Author: Rhynes, J.D.

More adventures of my buddy Ray Park

I have two large portrait size photographs of two of my best
friends Vern Williams and Ray Park, hanging in my living room. I
look at them every morning noon and night. I love looking at these
portrait size photographs that my good friend Tom Tworek took of
them the last time they performed together back in 1996. From time
to time,they are the source of a lot of smiles and outright
laughter when I remember things that we done together years ago.
Every now and then I will remember an incident involving those
two,and I make an effort to write them down so I don't forget them,
so I can share them here with you folks. This is one of those
remembrances involving my buddy Ray Park and the inimitable Jimmy

Back in the middle 60s when Vern and Ray went to Nashville to try
and make it big in the music business, they both became acquainted
with Jimmy Martin in due time. Ray was especially a big fan of
Jimmy's, and every time he was downtown in Tootsie's bar, he would
throw a handful of quarters in the jukebox, and call up Jimmy and
tell him where he was and that everybody there was playing his
records on the jukebox. Ray said Jimmy would always reply;Atta boy
hoss, keep up the good work! Ray told me he must've done it 500
times and Jimmy never once caught on what was going on.

As time went along, Ray and Jimmy became good friends, and ever
once in while Ray would go out and visit Jimmy at his home, and do
some picking with him. At that time Ray had a most unusual solid
brass capo That was one of a kind, the only one like it that I have
ever seen, it was very well made and Ray's favorite capo that he
had ever owned. Well it just so happened that Jimmy Martin fell
dead in love with that capo and tried to beg it off of Ray for a
year or so. Jimmy would say to Ray,hoss,ol' Jimmy really loves that
old capo and why don't you give it to him? Ray would always answer,
Jimmy. I can't give this to you a friend of mine gave me that, and
I promised I would always keep it in his memory. Then Jimmy would
always answer; yeah Hoss them there albums I keep given you are
worth three dollars apiece My price, and every time you come out
here you eat a bowl of Jimmy's roasted peanuts that he roasted! You
need to give Jimmy that capo that he likes so much! Ray said after
about 12 or 13 months of Jimmy begging him, He finally caved and
gave it to him. Ray said that was the best damn capo He ever had in
his life and wished he had it back. Vern always kidded Ray about
giving Jimmy that capo, and we had several laughs over it.

And then there's the time that Jimmy Martin accidentally shot his
mandolin picker when they were out Rabbit hunting. He wasn't hurt
that bad, but the fact remains that he was shot, if just a little
bit. It wasn't too long after that incident that Jimmy called Ray
and asked him if he could use his mandolin picker to go play a few
dates. Ray replied, Jimmy I don't speak for Vern you'll have to ask
him personally. Vern told Ray, as much as I love Jimmy's music, I'm
not gonna go pick with him, and I'm damn sure not gonna go rabbit
huntin' with him either! Vern said I told Jimmy the same thing as I
told Ray. Vern said Jimmy tried his best to talk him in to go play
with him, but Vern said I politely declined, If you know what I
mean. Ray always kidded Vern about missing his chance to hit the big
time, and Vern would always answer, you're right Ray, I probably
would have made Jimmy a lot more famous than what he already was!

Someday they may be able to extract all the words from the walls of
my living room, and when they do they're gonna hear a lot of good
stories and laughter between me and my two buddies Vern and Ray. I
was sure glad Tom made these portraits for me, I think I would be
lost without them. Friends like those two only come along once a
lifetime, and their smiling faces sure have helped me through a lot
of difficult days. Every time I look at them I'm reminded of
Lester's song, the good times have outweighed the bad. We sure had a
lot of good times together, and in the end that's all that really
counts. I am a better man for having known them.

Posted:  7/27/2012

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