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A farm boy, born in Iowa, as far back as my memory can travel, there has always been music. If I let my mind go back to the very beginning, I see me in front of a porch listening to music. It was “Blue Skys”, not very country, but I still think the song has good taste.

Smoky Rodgers discovered me singing in the back room of Bert Keefers Music Store, and took me to San Diego where we worked the Bostonian Ball Room three nights a week and did a live television show from Tijuana, Mexico five days a week. My professional singing and recording career began more than 4 decades ago. I first signed with a small label - ERA Records, located very near the corner of Sunset & Vine, in Hollywood California. They were truly good to me and my very first recording, “Unfaithful Diane”, was a hit! The music business was very different back then. Extremely close and comfortable. Next door to ERA was Cliffy Stone and Tennessee Ernie Ford’s publishing office, and two blocks down Sunset Blvd. was the office of Tex Ritter, Gene Autry and Johnny Bond, people in the business I had greatly admired. We were tied together like family. I would like to tell you about my close friends I grew up with - most of whom are now stars, but cannot mention them all for there were so many. To name a few, Eddie Cochran and Hank Cochran, though they were not related, worked as the Cochran brothers at the time until Eddie made a choice to go on his own. Freddy Heart, Ralph Mooney, Carl Belew, Bobby Bare, Wynn Stewart and myself, all living and working together seemed to get a break at about the same time.

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