Johnny’s Memoirs – Drifting and Having Fun

And like I say we lived in corpus Christi about a year. We stayed there and we moved to Houston, TX. That’s when a lot of great artists were coming out with music and great records, hit songs, and I began to play steel guitar. A former state overseer of the Church of God of Prophesy which I guess if I had an idol he would be my idol, brother Slim Vandergrif. 

Of course, papa was my hero and he (Slim) kinda taught me how to retune a guitar and take an old case knife and play steel out of it. So I went to work with a young man by the name of Johnny Carroll. We picked at drive in beer joints, I played steel guitar with him for a while, still singing during all this time I was still singing in church too. When papa would hold a revival, which he held many, I would go with him a lot of times and pick and sing for him. That’s how I learned a lot of great sayings from him. And I didn’t know how great they were til way way much later in my life. 

We did a lot of pickin and singing around the clubs of Houston and Pasedina TX and Cloverleaf, TX. Even went over to Galveston did a little picking and singing over there. And I remember that’s when I really became acquainted with the records of Cowboy Copus and Clyde Moody. Never realizing that come the 80’s I would sing for Clyde at his funeral. Clyde Moody was a man you didn’t shake hands with without becoming a friend. He was just that kind of man. Of course Ernest Tubb, all these people, never realizing one day I’d be singing with them.

All this time life was just one big game with me, one big adventure. Not a big adventure to amount to anything. Not that I know of, I was just drifting in life and having fun. That’s what I was doing, having fun.

Note about Johnny’s Memoirs: Prior to Johnny’s stroke in 1999, he had sat down at his typewriter and began to share stories about his life and music. We are sharing these excerpts in Johnny’s own words… just as he told them.