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 2004, 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 Joe Fish, which he submitted to this site on Friday 29 October 2004.
Sean Brady would like to take this opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to Joe Fish who has made a special contribution to a unique part of this online ‘celebration of a Lone Star Hero’.
This quote was submitted on Friday 29 October 2004.
‘Gene Watson has a unique instantly recognisable voice that is up there with the legends of country music.
The first time I heard him on record (vinyl in those days), I knew he was destined to become one of my all-time favourites.
All these years later, he is still a regular on my radio programmes, simply because there is nobody like him (before or since) and he is a firm favourite with my audience, many of whom are going to Ireland in 2005 to see several of his concerts – he is that special!
Meeting Gene Watson and interviewing him on so many occasions has been a personal privilege to me and I could list many of my favourite songs by him, including the ‘Gene Watson…Sings‘ (Intersound Records, 2003) album, which is superb’
Thank you, Joe Fish, for your support of Gene Watson.
About Joe Fish…
Joe Fish was a firm believer in traditional country music.
‘Joe Fish Country’ was broadcast on BBC Radio Lancashire, in the north-west of England, between 2:00pm and 4:00pm, every Sunday afternoon; the show was immensely popular as a result of its balance of traditional and modern day country music.
Joe Fish felt that it was important to keep the music up-to-date and to always remember the ‘roots’ of country music with a sprinkling of classic songs.
Joe Fish was also the guiding light behind the highly successful company, Joe Fish Tours, which escorted country music fans to all parts of the United States of America.
Joe Fish’s lifelong interest in country music began with old 78s of Hank Williams (Monday 17 September 1923 – Thursday 1 January 1953) and Lefty Frizzell (Saturday 31 March 1928 – Saturday 19 July 1975).
Joe Fish’s mother introduced him to Don Gibson (Tuesday 3 April 1928 – Monday 17 November 2003) and Slim Whitman (Saturday 20 January 1923 – Wednesday 19 June 2013) and, with the help of his brother, Joe Fish discovered the ‘magic’ of the unique voice of Jim Reeves (Monday 20 August 1923 – Friday 31 July 1964).
Joe Fish’s other early country music favourites included George Jones (Saturday 12 September 1931 – Friday 26 April 2013), Tammy Wynette (Tuesday 5 May 1942 – Monday 6 April 1998) and Patsy Cline (Thursday 8 September 1932 – Tuesday 5 March 1963).
Joe Fish vastly widened his interests to cover both traditional and ‘New Country’ artists, so that he could keep up-to-date with all newcomers.
Joe Fish was born in Great Lever, Bolton and spent his formative years moving around Lancashire and Yorkshire, including Colne, Barnoldswick and Farnworth, before moving back to Bolton to live a short distance from Bolton Wanderer’s Reebok Stadium; Joe Fish was an avid Bolton Wanderers supporter since 1958.
After leaving school, Joe Fish tried several jobs, including apprentice television repairman, cloth cutter and printer, before joining the Fire Service when he was eighteen years old, motivated by stories of being rescued by a fireman as a baby from a house fire in Bolton.
Joe Fish served a total of thirty-one years in the Fire Service, including stints at Stretford, Manchester, Agecroft and Bolton. Joe Fish was promoted to Sub-Officer and ended his service as a breathing apparatus instructor in Greater Manchester Fire Service.
In 1975, when Joe Fish wrote to a local independent commercial radio station to ask them to play more country music, his career took another turn; Joe was asked to produce programmes himself, which he did, for seventeen years.
After stints with various other radio stations as a producer / presenter, Joe Fish finally joined BBC Radio Lancashire in 1999.
Joe Fish’s many interviewees included Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash (Friday 26 February 1932 – Friday 12 September 2003), Kenny Rogers (Sunday 21 August 1938 – Friday 20 March 2020), Don Williams, Faron Young (Thursday 25 February 1932 – Tuesday 10 December 1996), Willie Nelson and Tammy Wynette (Tuesday 5 May 1942 – Monday 6 April 1998).
During his thirty-four years involvement in radio, Joe Fish interviewed and met most of the great names in country music, including Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash (Friday 26 February 1932 – Friday 12 September 2003), Shania Twain, Kenny Rogers (Sunday 21 August 1938 – Friday 20 March 2020), Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings (Tuesday 15 June 1937 – Wednesday 13 February 2002), Charley Pride (Friday 18 March 1934 – Saturday 12 December 2020), The Mavericks and Marty Robbins (Saturday 26 September 1925 – Wednesday 8 December 1982).
And, of course, Joe Fish also met, and interviewed, Gene Watson!
Gene Watson with Joe Fish in Nashville in 2002
In 2008, Joe Fish was presented with his most prestigious award, in Nashville, ‘CMA International Broadcaster of the Year‘, an award which recognised outstanding achievement by a radio broadcaster outside the United States who had made important contributions for the development of country music in their country.
And, after visiting America, Joe Fish went on to form a highly successful tour company, Joe Fish Tours, and began to escort fans all over the United States, including trips to Nashville, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix, The Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Death Valley, Yosemite National Park, San Francisco, South Dakota, Memphis, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge (Dollywood), The Caribbean, Alaska, Hawaii, Bermuda and Canada.
The funeral of Joe Fish took place on Friday 5 February 2016. Service took place at Overdale Crematorium at 2:30pm, and was followed by a celebration of Joe Fish’s life at Bolton Wanderers Football Club in Lion of Vienna Suite.
• Visit Joe Fish‘s BBC Radio Lancashire Profile