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

Image for post
Image for post
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.


Image for post
Image for post
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.”

Image for post
Image for post
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…


Image for post
Image for post
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. …


Image for post
Image for post
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…


Image for post
Image for post
Exclusive John Wayne reminiscences with cruel cowboy villain Gregg Palmer, Chris Mitchum, and only surviving sons Patrick Wayne and Ethan Wayne shed light on the Hollywood icon’s latter day Westerns such as “Chisum,” “Big Jake,” and “The Shootist.” Seen here sitting atop Dollar, a sorrel gelding with a narrow blaze and high stockings on both hind legs, the Duke is mighty tall in the saddle during an early scene from “The Cowboys” where he rides into the nearly deserted trail town of Bozeman, Montana, circa June 1971. Photography by David Sutton / Warner Bros.

Saddle up, pilgrims! The INSP cable network augmented 2020’s quarantine Christmas with a marathon sampling nine of John Wayne’s best Westerns distributed between 1944 and 1972. Within an astounding 167-film canon, the American institution appeared somewhere in the neighborhood of 87 Westerns in his workaholic 50-year career on the silver screen.

Affectionately known as the Duke by his army of aficionados, the late action star’s cultural impact is still felt over three decades after his death from the ravages of stomach cancer. Believe it or not, Wayne regularly places in the Top Five on the annual Harris Poll of America’s…


A chronological, complete list of the enigmatic Southern Gothic siren’s 46 compositions recorded between 1967 and 1977

Image for post
Image for post
Image Credit: Universal Music Group / Colorization by Stephen Potter / Bobbie Gentry Fans on Facebook

Forty-six Bobbie Gentry compositions have been issued, principally from her 1967–1971 stretch on Capitol Records. From the three million-selling “Ode to Billie Joe” to the dark horse, funky country of “Fancy,” the Mississippi-raised chanteuse’s legacy continues to proliferate. The Girl from Chickasaw County box set [2018] is approaching 15,000 units purchased with an asking price of $80. Two years later the two-CD Delta Sweete deluxe edition sold out its first pressing of 5,000 in 24 hours. The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame also inducted Gentry in 2020. Never before has a chronological Gentry songwriting list with accompanying albums, A-side /…


Image for post
Image for post
Valdosta State University students Juan Mora, girlfriend Colbie Spann, Finley Miller, Amr Foudah, Aylar Chikayeva, and Anastasia Vdovichenko joyously gather around a Thanksgiving dinner table inside the home of Roy and Bonnie Miller on November 26, 2020. Photography by Amanda Miller

In 1972 Miller’s Hardware unfastened its doors at 701 East Marion Avenue, indelibly impacting Berrien County’s economy for the subsequent 47 years. Former owner Roy Miller and wife-office manager Bonnie hosted a genuinely international Thanksgiving summit inside their conspicuously flat-roofed, French-designed home about a mile and a half northeast of Nashville, Georgia. Including daughters Angela [Vernon] Chambless and Amanda Miller and grandkids Colbie Spann and Finley Grace Miller, six, count ’em six, countries were compassionately acknowledged in this pointedly divided era.

Colbie, a 24-year-old chestnut-haired, spring 2020 Valdosta State University alumna, recently charted a new southbound course when she planted…


Image for post
Image for post
A glowing 69-year-old Levon Helm arrives for his fourth and final appearance on “The Late Show with David Letterman” at New York City’s Ed Sullivan Theater on July 9, 2009. Helm was promoting his last studio album, “Electric Dirt,” with a New Orleans-fueled take of the Grateful Dead’s “Tennessee Jed” featuring slide licks from Larry Campbell’s customized “Frankenstrat” Fender Stratocaster. Photography by Nancy Kaszerman / ZUMA Press

Sandra B. Tooze’s third tome is the engaging Levon: From Down in the Delta to the Birth of The Band and Beyond. So far it’s the sole biography of the cash-strapped sharecropper’s kid from Turkey Scratch, Arkansas, who established rockabilly roots in Toronto upon high school graduation, backed Bob Dylan when he abandoned acoustic folk, and served as the groundbreaking Americana quintet’s quadruple threat of a signature tenor vocalist, groove-laying drummer, mandolinist, and inspiration to songwriting architect Robbie Robertson. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photography by Jeremy Roberts

Flanking the northeast side of the Alapaha River at Sheboggy — a mile and a half east of Alapaha, Georgia — a small-scale creosote plant owned by Bertie Moore once existed post-World War II until about 1957. Derived from the distillation of black tar from coal or wood — beech trees are a common source in the eastern United States — creosote is a dirty, thick preservative found on railroad cross ties and wood fence posts. It has since been prohibited for residential use as carcinogens can be leeched into groundwater.

At Sheboggy drawing knifes were used to peel pine…

Jeremy Roberts

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

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store