Author Archive


Country Music Documentary

Written by Don Reid. Posted in General

I’ve been watching the Ken Burns Country Music Documentary on PBS each night this week. And from what I have been hearing, so has most of America. So far, after four episodes and eight hours of history, it does not disappoint. The visuals – the still photos and film clips – are just as good as the music. They tend to transport us back to eras we never knew and some that have faded with memory.

I got a letter last week from Ken Burns thanking me for my participation and giving me a few facts I thought you might enjoy. One hundred and one (101) interviews were conducted. Forty-one with Hall of Famers and twenty (20) with people who have passed away since the project began back in 2012.  I have no idea how the rest of the series looks but from what I have seen, everyone has done a good job. I was surprised to see myself show up in the interview chair just 20 minutes into the first episode. My part was done four years ago and the first interview they did, Little Jimmy Dickens, was done seven years ago.

Image result for maybelle L-5 guitar

I loved the Carter Family beginnings the first night. It was way before my time, but yet so familiar because of the years we, the Statlers, spent with Mother Maybelle, June, Helen and Anita in the 60s decade on the Johnny Cash tours.  They were rich with stories of A.P. Carter and Sarah and how they gathered songs and the early recording sessions. Sarah used to show up from time to time and visit backstage with everyone. She would enter the room with a flair in her mink coat and staple style of another generation and it was mesmerizing being in the same room with her and Maybelle. It was like watching and listening to country music royalty reminisce. And when that classic, invaluable, precious F- Hole guitar of Maybelle’s popped up on the screen, it gave me a few chills and weak knees. That very guitar that she picked “The Wildwood Flower” on, I sat backstage and played and wrote songs on between shows. She even taught me the famous “You Are My Flower” lick on it and I can still feel the strength and pull of those wire guitar strings. That beautiful old instrument, full of music, memories and miles now sits in the Country Music Hall of Fame. And so does Maybelle. And a thought just hit me. So do I.

Ain’t life funny!

Tune in for more starting this Sunday night. I’m enjoying every minute of them.

DSR    9/19/19


Summertime and Baseball

Written by Don Reid. Posted in General

Summertime without baseball would be like country music without a fiddle. Like a picnic without deviled eggs. Like a 4th of July parade without a flag. And when our family gets together around the grill, the pool, or the dining room table, as we often do, the Game of Summer will eventually come up. And everybody has their team they will go to the mat for at any given moment.

My son, Debo, and his family are fervent Yankee fans and will quickly let you know they are currently in first place. Son Langdon and his household wear all the team trimmings of the Washington Nationals who are in second place and just a few games behind the Yanks. Wife Debbie is a long and exuberant fan of the Atlanta Braves and, in recent years, the Chicago Cubs. Before dessert is ever served at any of these gatherings, I’m hearing stats and double plays in one ear; homeruns and missed calls in the other; and gentle ribbing of one another from all the kids and adults. It entertains me to no end. The only one left out of this assortment of opinions is the old man. I’m the only one who has no team and no favorites. I just love the season; the stadiums; the atmosphere; the excitement and even the occasional bench brawls.

So it struck me rather funny that Debo and Langdon told me recently there was quite a discussion on a Statler Fan Facebook page concerning what my team allegiance was and is. Folks pointed out they had taken pictures through the years of me wearing a Minnesota Twins jacket; the gold and green jacket of the Oakland As; two different Yankees’ jackets – one blue- the other white and pin-striped. A Marlins cap; Phillies cap; LA Dodgers cap; well, just too many caps to list. And most of these items were given to us as we would often stop at whatever town was close for a game when we had a night off on the road during our touring years. We sang the National Anthem at more MLB stadiums than I can count. We went to spring training games in Florida and the Southwest. We were honored to meet so many baseball heroes and make friends with so many good men who entertained the world with their talent every hot, single day of the summer.  

Then it was pointed out on the same fan page that I had written “When The Yankees Came Home.” I had written “Love Was All We Had” where I stated she’s a lifelong Yankee – I’m an Oriole. And then someone noted we had even shot a video of “Atlanta Blue”, which I wrote, at Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta during an actual game. And in “Don’t Wait On Me”, there’s the line when the lights go on at Wrigley Field I’ll be coming home to you. (Because of this song, we were invited to sing the Anthem the first night the lights went on – thirty-one years ago today). So, it’s no wonder someone might ask, “just what team is he a fan of anyway?” Well, let me say this. I have three favorite baseball memories I’ll share.

 One was sitting in the locker room with Rod Carew talking about my two sons who were just kids at the time. He reached over in the corner and handed me two of his bats and said, “Give each of those boys one of these.” I get tears just remembering this.

Another was sitting in the owner’s box with Gene Autry watching his beloved Angels play on a warm California night. I get chills remembering this.

And then there is the authenticated autographed baseball signed by Babe Ruth I have had on my shelf for years. I could get money for this. And lots of it I’ve been told. (It was hit by the Babe on July 30, 1930 during a doubleheader at Fenway Park.)

So, baseball, to me, is so many sweet memories of so many wonderful summers that I just can’t roll it all into one favorite team. And that leaves me wide open to tell my grandchildren I like their team best (whichever one it may be) and then to root against Debbie during the World Series just to irritate her.  

And one final baseball story. I was jogging through the little town of Cohasset, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston, about 6 a.m. one morning when a car pulled up beside me and stopped. A man rolled down his window and said, “Hey, I love your music, but I hate your cap.” I took it off and checked it and sure enough, it was a Yankee’s cap.

But the Babe would have been proud of me. I put it back on and kept jogging.

DSR             8/9/19