It just figures. Last Saturday, Ann and I finally had an open date on our summer music schedule so we could take in our first concert in the park.
And what happened? Mother Monsoon opened up and forced Deb Rose, parks and rec concert coordinator, to give the cut sign to Junction 87, local band favorite, before the country trio even reached their half-time break. (Drowned) rats!
Well, maybe we’ll have better luck next week when Jerry and Judy of the Missouri Opry bring their ’40s swing tunes, classic and contemporary country songs and rock ’n’ roll hits of the ’50s to Green Valley Park.
It was a delight this past week interviewing the duo’s lead singer and master of ceremonies, Jerry Prunty.
We talked about everything from where he grew up (in the small farming community of Colchester in west-central Illinois), to his life and times in the music industry and what we can expect to hear when Judy (his wife of 39 years) and he make their debut performance in Payson this Saturday evening.
Jerry is quite a music entrepreneur. In 1982, he originated the popular Missouri Opry when he and his family built their 600-seat theater in Osage Beach, Missouri at the Lake of the Ozarks resort area. They are veterans of 18 years having performed the show six-nights-a-week from May through October.
When I asked Jerry what we can expect at their upcoming concert this weekend, he replied, “Our whole thing is about having fun and we like to keep the music up-tempo.
“The folks in Payson will hear us play a little Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, George Strait and a whole lot of early rock and roll, too.”
And what song will Jerry and June open their Payson show with? Jerry said, “We’re going to start out with one of our favorite numbers, ‘Blue Suede Shoes.’”
This week’s music trivia question is: Although “Blue Suede Shoes” has been recorded by many artists since it debuted in March 1956, only four singers have landed hits with the song on the Billboard charts. Which of those four singers was the only one to have his version of “Blue Suede Shoes” reach No. 1 on the charts? A) Carl Perkins, B) Elvis Presley, C) Boyd Bennett or D) Johnny Rivers?
This week, if you’re the fifth caller and have the correct answer, you’ll win a $20 gift certificate to The 260 Café, donated by the restaurant’s friendly owners, Diane and Don Sweatt. (If you’re timing is right, when you have your meal there, you just might hear “Blue Suede Shoes” playing on the diner’s jukebox.)
Now, let’s check out how we did with last week’s music trivia question (which must have been a little too easy, judging by the number of people who called in): Who is the artist of the 1992 country music song of the year “Achy Breaky Heart?” Is he A) Mark Chesnutt, B) Billy Ray Cyrus, C) Collin Raye, or D) Vince Gill?
The correct answer was Billy Ray Cyrus. (It was in 1992 that Billy Ray’s “Achy Breaky Heart” and Brooks & Dunn’s “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” line dances turned my taste in music from pop-rock to country. My two left feet just seemed to have finally found a place on the dance floor.)
Congratulations to this past week’s first-time music trivia winner, Roger Freeman, won a beautiful leather handbag from Black & Tan craft supplies, courtesy of owner Leanne Pocallun.
A little about Roger (who more familiarly is known as “Santa.”): He was born in Eldon, Missouri and as a member of a military family, lived his youth in many different states across our nation’s south.
In Roger’s adolescent years, the Freeman family settled down in Lakewood, California.
After graduating from high school, Roger began working for Douglas Aircraft, a job he held until he retired.
It was in the early days of his employment with Douglas that Roger developed an eye for Jo, his boss’ secretary. Soon the two were off to a spaghetti first date at “Fat Fanny’s” restaurant at Sunset Beach. They’ve now been married for 40 years.
After Roger retired, he and Jo moved to Payson to be closer to family in the Valley.
In addition to fishing, camping and being busy with all the responsibilities that accompany being elders at the Community Presbyterian Church, Roger and Jo spend the Christmas season donning their Mr. and Mrs. Santa outfits and listening to the Christmas wish lists of area children — a love they have enjoyed since they were first married.
Roger’s music taste has changed over the years. He said, “When I was in high school, I loved the music of Stan Kenton. When the ’60s rolled around, I became a Beatles fan and country is now what I prefer.
“I like a lot of different music artists, but if I had to pick three favorites, I’d choose Willie Nelson, Sugarland and Asleep at the Wheel.”
Lastly, I’ve recently become a registered eBay seller. If you have oldie-but-goodie (the rarer the better) items laying around the house or in the attic that are just collecting dust and you would like to put them up for Internet auction, give me a jingle.