STRANGE COUNTRY TALES

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STRANGE COUNTRY TALES

Postby Moshe on Sun Apr 03, 2016 9:46 pm
IP:

There are many tales about life on the road & life in the music business, some funny, some sad, some unsavoury.

But Barbra Mandrell has one of the best one liners about her early life on the road.
Something of a child prodigy, she started her professional career in music at the age of 13 touring as part of the Johnny Cash show, alongside Patsy Cline, George Jones, Johnny Western & of course Cash himself.
Mandrell was a multi-instrumentalist, & in her slot she would play both the saxophone & the steel guitar.
Back in the day, most of the acts did not travel with their own bands, so Johnny Cash's Tennessee Three ended up backing all of them.
George Jones found this backing a bit limiting, as he was used to having a steel guitar whining behind him as he sang, so he asked young Barbra if she would play steel guitar during his set, which she did for the rest of the tour.
Recalling those days, Mandrell says: "From my very first tour as a little girl, my claim to fame is that I played steel guitar for George Jones & I slept with Patsy."

The sleeping with Patsy bit came about early on in the tour. Mandrell had her own single room, but Cline took her under her protective wing early in the tour after Jones invited everyone, including 13 year old Barbra, back to his camper for the after show party. These parties in heavy drinking Jones' camper were boozy, raunchy affairs & no place for a 13 year old.
Patsy Cline instead decided she would be Barbra's "Den Mom" for the duration of the tour & the first night of this new arrangement, Patsy shared a bed with Barbra as there was only one bed in her room.
On subsequent nights, Cline made sure there were two beds in her hotel room, one for her & one for the 13 year old.

Mandrell has had an adventurous, sometimes tragic life, but those early days touring with Patsy are some of her fondest memories. She idolised Patsy. Initially she would call her "Miss Cline". When Patsy asked her to be less formal, she reverted to "Miss Patsy".
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