Tuesday, January 19, 2010

" The Smiling Irishman of Country Music"... James O'Gwynn

My father passed away this morning @ 6:07 AM so I am re-posting this in honor of my very talented and creative father ~~~~~~~~~~~~~


In honor of ST. Patrick's Day ................
My post today is to honor my Dad, James O'Gwynn
who in the Country Music world is affectionately known as:
" The Smiling Irishman of Country Music"

My Dad turned 81 on January 26, 2009. Last year on his
80 th we threw him a surprise birthday party at my brother
Robert's house in Jackson, MS. This is a picture of his cake.

This was made the same day. Hubby, Dad and me.
My profile picture of Dad and me singing a duet was
also made that day.

This is one of his portfolio pictures of his
early days in the music business.
He was so handsome, all my friends would
get crushes on him and tell me they were
going to "marry him" making me furious!

Here he is performing on the Grand Ole Opry
in the early 1960' s

He had many friends who were often visitors in our home
for jam sessions and songwriting!
Here he is backstage with Johnny Cash when they were
on tour together...........

He and George Jones are close friends as they started
in the business together on the same record label and
with the same manager........
George Jones was a frequent guest at our house my
entire childhood as he and my Dad also wrote songs together.
This picture was made in 1975 when Dad and I attended the
Grand Opening of George's Possum Holler Club in Nashville.

He's pictured here with the late Jim Reeves
who got him to move to Nashville and join the Opry
in 1960.

Backstage at the Opry horsing around with 4 foot 7 inch
Little Jimmy Dickens...........

I had a very interesting childhood being surrounded by
so many very talented, creative, songwriters and musicians.
It gave me a first hand view from a very young age of how
full filling creativity can be to the soul...........
It also gave me a deep appreciation of all people who are blessed
with the ability to create music, songs, poetry, books and art!

P .S. I received an e-mail a few minutes ago asking me if I could provide more details about
my Dad and my life growing up in Country Music? So I will add a few more details.

When Dad first started in the business I was a toddler and we moved from Hattiesburg to Houston, Texas for my Dad to play at Magnolia Gardens, a weekend outdoor music venue.
Elvis Presley also played there and my mother told me stories of how he would sit down on the pallet with her and me and play with me while he waited to go on stage. I met Elvis many years later in the early 70's and we talked about it. I made some pictures with him but unfortunately they burned in my Feb.1986 house fire.

I believe it was 1958 when we moved from Houston to Shreveport, Louisiana, My Dad was a member of the Louisiana Hayride and he had been performing there for several years. We were living there when his good friend, singer Johnny Horton was killed in a car wreck. Johnny was the first corpse I ever saw. In 1960 we moved to Nashville for my Dad to be on The Opry.

I spent summers in Mississippi with my maternal grandparents then we moved back here to Mississippi in 1964 and I stayed here until 1974 when I moved back to Nashville where I lived
until 2003. While living in Nashville( and on a farm outside Nashville) I raised my three children, wrote songs, short stories, poems, newspaper articles and had many friends in the music industry.

I hope all of you have a very Happy St. Patrick's Day!
And even if you are not Irish, may you be blessed with
" The Luck of The Irish"!


Craig Glenn said...

What an amazing story and life! You just posted real life pictures of some of my greatest heros!


Reader Wil said...

This is a wonderful tribute to your father! He was very handsome indeed, still is! And famous! It must have been great to be surrounded by so many great people!
I also like the guitarshaped cake!

Jeannette St.G. said...

You did a great thing by honoring your dad. And what a good life he had, and still has by having a daughter like you! That was a very creative cake, Carol!

Poetikat said...

It's funny because you know that famous folk had children and all, but how often do you ever get to actually talk to one of them? At least that's my experience.
Your dad must have been quite a talent, Carol! He's still a good looking man.
Johnny Cash was awfully young in that photo.

Happy St. Pat's to you too! (There's a new recipe up at my blog for you and it's not bread.)


kadavisu said...

Wow - what an amazing childhood. Thanks for sharing about your Dad and your memories. I grew up listening to many of the singers you mentioned. My dad especially loved Johnny Horton and his greatest hits 8-track was practically the soundtrack of my early childhood. I still love the song "Whispering Pines." ;-)

TheWritersPorch said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures!
I'm also happy these are some of your heroes. I wasn't aware as a child just how famous all these guys were, to me they were just my Daddy's wonderful friends who made such good music I could dance to!
In my late teens I discovered how special my life really was amongst these talented individuals.

TheWritersPorch said...

Wil.....thank you! Yes, he was and still is a looker! My Hubby says;
" He's a pistol". He is something else and aside from his age, he is as fiesty as he ever was!
That cake was delicious too!

Jeannette...thank you!

Kat.....I believe they were both in their thirties. I have a later photo of them together in the early 1980's but I couldn't find it!Heading over to see that recipe!

Kadavisu.....I loved Johnny, he was real tall and I used to stand on the couch arm and climb on his back as he came in the door.
"Whispering Pines" is my favorite too but I also love "Springtime in Alaska"! Hey, thanks for stopping by!

willow said...

James O'Gwynn! Now you can't get much more Irish than that! I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your talented dad. Happy St. Pat's to you, as well, Carol!

Haley Papageorge said...

What an amazing childhood!!! Thanks for sharing some of your photos.

NCmountainwoman said...

What a fascinating childhood you must have had with those wonderful musicians visiting. I loved the Grand Ole Opry growing up and watched all those folks you mention. I still love the classic country music and often put on my old vinyl records and listen.

Kaye Barley said...

Carol - what wonderful, fascinating stories you've shared with us thank you! I am a HUGE country music fan. Always have been (even during the years when it ain't cool :> ). Your dad is VERY cool!!!

Drop me another note please! I did the DUMBEST thing and deleted everything in my "in" box this morning while doing computer spring cleaning. dumb dumb dumb!!!!! Tried to send you a note through your email address attached to your blog profile, but it keeps bouncing.


TheWritersPorch said...

Willow......As I told you before
I'm a real mutt but my Dad is a mix of Scot/ Irish as his mother's name was Busby.My mother's family is Welsh/British Isles.

Haley...Thank you and thanks for stopping by!

Carolyn...it was pretty facsinating!

Kaye...I didn't mention another visitor because I couldn't find the picture but his name is Willie!

A Brit in Tennessee said...

James O'Gwynn....a true Irish name !
What an incredible story you've shared with us Carol....and not so dissimilar to that of my husband's father. He also was a musician, fidler, with many of the Grand Ole Opry performers, I was always in awe of his talent.
You have led a magical and priviliged life "the Luck of the Irish" I 'spect ;)

Isabel said...

Have a wonderful St. Patrick's day! What a fascinating life you had, and what a blessing to be able to see your father perform and to celebrate and sing with him on his 80th birthday. Beautiful tribute and photos! I feel how proud you are of your "Smiling Irishman" :)

TheWritersPorch said...

Josephine....I guess I've never really looked at it as incredible,
amazing or fascinating because it seemed normal to me! It was all I ever knew. As I look back now, I see it differently. I see it as being blessed because it shaped me into a person who truly appreciates creativity!

Isabel...yes it was an awesome experiance to watch him on stage!
I am so glad someone took the picture of us singing on his 80th,
it is one I will always cherish!

Renie Burghardt said...

Wow, Carol, what a great tribute to your handsome Dad. And what a wonderful childhood you had, surrounded by talented people. Love the guitar cake. Happy St. Patrick's Day!



Zlaek said...

This was so interesting, so real, and so moving. I don't know why I felt so deeply about this post.
Past pictures, alongside present ones do this to me I guess.

I love country music, and it was lovely to stumble upon this blog.
God bless all of you.

PS: Oh he does look so crushworthy!

Craig Glenn said...

OMG I saw you mentioned another visitor names Willie. Please tell me it wasn't him. I am so jealous. Willie is my all time favorite. I am so jealous!

Craig Glenn

TheWritersPorch said...

Renie....Thanks Renie! I did indeed! How's the GC book? I hope you enjoyed it!

Zlaek..........I'm glad you stumbled on here, please come back! Yes, females of all ages found him crushworthy!

TheWritersPorch said...

It was indeed Willie Nelson! He was young, no beard, short hair and very handsome back then!
He and Faron Young (Willie wrote Hello Walls)were around quite often. Others included Roger Miller, Webb Pierce,Claude Gray,
Mel Tillis and Johnny Paycheck whose real name was Donnie Young.
Don't be jealous...!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Hi Carol!

I love that your Dad is known as the Smiling Irishman! That's a lucky name -- my maiden name started with a O' too :-)

I remember watching shows from the
Grand Ole Opry when I was a child -- I loved Johnny Cash! What wonderful memories you all must have from those days. Nashville is still produces musical treasure trove.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

TheWritersPorch said...

Pat.....I'm sure you know that
O' means " son of an Irishman" !

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Carol, I'm here after reading a post on Josephine's blog (Brit in TN).. I love your blog. Thanks for sharing stories about your Dad. That is so neat.

I'm in Tennessee also--on the Cumberland Plateau near Crossville. My hubby and I are hikers, gardeners, and travelers. We both love country music also. We just downloaded John Turner's new CD today.

Check out my blog if you get a chance. I'll be back to check yours.

Sweetie said...

Thank you so much for sharing your memories of some very famous and special country music stars. When I read your profile, I wondered about the years that you spent growing up surrounded by music. This was a wonderful post.

donna baker said...

I just found your blog through Josephine at a Brit in Tn. I too live on a farm and enjoyed reading your posts.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Lovely tribute to your father. What an interesting life he has had and what a wonderful thing to be able to sing a duet with him!!

I hope St. Patrick's Day was beautiful and green for both of you!

A Thousand Clapping Hands said...

Dear Carol,
I wasn't able to get to this post until today and this is really a strange coincidence. Last week while I was in bed with the flu, and thinking sometimes about future posts, I kept thinking of George Jones. Lots of his songs were going through my head, like 'The Grand Tour' and 'Roly Poly'. It was probably about the same time you were posting this! I love George, and have seen him in concert about four times. Sat in the front row twice. And my parents always played Johnny Horton records. And Johnny Cash was my mother's biggest crush. I saw him and June in the airport and he was just bigger than life. I cried when he passed. My husband made up an expression that he uses all the time, "It's hotter than Little Jimmy Dickens on a Saturday night!" That's a favorite. What wonderful memories you have of your youth and your Dad in the music business. All of these people, as well as The Louisiana Hayride, are American legends. How lucky you were to have witnessed it first hand! I'm off to gnaw on a biscuit -
All the best,

The Prodigal Tourist said...

Great story! Really enjoyed it. Loved the cake, too... was it chocolate?

Nancy's Notes said...

Carol! What a great story, your dad is so amazing and oh so handsome, not to mention so famous! You sure had an interesting childhood, what wonderful memories, thank you for sharing! You must be so proud of y our dear daddy!