I was in Branson with Faron working two shows a day at the Cristy Lane Theater. The theater wasn’t on Cristy Lane, as you might suspect; it was on W. Hwy. 70 and it was just a tad boring doing the same show to the same (seemingly) people – over 65, retired, bespectacled, complacent and on permanent vacation – twice a day, every day, all day long. But it was easy work, no traveling or moving equipment between shows like you did working a string on one-nighters.
So we would go to see other acts between shows when we could, which didn’t always work out since most of the shows ran concurrently, like life sentences, and when we were just getting done with our big extravaganza most of the other shows were, too. But we caught most of Loretta Lynn’s show one time.
The great Jimmy Crawford was playing steel guitar with her at the time, so that was pretty cool, getting to see him. But Loretta did one of the most unprofessional things I’ve ever seen a performer do on this particular show. And she had no valid excuse, either, like being drunk or buzzed on coke. As far as we knew, anyway.
“When the Tingle Becomes A Chill” was the song, and at the end there’s this big steel guitar thing that Hal, I guess, did on the record, and Jimmy fluffed it. The show came to a screeching halt and Loretta glared at him and made some uncomplimentary remark and made him play it again, all by himself. All eyes and ears were on him, and being the classy guy he was, he executed it flawlessly and just grinned. And sweated. WTF? Like she’d never forgotten the lyrics to “You Ain’t Woman Enough”? Or come in a beat too late, like she did on the Wilburn show one time and blamed Buddy Spicher for throwing her off? Huh.
Oh well, chick singers… You can’t live with ’em and you can’t shoot ’em.
Oh yeah, lest I forget, here’s an old Nashville joke:
How do you know when there’s a chick singer knocking at your hotel door?
She forgot her key and doesn’t know when to come in.