I was over on the Model T Club on facebook site and saw this:
I don't recall seeing it mentioned here before.
That is wild. Thank you for the link!!
Mike walker have you gone and seen this yet?
Herb -- Thanks for posting this. I had not heard of it before.
John -- This is a surprise to me. The article says it's in the "Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources in Smackover." I had not heard of that either.
Smackover is now a small town of about 2,000 population. During the early 1920's, it was a boom town which exploded from 100 residents to 25,000 within 6 months after a vast oil field was discovered near there. So the Natural Resources Museum is focused on the oil industry which grew up there, but this Model T traveling house is very interesting. It's great that they have much of its history.
Smackover is near the southern border of Arkansas with Louisiana and I'm in the NW corner of the state, so I haven't had any reason to visit there until now. Our AR Tin Lizzies club will be having our Spring Tour based in LA next month, so maybe I'll be able to swing by the museum on the way there or back.
p.s. -- Smackover's other claim to fame (for all you rockabilly music lovers out there) is that it was the home of Lefty Frizzell and Sleepy LaBeef.
Mike, Isn't it amazing how more and more items keep turning up. In someone's collection it may be hard to discover but in a public museum you would think the motor home would have been seen by a Model T person before.
If I had known of it we would have swung south to Smackover after visiting with you in 2008.
If I was a bit closer now I would be thinking it would be a great article for the Vintage Ford, ( hint Mike)
From the write up its obvious the person writing it has no knowledge of the Ford Company or Model T's.
That poor motor in the motor home must have been really struggling on the road. Makes one realise how much was expected of these cars in the day, as no one would think of such a rig as practical transport today.
It's been added to my bucket list.
Housecars were actually common in the early part of the 20th Century.
Usually built on a one ton truck chassis by local wood workers, they served as a practical house on wheels for families and tradesmen following the seasons and job markets.
Peter -- Thanks for the nudge. I'll make it a point to get by Smackover to see the vehicle when I'm down that way next month.
"...but in a public museum you would think the motor home would have been seen by a Model T person before."
But in a public museum in Smackover, Arkansas, who's going to notice? At least it will be seen by a Model T guy or two next month. We'll see what transpires after that.
Mike and all other country music fans. Today would have been Lefty Frizzel's 86th birthday. Pause for a moment, bow your head to the King of the Honky Tonks and sing a little bit of "I Love You a Thousand Ways" or "Always Late." Then do a chorus of "I Never Go Around Mirrors," (the last great song he wrote) and you'll sleep better tonight knowing you remembered the greatest.
Historical accuracy here, he was born in Corsicana, Texas and lived until he was about 12 in El Dorado, Arkansas where his father worked in the oil fields. They moved back to Texas that year.
Didn't he also write or at least sing one of my all time favorites "Ghost riders in the sky" ?
Eldorado (which is pronounced "el-doe-ray-doe" here in Arkansas, is very near Smackover. I know all the historical accounts of Lefty's life say that the family lived in Eldorado, but I think they lived between the two. Lefty's dad worked in the oil fields, which were closer to Smackover. I think the historical records say Eldorado, which is a larger town, because more folks had heard of it. I'll try to get some accurate info on the family's actual address when I'm in Smackover next month and post the results here.
Stan -- It is ironic that today, when this was all brought up, is Lefty's birthday. I didn't know that. Regardless of which town his family lived in, or near, you are correct that he was an icon in the country music world. He was right up there with his contemporary Hank Williams, who captured more press, and like Hank he had a lasting impact on all those who followed them. It is surprising that he would be only 86 today, when we all know several folks who are older than that. He died at 47 in 1975, which seems like a long time ago.
"If you've got the money, honey, I've got the time."
Dave -- According to my internet sources (which can't be wrong), Ghost Riders was written by a fellow named Stan Jones.
He might have sung it but it was written by Stan Jones in 1948. It doesn't seem to me to be the kind of song Lefty would have recorded but you never can tell. I've recorded a couple things I'm a little embarrassed about, maybe he did a turn on Ghost Riders and just never mentioned it again.
I always thought it was unfortunate that he had a hit with "Saginaw, Michigan" which was a novelty song instead of "I Never Go Around Mirrors" which is one of the great Country Music classics, sung and loved by every great country singer in the last almost 50 years. I intended to do it on this new album but I already had 14 songs on deck so decided to do "The Other Woman" instead. Should have done "Mirrors."
Well, I've whacked this thread so will get off the bandwagon. If you want to hear a great version of Mirrors, search Keith Whitley on You Tube. He knew the deal - booze, drugs, depression, women, all of it. (How could you be depressed being married to Lori Morgan?)
It's OK Stan just keep talki'n we'll keep a list'n.
That thing must have been just slightly less heavy then a grey whale. Dry weight alone, but then all full up, it must have barely moved. I see the ruckstell so it could shift from "really slow" to "even slower".
Sounds like they got it stabilized and looking good but seems they did not drive it. No mention made of if it is running condition. Can't wait to hear more on this thing.
OK, Herb, here is my take on a couple things. Lefty's biggest mistake was not dying at the top of this career. Hank Williams died at 29, when he was having hit after hit, was in all the papers because of his drinking and not showing up at the Opry for performances -- which got him fired from the Opry. Had Lefty died in 51, 52,, 53 -- along in there, he would have been in the same legendary status as Hank. But he didn't die. He also didn't like Nashville, didn't like the Opry and moved back to Texas where he had (and has) a big following in the Texas dance halls. There was very little dancing in the Bible belt (which is why Branson later became such a success - the non-dancing hard shells could still hear songs about sinning, fighting and chasing women but didn't have to go to a dance hall to hear it - but that's another story) but in Texas most of the show dates centered around a show and dance with many of the dates played in places that served alcohol. Also in Texas, everybody pretty much just expected performers to drink. It was (and is) part of the lifestyle.
Lefty hung on. He had always been a pretty heavy drinker and had some problems caused by the whiskey and his inability to turn down all the women who were chasing him constantly. Or maybe any of the women. "I Love You a Thousand Ways" was written while he was in jail in Texas due to a conviction for "consorting" with an under age girl. (Underage??? in Texas??? In the 50's??? Really?? Who would have thought? Many people thought it was a setup but who knows) He wrote that song and sent it to his wife from jail. If you listen to it with that in mind it makes more sense. When he got out after a month or so he went back to work in the bars to make some money and was right back drinking again. Knowing Texas in the 50's he was probably drinking while he was in jail.
Country music changed in the 50's, Ray Price, particularly, hung on to the Texas shuffle but a lot of the other popular performers moved on to a more electric sound with more emphasis on the band. Lefty had had his run by the mid 50's, made a lot of bad business decisions and drank more than he should have. His career was pretty much over.
I was a child when he was popular. We were too poor to have a record player but we had a good radio. I bought myself a guitar when I was 9, in 1951 and tried to learn to play and sing. I played my first dance job for money two days after my tenth birthday, singing in my dad's band. Lefty was the hottest thing on the radio and I used to listen to hear every song they played by him. Like it says in the Stoney Edwards song "Hank and Lefty Raised my Country Soul," they raised mine, too, Lefty more than Hand. Look it up on You Tube, the first line is "Daddy had a 1941 Ford" and it just gets better from there.
In 1951 when I was 9, Lefty was 23, that was a world apart. By the time I was 19 or 20, ten years later in 1962, I had been roughnecking in the oil field for a couple years, and was playing in the oil field bars, drinking whiskey and chasing women, Lefty was pretty well forgotten; his string of hits long over. But we played his music night after night, paid tribute to him and his music and the style we liked better than the rock and roll most bands we playing. The oil field hands liked our music and the older guys from Texas would tell us about hearing Lefty at some dance hall or bar in Texas. Lefty wasn't 35 yet and it was about all over for him except for the people who remembered his hits. Today, if you go to a bar with a real country band, not the crap they call Country Music, you can ask them to do a Lefty song and they will do it. His influence is far greater than Hank Williams stylistically, who tended to sing in that southern jump honky tonk style that was popular at the time. Lefty created the shuffle style and taught us all how to sing to a beat people could dance to, drink to, fall in love to and fight to. All of that happened every night in those oil field honky tonks and pretty much still does.
I knew it was Lefty's birthday yesterday before it showed up on here. I never would have thought to add it to the Model T Forum. He was born a year after the end of Model T production, in 1928 and was only 14 years older than me. Now, we would be about the same age.
Since I'm smacking this thread, I'll go ahead and smack it a little more. 2:06 PM Mountain Time, MTPT.org is my radio show today, Tuesday, April 1st. Listen in and you can hear George House play in his Polka Band, lots of other music you'd never hear anywhere else including a version of Red Wing played on musical saw and whistle.
Here is link to a live performance of Hank & Lefty by Stoney: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-FncVkC8BU
Charlie Pride was not the first black country singer, Stoney was, nobody cared in Oklahoma.
What I meant, of course, is that it was no big deal what color you were in Oklahoma when Stoney performed. He had a great career and was a fine singer. Hank & Lefty was written by Dallas Frazier and A. L. "Doodle" Owens. They both wrote tons of other songs any country fan would recognize and both said they wanted to be remembered as the guys who wrote Hank and Lefty.
Correction due to lack of proofreading: The link to my radio show is:
www.MTPR.org click "Listen Live."
I never knew that was on the web site. I'm still pretty much stuck in the 80's technology wise.
Mike and everyone. I have been to the museum and I also got to see the motorhome while it was still in the swamp. Im ashamed to say Im the model T guy who has seen it and forgot to bring it up before now. I have dozens of photos of the truck from after it was moved into the museum. The museum conservator met me at Petitt Jean about 10 years (or more) ago trying to find tires for it, That's when I was introduced to the project. As to the museum I believe there are several more model Ts in the collection. There is a full size recreation of the main street of Smackover during the oil boom days. I remember it being a muddy street scene with a Model T buried to the axles in the main street. The museum is well worth the trip. As to the motor home it is very unique. Ill try to post a few pic of it if I can find them. I had the privilege of crawling all over it. Inside outside and in it. Sorry for forgetting about it ....