MORE MEMORIES by Ralph Emery

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Emery and Carter prove lightning can strike in the same place twice: Witness this scintillating follow-up to their 1991 megabestseller, Memories. Emery (whose prime-time cable-TV show Nashville Now has 60 million viewers) reprises his humble beginnings in broadcasting at WTPR--a dusk-to-dawn 250-watter in Paris, Tennessee (pop. 5000). After broadcasting farm-to-market news at $45 a week, he began programming a Sunday morning country-music show--until his first fan letter informed him that listening to country on Sunday mornings was like eating green beans for breakfast. Switching to a gospel format featuring live services, Emery would race to the first church and set up a microphone, then speed back to the station to introduce the service. Jumping back into the station's jalopy, he'd rush to set up a mike at the next church while the first preacher was having his half hour on the air. The bulk of the narrative here, though, offers not autobiography but more of Emery's fascinating insider's anecdotes about the foibles of country-music stars; their families; the origins of their songs; and the zany behavior they use to drive away the boredom of working 300 one-nighters on the road each year. One bright episode concerns the silver-screen debut of Mel Tillis--a notorious stutterer but one of the first Nashville singers recruited by Hollywood. Facing the cameras for the first time, Tillis characteristically botched his lines with his stutter. When the furious director castigated him for improvising, the humiliated singer retired to his trailer for some liquid consolation. Meanwhile, the cast and crew convinced the director that Tillis's stutter made the line funny, and Tillis was invited back for another take: Intoxicated, he delivered his lines without hesitation--only the next morning did a sober Tillis finally declaim to perfection, stumbling over every word. Captivating, and likely to capture another top rung on bestseller lists. (For a less satisfied glance at Emery's life, see Skeeter Davis's Bus Fare to Kentucky, reviewed above.) (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs--not seen)

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1993
ISBN: 0-399-13890-0
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1993




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