, Ireland occurred in 1959, 1963 and 1964 and all, funnily enough, had a Texan connection. They were the abrupt deaths of Buddy Holly, JFK and Jim Reeves. I was 11, 14 and 14 and in the house, the street and the front garden respectively. In 2010 I achieved a life-long ambition and Greyhounded across Texas from Lubbock to Carthage via Dallas. The contrast between how the West Texan town and the one in East Texas commemorate their greatest sons is stark. The Buddy Holly Centre in Lubbock is superb and speaks for itself. In Jim Reeves's home town I got the impression that he is just about tolerated. Carthage reminded me of a cabbie who drives a four passenger automobile and who is hailed on the sidewalk by a party of five. JR is the fifth passenger who is reluctantly allowed to sit on the fourth passenger's knee. While in Lubbock I had the good fortune to have lunch with Sherry Holley, Buddy's niece. A delightful lady, she was particularly curious to hear I was headed for Carthage. I have always been keen to come across any connection between the two great Texan artists whose lives were to terminate in such tragically similar circumstances. One of the links is the great Phil Everly. A pall bearer at Buddy's funeral, the awe in which he and his brother Don held Jim Reeves is patently clear in the radio interview the Texan conducted with the two Kentuckians. Phil, of course, sadly passed over last year. And in one of those strange coincidences another pallbearer Joe B. Mauldin who played the upright bass in the Crickets died last week, Feb 7 - the anniversary of Buddy Holly's funeral. (The day the bass guitar replaced the upright bass was another one of those days the music died. Just as the Texan Roger Miller once acutely pointed out, you cannot roller skate through a herd of buffaloes, no amount of trying would ever get a twirl out of a bass guitar. Even Paul McCartney couldn't do it - the Liverpudlian who idolises Buddy Holly. Another enthralling coincidence is the one you have written at length about, Larry: how Jim Reeves recognised both when Jack Ruby assassinated Lee Harvey Oswald on live TV. After Carthage I headed up to Nashville, the musical city where Buddy Holly and Jim Reeves met with contrasting fortunes. One cold day there I went to a bar on Broadway to see Charlie Louvin who was billed to sing there. And as I made my way with difficulty on icy sidewalks I thought of Charlie's cousin, John D Loudermilk who penned the most famous song ever about a plane crash, 'Ebony Eyes'. And thought also of the occasion I happened to encounter Don Everly in Dublin (the Louvin brothers of course hugely influenced the Everlies) and asked him after a concert there how come he and Phil hadn't got to sing their exquisite rendition of that musical monument to pathos. 'Heck', he replied, 'We haven't sung that song since Buddy died'. Alas, by the time I got to the bar on Broadway it was to discover that the gig had been cancelled due to the band's inability to negotiate the wintry highways. I was destined never to listen live to Charlie Louvin in person as he crossed over the bridge some months later. Sometimes you get the idea we are all pawns on this big checker board of a globe and that there is one big Bobby Fischer-type God up there, moving us all around at His whim. Keep up the great work, Larry !
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