I conducted this interview on Lynn's web site, www.lynnanderson.net, in February through July 2003. It had a little "audience" participation, and I edited those responses into the general format of the interview. I want to thank Lynn for taking the time to answer my questions. Please visit her website for the complete unedited version!
go back to the very beginning when you came to Nashville with your parents, Liz
& Casey, for the awards show. At that time did you even think of the possibility
of becoming a recording artist?
Lynn: Before we
came to Nashville, I had landed a spot on a weekly TV show in Sacramento called
"Country Corners", and did a (very) short stint as the "Weather-Girl". I was
right on the edge of the business, but really had no dreams of being a star.
I came with Mom & Dad just to see Nashville, and ended up singing harmony with her countless times.
It was a total surprise to be asked to record, and I think Slim Williamson may have done it just to keep getting Liz Anderson songs before they all got picked over!!!
remember Jim Nesbitt telling me that Slim was trying to sign Liz and he (Jim)
told Slim that he should be looking at you! (Thanks Jim!)
At the DJ Convention, back in 1965, who set the stage for you to be discovered? Basically, I know you sang some duets with Jerry Lane, but wasn't that more or less your audition? I think Slim told me he first heard you singing with Merle Haggard.
The trip to the DJ convention was in 1965. I know because I was receiving a BMI
Award for "My Friends Are Gonna Be Strangers" done by Merle Haggard and also I
was scheduled to record for RCA per Chet Atkins.
Lynn came along that year. A bunch of us from California were sitting around the room singing and showing our stuff. When Slim Williamson - who owned Chart Records and Yonah Music who I was writing for at the time - heard her singing with me in the room at the Andrew Jackson he was very impressed.
Well Lynn was no novice having been singing in public since age 5 or earlier, and also was the featured girl singer on a TV show out of Sacra-mento starring Truitt Cunningham. Truitt was one of the Bob Wills guys.
Slim asked if she could stay over and record for Chart. It so happens that Lynn and I both recorded our first records that same week. She for Chart and me for RCA. What fun!
"audition" consisted of me sitting at my Mom's side, and singing harmony to her
Merle Haggard was nowhere in sight. He was also a Liz Anderson fan ... Jerry Lane was scheduled to do a session, and we split the cost. "We're Different" is pretty obscure ... do you have a copy?
Martin: I do
have "We're Different" on an LP, but not the single which was backed with "For
Better Of For Worse". They are both on the same LP, "Duet Country" (CHS-1014).
Lynn: What a
funny, greatly-worded "Old-Time" Liz Anderson Style Country Song! How come all
the Better has been YOURS ... and the WORSE has Always been MINE? YES, mama!!!
Lynn: The "DJ
Convention" (now "FanFair") used to be housed in two hotel in downtown
Nashville. The Hermitage, and the Andrew Jackson. I was there with my Mom and
Dad ... Mom was signed with Slim Williamson's Publishing Company, Yonah Music.
The only connection I had with Jerry Lane at that time is that he was recording a couple of sides for Slim Williamson. We "split" the session ... he recorded two sides of his own, we did a duet, and I sang one. As far as I know Slim paid for the session ... but I sure couldn't prove it! That's a long time ago!
Wily Slim Williamson "split" the session (charged Jerry Lane with half the money), and got two singles out of the deal:
Jerry Lane's duet ... which capitalized on Jerry's popularity to get me my first radio exposure;
And my first single ... which built off of Jerry's shoulders, and his funding of the session.
Lynn: When I moved from Chart Records to CBS, I made a deal with them through my attorney, Jerry Margolis, that not only signed me to CBS, but purchased my old Chart Masters, including recordings like "Rocky Top" and the the old duets with Jerry Lane. ALL of my old Chart masters are owned by CBS New York. Only a few guys ... like Nick Shaffrian, even know what they have in those old vaults. Most of them don't even care what's in there.
Martin: I know you worked as a secretary for Chart. How did that happen and what was the time frame? Can you describe some of your duties?
Lynn: Well ...
we moved from Sacramento, California to Nashville in 1967(?) Right, Mom? Mom's
career with RCA was rocking along really well ... as well as her songwriting.
She REALLY wanted to make the move, and take her opportunity to make her dreams
of a music career come true. It was a HUGE change for us ... but Daddy agreed.
I, of course, went along for the ride!
Honestly, I was dating this guy I thought I was really in love with ... and I had a GREAT job at the Radio Station in Sacramento, and ALMOST didn't go! The General Manager offered me a really good raise ... and then there was LOVE! Well, maybe they'd have never let me stay behind ...
But, we sold the house, quit our jobs, quit school, left the boyfriend ... packed up our stuff, and left lock, stock and horse-trailer for Music City.
I took a job at Chart because I was a pretty good job for still being a stupid teenager, and wasn't making any money singing! I did the typing, filing, phones ... I took orders for my own records. Chart's very first LP was mine! I'd always tell accounts that ordered 1,000 copies that they'd better make it 2,000 ... 'cause they were flying out of there as fast as we could print 'em!!! When they found out was ME they cracked up! It was fun!
Martin: I understand that you helped make Junior Samples a star. Joe Gibson told me that you and he took the original "Whopper" story and you typed every word of the 20 or so minutes of it and you both edited it down to a manageable 4 and 1/2 minutes, more or less. Did you ever think that he would become the successful comedian that he did?
Lynn: First of all ... PLEASE tell Joe Gibson HELLO for me, and ask him to join us here on the website!
I remember hearing those tapes of Junior Samples, and wondering "What In the World is THIS?" I had NO background in fishing ... knew nothing about it, and couldn't believe that anyone would go to the lengths Junior described, in order to win a fishing contest!!!
Fact is: there was a story on CNN just a few days ago about ANOTHER guy who got caught in a contest with a cage of fish! I'm also a fan of a writer by the name of Carl Hiaasen ... who has become a best-selling novelist. One of HIS stories tells of fixing a bass-fishing contest in very much the same way. Fishing is BIG BUCKS now!
With shows like Andy Griffith and "Beverly Hillbillies", and books by humorists like Fannie Flagg ... it was obvious that "Hillbilly Humor" was a really saleable product back then, as it is now. It's always fun when folks can laugh at themselves! Junior Samples seemed to be funny just opening his mouth!! I've always thought that HUMOR is a big OPEN SPACE in Country Music! There's just too few Country Comedians, to this day.
I love Jerry Clower. And Shotgun Red. And then there's "You Know You're a Redneck ...". Ray Steven has always been the "best of the best".
Martin: What were some of the factors in your decision to leave Chart for Columbia?
Lynn: The main reason for my move to CBS was my new HUSBAND, Glenn Sutton, who worked as a member of the Production Staff for CBS Nashville! While co-writing songs with Billy Sherrill for most ALL of the CBS/Epic acts (Tammy Wynette, David Houston, Jerry Lee Lewis, etc) ... he produced great records for Jody Miller, Jim & Jesse, & Jerry Lee. The move to CBS was just a natural progression, and enabled me to work with Glenn as my producer.
We took Chart Records right along ... as my contract with CBS included the purchase of all those Chart Masters. That's how and why you've seen Chart recordings re-released under the Columbia Special Products banner.
I'll use the "Anthology" project as an example.
Martin: Looking over most of the Chart catalog, I see that for the most part, artists recorded songs from the Williamson owned publishing companies (Yonah, Peach, & Sue-Mirl). How much input did you have in selecting your material? I can see that most of your material came from outside sources. Was this ever a source of contention?
Lynn: Ah, YES, the "Controlled Composition" dilemma!
I never felt obliged by Slim to record songs "controlled" by Yonah or the other "In-House" sources ... but then, it was a given that my access to original Liz Anderson songs was indeed a BONUS for me! Why in the world would I fight that?
In this case, I'd have to say that "BONUS" is an understatement!
Martin: Speaking of Glenn Sutton producing your records on Columbia, I understand that he produced some of your Chart recordings as well. How did his production work compare to Slim's or Lloyd Green's and which records did Glenn produce? Did he produce all the records that did not specifically list a producer on the label?
Lynn: In regard to producers ... Slim Williamson was never a "Producer" on my records, in my opinion. He may, of course, disagree.
To my mind, Slim left the "musical content" to Lloyd Green on my records. Lloyd was respected by the musicians in the studio, and he was the obvious "Leader". Lloyd listened to the ideas and contributions of each musician, and decided who played what, and when. That's the role of a "Producer", in my mind.
I think Slim's name got put on the label as "Producer" when it should more properly have said "Executive Producer". In other words: Slim had the business sense to hire people who could accomplish tasks he could not. Lloyd Green "produced" my records until Glenn Sutton came into the picture.
Indeed, Glenn Sutton enhanced the last few sessions I did for Chart. But, he respected Lloyd Green and did not try to step on his toes. At that time, the musicians were the "make-or-break" ingredient. That's where "The Nashville Sound" came from!
I believe that the emphasis now is on "The Producer", and to some extent "The Engineer". There are so many computerized "tricks" that the creative musician is sometimes hampered by them. He's expected to lay down a "sample", and then "double it". The notes and the tones are computerized, harmonized, and tweaked to fit the ear of "The Engineer", who answers to "The Producer".
Are you aware of the strike TODAY on Broadway ... where "MUSIC" has been put on hold because producers of the shows are trying to use synthesised music instead of live musicians? Hmmm ... "American Pie"!!!
The Day the Music Died ...
Martin: As I understand it, it's not necessarily synthesized music, but canned music. Tapes, CD's, etc. Nevertheless, it does seem a bit contrary to have a live show with recorded music. I am a firm believer that a producer, writer, engineer, or what have you, not be limited in the creation of their production by what a union deems appropriate. It should be left up to the creators. If a piece or sequence only requires 4 musicians, should the producers be forced to use 24? I am not in that business, nor will I ever be, so I cannot answer that question with any certainty. I do not know the inner workings of such things. I just know that I personally would not like to be subject to that rule. And I know that, as with all things, the numbers of musicians can be negotiated. And with that said, I've said too much.
All this reminds me of the sampling controversy a few years back......
Martin: This is a 2 part question:
1. How did it feel knowing you were the top artist at Chart? Chart's shining star!
2. What was your attitude to the other young female artists recording for Chart at the time? La Wanda Lindsey, Dianne Leigh, Trina Love, Maxine Brown, just to name a few.
Lynn: Well ... don't know about this "Shining Star" stuff .... I was the first and ONLY girl on the Chart Records when my stuff came out. My first LP was Chart Records' FIRST LP ... There WERE no "other girls" until later ... I'm NOT into competing with other women, and I respect them for their individual talents and contributions.
I keep in touch with LaWanda Lindsey, who lives here in New Mexico. One of these days, we'll come up with a venue to sing "Beggars Can't Be Choosers" together! She's just GREAT! Spoke to her Last Night ...
Do you keep in touch with LaWanda?
Martin: I would love to hear you & La Wanda singing together! That would be awesome! And, no, I have been negligent in keeping in touch with her. (Shame on me!)
Actually there were a few "girl singers" at Chart before you, although I suspect they were of the "pay as you go" type artist. (each recording session was paid for by the artist without much promotion). Artists such as Ginny Wright, June Black, & Linda Keaton. But, you were definitely the first female artist with any major success. And, yes indeed, you were the "Star Artist" at Chart. In 1966 & 1967, only Jim Nesbitt had about the same level of success as you. I guess in the proper order of things, you & Jim were the "Co-Stars" at Chart!
Having a mother who was a writer and singing artist must have been a tremendous advantage to you, but aside from your parents, who gave you the most inspiration and/or guidance in your early career?
Lynn: Inspiration: Brenda Lee, Patsy Cline & Marty Robbins
My Mentor: Lawrence Welk
I'd like to hear some of those women you mentioned! I wasn't aware of any others! "Course, I was young and Stupid!!!
PS: I think Junior Samples outsold all of us!
Martin: I would be happy to send you a CD of some of the early Chart female artists. Just send me an address to email@example.com. I think you will enjoy some of them!
Lynn: Certainly, Marty!
Please send me what you have on old "Chart" stuff. Funny ... I thought I knew what was going on back then ... but, FACT IS I was just a stupid teenager all caught up in the "Quest" to be a STAR! YOU seem to have all the facts I missed.
Please send me examples of other women artists on Chart in 1966:
Taos, NM 87571
PS: Where is Ott Stevens now?
Martin: Ott is in Louisville, GA still operating WPEH. I bet he would love to hear from you! I will send you a CD soon with the Chart stuff.
the female artists that released records on Chart between 1963 and 1967. I don't
have them all, but I'll send the ones I do.
Number Artist A Side Title B Side Title Release Date
1035-McBride, Nell-Yours Forever-Old Enough-1963
1080-Arnold, Kay-Colder Than Diamonds-Lovin' Time-05/64
1090-Wright, Ginny-Happy Anniversary-Have You Ever Been Lonely-1964
1120-Cramer, Lynn-Birth of a Heartache-Shadows Of My Past-1964
1125-Arnold. Kay-I Was Just Along For The Ride-Let's Start Slipping Around-1964
1155-McBride, Nell-Crying (Because I'm Losing You)-Desperately-1964
1170-Tall, Tom & Ginny Wright-I Want You-In The Shadows Of The Night-1965
1195-Keaton, Linda-A Penny For Your Thoughts-The Other Half Of Me-1965
1210-Whitley, Don & Joyce Duke-We'd Rather Than Fight Than Switch-Two Hearts Into One-1965
1250-Wright, Ginny-(Answer To) The Bridge Washed Out-Undecided-1965
1255-Cramer, Lynn-You Must Be An Angel Lost-I Can't See The Good Things-1965
1280-Keaton, Linda-Good For You Another Cold Shoulder-1965
1285-Black, June-Postmarked Viet-Nam-The Other Woman Is Your Wife-1965
1400-Rose, Juanita-She Dropped The World In My Hands-A Pillow Filled With Tears-1966
1495-Leamon Sisters-Cry By Night-Lost From My Arms-1967
Lynn: WOW! I DO remember some of those!!!
The VERY FIRST record you mentioned, by Nell McBride, is Mom's songs ... so there had to have been a relationship already with Slim Williamson 'way back in 1963. She actually had a record of "Old Enough" herself ... on a small label in Sacramento.
Linda Keaton's "Penny For Your Thoughts" is also Mom's ... and I remember having a huge crush on Don Whitley.
Always loved Kay Arnold.
Heck, I was still in High School ... more interested in the football games than in the Music Business!
Martin: This question will be purely speculative on your part, but I think it would be very interesting to hear your views. (and the views of other members of the forum)
If you had not departed Chart in 1969, and had been able to release "Rose Garden" on Chart, do you think it would have been as successful as it was, and do you think the future of Chart Records would have changed and why?
Lynn: WHAT MIGHT HAVE HAPPENED?
Well ... it's a philosophical question ... and I hope you're ready for an honest answer (in my opinion):
I doubt that my record of Rose Garden would ever have existed.
Rose Garden most certainly could never have achieved the success it did had it been released on Chart Records ... simply because they were not set up to distribute and market to anything other than Country Music Markets and outlets.
Martin: Of all your LP's and singles released on Chart, which was your favorite:
and a brief reason why.
Lynn: I guess "Ride, Ride, Ride" is still my favorite ...
I'll have to give a little thought to your question ... it's been a long time ago!
Please send link to the Chart website ...
Martin: The link to the Chart Records Website is www.chartrecords.net.
It's been a little while since I added anything new. I did add a few scans of some 8-tracks and a reel to reel tape of yours. Neat stuff!
The following 2 questions were left unanswered.
Q1. What month did you leave Chart? I'm thinking it must have been the early part of 1969. It was about April that Chart was sold to Audio Fidelity and you were still with them at that point, but gone soon after. Also did that transaction have anything to do with your decision to leave Chart?
Q2. What do you feel was your greatest accomplishments/milestones during your time with Chart Records?
Here is where we stalled on the interview. Lynn has gotten very busy with her career again and simply didnít have the time to finish the interview. Hopefully those last 2 questions will be answered soon.