Hank Locklin, 91, dies

Hits included ‘Send Me the Pillow You Dream On,’ ‘Please Help Me I’m Falling’ and ‘Let Me Be the One.’ He was a performer on the Grand Ole Opry for 47 years.
Times Wire Reports
March 10, 2009


Country singer Hank Locklin, whose smooth tenor voice on hits including “Send Me the Pillow You Dream On” and “Please Help Me I’m Falling” marked a career that spanned half a century, has died. He was 91.

Locklin died Sunday at his home in Brewton, Ala., Grand Ole Opry publicist Jessie Schmidt said in Nashville. She said the cause of death was not being released.

Hank Locklin
Hank Locklin
A performer on the Grand Ole Opry for 47 years, Locklin helped usher in “the Nashville Sound” that gave country music a more lush feel.

“I’ve been blessed to have hit songs that are timeless and appeal to the generations,” he said in 2001.

Born Lawrence Hankins Locklin in 1918 in Florida’s timber-rich Panhandle, as a teenager he played guitar and sang on radio stations across the South, including the “Big D Jamboree” on KRLD in Dallas and “The Louisiana Hayride” in Shreveport, La.

He scored his first top 10 country hit with “The Same Sweet Girls” in 1949 and scored another chart-topper with “Let Me Be the One” in 1953.

Locklin’s 1958 recording of his song “Send Me the Pillow You Dream On” crossed over from country to U.S. and British pop charts and became a standard for many performers, including Johnny Tillotson, Dean Martin, Dwight Yoakam and Dolly Parton.

His recording of “Please Help Me I’m Falling” spent 14 weeks at the top of the country music charts in 1960, the same year he joined the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. His last performance at the Opry was in September 2007.

That song’s “slip-note” piano style became Locklin’s signature, and his version was featured on the soundtrack of the 1993 movie “A Perfect World,” directed by Clint Eastwood.

In the 1970s, Locklin was host of TV shows in Houston and Dallas.

His other hits included “Let Me Be the One,” “Geisha Girl,” “Why, Baby, Why” and “It’s a Little More Like Heaven.”

Locklin was widely credited as one of the pioneers of the themed concept album with recordings including “A Tribute to Roy Acuff, King of Country Music,” “Foreign Love” and “Irish Songs Country Style,” which led to tours in England and Ireland.

In 2001, he recorded “Generations in Song,” which featured Parton and Vince Gill. His 65th album, “By the Grace of God,” was a collection of gospel songs that was released in 2006.

“The Lord gave me a good voice and I can still sing,” he said in 2001.

Information on survivors and funeral arrangements was not immediately available.


Can’t You Hear Me Calling?

There is no “spacegrass”, or “jamgrass” on this record. This CD is traditional bluegrass, played in the styles of Flatt & Scruggs, The Stanley Brothers, & Bill Monroe. It sounds like great care was taken to get the old sounds out of a newer studio. The instruments sound like they were recorded in a room with egg carton sound dampening on the walls, and the harmonies sound like harmonies used to, when the whole band gathered around one microphone and let it fly. This is the way our music sounded before Ricky Skaggs, and Alison Krauss got ahold of it. Even the dobro on “Some Old Day”sounds like ol’ Josh Graves played it hisself. Bill Junior has given us a great collection of old songs, played with great care & attention to detail, and I enjoyed every song. I highly recommend it for fans of the old stuff. Thank you Bill Junior & the Montana Rangers. You can hear clips from this CD at Lonesome Pine Records.

Bluegrass in Iraq

Pickin’ strings from Iraq
A Berry graduate will be playing Bluegrass in Baghdad as part of the nationwide Marathon Jam. 01/31/09
By John Bailey, Rome News-Trbune, staff writer
Respond to this story
Email this story to a friend

Local Berry graduate Lt. Col. Greg Rawlings and other “Baghdad Bad Boys” are playing in Iraq today, along with others across the U.S., to help raise money for the Fisher House. (Contributed photo)

Banjos will be a pickin’ in Baghdad today as a group of troops joins in with other bluegrass musicians to lend a helping hand.

Click to see the Bluegrass Is My Second Language Web site.

“We will be playing as a part of the now nationwide Marathon Jam to raise money for our brothers and sisters in arms,” said Lt. Col. Greg Rawlings, who is stationed at the Victory Base Complex in Iraq.

The proceeds of the jam will go to the Fisher House, an organization that provides a place to stay for families of patients receiving care at major military and VA centers. There are Fisher Houses scattered throughout the country.

“This is a very tangible way to support service members. The beauty of the Marathon Jam raising money for the Fisher house is it is completely apolitical,” said Rawlings.

The “Baghdad Bad Boys” bluegrass jam band at the base is an outlet for service members at the base.

“We play for a couple of hours. During that time we go back to North Carolina or where ever we are from through the music and fellowship,” said Rawlings.

While it’s always fun — you still gotta play good.

“Punches aren’t generally pulled in this group,” he said. “If you hit a clunker, folks will let you know about it.”

Rawlings, a Berry graduate, said his mother-in-law Frankie Nobles and brother-in-law Randy Nobles still live in Rome.

When he got to Ft. Bragg, in Fayetteville N.C., in the summer of 2006, he started picking up the old style Southern rhythm — he’d heard the tunes before but never joined in.

“I think that Mr. (Harry) Musselwhite, my voice teacher at Berry, would have scalped me if I’d broken loose with Blue Moon of Kentucky,” said Rawlings.

With a significant time difference between the U.S. and Iraq, the band is going to play two sets, including the one in the evening — where they will actually be performing at the same time as the other players.

“We will play for six hours in the morning, one in the morning and the second in the evening,” said Rawlings.


Performance Humor

I found some jokes told by some Bluegrass Performers over the years.
Lester Flatt used to say of Josh Graves durring introductions, “You’ve heard of people that don’t know nothin’? Well he don’t even suspect nothin’.”
The Pinnacle Boys’ Bud Brewster used to respond to requests for songs they didn’t like or didn’t know by saying, “I’m sorry but we don’t have that one worked up. But here’s one with a lot of the same notes and we sure hope you’ll like it.”

Tom Rozum was full of lame jokes at the Lewis-Rozum shows. One example:
Why do chicken coops have two doors?
If they had four, they’d be chicken sedans…

How about this from the Country Gentlemen.
Boy, I really like this town, but I gotta tell you, last night, I didn’t get any sleep at all. There were all these girls banging on the door all night long!
It got so bad, I finally had to get up and let ’em out!

And an oldie but a goodie….what do you call a beautiful woman on the arm of a banjo player?
a tattoo

Got any others ?

Bluegrass In Schools


The Foundation for Bluegrass Music believes strongly in passing bluegrass music along to the next generation of fans and musicians.

One of our goals is to help educators (elementary – university level, including home schooling parents) to become more “bluegrass aware.” Bluegrass music, a relatively new style of music (the classic sound jelled in the mid-‘40s with Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys), is one of the very few musical genres to originate in the United States—so it has a roots music cultural value for American students in particular. Like jazz and blues, it’s also a valid style of music for teaching improvisational skills.

Perhaps more so than most other genres, bluegrass music connects students to a larger, multi-generational community of musicians and fans who love the music. Learning to play a bluegrass instrument is usually a life skill—something that folks continue to do for a number of years after they leave high school music programs.


The Foundation for Bluegrass Music’s “Bluegrass in the Schools” program includes:



  • A 67-minute educational DVD,
    Discover Bluegrass: Exploring American Roots Music, complete with downloadable lesson plans for each of six units, targeting students age 8-13 (available at $3.00, for educational purposes)
  • Teacher Workshops held in conjunction with major bluegrass festivals across the country, to give educators the tools to utilize bluegrass music in the classroom.
  • Matching $200 Mini-Grants to help fund live, educational presentations of bluegrass music for students
  • A variety of local programs implemented by our members, including: bluegrass camps and workshops at festivals, after school bluegrass clubs, two-week artist in residency programs where a bluegrass band works with orchestra students who already play stringed instruments, special bluegrass-related lesson plans and units planned during the school day, and live educational presentations from touring bands at school assemblies.
  • An online Bluegrass in the Schools Implementation Manual
  • An international Bluegrass Lesson Plan Competition with award-winning lesson plans posted on this website
  • Regional Bluegrass in the Schools Workshops for Artists interested in developing in-school bluegrass presentations.


For more info on the Bluegrass in the Schools program, contact Nancy Cardwell at  (615) 256-3222 , 888-GET-IBMA or nancyc@ibma.org. For info on the Foundation for Bluegrass Music go to www.bluegrassfoundation.org or contact Dan Hays at danh@ibma.org

The Differences between Bluegrass & Old Time music…..

The Difference Between Bluegrass and Old Time Music
Toby Adobe & Moby Adobe

An OT banjo is open-backed, with an old towel (probably never washed) stuffed in the back to dampen sound. A BG banjo has a resonator to make it louder.
An OT banjo weighs 5 pounds, towel included. A BG banjo weighs 40 pounds.
A BG banjo player has had spinal fusion surgery on all his vertebrae, and therefore stands very straight. If an OT banjo player stands, he slouches.
An OT banjo player can lose 3 right-hand fingers and 2 left-hand fingers in an industrial accident without affecting his performance.
A BG banjo needs 24 frets. An OT banjo needs no more than 5, and some don’t need any.
A BG banjo player puts jewelry on his fingertips to play. An OT banjo player puts super glue on his fingernails to strengthen them. Never shake hands with an OT banjo player while he’s fussing with his nails.

A BG fiddle is tuned GDAE. An OT fiddle can be in a hundred different tunings.
OT fiddlers seldom use more than two fingers of their left hand, and uses tunings that maximize the number of open strings played. BG fiddlers study 7th position fingering patterns with Isaac Stern, and take pride in never playing an open string.
An OT fiddle player can make dogs howl & incapacitate people suffering from sciatic nerve damage
“A good OT fiddle player?” now there’s an oxymoron
An OT fiddle player only uses a quarter of his bow. The rest is just wasted.
The BG fiddler paid $10,000 for his fiddle at the Violin Shop in Nashville. The OT fiddler got his for $15 at a yard sale.

An OT guitarist knows the major chords in G and C, and owns a capo for A and D. A BG guitarist can play in E-flat without a capo.
The fanciest chord an OT guitarist needs is an A to insert between the G and the D7 chord. A BG guitarist needs to know C#aug+7-4.
OT guitarists stash extra picks under a rubber band around the top of the peghead. BG guitarists would never cover any part of the peghead that might obscure the gilded label of their $3,000 guitar.

It’s possible to have an OT band without a mandolin.
Mandolin players spend half their time tuning their mandolin and the other half of their time playing their mandolin out of tune
OT mandolin players use “A” model instruments (pear shaped) by obscure makers. BG mandolin players use “F” model Gibsons that cost $100 per decibel.

A BG band always has a bass. An old OT band doesn’t have a bass, but new time OT bands seem to need one for reasons that are unclear.
A BG bass starts playing with the band on the first note. An OT bass, if present, starts sometime after the rest of the band has run through the tune once depending on his blood alcohol content
A BG bass is polished and shiny. An OT bass is often used as yard furniture.

A BG band might have a Dobro. An OT band might have anything that makes noise including: hammered or lap dulcimer, jaw harp, didgeridoo, harmonica, conga, wash tub bass, miscellaneous rattles & shakers, or 1 gallon jug (empty).

All the instruments in an OT band play together all the time. BG bands feature solos on each instrument.
BG bands have carefully mapped-out choreography due to the need to provide solo breaks. If OT band members move around, they tend to run into each other. Because of this problem, OT bands often sit down when performing, while a BG band always stands.
Because they’re sitting, OT bands have the stamina to play for a square or contra dance.
The audience claps after each BG solo break. If anyone claps for an OT band it confuses them, even after the tune is over.

OT songs are about whiskey and food.
BG songs are about God, mother and the girl who did me wrong.
If the girlfriend isn’t murdered by the third verse, it ain’t Bluegrass
OT bands have nonsense names like “Hoss Hair Pullers” “Fruit Jar Drinkers” and “Skillet Lickers”. BG bands have serious gender-specific name like “Bluegrass Boys,” “Foggy Mountain Boys,” and “Clinch Mountain Boys”
The most common OT keys are major and modal (i.e. minor). BG uses major, mixolydian, Dorian and minor keys
A BG band has between 1 and 3 singers who are singing about an octave above their natural vocal range. Some OT bands have no singers at all.
A BG band has a vocal orchestrator who arranges duet, trio and quartet harmonies.
In an OT band, anyone who feels like it can sing or make comments during the performance.
All BG tunes & songs last 3 minutes. OT tunes & songs sometimes last all night.

BG band members wear uniforms, such as blue polyester suits and gray Stetson hats. OT bands wear jeans, sandals, work shirts and caps from seed companies.
Both the Stetsons and seed caps cover bald spots.
Chicks in BG bands have big hair and Kevlar undergarments. Chicks in OT bands jiggle nicely under their overalls.
A BG band tells terrible jokes while tuning. An OT band tells terrible jokes without bothering to tune.
BG band members never smile. OT band members will smile if you give them a drink.
You can get fired from a BG band for being obviously drunk on stage.
BG musicians eat barbecue ribs. OT musicians eat tofu.
BG musicians have high frequency hearing loss from standing near the banjo player. OT musicians have high frequency hear loss from standing near the fiddler.

A BG band travels in an old converted Greyhound bus that idles all weekend with the air conditioner running full blast, and fumigates the county with diesel exhaust. The band’s name and Inspirational Statement are painted on both the side and front of the bus in script lettering.
An OT band travels in a rusted-out 1965 VW microbus that blows an engine in North Nowhere, Nebraska. It’s pretty evident that their vehicles don’t have air conditioning.
BG bumper stickers are in red, white and blue and have stars and/or stripes on them. OT bumper stickers don’t make any sense (e.g. “Gid is My Co-Pilot”)
BG musicians stay on the bus or at the nearest Motel 6. OT musicians camp in the parking lot.