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Annoying questions

Posted Wednesday, July 22, 2009, at 2:24 PM

What is the most annoying question anyone has ever asked you when you were honestly trying to help them?

Before I retired from the T-G a lady called seeking information about an incident she understood had happened here.

After talking with her a couple of minutes, I realized she was asking about an incident in Shelby County. I tried to explain to her Shelbyville and Shelby County were a couple of hundred miles apart.

She wasn't buying that and asked, "Are you sure about that?"

"Yes mam, I've lived here all my life"

And then, she said, "Are you absolutely positive?"

I still tried to handle the situation in a nice way and told her I honestly thought I would know if the Mississippi River ran through here...but if you still don't believe me you might check a road atlas.

Perhaps she was determined to get in the last word because she informed me, "Maybe you know and maybe you don't." Click.


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ilikeoldsongs, LOL, yes I had run across the "Doc" Lew Childre thing before when I was doing a search.

-- Posted by leeiii on Thu, Oct 29, 2009, at 3:54 PM

cherokee2 and anyone interested in Lew Childre music.There are a few reasonably priced cassettes and lp's on Ebay at this time.Still no cd's though.

One of the offerings,"On The Air 1946:Vol.1", a collection of radio transcriptions, was previously offered by a seller on Amazon for around 40.00 for the lp version, and listed the song "elevated railroad", but the Ebay listing does not contain that track.

If I run across anything more in the future I will post it.

P.S.

You will see "Doc"Lew childre titles listed, these are not what you're looking for. Also, to avoid all the fishing equipment ads, search under "music"rather than all departments.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Thu, Oct 29, 2009, at 1:06 PM

If you find any of Lou's songs, put me down for a copy.

-- Posted by cherokee2 on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 2:54 PM

I'm about ready to file a formal "quit claim" on the possibility of finding a Lew Childre cd, as I'm convinced that none of his work has found its way to that medium yet. He's not even mentioned in Oldies On CD, by Mike Callahan, second edition, 1994,not even on a various artist cd.

Maybe in the future, not out there now.

I have found a few vinyl lp's for sale at Amazon Marketplace, but the prices are rather steep for vinyl, and vinyl is, in my opinion, an accident waiting to happen. I just can't see investing the asking prices, myself, although I have a few lp's that I wouldn't part with for any price, but they were acquired back in the $2.98 K-Mart days.

A couple of the lp's on Amazon Marketplace are titled "Old Time Get Together", with Lew, Cowboy Copas and Junior Huskey, and the other is titled "On The Air-1946", Vol. 1, and is apparently just Lew singing. This album contains the song "Riding On The Elevated Railroad", but the cost would be about $42.00 delivered, just too rich for my blood. The other lp would run you about $22.00, but without that song.

By the way, do you still do a little pickin'?

Oh, a second by the way, (if I haven't completely misread who you are) do you still repair items such as tape decks? (Yeah, I know, but it's a sentimental thing).

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Sun, Aug 16, 2009, at 10:56 PM

As a matter of fact it had been rereleased for the 30th Anniversary with a couple more songs added to it.

-- Posted by leeiii on Sat, Jul 25, 2009, at 3:46 PM

There has been a pretty constant stream of the older songs released through the years by newer artists, which would indicate that the songs themselves are not in as much danger of being forgotten as are the composers and original artists.

In my opinion, when really great music is called for, there is no option at this time except to fall back on the old masters catalogs from yesteryear, as, again in my opinion, there is no one today that is capable of producing songs of the magnitude of those you referenced above.

By the way, "Unchained Melody", a #1 hit in '55 for the Les Baxter Orchestra, and #3 in '55 for Al Hibbler, The Blind Minstrel, has gone on to become the all time leader in chart appearances, at last count I believe it had made the top 100 charts ten different times. Great music.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Sat, Jul 25, 2009, at 5:19 PM

ilikeoldsong, That is an extremely good post that brought back even more memories.

When I was a little boy my aunt had a cowboy song book that had a picture of Patsy Montana in her cowgirl outfit with all of the fringe and drawstring hat.

My Dad used to try and imitate DeFord Bailey on his harmonica and I could just visualize the fox chase.

When Willie Nelson was preparing to record the Stardust album the advice he got from Nashville was that it would never work and people would not buy it. He did not listen as usual and he went ahead and recorded songs like "Stardust", "Moonlight In Vermont", September Song", Someone To Watch Over Me", "Don't Get Around Much Anymore", "Georgia On My Mind", "Blue Skies", "All Of Me", "Unchained Melody" (best song ever in my estimation), and "On The Sunny Side Of The Street". I can not tell you how many million copies have sold, I can only say it is still going strong. As a matter of fact it had been rereleased for the 30th Anniversary with a couple more songs added to it.

-- Posted by leeiii on Sat, Jul 25, 2009, at 3:46 PM

If not, I can see a day when no one knows of George D. Hay, Grant Turner, or even Jimmie Rogers.

-- Posted by leeiii on Sat, Jul 25, 2009, at 11:20 AM

leeiii, let's add the names Patsy Montana, DeFord Bailey and Hoagy Carmichael to those above, then take that list out to wal-mart and ask the first 100 people coming by, who use portable audio devices, such as MP3 players, to identify as many of the names as they can. I wonder how many correct answers we would get, and if some might even guess that Patsy was a porn star.

And if we added the question, "what is the oldest known song", would even one person know the correct answer is "Barbara Allen", traceable all the way back to 1666?

leeiii, I'm afraid that you and I, along with the rest of our generation, will be the last ones to carry the torch for the music of the 20's thru 50's.

History, as expressed between the covers of a book, is a dry, uninteresting subject to the vast majority of people, and I can't fault folks for that. On the other hand, to those of us who genuinely love to look back from whence we came, who have a special feeling for all things old, and especially for the elderly among us, and those who have departed, that same history book becomes a warm, almost living, companion.

The key therefore, to the question of whether or not the music and personalities of our youth will be kept alive, or consigned to a shelf in a library, in a book that is seldom opened,lies in whether or not there is genuine interest in this era on the part of today's younger generation. History is something that must be felt, just opening a book is not enough, the motivation behind the opening of that book is everything....or nothing. Does the necessary interest exist with today's young people?

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Sat, Jul 25, 2009, at 1:31 PM

ilikeoldsongs, That is a good article. I for one am glad that you printed it in it's entirety. When cherokee2 said that no one seems to remember him, that kind of set off an alarm in my head. We need to remember those that are now passed on such as Lew Childre, Whitey Ford, Jamup and Honey, Rod Brasfield, and many others. If not, I can see a day when no one knows of George D. Hay, Grant Turner, or even Jimmie Rogers.

-- Posted by leeiii on Sat, Jul 25, 2009, at 11:20 AM

cherokee2, leeiii and other interested parties. Below there is an old article (2007) about Lew Childre that I found interesting. I also found a short biography, which shows that he did in fact record a good number of songs between 1930 and 1955 (see why I don't fool with that calendar anymore?) You can view it by going to answers.com, and entering Lew Childre in the search box.

I hate to copy complete articles, but can't get a link to work.

Opp's Lew Childre kept Alabama at heart

By Lowell McGill

Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2007 12:06 PM CDT

Lew Childre was a famous musical artist from the 1920s until the 1950s. Born and raised in Opp, he lived out his final days in his Foley home. There are and were several residents of Atmore and the surrounding area who actually knew Lew or knew some of his family.

Before I get into those local connections I will tell you something about the man.

The son of a judge, he began his career in Opp with childhood ambitions of becoming a vaudeville star. His family wanted him to attend the University of Alabama to study medicine, but he had other ambitions. Extremely talented, he was endowed with an extraordinary facial profile. A Hollywood "look," if you will. His smile, which extended from ear to ear, was only overshadowed by his perfect set of teeth. In other words he "looked the part" and you would get the impression that he was destined to become the "showman" that he was.

As I stated, several from Atmore had knowledge of Childre. Mrs. Alvis Respress, who was raised in Opp, has talked with me numerous times about the Childre family. Others included John Paul Jones, now deceased, and a former businessman here. Bill Ward, the late father of Don and Mike Ward, knew of Childre from his early days in Covington County. Tony Albert at Rex Sporting Goods sold Childre fishing equipment for many years. (More about the Childre business further down in this column). Floyd Holk was raised with Lew Jr. in Foley. In fact, they were great friends. In the 1930s and 1940s my dad had a service station in Perdido. I remember his telling of occasions when Childre would stop to buy gas. Childre, known to love fishing, had built a fishing camp near Foley where he and his family would frequently visit.

But the person who had more personal knowledge about Lew Childre was the lady my grandfather married after his first wife, my grandmother, died. We called her Ethel. She was raised in Opp and she personally knew Childre. She would often tell how talented he was. She said he tried learning the guitar without too much early success. In high school he played brass instruments such as trumpet and trombone and was real good on the drums. She said that he would go into the woods and get on top of a big oak stump where he developed a style of dance, which would eventually propel him into stardom. He would also do his dance on street corners in Opp. She said he improvised his own stage costume, which in those early days included a straw hat and "blousy" trousers. His clothing was very colorful, she said. He also had a gift of writing stories, songs and comedy gag lines. She remembers that he left Opp with a traveling tent show where he went out into the world in search of his career. After he left, she never saw him again because her family moved away from Opp.

According to historians, Childre was forever in search of that "traditional" vaudeville career. But he never obtained that goal. It was learned that he formed a small band in the 1920s, which actually included Lawrence Welk as one of the members. He also took up the guitar during those band years, teaching himself to play in both traditional and Hawaiian styles. He and his band were together for only a few years. But they traveled around the country playing at various well-known radio stations and performing in tent shows.

Country music was beginning to ascend and he was drawn into this new form of show business, not as a band member but as a "musical comedian." He added a style of "ad-libbing to his performances, which included "buck dancing" while playing the guitar and singing in a very recognized southern style." In 1945 he was invited to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

In his tenure there, which lasted for many years, he was finally able to show his "country vaudeville" talent. He performed with such Opry greats as Red Foley, Roy Acuff and Whitey Ford, better known as "The Duke Of Paducah." He did commercials for several nationally known companies on the Opry. His commercials were heard and seen throughout the entire country.

His goal had finally been obtained.

His most recognizable closing line on the Opry was "I want to say goodnight to my mammy down in Opp, Alabammy."

While Childre was enjoying years of popularity, he built a home south of Foley where he developed a fishing tackle business. This business would later enjoy tremendous success. After Childre died in 1961 his son took the reins of the business and marketed its products nationwide.

The business was famous for fishing poles and related fishing rods and reels. Lew Jr. went to Japan where he found a particular bamboo which fishermen, even today, say is the best fishing pole ever made.

Tony Albert regarded the "Lew Speed Stick" as one of his best selling items when he owned and operated Rex Sporting Goods" here for so many years.

Floyd Holk often spoke of Lew Jr. and their friendship when the two grew up together in Foley. Floyd said he was one of the most liked of all his friends.

Lew Jr. had built an airplane landing strip in a field located in rear of his home. He used the plane in his business travels. In 1977 at the age of 47, Lew crashed his plane in that field in the back of his home. The crash took his life. But the business continued under the direction of his mother and other family members until it was sold a few years later.

Lew Childre was of the most famous ambassadors the state of Alabama ever produced. He ranks right up there with such notables as Hank Williams, Helen Keller and Fred Thompson, the current "Law And Order" TV star and Presidential candidate.

In future columns you'll learn of many other famous movie stars, personalities and musicians who were not from Alabama. But, they retired along the coastal towns from Fairhope to Foley to Gulf Shores.

Lowell McGill is a historical columnist for The Atmore Advance. He can be reached at exam@frontiernet.net

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Sat, Jul 25, 2009, at 10:40 AM

If you find any of Lou's songs, put me down for a copy.

-- Posted by cherokee2 on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 2:54 PM

Will do.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 4:21 PM

If you find any of Lou's songs, put me down for a copy.

-- Posted by cherokee2 on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 2:54 PM

"Every time I am wrong, I cut off a finger"

I know where that road's at, you take a right at U.S. Teenager, and it's a Superhighway all the way down to the fork of Wiseup & Oblivion.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 11:05 AM

ilikeoldsong, On the opposite end of the spectrum, I used to have a First Sargent that would tell me "Every time I am wrong, I cut off a finger", and then he would hold up both hands to show 8 fingers and 2 thumbs.

-- Posted by leeiii on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 10:05 AM

cherokee2, and leeiii, I very well remember "the old fisherman from Opp, Alabama" cuttin'up on the grand Ole Opry back around the mid 1940's. I always associate him, and two or three others of that period, with spending the weekend at my Grandmother's house. A battery radio(no electricity at that location) a kerosene lamp,and depending on the season, sitting on the front porch with the radio turned up loud, or sitting around a wood burning heater in the living room, occassionaly pitching in another stick or two.

I've also been looking for quite some time for a collection of Lew Childre songs, but have about reached the conclusion that such a collection doesn't exist, at least not in the usual sense.

I believe that Lew probably never had a recording contract as a singer, but was considered as an "entertainer", in somewhat the same vein as The Duke Of Paducah,Bashful' Brother Oswald, etc.

Although he did sing, unless he had a hit or two of his own prior to 1944,there is no record of a top 100 song in the Billbord Country Charts from 1944 to 2005. I have a recording from a radio transcription, of an Opry broadcast in which Childre tap dances to the tune "Swanee River", which lends some credence to the idea that Lew was an entertainer, first and foremost, and singing was just a part of his general act.

I think everybody and his brother sang "Alabam" in 1960, but Cowboy Copas, I feel sure, was the only one that actually recorded it. It held the top spot for 12 weeks for Copas.

I would be thrilled if someone could point me to a reasonably priced collection of Lew Childre songs, even if just a collection of radio transcriptions.

Now, I could be wrong about all this, and it wouldn't be the first time. In fact, I no longer mark the dates on the calendar when I'm wrong, it was just taking up too much of my time.

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 9:51 AM

I have just done a search on the internet looking for more information and discovered that the correct spelling is Lew Childre.

-- Posted by leeiii on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 8:32 AM

cherokee2, Yes I remember Lou Childrie being on the Grand Ole Opry. It is strange, but at the moment I can not remember any of his songs except one that had the line "I'm going home to Alabam".

-- Posted by leeiii on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 7:56 AM

ilikeoldsongs, if I'm not mistaken Lou Childrie of the Grand Old Oprey also recorded that song, When I mention his name, no one seems to remember him. Would love to find that song by him. Been looking fo years. He also so did a great redition of "Riding on the Elevated Railroad".

-- Posted by cherokee2 on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 7:04 AM

Are we there yet?

-- Posted by countrymom on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 10:17 PM

I am a computer repair tech and I get the line from older gentlemen, "Are you sure a litle lady like you, knows these things?" Like if I was a bigger lady that would make me have more brain cells??

Or you are standing on the side of the road with the jack in your hand.. and someone asks "You have a flat?"

Nope just like standing in 98 degree heat with a jack in my hand..or I was preparing to beat my car to death with it.

Or the person who looks at my cat tattoo and asks "you like cats?" Nope just thought i'd wear one to remind me they are of the devil... ha ha

Or you come inside from a downpour, dripping and someone asks "Is it raining??"

Nope just sprayed myself with the water hose for the hell of it.

-- Posted by 4fabfelines on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 7:05 PM

"Don't you think the government plan would be better?"

The dumbest question I have ever heard.

-- Posted by quietmike on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 4:52 PM

FOOLISH QUESTIONS

(A. Baldwin Sloane / William Lee)

Bil Haley - 1949

Johnny Cash - 1965

Sandy Bradley & The Small Wonder String Band - 1982

Jackie Washington - 2000

Ken Galipeau - 2001

Also recorded by:

Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith; Walt Brown; Woods Tea Co.

Now you've all heard foolish questions and no doubt you've wondered why

Some person will ask a foolish question and expect a sensible reply

Like when you take your girl some candy, say maybe just after tea

You notice how she'll grab it and then she'll say, "Is this for me?"

Foolish Questions! You can answer when you can

"No I bought this candy for your Ma or Pa, or for John the hired hand

"I just thought you'd like to see it. Now I'm gonna take it away"

Now wasn't that a foolish question? You'll hear `em ev'ry day

And then most every morning, there is someone `round the place

Who sees you take the shaving brush and lather up your face

And as you give the razor a preliminary wave

This fool will walk up and ask you, "Are you gonna take a shave?"

Foolish questions! Your answer is, I hope

"No! I ain't prepared for shavin', I just like the taste of soap!

I kinda like to take the shaving brush and paint myself this way"

Now wasn't that a foolish question? You'll hear `em ev'ry day!

Now then there's this fella who meets you on your way

And asks you why your all dressed up and listens while you say

That you just been returning from the funeral of poor old Uncle Ned

As soon as you have told him, he will say, "Is Ned dead?"

Foolish questions! You might as well reply

"No, he thought he'd have the funeral now. Then later on he'd die

You know Ned was always so original, he wanted it that way"

Now wasn't that a Foolish Question? You'll hear `em ev'ry day!

Now suppose the elevator guy should forget to close the door

And you should tumble down, oh say forty-seven floors

And when you reach the bottom and you're lying there inert

Some fool will stick his head down the shaft and holler, "Are you hurt?"

Foolish Questions! Your dying words are

"No! I was in an awful hurry and that elevator's just too slow

Usually saves a lot of time, you know, comin' down this way"

Now wasn't that a Foolish Question? You'll hear `em ev'ry day!

That was a Foolish Question! You'll hear `em ev'ry day!

-- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 4:11 PM

How about, Are you asleep?

-- Posted by toad on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 6:47 AM

The airport use to ask "Has anyone put anything in your luggage without your knowledge?"

I always thought that was the dumbest question. If it were without my knowledge, How would I know?

They don't ask that question anymore so I guess they got tired of the stuipd answer to their stupid question.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 2:45 PM

What about---"Is he dead?". My answer is---"If he is not then they sure are playing a dirty trick on him."

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 2:33 PM


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Bo Melson is a retired sports and police beat editor of the Times-Gazette.
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