The Marty Stuart Show

Episode 131 airing August 31, 2013

Guests: Connie Smith, and The Fabulous Superlatives

The final show of Season 5 of The Marty Stuart Show was a one-hour special taped at the Ellis Theatre in Philadelphia, Mississippi the end of June. Marty is Mississippi's number one ambassador and he wanted to spotlight Neshoba County and his hometown of Philadelphia, Mississippi, something he's done on each show. Eddie Stubbs said, "Stay tuned for RFD-TV's Philadelphia-Neshoba County Arts Council's special presentation of The Marty Stuart Show." The show opened with Marty walking down the railroad tracks in Philadelphia as he spoke these words:

I heard it whispering through the pines, but I didn't know what it was,
I heard it in the church bells across town and it touched down deep in my heart,
I heard it in the scream of a wildcat whistle
as the midnight train tore through the darkness behind our house,
I felt it in the rhythm of a chain gang
as I watched them drive spikes into the rail bed in the Pearl River swamp,
I saw it written on the faces of so many people
on the back roads around Philadelphia, Mississippi, where I was raised,
It existed in the form of a ghostly presence and surrounded me as if I were a
shadow that knew more about me than I knew of it,
I sensed music in all these things,
but it wasn't clear to me what kind of song the world was singing,
Then like a bolt of lightning it hit me and I found it was country music,
It captivated me and made me feel alive,
Even at an early age I somehow knew that my time on earth
would be spent following this pillar of fire around the world,
That's what I've done.
But sometimes the best thing to do is to go back home,
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Philadelphia, Mississippi.

Eddie Stubbs opened the show with, "From the historic Ellis Theatre in downtown Philadelphia, Mississippi, it is time for The Marty Stuart Show." Warm welcomes were received from residents of Philadelphia. Eddie continued, "Appearing on tonight's show, the Rolls Royce of country singers Miss Connie Smith, the ole Tennessee Slicker Leroy Troy, along with all The Fabulous Superlatives: Cousin Kenny Vaughan, Handsome Harry Stinson, the Apostle Paul Martin. plus Gary Carter on the steel guitar. I'm Eddie Stubbs. Now direct from Route 8, Philadelphia, Mississippi, how 'bout a Superlative welcome for our host. Here is Marty Stuart." Marty and His Fabulous Superlatives opened the show with "Mississippi Woman."

Marty said, "Good to be home in Philadelphia, Mississippi, ladies and gentlemen." Marty takes a trip to WHOC-AM and visits with DJ Joe Vines who put Marty on the air. Joe talked about Marty's ambassadorship for the state of Mississippi. Marty said he was at his aunt's house when he first heard Johnny Cash's "Live at Folsom Prison" in 1968. Joe was on the air at the time. Marty was so impressed, he called Joe and Joe played the song again for him. Marty said, "I could not move from in front of those speakers. It mesmerized me." Marty also talked about hearing Joe make the announcement that Connie Smith was going to play the Choctaw Indian Fair in July 1970. Marty said, "I went tearin' through the house to tell mama. Joe Vines said Connie Smith is comin' to town." Joe asked if Connie was going to be at the show at the Ellis Theatre and Marty promised him she would be there.

Marty introduced Connie Smith who sang "Where Is My Castle."

After a commercial break, more wonderful Philadelphia residents gave their welcomes. Marty and The Fabulous Superlatives took their bus and instruments to Philadelphia Gun and Pawn Shop. There they talked with Jackie Conn, owner. and Larry Freeny. Marty holds up his mandolin and says, "Loaded with history. loaded with history. We hit a little snag on the edge of town at the casino. You know." Jackie said, "It can happen. It can happen." Handsome Harry said, "Well it did." Marty laughed. Jackie said, "Well, that's what we're here for." Marty said, "Mandolin, bass fiddle, drum, and Martin guitar from a world-class hillbilly band. What can you do?" Jackie said, "Well, first I need to see what they'll do." Marty said, "All right." Jackie said, "Give 'em a test drive." Marty said, "Will it help?" Jackie said, "It will help." Marty continued, "Well, all right. How 'bout 'The Mississippi Railroad Blues'." Jackie said, "Sounds good." During the song, Marty told Kenny, "Make it sound more expensive."

After the song, Jackie said, "See, just name your price." Marty then talked about "Philadelphia always being a country music friendly town. The Neshoba County Fair has always had country music entertainment and still does. The Choctaw Indian Fair has always booked country music stars. One particular show that came through this town that changed my life was in July of 1970. The Connie Smith Show." Marty and Connie joined Chief Phyliss Anderson at the football field at Choctaw Central where the concert in 1970 was held. Marty and Connie walked to the spot where the stage was. Marty said, "Well, baby, I probably remember this a lot better than you do. The details of the night. But your stage was right here." Connie said, "I remember that." Marty said, "We were sittin' right over there. Me and my mom and my sister. And you sang your songs. And what I didn't know that night was Les Leverett was here. The great photographer from Nashville. After it was over with, me and my sister Jennifer got our picture made with ya right there. You remember comin' here playin?" Connie said, "I do. The thing I remember about meetin' you is Weldon Myrick was on the show, Jerry Shook and Johnny Gimble. Several people were playin'." Marty said, "Nashville session musicians." Connie said, "Nashville session musicians. And the part I remember is this little gorgeous little kid hopped up the stage. Was over there talkin' to Weldon. I don't know if you remember but you were askin' him what gauge strings he used and all kinds of questions. And I thought, here's this kid he has not a bashful bone in his body and yet he's talkin' to Weldon like a grownup. And I was impressed." Marty said, "I was workin' my way to you through the pickers." Connie laughed and said, "That's one of the main things I remember." Marty said, "After it was over, I wanted one more look atcha. So we were leavin' that gate and I asked my mama, 'mama, let me borrow your camera'. And you were sittin' in your station wagon right there." Connie said, "That's right." Marty continued, "And I went and said, 'Miss Smith, can I take your picture' and you were just sittin' there and I took your picture. And that's the first picture I ever made in my life." Connie said, "I'm honored." Marty said, "Yeah. That'll teach ya to come to Philadelphia, Mississippi." Connie said, "That's right." Marty continued, "But on the way home that night, I said, 'mama, I'm gonna marry her some day'. Thank you very much for marryin' me. Here's what I wanted to do that night."

Malcolm White, director of tourism for the Mississippi Development Authority talked about catching Marty's rehearsal of "I Met My Baby At The Choctaw Fair." He said, "It pretty much sums it up for us. He's got a Bo Diddley beat going, with this amazing band. He's got Choctaw dancers on stage,and he's talkin' about Connie Smith. And it sums up his global approach and the way that he loves the place that he came from, and the way that he takes that with him everywhere he goes. He carries that very positive message that many people don't know about Mississippi. Look, it's easy for us to acknowledge that often times people think negative things about us. But when Marty Stuart speaks for us, he takes away all the negatives, inserts the positives, and puts it to a Bo Diddley beat, and everybody has a great time."

Marty said, "Here is a song I wrote about the night I met and saw Connie Smith at the Choctaw Fair."

After a commercial break, there were more warm welcomes from the residents of Philadelphia. Marty, Connie, The Fabulous Superlatives, Gary Carter, Leroy Troy and Eddie Stubbs hopped on the bus and went to see Sid Williams at Williams Brothers Grocery. Marty rattled off some things the store carries and then said, "But the main thing we need. We've looked all over the United States of America for Cousin Kenny a belt to hold his britches up. Have ya got belts?" Sid says, "Oh we've got plenty of belts." Kenny said, "I want one like that right there," pointing to Sid's belt. Marty said, "Like Sid's wearin'?" Kenny said, "That one looks good." Sid said, "You like this belt here?" Kenny said, "I believe you've outgrown that one." Marty said, "Would you sell that to Cous?" Sid said, "Hmm, Cous, I hate to tell ya no, but an old Indian chief gave me this belt and money couldn't buy this belt." Marty said, "Oh come on, Sid. How come you ain't ever sold in your life?" Sid said, "Well, I'm sorry but this belt, I gotta keep this belt." Marty said, "Well, all right. We're gonna go shoppin' and you and Cous can go work on it."

Marty said, "Make welcome Cousin Kenny everybody. Cous, welcome to Philadelphia, Mississippi." Kenny said, "It's nice to be here." Marty continued, "Have you enjoyed yourself around here?" Kenny said, "I have had a wonderful time." Marty said, "All right. Show 'em what ya got today." Kenny unbuttoned his jacket and said, "I got it off Sid Williams out at Willliamsville. Got a new belt." Marty and His Fabulous Superlatives performed "Torpedo."

Marty said, "I've often said that it's the people that define a town. And some of the finest people I know of in Philadelphia, Mississippi and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. It's precious people here. One lady in particular comes to mind. Just right across the street, down the street, I guess, from the Ellis Theatre here, there's a place called 'Peggy's'. We all know and love Peggy Webb. She's a Philadelphia legend. She's a Mississippi institution. What a lot of people don't know about Peggy is that she and her husband Don started their restaurant in 1961. That's how she fed her family. But everybody knows about her service in this community. It was community tables. She put it on the honor system. We all pay at the basket. Make our own change. That's what Peggy thought of human beings. She trusted us. But it was the people that couldn't eat, couldn't afford to eat. That's the ones Peggy fed too. And after work, leftovers were left on the table for the kids to come by. Ladies and gentlemen, we'd like for you to meet our loved Peggy Webb. Whataya think." Peggy walked out on stage to a standing ovation. Marty gave her a big hug and handed her a bouquet of red roses. Marty said, "Peggy, on behalf of everybody in this place, we love you with all of our hearts." Peggy said, "I love you back." Marty said, "We're gonna sing you a song or two. If you can just stand there for a second, I'll talk to you in a minute." Marty and His Fabulous Superlatives sang "All For The Love Of A Girl."

Marty said, "And now a word from the lady of the hour. How 'bout a hand for Peggy Webb." Peggy said, "Words can't say what Philadelphia and Neshoba's meant to me and my family through the years, especially in the early years that all I had goin' for me was I knew how to cook. Through the grace of God and you people, I've made it. And I love all of you. And to Marty and Connie and the band, I couldn't have a better .. not many people have a 80th birthday party like I've had this week. And I thank you all."

Marty said, "Thank you. I love you. I love you. If you'll have a seat over there, I've got a fabulous artist for you. Ladies and gentlemen, the ole Tennessee Slicker, the most popular man in country music, the Sultan of Goodlettsville. How 'bout a hand for Leroy Troy. Hello Leroy. Welcome to Philadelphia." Leroy said, "Hey. I am so glad to be here. I've had the biggest times since I've been here." Marty said, "Have you?" Leroy said, "I got to see the whole town. I got to see Miss Peggy's place." Marty said, "Well you know by now that Wednesday is Chicken Day at Peggy's don'tcha?" Leroy said, "Is it Wednesday or is it Tuesday and Friday?" Marty turned to Peggy and said, "What is it?" Peggy said, "Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday." Marty said, "Oh, I stand corrected." Leroy said, "We were both right." Marty said, "That's right. Well, do you have anything that would speak to the occasion?" Leroy said, "Shoot yeah. I'm gonna dedicate this one to Miss Peggy." Marty said, "All right." Leroy said, "And also, to all them chickens that have passed over her dinner tables." Leroy sang "Ghost Chickens In The Sky."

After a commercial break, Betty Lou Jones, President of the Jimmie Rodgers Foundation was on stage to present Marty with a plaque. She said, "Marty Stuart has been a great supporter of the Jimmie Rodgers Museum and Foundation. And he is a great fan of Jimmie Rodgers. Tonight we are officially giving him his artist copy of the bronze plaque that is placed in the museum in his honor as he joins Ernest Tubb, Hank Snow, Merle Haggard, Gene Autry, and Tanya Tucker in the Blue Yodelers Hall of Fame." Marty said, "All right. I'll take it. Thank you, Betty Lou. Thank you very much." Betty Lou said, "I would like to share with you the wording on this: 'Marty Stuart, like Jimmie Rodgers, came from simple Mississippi roots and has honored the place and the man while taking America's music to the world. As a star of the Grand Ole Opry, musician, songwriter, TV host, and presenter of country music, and preserver of country music history, Marty Stuart has followed the Blue Yodeler model as a showman and spokesman from the common people's perspective.' Congratulations, Marty." Marty said, "Thank you very much. I love you."

We received more warm welcomes from the residents of Philadelphia. Paul Martin talked about Marty and how much the city of Philadelphia loves Marty. Harry Stinson talked about the genres of music and artists and other famous people from Mississippi. Kenny Vaughan talked about his musical heroes who are from Mississippi whom he didn't know were from the Magnolia state. Connie said, "When you come to Mississippi, you fall in love with the people and then you fall in love with the culture and the music that's there." They all talked about Marty's influence on them.

Steven Stubbs, curator, welcomed us to the Philadelphia-Neshoba County Historical Museum and the Marty Stuart Room inside the museum. He said one of his favorite artifacts are Marty's eighth grade report cards from Philadelphia High School, showing he was quite prolific in band, but not so much in math. Marguarita Stuart, also curator, said one of the music artifacts is Marty's first electric guitar. Her favorite item in the room is the Indian blanket given to Connie on that night in July 1970 by Chief York.

Marty said, "How 'bout a fiddle tune right now from my man Eddie Stubbs. How 'bout a hand for Eddie Stubbs and his flyin' fiddle." Eddie Stubbs performed "Wake Up Susan."

Eddie said, "One of the special times of the Marty Stuart Show on each and every episode when we declare hymn time. And we hope that come next Sunday that you and yours will make the time to attend the church of your choice. To get us inspired a little bit ahead of time, we're gonna call on Connie Smith right now and she's gonna sing one of her very favorite songs that she's recorded through the years. 'When I Need Jesus'."

After a commercial break, Marty and Leroy were in Marty's Cadillac driving past Marty's parents first house up to Marty's grandparents homestead where friends and relatives were gathered to welcome them. Marty said, "This house behind me belonged to my grandpa Levi Lincoln Stuart and my grandma Eddie Lee Stuart. They raised their sons and daughters here. My daddy was born here on this place. And it's the family homeplace. And my grandpa was a wonderful character. And he was an old-time Mississippi fiddle player. One of my original pickin' buddies. Loved playin' music with him. But this porch back here represents so much to me because when I was a little boy, havin' my big dreams about singin' and playin' music, I'd stand on this front porch with my guitar and play to the birds and the pine trees and the clouds. And that porch could be the Grand Ole Opry or Carnegie Hall or Folsom Prison, wherever I wanted it to be. It was a wonderful place. And my dreams came to me somewhere between this old porch right here and that railroad track that ran behind our house. What a great place." Leroy and Marty then amused the crowd by performing "The Death of John Henry."

Marty introduced his lifetime best friend Butch Hodgins. Marty said, "Butch and I were raised two doors apart on Kosciusko Road and behind our houses ran the train track. The Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad, right Butch? And they used to stop the train on this side of the tracks and take the front half of the train to U.S. Motors where my daddy worked and pick up a load of steel, come hook back up and take off and go to north Mississippi with it. And there was a fella when they'd stop the train ... me and Butch would go down and visit with that worked in the caboose and he gave us stationery, pencils, flares. I still don't know who set them woods on fire, do you? One day Butch was off doin' somethin' and the train was stopped and I went down there and there was this fella standin' there smokin' a cigarette by the stopped train. And his hair was kinda crazy. And he was wearin' a scarf. And he was wearin' clothes that looked like they were from another time. Kinda ruined finery. And he told me great stories about travelin' to beautiful, far away, exotic lands -- like Alabama and Arkansas. He fascinated me. He captivated me with his stories. And when the train started to take off, he thumped his cigarette and he jumped up on her and I said, 'Scuse me sir. Can you tell me what you are?'. He said, 'Boy, I'm a hobo.' And I had a revelation. I said 'That's what I'm gonna do with my life'. And I went home and I said, 'Mama, I found it. I know what I'm gonna do.' So ladies and gentlemen, I say to you, here I stand, with a scarf, clothes from another time, I've been to Alabama and Arkansas. I am the personification of the American dream. I am a hobo. Thank you very much. From the record The Pilgrim, here's a song I wrote called 'Hobo's Prayer'."

Marty said, 'How 'bout a hand for Miss Connie Smith, everybody. How 'bout a hand for Leroy Troy. How 'bout a hand for Eddie Stubbs. How 'bout a hand for Gary Carter. Come up here, Gary. Send this out to everybody in Stallo, Mississippi." They closed the show with "Pretty Katy Kline."

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