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190902 September 2, 2019


Click on the Link Below to Hear the interview

An Interview with Our Classmate
Jim McBride
Tommy Towery
LHS '64

    I know many of you might think I give Jim McBride too much coverage in Lee's Traveller. And I would bet no one feels that way more than Jim himself. For your information, Jim himself has never sent me one thing to publish here unless I have pleaded with him to do so - and that was rare. Jim is one of those classmates his friends like to brag about. Maybe we are hitching our wagons to his fame, but I think it is more like we appreciate him as nothing more than being a friend and are proud of what he has accomplished.
    I will start at the beginning about my relationship with Jim. I never knew him when we were attending Lee High School. Honestly, I never knew him or had heard anything about him until after I published my first book "A Million Tomorrows...Memories of the Class of '64" in 1988. It was not until the combined reunion in 1990 when I first heard anything about him. I was talking to Carol Jean Williams at that reunion and she told me "You need to send one of these books to Jim McBride in Nashville.” I asked her who he was and why he would be interested. She replied that he was a member of the Class of '66 and he wrote songs about things we experienced when we were growing up and he would find my book interesting. She said, "He writes songs, and you write books." I got his address and sent it to him and he sent a very nice reply thanking me for doing so and told me about some of the songs he had written. My very first and still one of my favorite ones he has written is "Dixie Boy" since I could have been the one he was writing about. My mother and father were divorced when I was eight and following the divorce she would often sit in a corner listening to old heart-breaker songs. Even though I was young, I knew the impact the words of the songs made on her and I suppose that was the roots of my appreciation of how songs speak to us, not the music, but the words to the songs. Many years ago Sue was out of town and I saw Jim was appearing in one of his "songwriter" shows over in Jackson, Tennessee. I drove the 80 miles over there to see his show and he was shocked to see me in the audience. He dedicated his performance of "Dixie Boy" to me that night.

    Coming up to date, Jim and I have become more than just casual friends who say hello to each other every five years. The same holds true for his sweet wife Jeanne. We are all Facebook friends and follow and comment on their lives and they do the same on the lives of Sue and I regularly. 

    I saw the interview above posted on Facebook by one of our classmates (not Jim) and thought you might enjoy hearing about how his career began.

Dixie Boy

        Memphis, TN -  I am a little under the weather today, so take that into consideration should I miss anything.

    It is too hot for football season to begin, but it has. Sue and I went to the Ole Miss/Memphis game last Saturday. It was a game which started at 11:00 AM and we sat in the blazing sun for about four hours. Football is supposed to be a fall sport, bundle up and endure the newness of cooler weather and enjoy hot chocolate while we root for the team. As an aside to that, people still want to call "The University of Memphis" as "Memphis State" even though it changed names in 1990, and I still want to call Ole Miss's team "The Rebels."

Last Week's Name That Tune

Name That Tune


Last Date

    Jeffrey Fussell, LHS '66, "One of my favorites! Floyd Cramer’s “Last Date: is a standard for the all-important last dance at any event.  He had a distinctive “slip note” style that made his piano playing immediately recognizable.  His wide appeal earned him a place in both the County Music and Rock ’n’ Roll  Hall of Fame. The Statler Brothers, Conway Twitty, Skeeter Davis, and Emmylou Harris all covered “Last Date” with vocal versions."

    Sarajane Steigerwald Tarter, LHS ’65, "The song this week is Last Date. It seems to me to me that this song was played at the skating rink when we were in junior high. Do you remember that?"

These Classmates also named it correctly

Billy Wright
 Linda Isbell Creek, LHS '64
Max Kull, LHS '67
Linda Collinsworth provost, LHS '66
Eddie Burton

    Max Kull, LHS '67, "Hey, I've enjoyed your "Name that Tune" exercises so much I thought I'd take a crack at putting together a "fiver" myself.

    Last summer, the "Boomers and Beyond" group (old farts) at my church had a party with a beach theme.  I was tasked with curating some appropriate selections from old beach music classics.  I realized this week that I still had all this stuff hanging around my hard drive so I grabbed five of them and strung them together.  I think most of them are fairly easy.  Don't know if you are accepting reader submissions or not but, if so, put this in your stash and use it whenever you see fit.

    Here's a clue: "If you've ever spent more than sixty minutes an the beach, you should know these."

Name That Tune