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September 27

The #97 mail train crashes on the Southern Railway outside Danville, VA in 1903. It inspired Vernon Dalhart’s early country hit “The Wreck Of The Old ’97”

Merle Haggard arranges a reunion of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys in 1971. The event happened at Haggard’s home in Bakersfield, CA. Merle had a home studio and while he had all those great musicians there, he took full advantage.  Leon McAuliffe, on steel, Joe Holley on fiddle, Al Strickland on piano, and Tiny Moore, on mandolin. Merle is playing Bob’s part on the fiddle.  Hear the audio here:

Speaking of Bob Wills…Waylon Jennings records “Bob Wills Is Still The King” in 1974. That same day at his concert in Austin’s Western Place, Waylon recorded “Good Hearted Woman.” Willie Nelson’s voice is later added to create a duet for the album “Wanted: The Outlaws”

We lost guitarist/vocalist Charlie Monroe to cancer in 1975. He joined Bill Monroe in The Monroe Brothers, a mountain duo that became a strong-selling act in the 1930s, prior to Bill’s emergence as a bluegrass pioneer. Hear them together performing a song that was featured on Andy Griffith a lot here:

Johnny Cash plays an ex-convict and June Carter is his wife in an episode of the NBC series “Little House On The Prairie” airing on September 27, 1976.

It was no doubt a fun day in the studio in 1983. Ray Charles and George Jones record “We Didn’t See A Thing” with Chet Atkins sitting in on guitar. Here’s the legendary duo performing the song live in 1984:

“Dolly!” makes its prime-time debut on ABC in 1987, ranking in Nielsen’s Top 5. Host Dolly Parton’s first song is “Coat Of Many Colors.” She also sings “I Will Always Love You,” and guests include Pee Wee Herman, Oprah Winfrey and Hulk Hogan. Here’s a can’t miss segment:

In 1992 the Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame adds Max D. Barnes, who authored “Chiseled In Stone” and “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes”; and Wayland Holyfield, who penned “Could I Have This Dance” and “You’re My Best Friend.” A year later in 1993, the Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame inducts Don Schlitz, who authored “The Gambler” and “On The Other Hand”; Red Lane, known for “My Own Kind Of Hat” and “‘Til I Get It Right”; and Conway Twitty. Here’s Merle Haggard talking about some of the songwriters he admires.

It would be hard to budget your spendin’ money on September 27, 1994. That’s when several great albums get their release… Arista releases Brooks & Dunn’s “Waitin’ On Sundown” album. Warner Bros. releases Little Texas’ “Kick A Little” album. Giant releases Clay Walker’s “If I Could Make A Living” album. BNA releases “Keith Whitley: A Tribute Album,” with Alan Jackson, Diamond Rio, Joe Diffie, Mark Chesnutt, Lorrie Morgan, Alison Krauss, Tracy Lawrence and Ricky Skaggs & Shenandoah. The liner notes include the lyrics to Vince Gill’s “Go Rest High On That Mountain,” partially inspired by Whitley.

Wynonna’s autobiography, “Coming Home To Myself,” appears on bookshelves in 2005. Get your copy here.

We lost Johnny Wright in 2011. The husband and manager of Kitty Wells, he enjoyed hits as a member of the duo Johnnie & Jack and earned a solo #1 hit with “Hello Vietnam”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Dobro player Josh Graves is born in Tellico Plains, TN in 1925. He records with Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs for nearly 15 years, becoming a major influence on the development of his chosen instrument. Check out this video featuring Jake Tullock, Marty Stuart, Jerry Douglas and Vassar Clements.