One of the more interesting characters I have met in my life is my second cousin twice-removed Rufus A. Doolittle. No matter how many times the family removed him he just kept coming back. If you meet Rufus on the street, he will always have on his old blue Bibb overalls covering nearly 300 pounds of his favorite dishes. He always said he was built more for comfort than for speed.
It’s always a pleasure to see old friends succeed in their efforts.
One of my favorite comedians is Tim Lovelace and I have had the honor to share the stage and make thousands laugh.
He is having an amazing run with his project Living in a Coffee World. It has consistently stayed in the top 10 on Billboard’s chart for comedy albums, is currently sitting at number seven and shows no sign of slowing down.
“Tim makes the extra effort to ensure his comedy is appropriate for all ages,” said Nate Goble, StowTown Records producer and co-owner. “To be consistently in the Top 10 Billboard Comedy Album chart among such comedic greats as Jerry Seinfeld and Jim Gaffigan is fantastic. We are proud of Living in a Coffee World.”
Tim said he was excited about the success.
“I appreciate the team behind this Billboard Top 10 longevity; StowTown Records owners Wayne Haun, Ernie Haase, Landon Beene and Nate Goble, along with their incredible staff and the staff at Sony/Provident, have made this an incredible journey,” he said. “I have enjoyed taking the Coffee World Tour around the country this past year, and am hooking up my caffeine IV drip so that I can extend the tour into 2019.”
Living in a Coffee World is distributed exclusively by Sony/Provident and is available at retail and digital outlets worldwide. To learn more visit, www.TimLovelace.com.
I was privileged to attend the National Quartet Convention at the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. It was an amazing opportunity to visit with the top talents of Southern Gospel music while catching many of them perform on stage.
The Southern Gospel Music Association inducted its 2018 class of Hall of Fame members at the event. They included Ann Downing, the late Tracy Stuffle of the Perrys, Mark Trammell, and the late Norman Wilson of the Primitive Quartet. To learn more, visit https://sgma.org.
Another old friend – Country Music Hall of Famer Charlie Daniels is aiming for his latest studio album, Beau Weevils – Songs in the Key of E, set for release on Friday, October 26.
The new ten-track album features lead vocals, guitar and fiddle by Daniels, James Stroud on drums and percussion, Billy Crain on guitar, and Charlie Hayward on bass.
“Beau Weevils – Songs in the Key of E is the culmination of a long held desire of James Stroud and myself to do a project together,” says Daniels. “We had worked together, with James in the capacity of producer, which had resulted in some of our most successful albums for The Charlie Daniels Band, but James is one of the finest and most soulful drummers in the business and I figured we could get together, musician to musician, and come up with something special. We just needed a vehicle in the form of songs that would fit the bill.”
Pre-sale album orders are available now at Amazon.com.
Performing on the road has its great moments and even a few that are less great. Needless to say there are often things to laugh at along the way.
One of my devoted readers said that I have been too serious of late and needed to spread some cheer so here is one of my favorite experiences along the way. Maybe it will bring you a smile.
I was introduced to a large hall of about 1,000 folks gathered to see our show. We were in the midst of singing “Little Girl of Mine in Tennessee” when a older feller about six foot tall in tattered blue coveralls and carrying a broom sweeps his way across the stage in front of the band, facing the band, all the time paying no mind to the crowd behind him or the band in front of him.
His slightly slumped appearance, along with his total disregard for his surroundings and his intense concentration on his task, began to draw some scattered giggles from the audience.
I imagined many were wondering what I or he would do next.
As I realized he was not just passing through but had decided to set up housekeeping in front of us, I stopped the tune and said, “Excuse me, were trying to do a show here,” and the feller replied “A show?”
He turned slowly towards the audience and waved as he smiled from ear to ear, saying “Hello, hello,” not hardly missing anyone as he greeted the crowd.
“Do you mind, these people paid a lot of money to see our show,” I said.
He walked over to me at the mike and looked out in the audience.
“These people paid money to see you?” he asked.
“Yes, they did,” I said.
“Miracles never cease,” he said.
“Yeah,” I said, before realizing what had passed. “Heyyyy.”
“I use to play in a band, a big band. We worked all over New York, Chicago,” he said.
“Really what did you call your band?” I asked.
“The broom boys,” he replied.
“The broom boys,” I said
“Yeah, we really cleaned up,” he said.
“Did you sing with that group?” I asked. He said, “Yes.”
“Would you like to sing with us?” I asked.
“I don’t know. I’ve got so every time I sing I cry,” he said.
“Then why do you sing?” I asked.
“So I can cry,” he said.
“Why do you cry?” I asked.
“Cause I can’t sing,” he said.
“Do you think I could join your band?” he asked.
“Well I don’t know. All these boys had to go through an interview,” I said.
“I can do that,” he said.
I agreed and started by asking, “What’s your name?”
“I was named after my Ma and Pa,” he said.
“Alright, what was their name?” I said.
“Pa was Ferdinand and Ma was Liza,” he said.
“So, what did they name you?” I asked.
“Ferdiliza,” he said.
“Where were you born?” I asked.
“Kentucky,” he replied.
“What part?” I asked.
“All of me. You didn’t think I came in pieces did you?” he said.
“Why did you leave Kentucky?” I asked.
“Couldn’t bring it with me,” he said.
“Where do you live now?” I asked.
“I live with a friend,” he said.
“Where does you friend live,” I asked.
“He lives with me,” he said.
“Where do you both live?” I asked.
“We live together,” he said.
“Where were your forefathers born?” I asked.
“My what?” he asked.
“Your forefathers. Where were they born?” I asked.
“I ain’t got but one father,” he said.
“Everybody has forefathers,” I said. “Mine came from Scotland, Germany and England.”
“Well if I got four fathers, three of them ain’t never been home,” he said.
“So do I get the job?” he asked.
“Well, I don’t know let me think on it,” I told him.
“OK, but don’t hurt yourself,” he replied.
“Hey, that’s no way to talk to someone if you want a job,” I said.
“Your right, I better get back to work,” he said.
I stopped him and asked one more question.
“When you say things like that, doesn’t a still small voice tell you you’re doing something wrong?”
“No, its usually a big loud voice. Have you met my wife?” he said.
“In the future I hope you are more careful about where you try to clean up,” I told him.
“Oh, I will be next time. I’ll bring a bigger broom,” he commented as he glided off stage.
Comedy has always been a key part of performing in live shows: the antics of clowns in circuses; the banter and quips of comics in medicine shows and vaudeville; to the jokes we hear offered in sitcoms today. Country comedians are a special breed; I am honored to in my life played both the comedian and the straight man roles of the comedy team with many funny people. There is nothing funnier than two people working off each other’s comedic timing in front of an audience. I put together this comedy routine originally for the talented comedic actor Sonny Shroyer. I hope that a couple of the lines brought you a smile. © 1992 Peach Picked Publishing. Used by permission.
Randall Franks – Tunes and Tales from Tunnel Hill
$14 plus $2 S&H
Tunes and Tales from Tunnel Hill
Available in Crimson Records CD
Randall Franks with the Sand Mountain Boys
including Gary Waldrep, Kenny Townsel, Wayne Crain and Jerry Crain
Crimson 1634 (1995)
featuring Black Eyed Suzy, A Tunnel Runs Through It (Randall Franks)
Come Go With Me, Little Girl of Mine in Tennessee, Homecoming (Randall Franks), The Way Is in God’s Hands (Randall Franks and Mark Wheeler), In the Garden, Now I Know (Randall Franks), Uncle Elige’s Send Off (Randall Franks), Please Don’t Ever Take Your Love From Me, I’m Walkin’, Filling the River with Tears (Randall Franks), Big Tig, Mr. Roy and Me (Randall Franks), Night Train to Memphis
A popular bluegrass music and comedy collection by Randall Franks recorded during his most productive period of his country music career.
International Bluegrass Music Museum Legend and country humorist Randall Franks, “Officer Randy Goode” from TV’s “In the Heat of the Night,” returns to his Southern gospel music roots with his new CD “Keep ‘Em Smilin’.”
Franks became the first solo bluegrass artist to reach the top rankings of the Christian music sales charts with his “Handshakes and Smiles” in 1990 forging new ground and opening new sales outlets for tradition artists to share their music. He created a partnership at Benson with the late producer Norman Holland, garnering turntable hits including the Telly Award nominee “Handshakes and Smiles,” “He’s Never Gonna Fool Me Again,” “You Better Get Ready,” “Pass Me Not” and “Rock of Ages.”
With his latest release from Crimson Records, the Appalachian Ambassador of the Fiddle combines his fiddle stylings, dulcimer playing, vocals and comedy with a Southern gospel style piano. He called on the skills of former Stamps Quartet pianist Curtis Broadway. Broadway also performed with Gold City, the Pelfreys and many others.
“When I started my career I wanted to learn to play the piano like Hovie Lister and Eva Mae LeFevre, but I was never ever to reach that goal. Instead God brought me to the violin, dulcimer, and guitar to share His gifts,” Franks said. “I am honored to have such an amazing talent who has added to such great musical legacies in gospel music to support me in this musical adventure. He certainly plays like I wish I could!”
Franks said this project came together accidentally.
“I was doing a show at the Walker County Civic Center in Rock Spring, Ga. with my good friends – the Testimony Quartet, and I asked Curtis to join me on my solo show that night as we performed to a packed house,” he said. “What I didn’t know is that Tim Owens of Journey On Ministries recorded the entire performance that night and he later came to me and saying ‘It was so good; I should consider releasing it.’
“After listening, I agreed, he had captured the spontaneity of me encouraging the audience to join me in the cheerful fun of worship through these classic musical selections, and simply laugh at some country comedy,” he said.
Appalachian scholar Loyal Jones included Franks amongst the region’s greatest country music humorists alongside Jeff Foxworthy and Minnie Pearl in his educational work “Country Music Humorists and Comedians.”
“I have always shared comedy all the way back to my days on ‘The Country Kids TV Series’ but unlike my old friend the late Jerry Clower, I have mainly shared my funny stories in print through my syndicated newspaper column – Southern Style,” he said. “This gives folks a taste of the stories between some of my musical offerings, just enough to hopefully bring a smile to their faces and leave a song in their hearts.”
Selections on “Keep ‘Em Smilin’” include some of his most requested songs: “This Little Light of Mine,” “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” “Amazing Grace,” “Old Time Religion,” and “In the Garden.” Among the comedy stories are “Chicken Addiction,” “A Tunnel Runs Through It/Re-Enactment,” “Indigenous/Sgt. York,” and “Cousin Viola and the Sanctified Grape Juice.”
Franks serves as an advisor to the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame board. He has performed in studio or on stage with gospel artists including the Marksmen Quartet, Jeff & Sheri Easter, the Watkins Family, the Lewis Family, Tim Lovelace, the Primitive Quartet, the Isaacs, the Easter Brothers, Little Roy and Lizzy, Jason Crabb, Tammy Sullivan, Doyle Lawson, Dottie Rambo, Archie Watkins, Dr. Jerry Goff and Little Jan Buckner-Goff, the Perrys, the Anchormen, and others.
Later Southern gospel radio successes came in his partnership with producer Chris White of Sonlite yielding airplay around the world from recordings such as Franks’ “Sacred Sounds of Appalachia” and “Christmas Time’s A Comin’.” Gospel radio programmers also found his comedy and gospel on his Crimson bluegrass releases “Tunes and Tales from Tunnel Hill” and “God’s Children” with David Davis.
The Independent Country Music Hall of Fame member was honored in 2013 by Governor Nathan Deal for his extensive philanthropic and humanitarian works providing millions of dollars benefiting his fellow Georgians.
Franks’ latest film is the Christian thriller “Broken” in which he stars with Soren Fulton and Joe Stevens. His acting with Carroll O’Connor and Howard Rollins on TV’s “In the Heat of the Night” airs weekly to millions of viewers on cable and broadcast networks such as WGN-TV and This.
Franks continues to make concert appearances around the United States and Canada.
To learn more about Randall Franks, visit randallfranks.com; Like him on Facebook Randall Franks Actor/Director; follow on twitter @RandallFranks; or subscribe to RandallFranksTV on YouTube.
Visit shareamericafoundation.org to learn more about the Appalachian musical scholarship charity to which Franks gives his time.
I remember as a boy, I always looked forward to Saturday when I was visiting with my grandparents. That meant we would be taking a trip to town. It could mean some time in the 5&10, the grocery store or a stroll around the Courthouse Square or visiting with folks at the farmer’s market.
Going to town was special and meant the folks would put on their best clothes and their best manners.
One of my readers wrote in and asked for a bit of humor, so I decided to share these comedy routines below.
Remember all they asked for was a bit!
My great Uncle Dud Doolittle was an entrepreneur extraordinaire who operated the little general store at Flintville Crossroads.
Now Uncle Dud was as swift as could be. He stood about five-foot-five and was wiry as a well-strung bed frame.
His circular Ben Franklin spectacles offset his gray hair, and he was seldom seen outside his wool, dark green-striped suit and favorite gray beaver hat.
When working in the store, he also wore a black visor on his head that looked odd because it made his bald spot shine as he worked below the store’s light bulb.
With the variety of folks who made his store a regular place to be, he was always finding himself in unique and unusual situations.
Folks were always eager to give a hand, especially Cousin Clara who made a drop by the store a daily ritual.
It was a quiet Friday afternoon in July of 1948. Uncle Dud stood on a rickety wooden ladder putting a shipment of canned peaches in his favorite pyramid display. As he drew his task to close Cousin Clara came in saying, “Sure is hot out there.”
She noticed a can lying below the ladder so she walked over and stepped under the ladder to pick it up. As she raised up, she knocked over the ladder sending Uncle Dud to the floor.
“Doggoned it,” Dud said. “I told you before to stay away from that ladder. Don’t you know it is bad luck to walk under a ladder?”
“I didn’t know you were superstitious,” Clara said.
“About the only time I am superstitious is when somebody like you walks under a ladder and deliberately sends me to the ground,” he said.
“Do you believe it is seven years bad luck to break a mirror?” Clara asked.
“No sireee! My Uncle Corn Walter broke a mirror, and he did not have a bit of bad luck,” Dud said.
“Why didn’t he?” Clara asked.
“He got bit by a rattlesnake and died two days later,” he said.
Throughout the conversation, Dud remained as he had landed on the floor — standing on his head.
“Why are you still like that?” she asked.
“When I stand on my head the blood rushes to my head, but when I stand on my feet the blood don’t seem to rush to my feet,” Dud said. “I didn’t know why, so I wanted to just stay here and think about it a minute or two.”
“Why, that’s easy to figure out in your case Uncle Dud,” Clara said. “Blood can’t go in to your feets because your feets are full, but it can go into your head cause your head’s empty.”
(The characters of Uncle Dud Doolittle and Cousin Clara are the property of Peach Picked Publishing in association with Katona Publishing and are used by permission.)
God is so good to Christians. All we have to do is just ask and there it is.
I’m not talkin’ about things we want. I am talkin’ about things we need — like pontoon boats and big screen TVs.
I prayed and I prayed for God to give me those and sure ’nuff he did. Of course, I have to keep them at my neighbor’s house.
I can use them anytime I want to day or night, but I think they are starting to see through the sleepwalking routine.
One thing He does bless us with is travel mercies, especially preachers and singers, maybe it’s because we ask for them more often.
Now I have traveled every way possible except dog sled. I have always traveled in the finest cars money can buy — Ford Pinto, Fairmont Stationwagon, Chevy S-10.
I have never been much for heights — this really came to me on my first plane flight. It’s not the heights that bother me so much — it’s the fall followed by the splat.
I was working for Bill Monroe and had to change planes four times on a trip across country. Each time I changed, the plane got smaller and smaller and smaller. They folded me into that last one.
I’m glad I didn’t have to go any further on that trip. My next step would have been flapping my arms with red birthday balloons tied to my back.
On another fateful flight, I was on what I call a puddle jumper — when you first see those planes you’re not sure if it will get across a puddle before falling. I was returning from the Michael Jordan Celebrity Golf Tournament in North Carolina. The plane seated about 16 people and we could not have squeezed in one more. We had wall-to-wall soap opera stars, prime-time actors, comedians, football and basketball players and their folks.
What none of us knew was a series of tornadoes was about to welcome us to the not so friendly skies.
It was a few minutes into the flight when we suddenly fell. After collecting everything that was once below our belts from around our ears, everyone released their held breath.
One friend, Chris Castile, from the sit-com “Step by Step” seemed unscathed by the sudden change. Flying fascinated him, and he was watching closely as the pilot compensated for the problem.
The wind whipped us every which way right, left, up and down. I looked around, saying a silent prayer through my gritted teeth as I held the arms of my seat for dear life.
I have never heard screams like that in my life.
After I stopped yelling I realized I wasn’t the only one. You would never imagine football players could make that much noise.
I believe with the Lord’s intervention through the pilot’s skill we sailed on through the bad weather. The Lord blessed us and we all made it to the ground safely. We could not have had a better ride at Disney. That is probably why we were all smiling when we set our feet on the ground.
That is one reason I am not that fond of flying. Besides, it says right in the Bible we should keep our feet firmly planted on the ground. It says “Lo(w), I will be with you always.” It does not say a thing about high.
From the comedy routine “Travel Mercies,” by Randall Franks, used by permission of Peach Picked Publishing.
That may sound like a strange question but after you already have a whole hoard move in on you, what’s a few more?
I recently was filming a movie outside Nashville when I noticed that I had an extreme need to reach down a scratch my leg again and again. I wasn’t even filming outside where you might expect them to pay a call. I just had picked the critter up along the way.
Share America Foundation
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Tunnel Hill, Georgia 30755
Phone: (706) 963-0016