• The Original Gene Watson Fan Site

  • Gene Watson: 'Real Country Music' (Fourteen Carat Music, 2016)

  • Gene Watson: 'Back in the Fire & At Last' (Morello Records, 2016) / this album was officially released on Friday 11 November 2016

  • Gene Watson's Calendar

  • The Original Gene Watson Fan Site

  • Gene Watson Guitars by Summey

  • The Original Gene Watson Fan Site

  • The Original Gene Watson Fan Site

  • Gene Watson at The Opry in Nashville

  • The Original Gene Watson Fan Site

Management


Lytle Management Group
P.O. Box 128228
Nashville, TN 37212
Contact Sarah Brosmer
Telephone 615-770-2688

Bookings



Battle Artist Agency
8887 Horton Highway,
College Grove, TN
Contact Rob Battle
office: 615-368-7433
mobile: 615-957-3444

Featured Album



'Real.Country.Music' (Fourteen Carat Music, 2016)
(Official release: Friday 26 February 2016)



Russ Reeder was happy to assume full management control of Gene Watson's career.  Russ Reeder's belief in Gene Watson remained so strong that Russ formed Resco Records specifically for him.

While being interviewed some years later, in 1978, Gene Watson spoke highly of Russ Reeder, stating that Russ had devoted a great deal of faith in Gene, so much so that Gene felt that he (Russ) was very much the guiding light in the early days of his career.



Gene Watson's debut single for Resco Records was 'Bad Water' (written by Jackie DeShannon and Holiday and Myers), a song previously recorded by The Raeletts (Ethel - Darlene - McCrea, Margie Hendricks, Patricia Lyles and Gwendoly Berry), who were Ray Charles' backing singers.



The Raeletts recorded 'Bad Water' (written by Jackie DeShannon and Holiday and Myers) in 1971, and saw the track included on 'Ray Charles Presents The Raeletts...Yesterday...Today...Tomorrow' (Tangerine Records, 1972).

'Bad Water' (written by Jackie DeShannon and Holiday and Myers), which Gene Watson loved, was his first chart single on the Billboard country music singles chart in the United States.

Gene Watson's version of 'Bad Water' (written by Jackie DeShannon and Holiday and Myers) made its debut on the Billboard country music singles chart on Saturday 25 January 1975, but it only reached a lowly position of No.87.

'Bad Water' (written by Jackie DeShannon and Holiday and Myers) may have achieved a low Billboard country music chart position for Gene Watson, but more importantly it came to the attention of Ed Keeley, the then promotional executive at Capitol Records.

Ed Keeley was impressed with the fact that an independent single had managed to make its way into the Billboard (national) country music singles chart.  Ed Keeley liked the song and was so impressed with Gene Watson's performance of it that he flew to Houston and immediately negotiated a recording contract with Russ Reeder.

The outcome for Gene Watson was that he had procured a five-year recording contract with Capitol Records, a major league record company, and the outcome for the country music industry was that it now had a new country music star.



Gene Watson / Promotional photo for Capitol Records in 1975

Gene Watson had already recorded 'Love in the Hot Afternoon', which was written by Kent Westberry and Vincent Wesley Matthews (1940 - Saturday 22 November 2003), for Resco Records and it was already in circulation, when he signed his recording contract with Capitol Records.

'Love in the Hot Afternoon', which was written by Kent Westberry and Vincent Wesley Matthews (1940 - Saturday 22 November 2003), had been recorded by several others, including Jim Ed Brown (Sunday 1 April 1934 - Thursday 11 June 2015), and became a regional hit.

The other artists who had recorded the song had all changed the lyrics around, because it was felt that the song was too risqué, for 1974, to gain vital radio airplay.

However, following discussions with Russ Reeder, Gene Watson decided to record the song exactly the way that it had been written.  'Love in the Hot Afternoon', which was written by Kent Westberry and Vincent Wesley Matthews (1940 - Saturday 22 November 2003), would turn out to be one of Gene Watson’s best loved tunes.

'Love in the Hot Afternoon', which was written by Kent Westberry and Vincent Wesley Matthews (1940 - Saturday 22 November 2003), was also recorded by Waylon Jennings (Tuesday 15 June 1937 - Wednesday 13 February 2002).

Waylon Jenning's version of 'Love in the Hot Afternoon', which was written by Kent Westberry and Vincent Wesley Matthews (1940 - Saturday 22 November 2003), was never released as a single, but his version of the song can be found on the 6-CD box set 'Journey: Six Strings' (Bear Family Records, 1999); this box set also included Waylon Jennings' version of 'Farewell Party', which was written by Lawton Williams (Monday 24 July 1922 - Thursday 26 July 2007), but his version of the song was never released as a single.

Gene Watson later recorded Waylon Jenning's little known composition 'John's Back in Town'; this latter track was co-written by Waylon Jennings along with legendary songwriter and country music disc jockey Bill Mack.

Waylon Jennings' version of 'John's Back in Town' was included on the 6-CD box set 'Journey: Destiny's Child' (Bear Family Records, 1999); this box set features Waylon Jennings' recordings made between 1958 and 1968.

Gene Watson's Resco Records-issued single of 'Love in the Hot Afternoon', which was written by Kent Westberry and Vincent Wesley Matthews (1940 - Saturday 22 November 2003), became extremely popular throughout a wide area of Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.

However, by the time Capitol Records re-issued the song on their own label, it had already become a major hit in those market areas and was beginning to descend the charts.

Ultimately, this fact thwarted the song from going to the top of the charts, but 'Love in the Hot Afternoon' did reach No.3 on the Billboard country music singles chart and was also pronounced the No.4 song in America for the entire year of 1975.

All of a sudden Gene Watson had a glorified country music career!

Gene Watson is held in such high esteem that 'Love in the Hot Afternoon', which was written by Kent Westberry and Vincent Wesley Matthews (1940 - Saturday 22 November 2003), was recorded by a fellow Texan country music artist some twenty-five years later; Mark Chesnutt recorded 'Love in the Hot Afternoon' and included the track on 'Lost in The Feeling' (MCA Records, 2000).

On a sad note, Vincent Wesley Matthews, one of the co-writers of 'Love in the Hot Afternoon', passed away on Saturday 22 November 2003; Vincent Wesley Matthews was sixty-three years old.

'Love in the Hot Afternoon' (Capitol Records, 1975) was also the title of Gene Watson's debut album for Capitol Records in 1975.

On Tuesday 3 September 2002, England's Hux Records released 'Love in the Hot Afternoon' (Capitol Records, 1975), along with 'Paper Rosie' (Capitol Records, 1977) from 1977, as a special 2-for-1 CD set.

Gene Watson would be the first to admit that he felt scared to death at this time.

Gene Watson wasn't so concerned about the success of 'Love in the Hot Afternoon' - he loved the success naturally - but he was equally concerned about what song he was going to come up with as his next release.

Gene Watson has always been a stickler for material and has always had the freedom to pick and choose his own songs.

Russ Reeder was his producer, but he never told Gene what to record or what not to record. Russ might suggest something or bring Gene a particular song, but he never once told Gene that he was going to record a certain song and that he (Gene) didn't have a choice in the matter. Russ worked inside the control room and Gene worked inside the studio with the musicians.

As far as the arrangements on songs were concerned, 99% of that was Gene Watson's doing.  Gene would work up the arrangements with the musicians who, at this time, would have included such Nashville session greats as fiddle players Lisa Silver and Buddy Spicher, Lloyd Green and Sonny Garrish on steel guitar, Junior Husky on bass, Tommy Allsup on guitar, along with DJ Fontana, Buddy Harman (Sunday 23 December 1928 - Thursday 21 August 2008) and Kenny Malone on drums.

In  those early days of recording, Gene Watson would reschedule his sessions if Hargus 'Pig' Robbins, his favourite piano player, was not available.

After his explosive introduction to radio, life changed quite dramatically for Gene Watson, a man who had never considered music a viable way to earn a living.

Gene Watson still didn't take things for granted, though.  He realised that he now had a major recording contract with a big record label, but he was also aware of the fact that he could be dropped from Capitol Records as quickly as they had signed him.

So, instead of selling his auto tools, he rolled them up and put them away safely in his garage.  Gene Watson felt that, if things didn't work out for him in the world of country music, then he could always return home to Texas and continue with the auto body repair work instead.  Luckily, for Gene Watson and for the rest of us who enjoy heartfelt, traditional country music the way it should be performed and recorded, he has never had to.

Things, however, were not easy for Gene Watson in those early days.  For a time, he didn’t even have a regular tour bus like most of his contemporaries and had to rely on his four-wheeler.  Gene Watson did, however, have the respect of established country music stars that were more than willing to assist and encourage this new artist from the Lone Star State.

In these early days, Gene Watson toured regularly with country music legends Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty (Friday 1 September 1933 - Saturday 5 June 1993).  Gene Watson rode on their respective touring buses and was also backed on stage by their backing bands.

Gene Watson also toured extensively with The Wilburn Brothers (Doyle Wilburn: Monday 7 July 1930 - Saturday 16 October 1982 & Teddy Wilburn: Monday 30 November 1931 - Monday 24 November 2003) in these early years of his country music career and also performed with them on the hallowed stage of Ryman Auditorium in Nashville during the 1960s.

Gene Watson followed the phenomenal success of the sultry 'Love in the Hot Afternoon', which was written by Kent Westberry and Vincent Wesley Matthews (1940 - Saturday 22 November 2003), with a song which was as equally erotic as its predecessor.

The song, 'Where Love Begins', was written by Canadian Ray Griff (Monday 22 April 1940 - Wednesday 9 March 2016) and became Gene Watson’s second Top 5 hit on the Billboard country music singles chart in 1975, reaching No.5.

After a recording session one night, Ray Griff (Monday 22 April 1940 - Wednesday 9 March 2016) took Gene Watson to his office to play him some demo tapes. 'Where Love Begins' was one of those songs on the demo tapes.

Ray Griff (Monday 22 April 1940 - Wednesday 9 March 2016) came to be a major contributor of first-rate material to Gene Watson’s music career in the years that followed.

With the release of 'You Could Know as Much About a Stranger' (written by Nadine Bryant) in the early part of 1976, a song that also reached the Top 10 of the Billboard country music singles chart, Gene Watson consolidated his position in the country music charts and put his auto body repair work on the 'back burner'.

Gene Watson concentrated his efforts on his now burgeoning country music career and, luckily for him, he had the support and encouragement of his wife Mattie and his two children, Terri and Gary Wayne.

Gene Watson’s success on the Billboard country music singles chart continued with 'Because You Believed in Me', which was written by Arthur Leo 'Doodle' Owens (Friday 28 November 1930 - Monday 4 October 1999), Shorty Hall (Walter Harrison Hall) (Tuesday 5 April 1927 - Thursday 21 March 2002) and Gene Vowell, which reached No.20 on the Billboard country music singles chart in 1976.

'Because You Believed in Me' was also the title track of Gene Watson's second album for Capitol Records.  The title of the album said it all, Gene Watson expressing a heartfelt 'thank you' to all those people who purchased his first album and showed great belief in him as a person and as a country music performer.

On Tuesday 26 September 2005, England's Hux Records released 'Because You Believed in Me', along with 'Beautiful Country' (Capitol Records, 1977), as a special 2-for-1 CD set.

'Her Body Couldn't Keep You (off my mind)', which was written by Ray Griff (Monday 22 April 1940 - Wednesday 9 March 2016), was Gene Watson’s last vinyl single of 1976, it was not as big a success as previous releases, reaching No.52 in 1976.

In 1977, Gene Watson came back strongly with the Billboard Top 3 hit 'Paper Rosie' (written by Dallas Harms), the story of a beggar woman and the title track of Gene Watson's third album for Capitol Records.



Gene Watson at Fan Fair in Nashville in 1977

'Paper Rosie' (written by Dallas Harms) turned out to be the song that would help endear Gene Watson to a whole new country music audience in Europe, particularly in the United Kingdom and in Ireland.



'Paper Rosie' (Capitol Records, 1977), the album, also gained a release in the United Kingdom and Ireland and helped to garner Gene Watson rave reviews and a whole new audience of listeners and admirers.

It's ironic that, when he first heard 'Paper Rosie' (written by Dallas Harms), Gene Watson felt that the song didn’t suit him.  He recorded it, however, but he still felt that it wasn’t really a song for him. Everyone who listened to the track felt that it would be a hit song, but Gene, for whatever reason, didn’t feel the same way.

Frank Jones (Sunday 4 March 1928 - Thursday 3 February 2005), an executive working at Capitol Records, had heard the song in Canada, where it had been a big hit for its writer, Dallas Harms.

While Gene Watson was on tour in Chicago, he received a call from Frank Jones (Sunday 4 March 1928 - Thursday 3 February 2005), advising him to re-evaluate the song upon his return.  Gene Watson returned to Nashville and re-recorded the song, this time adding a flute part.

On this second occasion in the recording studio, 'Paper Rosie' (written by Dallas Harms) came together and the outcome was another Top 5 hit on the Billboard country music singles chart for Gene Watson.



The song, 'Paper Rosie' (written by Dallas Harms), was featured in the opening sequence of the 1990 movie 'Another 48 Hours', starring Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte.

In the November 2006 issue of the United Kingdom's highly influential Country Music People, CMP contributor Spencer Leigh discussed song-writing with Kevin Welch and Kieran Kane.

Kieran Kane stated, 'I loved it when there were a lot of story songs around.  Gene Watson did a lot of them and 'Paper Rosie' is like a little movie'.

In 1977, 'Beautiful Country' (Capitol Records, 1977) was released and the album lived up to its title!  The album included the hit singles 'The Old Man & His Horn' (written by Dallas Harms) and 'I Don't Need a Thing At All' (written by Joe Allen), both of which were hits in 1977, and 'Cowboys Don't Get Lucky All The Time' (written by Dallas Harms), which was a hit in 1978.

'Cowboys Don't Get Lucky All The Time' (written by Dallas Harms) was also included on the soundtrack of the movie 'Convoy', which was directed by Sam Peckinpah (Saturday 21 February 1925 - Friday 28 December 1984) and starred Kris Kristofferson in a leading role.  It was due to the encouragement of Kris Kristofferson that the song was included on the soundtrack album in the first place.

On Tuesday 26 September 2005, England's Hux Records released 'Beautiful Country', along with 'Because You Believed in Me' (Capitol Records, 1976), as a special 2-for-1 CD set.

Like 'Paper Rosie' before them, both 'The Old Man & His Horn' and 'Cowboys Don't Get Lucky All The Time' were written by Dallas Harms, further strengthening his stature as a writer of some lyrical substance.

Despite the fact that 'Paper Rosie' (Capitol Records, 1977) (the album) had sold reasonably well in the United Kingdom and Ireland, 'Beautiful Country' (Capitol Records, 1977) did not gain a similar release, nor did a subsequent 'Best of Gene Watson' (Capitol Records, 1978) collection, which gained only a United States release.



On Wednesday 7 June 1978, Gene Watson, Willie Nelson, Narvel Felts, Jerry Lee Lewis and Joe Stampley were inducted into The Country Music Hall of Fame's 'Walkway of Stars'.



On Wednesday 28 June 1978, 'Convoy', a movie based on C.W. McCall's No.1 Billboard country music hit, opened with Kris Kristofferson starring.  The soundtrack included music from Crystal Gayle, Billie Jo Spears (Friday 14 January 1938 - Wednesday 14 December 2011), Doc Watson (Saturday 3 March 1923 - Tuesday 29 May 2012), Merle Haggard, Kenny Rogers, Glen Campbell, Anne Murray, Gene Watson and Billy 'Crash' Craddock.



It was also on Wednesday 28 June 1978 when Gene Watson recorded 'Should I Come Home (or should I go crazy)' (written by Joe Allen) and 'Nothing Sure Looked Good on You' (written by Jim Rushing) at Cowboy Jack Clement (Sunday 5 April 1931 - Thursday 8 August 2013) Studios in Nashville.

The tracks were subsequently included on Gene Watson's 'Should I Come Home' (Capitol Records, 1979), which was released in 1979.



On Tuesday 27 January 2009, England's Hux Records released 'Should I Come Home' (Capitol Records, 1979), as a special 2-for-1 CD, along with 'Reflections' (Capitol Records, 1978).

On Thursday 7 August 1978, Capitol Records released Gene Watson's 'One Sided Conversation' (written by Joe Allen) as a single from 'Reflections' (Capitol Records, 1978); the single reached No.8 on the Billboard country music singles chart in 1978, and reached No.6 on the Canadian RPM Country Music Chart in 1978.



The release of 'Reflections' (Capitol Records, 1978) in 1978 also yielded a number of hit singles on the Billboard country music singles chart, including 'One Sided Conversation' (written by Joe Allen), which reached the Billboard Top 10.

'Reflections' (Capitol Records, 1978) also gained a release in the United Kingdom and Ireland in June 1979 to coincide with Gene Watson’s first tour there in June / July of that year.

Gene Watson undertook an eighteen-date tour of the United Kingdom and visited Belfast, Merseyside, Maidstone, Derbyshire, Middlesbrough, Harrow, Whitby, Carlisle, Hull, Bristol, Kenton, Hampshire, The Shetland Islands, Aberdeen, Prescott, Kendal and Colchester.

The tour, which was organised by Mike and Margaret Storey Entertainments of Huddersfield in Yorkshire, was a resounding success.

Gene Watson enjoyed a stellar year in 1979, scoring three hits on the Billboard country music singles chart.

1979 began on a high with the release of 'Farewell Party', a highly emotional suicide saga of unrequited love, which was written by Lawton Williams (Monday 24 July 1922 - Thursday 26 July 2007), and originally included on Gene Watson's 'Reflections' (Capitol Records, 1978).

On Tuesday 13 March 1979, Gene Watson recorded 'Farewell Party', which was written by Lawton Williams (Monday 24 July 1922 - Thursday 26 July 2007), in one take, at 'Cowboy' Jack Clement Studios in Nashville; 'Cowboy' Jack Clement (Sunday 5 April 1931 - Thursday 8 August 2013).

When released as a single, with catalogue number Capitol 4680, Gene Watson's version of 'Farewell Party', which was written by Lawton Williams (Monday 24 July 1922 - Thursday 26 July 2007), reached No.3 on the Billboard country music singles chart in 1979.

'Farewell Party', which was written by Lawton Williams (Monday 24 July 1922 - Thursday 26 July 2007), would later become Gene Watson’s signature tune and the name of his touring band.



Lawton Williams' 'Farewell Party' has a long recording history.

Lawton Williams, composer of the track, recorded the song himself in 1960 for the Houston, Texas-based All Star Records (catalogue number 7212).



Lawton Williams' 'Farewell Party' was recorded by Little Jimmy Dickens (Sunday 19 December 1920 - Friday 2 January 2015) as the B-side to his ‘Talking To The Wall’ vinyl single (catalogue number: 4-42013) in May 1961, with Walter Haynes (Friday 14 December 1928 - Thursday 1 January 2009) playing the steel guitar part.



Lawton Williams' 'Farewell Party' was recorded by fellow Texan Johnny Bush, with Jimmy Day (Tuesday 9 January 1934 - Friday 22 January 1999) on steel guitar, and included on 'Sound of a Heartache' (Stop Records, 1963).

Gene Watson's version of Lawton Williams' 'Farewell Party', thought by many to be the definitive version, featured Lloyd Green playing the legendary steel guitar part.

Lawton Williams' 'Farewell Party' was the last song Lloyd Green recorded with Gene Watson, having played on most of the recordings Gene Watson did for Capitol Records.  The song should have been the foundation on which the recording session was based, but the track was apparently a last minute addition to the recording session.

Lawton Williams' 'Farewell Party' was also recorded, by Gene Watson, in one take!



Alan Jackson, a long-time admirer of Gene Watson, honoured Gene with his tasteful rendition of Lawton Williams' 'Farewell Party', which he recorded, with Paul Franklin on steel guitar, and included on 'Under The Influence' (Arista Records, 1999), an album of 'covers', which was produced by Keith Stegall.



Joe Nichols, another long-time admirer of Gene Watson, honoured Gene with his tasteful rendition of Lawton Williams' 'Farewell Party', which he recorded and included on ‘Revelation’ (Universal South Records, 2004).

Gene Watson followed Lawton Williams' 'Farewell Party' with 'Pick The Wildwood Flower' (written by Joe Allen), which reached the Top 5 of the Billboard country music singles chart.

'Should I Come Home (Or Should I Go Crazy)' (written by Joe Allen), which reached the Billboard Top 3, was also the title track of yet another successful album release for Capitol Records.

Although 'Pick The Wildwood Flower' was written by noted songwriter Joe Allen, the song appears to be slightly autobiographical in nature as it is the only song in Gene Watson’s country music repertoire that actually mentions his first name, which is Gary.



It was also in 1979 when Ernest Tubb (Monday 9 February 1914 - Thursday 6 September 1984) saw the release of 'The Legend & The Legacy' (First Generation Records, 1979), the initial release of which was issued on LP as 'The Legend & The Legacy, Volume 1'.

Ernest Tubb's 'The Legend & The Legacy' (First Generation Records, 1979) was released on First Generation Records, but due to legal issues, was withdrawn and released on Cachet Records, a record label based in Canada.

In 1977 and 1978, producer and pedal steel guitarist Pete Drake (Saturday 8 October 1932 - Friday 29 July 1988) brought Ernest Tubb and his then current line-up of The Texas Troubadours into his recording studio, Pete's Place in Nashville, to record basic tracks.

Unknown to Ernest Tubb, Pete Drake (Saturday 8 October 1932 - Friday 29 July 1988) later secretly brought in other famous country music singers and musicians to overdub vocals and instruments to the already recorded tracks.

Special guests on Ernest Tubb's 'The Legend & The Legacy' (First Generation Records, 1979) included the following artists:

Chet Atkins (Friday 20 June 1924 - Saturday 30 June 2001)
Johnny Cash (Friday 26 February 1932 - Friday 12 September 2003)
Merle Haggard (Tuesday 6 April 1937 - Wednesday 6 April 2016)
Loretta Lynn
Willie Nelson
Johnny Paycheck (Tuesday 31 May 1938 - Wednesday 19 February 2003)
Ferlin Husky (Thursday 3 December 1925 - Thursday 17 March 2011)
Waylon Jennings (Tuesday 15 June 1937 - Wednesday 13 February 2002)
George Jones (Saturday 12 September 1931 - Friday 26 April 2013)
Marty Robbins (Saturday 26 September 1925 - Wednesday 8 December 1982)
Conway Twitty (Friday 1 September 1933 - Saturday 5 June 1993)
Charlie Rich (Wednesday 14 December 1932 - Tuesday 25 July 1995)

Pete Drake (Saturday 8 October 1932 - Friday 29 July 1988) intended to release two issues of Ernest Tubb's 'The Legend & The Legacy' (First Generation Records, 1979), hence the 'Volume 1' title but, as a result of poor distribution and sales, the album quickly went out of print.

Subsequent re-issues of Ernest Tubb's 'The Legend & The Legacy' (First Generation Records, 1979) on CD included additional tracks.

Ernest Tubb's 'The Legend & The Legacy' (First Generation Records, 1979) was re-issued again on the 20th anniversary of its release, in 1999, by First Generation Records in a limited run.

The Pete Drake Music Group also made the project available, as both a download and a physical CD, via Drake's First Generation Records online store at Bandcamp.

• Biography - 1980s

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Volume 50
(Fri 17 March 2017)

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Since February 1998, England-based Hux Records have been specialists in releasing classic archive recordings.

Gene Watson Fan Site