Garish threads acquired from Dublin boutique shops dominate this unused color portrait for a spread featured in the June 1966 issue of New Spotlight magazine. Youngest Everly Brother Phil wears a matching red tartan jacket and hipster slacks, chanteuse Eileen Kelley [frontwoman for Irish showband the Nevada] opts for a floral print tapestry dress, while elder brother and lead singer Don Everly is content with a trendy neon red corduroy reefer jacket and blue checked hipster pants. In late April 1966 the Everly Brothers toured Ireland and sat for this series of predominantly black and white photos. Their most recent Top 40 pop single in the USA had been the propulsive “Gone, Gone, Gone” in 1964 — two years without a hit in the swingin’ sixties was cause for crisis — but European audiences offered a reprieve by approving “The Price of Love” and “Love Is Strange.” Photography by Roy Esmonde / Brand New Retro / appears in the 1990 book “The Swinging Sixties”

“Even If I Hold It in My Hand [Hard Luck Story]” was conceived by the Everly Brothers during the 1967 sessions for their 14th studio album The Hit Sound of the Everly Brothers. Deemed too taboo for its suicidal subject matter, the song, accented by a mind-blowing, extended Glen Campbell guitar solo, remained buried for three decades until Rhino’s box set Heartaches & Harmonies [1994]. The exhaustive Bear Family chronicle Chained to a Memory [2006] tracked down take 10 [versus the previously released take 2] which eliminated Campbell’s solo for an unplugged arrangement preambled by cello. …


“Somewhere down the beach she has a house of her own alone, out of reach she won’t even answer the telephone, and I’m alone:” On a Malibu beach a boy fishes, a young woman jogs, a golden retriever waits patiently, and John Phillips, nicknamed the “Wolfking of L.A.,” is incongruously bedecked in a fur coat, scarf, white top hat, and tall brown boots. This is a circa February 1970 outtake from the cover photo shoot for the founding Mamas and Papas songwriter’s self-titled debut solo album released on Dunhill Records. Photography by Tom Gundelfinger O’Neal

The liner notes of the expanded Varèse Sarabande reissue of the Mamas and Papas mastermind’s solo debut John Phillips [John, the Wolfking of L.A.] divulge a long-buried anecdote. None other than Elvis Presley rode motorcycles with Phillips in Palm Springs, heard a demo of Wolfking before its April 1970 distribution on Dunhill Records, and wanted to record the Top 40 country rock hit “Mississippi.” Colonel Tom Parker vetoed the notion, indignant that his sole client would wanna associate with a damn hippie.

An unlikely teaming upon first glance, but the counterculture folk rocker also hailed from the South and was…


Blue-eyed soul singer B.J. Thomas, still handsome after 50-odd years in the music business, circa 2010. Thomas also successfully notched numerous rock and roll, adult contemporary, country, and gospel hits in his diverse recording career. Image Credit: Honeyman Music

How do you accurately introduce an artist who has conquered one musical genre after another without skipping a beat? In the case of legendary singer B.J. Thomas, firmly ensconced in his sixth decade as a recording artist, perhaps it is best to start with a list of his accomplishments.

Since 1966, 46 of his singles have appeared on Billboard’s pop, country, and adult contemporary charts. Of those, 14 went Top 40 on the pop chart, while 5 more climbed into the Top 10 on the country chart. By the late ’70s, the singer’s groundbreaking Contemporary Christian albums were also setting…


He went that-a-way! Trend-setting country music producer Tony Brown, with over 100 No. 1 singles to his credit, pokes fun at a road sign directing folks to the Tony Brown Homecoming Celebration in Stokes County, North Carolina, held during the weekend of October 17-20, 2019. Image Credit: Courtesy of Tony Brown Enterprises

That’s Tony Brown’s boogie woogie piano licks anchoring Elvis Presley’s final single “Way Down.” Entering the entertainment field as a Southern Gospel accompanist, by the nineties Brown had transitioned into a Nashville power player presiding over MCA and Universal South. His production credits range from George Strait, Vince Gill, Reba McEntire, Lionel Richie, to boatloads more. Prior to Barry Gibb’s reimagined duets LP Greenfields exceeding expectations with a Top 3 placement on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart, Brown met with the “New York Mining Disaster 1941” song weaver at his Miami home. …


In her most expansive interview, Charlie Sheen’s TV fiancé on #MeToo, bad auditions, intuition, awkwardness, health, and God

Photography by Paul Taylor

“Two and a Half Men was one of the best things that ever happened to me.” Jennifer Taylor refuses to knock the bawdy, perpetually clever 30-minute sitcom that launched her into the living rooms of 15 million viewers over two seasons. As no-nonsense brunette bombshell Chelsea Melini, she loved freelance jingle writer and constant philanderer Charlie Harper “for who he was despite some of his crap.”

Before joining Two and a Half Men’s sixth season in 2008, the sole female player on her 10th grade football team had spent eight financially uncertain years slogging through occasional guest turns in movies…


Paul Talbot unwraps 12-year-old Kurt Russell’s birthday gift, sex kitten Susan Oliver, ‘The Evil That Men Do,’ an uncooperative James Coburn shooting one of the greatest boxing movies, unfulfilled scripts, and Bronson’s haunting descent into Alzheimer’s

A marvelous oil painting renders Charles Bronson as the revenge-fueled gunslinger “Harmonica” hell-bent on facing the sadistic Henry Fonda in “Once Upon a Time in the West,” director Sergio Leone’s definitive spaghetti western. Painting by Igor Kazarin / Webneel Graphics Inspiration

When not supervising Blu-ray commentary tracks for such action flicks as The Valachi Papers and Chino, two-time Charles Bronson biographer Paul Talbot found the time to grapple with the bullshit-eschewing Death Wish architect’s early sagebrush sojourns Empire and The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters. That kindled a page-turning romp through other infrequently examined facets of Bronson’s 50-year career on a Tinseltown marquee. Ride back to the past chapter of the interview [“Scholar Paul Talbot Chronicles Badass Action Hero Charles Bronson”] if you’re just joining the rodeo.


Decked out in a dark gray striped suit, Roy Clark clings to a Gibson Byrdland sunburst hollow body electric guitar for the cover of “Urban, Suburban: The Fantastic Guitar of Roy Clark,” distributed in June 1968 as the musician’s ninth album and debut on Dot Records. The all-instrumental project sold moderately well, charting at No. 43 C&W. Photography by Jerry White / Universal Music Group / Discogs user “Road Worrier”

“Do You Believe This Town” was Roy Clark’s overlooked July 1968 social commentary on covert rural prejudice, recorded several months before Jeannie C. Riley’s much-ballyhooed “Harper Valley P.T.A.” A nameless pastoral community is not as it seems. Town pillars, from the mayor to the chief of police, are knee-deep in hypocrisy. The church deacon “preaches brotherly love every Sunday, and forecloses loans on widows’ homes every Monday.” The final verse is even more scathing — “Do you believe they burned a house down yesterday…if the folks who lived there had a-known their place, they could still be hangin’ around.” The…


Inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2020, the “Fourteen Carat Mind” country emperor plainspokenly probes stage fright, tough crowds, lucky charms, sycophants, guitars, COVID-19, and his looming 35th studio album, tentatively titled “Outside the Box.”

The back cover of Texas cowboy Gene Watson’s second greatest hits compilation — 1981’s “The Best of Gene Watson, Volume Two.” Willie Nelson’s mentor Ray Price placed the mutton-chopped Watson “right around the top of the list” of his favorite singers. And T. Graham Brown pulled no punches when he exclusively divulged, “When Gene Watson sings a country song, it’s been sung.” Image Credit: Discogs / Universal Music Group

The Gene Watson Interview, Part One

You’re a natural entertainer, but does stage fright ever rear its head?

It’s not a problem for me. Way down deep inside I’ve always been a people’s person. The audience makes up so much of my show. I go onstage and be myself. I never plan out a show or what song will be next. I always play it straight off the cuff and take note of whatever vein the crowd’s in. We try our best to do what the people wanna hear, and it usually works pretty good.

Was that always the case?

You do have to go through…


The rear jacket of “Troubled Times,” Jimmie Rodgers’ penultimate studio album dropped with scant fanfare in July 1970 on Herb Alpert’s A&M Records. Armed with a reliable acoustic guitar, Rodgers smiles broadly in spite of a devastating physical assault two and a half years earlier on the San Diego Freeway and a divorce from first wife Colleen McClatchey. Michele Rodgers remembers her dad being photographed inside the bedroom of his old cottage-style Brentwood mansion. The room contained an old desk, which Rodgers used as a songwriting base, as well as circular windows that beckoned to a beautiful garden. It was late and stormy the evening the photo session occurred. Rodgers penned eight of the LP’s 10 songs including the title cut, issued as a non-charting A-side. “Troubled Times” remains unavailable in the streaming world. Photography by Jim McCrary / Artwork by Tom Wilkes / Universal Music Group / Discogs

The death of Jimmie Rodgers at age 87 from kidney disease and COVID-19 complications on Jan. 18, 2021, prompted a deep dive into his discography. Between 1957 and 1967, the Camas, Washington-raised artist accumulated 14 Top 40 Billboard singles such as “Honeycomb” [No. 1], “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine” [No. 7], “Oh-Oh, I’m Falling In Love Again” [No. 7], “Secretly” [No. 3], “Are You Really Mine?” [No. 10], and “Bimbombey” [No. 11]. Rodgers’ composition “It’s Over” [No. …


A caricature from the since-defunct Los Angeles Herald Examiner’s TV Weekly April 16–22, 1967, insert plugs the spring premiere of “The Joey Bishop Show” on Monday, April 17. The ABC late night rival of “The Tonight Show” was hosted by the Rat Pack alum and a wet-behind-the-ears Regis Philbin. Bishop’s long face and and put-upon moroseness even has a hoot owl, perched on a higher tree limb, eying him suspiciously. Illustration by Bob Bentovoja / Walt Disney Television / Getty Images

Deconstructing The Rat Pack: Joey, The Mob, and the Summit biographers Richard A. Lertzman and Lon Davis exclusively strip back deadpan Jewish comic Joey Bishop’s rendezvous with Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Johnny Carson, the Three Stooges, John Wayne, and unexpected mistress Nora Garibotti. Son of a gun!

The Lon Davis Interview

Who developed the proposal for Deconstructing the Rat Pack?

The book was Rick Lertzman’s idea, and he knew Joey Bishop personally. Sadly, I never met Joey. At the time he considered writing it, Bishop was the last man standing from the Rat Pack [1918–2007]. Rick’s idea was to do a book about the…

Jeremy Roberts

Retro pop culture interviews & lovin’ someone fierce sustain this University of Georgia Master of Agricultural Leadership alum. Email: jeremylr@windstream.net

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