Who was/is Lefty Frizzell ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more
Lefty Frizzell was the greatest honky-tonk singer of all time—if you ask the most educated and highly opinionated fans of country music, that is. Blessed with a voice that came naturally to him—a voice that held so much soul and carried such infinite layers of emotional expression, that grown men were oft-moved to tears—Lefty was also cursed with bad habits and a downward career path that left him dead in 1975 at the tragically young age of 47.
This compilation, part of the 'Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight' series, seeks to compile all the up-tempo numbers—hillbilly boogie, rockabilly, borderline rock 'n' roll and hard late 1950s country—for a package that will undoubtedly appeal to crowd of rockabilly fans and those seeking to have a lone Lefty Frizzell disc in their collection.
Let it be known, however, that a disc that contains only the uptempo Lefty Frizzell numbers is much like a painting that uses only two of the primary colors. Lefty's incredible depth of emotion lent itself best to plaintive ballads and waltzes, and although the uptempo numbers are also great. But if you really want to experience the full breadth of Lefty's talent this author urges you to seek out the most essential of Bear Family box sets, 'Life's Like Poetry.' (BCD 15550).
William Orville 'Lefty' Frizzell was born March 31, 1928 in the oil and farm town of Corsicana, Texas, about 50 miles southeast of Dallas. As a young child, his family moved to El Dorado, Arkansas, where they remained until Lefty was a teenager. Although the family would always call him 'Sonny,' since he was the first boy in the family, the nickname 'Lefty' was acquired during a school fight with another boy. The nickname—which came because Lefty led with his left hand in the fight—stuck with him throughout his life, even though Lefty played his guitar right-handed.
As a child, Lefty loved music and began playing guitar at a young age, even securing a spot on a children's radio show on the local station KELD at the age of 12. When the Frizzell family moved back to Texas, Lefty won a talent contest in Dallas, which bolstered the youngster’s ambition to continue in music, which he did, alternating between working in the Texas oilfields and performing at honky-tonks on the weekends.
In 1945, Lefty wed Alice Harper, when both of them were 16 years old and too young to get married without parental permission. Soon afterward their first child, Lois, was born, and in 1946 Lefty and his new family moved to New Mexico in search of a better life, first to Capitan and then to Roswell, a then-booming Army town close to the west Texas border. Lefty pursued singing and writing songs in Roswell, while Alice worked at a downtown café. A local musician had a Wilcox-Gay disc recorder, and Lefty begged to get some of his songs recorded on the primitive device, such was his desire to become a professional singer.
Times were tough and the family nearly starved to death, circumstances made worse by Lefty's tendency to get in trouble with the law. Eight days after the legendary Roswell 'U.F.O.' crash happened in July 1947, Lefty was arrested and served six months in the Roswell jail for what he called "fightin' and carryin' on" in a later interview. In reality, the charges were statutory rape, a married 19-year old man caught with a 14-year old girl. The time Lefty spent in jail just about killed him, wondering if Alice would take their new baby Lois and leave. Whether 'U.F.O.' crashes or captured alien beings played into the equation, Lefty wrote the first of many future hit songs in the Roswell jail in September 1947, I Love You A Thousand Ways. The song was a plaintive apology to his wife Alice for his misdeeds.
Upon release in early 1948, Lefty and family moved back to Texas, where eventually he would set up a residency at the Ace of Clubs in Big Spring, a club gig that would last more than a year. Lefty's original songs were popular with the local crowds, and on many occasions people recommended that Lefty should try making records.
Lefty Frizzell Steppin' Out - Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight
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