Monday, June 24, 2013

Well, CRAP!!!

Instead of doing what I should be, I’ve been doodling around on YouTube this morning listening to some old stuff and a comment I came across said “RIP Tony Douglas” (aka Mr. Nice Guy). I was unaware he died this year, for he never became the “Star” artist he could have, and his passing was of scant interest to most folks; even some of those who follow country music. But… today’s revelation certainly hasn’t helped my day.

Let me tell you a little about Tony Douglas. Back in the mid to late 60’s and into the 70’s ALL country musicians toured the various Honky Tonks and Dance Halls throughout the South. They had a tour bus and touring was the vehicle they all used to increase their popularity and air play while inching their way to stardom. TD was one of those folks; however, when his break came (and it did), he chose home and family over relocation to Nashville and that big contract. That’s right, Tony chose to remain in little old Athens, TX and keep running his bus up and down the road for his fans, because he loved his music more than a shot at the “Big Time.” For you see, when you contract with Nashville, they direct your life, career and music and Tony just wasn’t up for that.

One of my life’s regrets is that though the opportunity presented itself more than once, I never got to see Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys in person. It seemed that each time Bob was somewhere nearby; Tony, or perhaps Ray Price were playing even closer and though we really loved Bob’s music we loved Tony, and Ray more. We always thought we’ll catch Bob next time but then he had a stroke, and such was not to be.

On the other hand, it was one more “show” from TD and the Shrimpers, and man,..they…were…great! They loved their audience and their audience loved them. Tony did chart three songs, most notably His & Hers back in ’63. One of my favorites was their theme song Shrimping.” Another was Did I Say Something Wrong which is a GREAT video on YouTube, BTW. Tony also did three years on The Louisiana Hayride where the Grand Ole Opry frequently found its future stars; but I suppose, ultimately, he just wanted to be that same “Mr. Nice Guy” his fans had come to know.

I’m going to miss you, Sir. Godspeed


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