1-CD-Album deluxe with 72-page booklet, 32 tracks. Playing time approx. 84 mns.
In country music history, 1963 goes down as the year of losses. At 2:00pm on Tuesday March 5, a Piper Comanche light airplane left Kansas City for Nashville. There were three passengers and a pilot on board. They touched down in Dyersburg, Tennessee around 5:00pm, refueled, and took off again at 6:07. The weather was bad, but the pilot wanted to get home, and so did everyone else on board. Bad weather had already delayed them by one day, so they decided to take their chances. One hour out of Dyersburg, a rainstorm and encroaching darkness disoriented the pilot and he crashed the plane into dense woods near Camden, Tennessee, less than one hundred miles from Nashville. Patsy Cline, Cowboy Copas, Hawkshaw Hawkins, and the pilot, Randy Hughes, were those killed. Hughes, once a musician himself, was Cowboy Copas's son-in-law and Patsy Cline's manager and lover. Hawkshaw Hawkins had given up a seat on a commercial flight so that his Grand Ole Opry co-star, Billy Walker, could be with his ailing father. They had all been in Kansas City to perform at a benefit show for the family of a disc-jockey who had died five weeks earlier in a car wreck.
On March 7, there was a memorial service held in Hendersonville for Patsy Cline, whose remains were to be returned to her home in Virginia. Driving to the service, Jack Anglin of Johnnie & Jack was killed in a one car wreck. And then, on March 29, Texas Ruby, half of the duo Curly Fox and Texas Ruby, was killed in a trailer fire while Fox was performing on the Opry. That same week, it was reported that George Jones' tour bus fell into a ravine near Grants Pass, Oregon, injuring five people on board.
And then, on August 27, came the news that Jim Denny had died. A bear-like man with a rakish toupée, Denny had worked his way up the Grand Ole Opry hierarchy from the mail room to the head of the Artist Service Bureau, from the latter position he effectively ran the show. In 1953, he'd started Cedarwood Music and by 1956 the Opry began to see a conflict-of-interest between Denny's work for the show and his outside activities. Denny left the Opry to concentrate on Cedarwood and his new enterprise, the Jim Denny Artist Bureau. By the time of his death, Cedarwood was one of the big three Nashville music publishers and the Denny agency was one of country music's preeminent bookers. For all his gruffness, Denny nurtured his songwriters and clients. Stonewall Jackson remembered Denny advising him to stay clear of get-rich-quick schemes, and invest in property. "First big check I got, I bought a nice house where my son lives now," says Stonewall. "With the money from 'Waterloo,' I bought the thirty acres of land where I live now. Put a house on it. You gotta listen to the advice."
There were positive developments in 1963, too. In July, Faron Young started a country music fanzine, 'Music City News.' He hired a young British journalist, Dixie Deen (who later married Tom T. Hall), and Deen wrote some of the first long-form journalism about country artists. And then, in September, 'The Jimmy Dean Show' began a three-year run on ABC-TV's prime time schedule, bringing country music closer to the mainstream than ever before.