So, from Parts I & II, you can see that musical interest, musical influence, & musical performance have been ‘in my blood’ from a very early age.
My grandparents (on my mother’s side), Sam & Pauline Beard, had a wonderfully, positive, powerful impact on me…though I’m not 100% sure they ever knew how much…and, in retrospect, I don’t think I was ever fully aware of how much.
Likewise, my parents (Bill ‘W.T.’ Carter and Patricia ‘Pat’ Carter) had a very positive and powerful impact on my musical interests in singing/performance. Dad had an awesome, rich baritone voice…though he never pursued anything professionally. I clearly recall…especially on family road trips…listening to him sing. His favorites were, “Danny Boy” and some song about a poor orphan boy (I don’t really remember the source of this tune…possibly he made it up…but it was a real ‘tear jerker’…lol). Raised in an orphanage, Dad joined the military (Air Force) as soon as he was of age. Originally from Illinois, Dad was stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City, Louisiana. He told the story of actually seeing and hearing Elvis Presley perform in Shreveport, La. at the Louisiana Hayride. He eventually met my mother, a country ‘gal’ from Lincoln Parish. They fell in love, and married. Soon thereafterwards, ‘yours truly’ was conceived and born. Our first house/home was in the Shreveport/Bossier area. An interesting bit of trivia is that our postman–at the time–was the one and only, legendary, Mr. Slim Whitman (who, soon afterwards, had the international hit, “Indian Love Call”)! Who knows, maybe as an impressionable infant, I may have overheard Mr. Whitman singing or whistling this tune as he was delivering our mail, one day! 🙂
Mom always adored music and musical performance! In fact, during her late High School years and throughout her College years at Louisiana Polytech Institute, she sang in a trio. Their most requested song (and favorite to perform) was, “Chatanooga Choo Choo”! Additionally, she heard and danced…LIVE…to such legendary Pop Icons as: Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Harry James, and others! In those days, the Pop bands/artists would tour the country performing at College campuses for dances/concerts! Wow! How cool is that! 🙂 (Side note: Mom also rode a friend’s Harley, way back then! She was…and still is…a ‘really cool chick’!)
Dad & Mom were always very positive & supportive of my interests in music and performing. They bought me my very first guitar for Christmas, one year; a Sears Silvertone Electric guitar, with the amp & speaker built into the carrying case! Man…..I wish I still had that baby!!! 🙂
And, they attended many of our performances…over the years. I have a vivid memory of playing in a ‘Rodeo Parade’ on a flatbed being pulled by a tractor (with cowboys & cowgirls on horses in front of us and bringing up the rear). Though we played Top 40 Rock & Roll, back then…we learned a couple of Johnny Cash songs to appease the crowd. And, there was Dad, riding along on the flatbed, manning the gasoline-powered generator which supplied our band with the electricity it needed for our amps and P.A. system! Dad (R.I.P., Pop) and Mom…well…really cool. Thanks, from the bottom of my heart! Love ya!
Stay tuned! Much more to come! Many more ‘Pre-Nashville Days: Louisiana Connections … U.K. Connections … Australian Connections” stories to come!
Ciao for now…..Your pal,