Gene Watson's Peers within the country music industry believe in the sheer talent of this unassuming man from east Texas, so much so that Gene is regarded by many of them as 'the singer's singer' - and rightly so!
All of Gene Watson's Peers, who were contacted by The Gene Watson Fan Site, during 2009, were most gracious with their time and words.
It is here, within this special part of The Gene Watson Fan Site, that you have an opportunity to read a quote from Shirley Collie Nelson, which she submitted to this site on Tuesday 20 October 2009.
Sean Brady would like to take this opportunity to say 'thank you' to Shirley Collie Nelson who made a special contribution to this unique part of this online 'celebration of a Lone Star Hero'.
Shirley Collie Nelson
This quote was submitted on Tuesday 20 October 2009.
'I am a long time admirer of Gene Watson and his brand of music. Keep it coming!
Gene Watson is one of the best all-round country singers that I have ever heard sing'.
Thank you, Shirley Collie Nelson, for your support of Gene Watson.
About Shirley Collie Nelson...
Shirley Collie Nelson was born Shirley Angelina Simpson on Monday 16 March 1931 in Chillicothe, Missouri and was known professionally, within country music circles, as Shirley Caddell (1955 - 1958) or Shirley Collie (1959 - 1963).
Shirley Collie Nelson was an American country music and rockabilly artist and was the second wife of singer Willie Nelson between 1963 and 1971 (Shirley had divorced Biff Collie, pioneer country music disc jockey, in 1963, in order to marry Willie Nelson).
Shirley Simpson, who was born to Alice (née Davis) and Henry Simpson, sang at local war bond rallies during World War II as a child, and made a guest appearance on KFEQ-AM in St. Joseph, Missouri.
In 1945, at the age of fourteen, Shirley replaced 'Sue' on the weekday morning 'Millie & Sue Show' on KMBC-AM in Kansas City, and the duo also appeared on the station's 'Brush Creek Follies' barn dance show.
Shirley bought her Little Martin guitar from the previous Sue, an instrument she would use for the rest of her career.
Shirley's first marriage, at the age of fifteen, lasted until she was nineteen years old.
In 1950, Shirley Simpson moved to Texas to play with Bob Wills (Monday 6 March 1905 - Tuesday 13 May 1975), Johnnie Lee Wills (Monday 2 September 1912 - Thursday 25 October 1984) and other Texas bands.
Shirley settled in Corpus Christi and performed locally until the fall of 1955, when the redhead was offered a regular role on ABC television's 'Ozark Jubilee' in Springfield, Missouri and signed a recording contract with ABC-Paramount Records.
In 1956, Shirley saw the release of her first singles on ABC-Paramount Records under her Jubilee stage name, Shirley Caddell, and made a guest appearance on The Eddy Arnold Show.
In 1957, Shirley recorded two singles with Lefty Frizzell (Saturday 31 March 1928 - Saturday 19 July 1975) on Columbia Records, as well as two solo tracks.
In 1958, Shirley left Springfield, Missouri to tour with The Philip Morris Country Music Show based in Nashville, where she met the show's manager and emcee, Hiram 'Biff' Collie, a country music disc jockey on KFOX-AM in Long Beach, California. They married and Shirley moved to Hollywood, appearing on 'Country America' on KABC-TV.
Biff and Shirley were also regulars on KTTV's 'Town Hall Party', and Shirley was a guest on NBC television's 'You Bet Your Life' in 1960.
Starting in 1960, Shirley Collie saw the release of singles on Liberty Records with Floyd Tillman (Tuesday 8 December 1914 - Friday 22 August 2003), Bob Wills (Monday 6 March 1905 - Tuesday 13 May 1975) & The Texas Playboys, and Clyde Beavers.
In 1961, Shirley Collie made her chart debut with 'Dime a Dozen', which was written by Harlan Howard (Thursday 8 September 1927 - Sunday 3 March 2002), and which rose to No.25 on the Billboard country music singles chart.
It was also in 1961 when 'Why Baby Why', which was written by Darrell Edwards and George Jones (Saturday 12 September 1931 - Friday 26 April 2013), Shirley Collie's duet with Warren Smith (Sunday 7 February 1932 - Wednesday 30 January 1980), reached No.23 on the Billboard country music singles chart.
'Why Baby Why', which was written by Darrell Edwards and George Jones (Saturday 12 September 1931 - Friday 26 April 2013), was originally recorded by George Jones, who included the track on 'Country Song Hits' (Starday Records, 1956); the track reached No.4 on the Billboard country music singles chart in 1955.
Following the success of Shirley Collie's duet with Warren Smith (Sunday 7 February 1932 - Wednesday 30 January 1980), 'Why Baby Why', which was written by Darrell Edwards and George Jones (Saturday 12 September 1931 - Friday 26 April 2013), record producer Joe Allison approached Shirley to sing with Willie Nelson, who previous singers had been unable to sing harmony with him due to his style.
Shirley Collie & Willie Nelson's 1962 duet, 'Willingly', which was written by Hank Cochran (Friday 2 August 1935 - Thursday 15 July 2010), reached No.10 on the Billboard country music singles chart and was Willie Nelson's first chart hit, but it failed to establish him as a star.
In 1962, Shirley Collie was offered the role of semi-regular character Pearl Bodine on the CBS television series 'The Beverly Hillbillies', but instead began touring with Willie Nelson, playing bass guitar in his band.
Willie Nelson and Shirley Collie married in Las Vegas in 1963.
As Willie Nelson's career flourished, he talked Shirley into staying home in Ridgetop outside Nashville, where she helped raise his three children by his first wife, Martha.
Willie Nelson recorded Shirley Collie Nelson's 'Little Things' (co-written with Willie Nelson) and included the track on 'Good Times' (RCA Records, 1968); the track reached No.22 on the Billboard country music singles chart in 1968.
Connie Smith recorded Shirley Collie Nelson's 'Little Things' (co-written with Willie Nelson) and included the track on 'I Love Charley Brown' (RCA Victor Records, 1968).
Shirley Collie Nelson was also credited with writing Willie Nelson's single 'I Hope So', which was recorded in 1969; the track was subsequently included on 'Face of a Fighter' (Lone Star Records, 1978).
Shirley Collie Nelson was also credited with writing Willie Nelson's 'Once More with Feeling', which was included on 'Both Sides Now' (RCA Records, 1970); the track reached No.42 on the Billboard country music singles chart in 1970.
After she discovered Willie Nelson had fathered a daughter with Connie Koepke, who would become his third wife, their marriage fell apart and they divorced in 1971.
However, in the years that followed, Shirley Collie Nelson performed and yodelled with Willie Nelson when he toured in Missouri until she retired; the two also collaborated on Shirley's 2008 book, 'Memoir: Scrapbooks in My Mind: Featuring Shirley & Willie Nelson & Many Others'.
Between 1987 and 1989, Shirley Collie Nelson worked for the state of Missouri with the mentally disabled.
Shirley Collie Nelson also continued to perform in Branson, Missouri and received a lifetime achievement award from KMBZ in 1996.
On Wednesday 27 January 2010, Shirley Collie Nelson passed away in Springfield, Missouri at the age of seventy-eight, following a long illness, and was buried at White Chapel Memorial Gardens at 5234 W. Division Street Road in Springfield, Missouri.
Shirley Collie Nelson was survived by her widower, Ed Melton; and a sister, Mary Lou Ritchie.
• Visit Willie Nelson General Store Tribute to Shirley Collie Nelson