Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Foreword

Murphy Hicks Henry

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pp. ix-xii

Barbara Martin Stephens is a brave woman and this is a brave book. A groundbreaking book. Lives of bluegrass musicians have been chronicled in biography (Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, the Stoneman Family), autobiography (Ralph Stanley, Roni Stoneman), and memoir (Bob Black, Gene Lowinger)...

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Preface

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pp. xiii-xiv

In the early months of 2014, I was playing around on YouTube, watching and listening to some of Jimmy Martin’s early recordings that he made not too long before he died. As I watched the first half of the film, Jimmy was cussing like a sailor. Every other word started with the letter “f.” This was...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xv-xvi

I especially want to thank the following family and friends for listening to me for the past two years about my book.
Many thanks go to my good friend Jeanne Fuchs, PhD. She is an adjunct professor who works with doctoral candidates in writing their theses. Jeanne took the time out of her...

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Introduction: Something About Me

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pp. 1-12

My working life and my sense of business all started with my grandfather, Robert Hollis Farmer, giving me a soft drink stand to run in his mattress factory. He taught me how to determine profits and losses. I may have been only five when he started teaching me, but I was already reading and writing...

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1. Meeting Jimmy Martin

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pp. 13-21

In early May 1953, my girlfriend Jean Armstrong suggested I apply in the coffee shop where she worked as a waitress at the Tulane Hotel in Nashville. The hotel was situated on the corner of Eighth Avenue North and Church Street. It was the equivalent of a two- or three-star-rated hotel in today’s...

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2. Moving On

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pp. 22-32

Jimmy moved out of the hotel in the early part of November 1953 and moved into my grandparents’ house on Charlotte Avenue. His blue and yellow Hudson, an eyesore, stayed in our driveway.
He commuted to the WSM studios for his early morning program with Bill Monroe. Jimmy...

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3. Having Babies

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pp. 33-45

I first met Bob Osborne backstage, actually in the back alley, at the Grand Ole Opry when Bob got out of the marines. Jimmy was still with Bill Monroe and he introduced Bob to me. I already knew Bob’s brother, Sonny, from the time he played with Bill Monroe.
Jimmy reconnected with Bob and Sonny...

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4. Back and Forth

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pp. 46-56

While we were living in Detroit, Jimmy made friends with a family who lived on the west side, quite a long way from where we lived on the east side. I didn’t know where Jimmy had met them—probably a nightclub. Jimmy told me one day, “We are going out to see Fred and Mary Smith.” (Since I...

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5. Up and Down

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pp. 57-68

Once Timmy and I were in Nashville, I took my grandmother’s Ford and traded it in for a 1954 Oldsmobile 98. It had low miles and was in great shape. My grandfather paid the difference on the trade-in, so I wouldn’t have any payments. My dream car was forest green and vanilla, and it was mine...

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6. Booking Jimmy Martin

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pp. 69-88

As we came into Bridgeport, Ohio, across the Ohio River from Wheeling, West Virginia, the weather was nasty with snow on the ground. And I started crying. I couldn’t believe I was going to live in this godforsaken place. It was nothing like Shreveport, which was warm and green. Here, the...

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7. Funerals

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pp. 89-90

The morning of March 5, 1963, is embedded in my memory. I was sitting on the yellow hassock, having a cup of coffee. Timmy had gone to school and Jimmy was in the bedroom getting dressed. I had the TV on and the announcer said that Patsy Cline, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Randy Hughes, and...

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8. Living with Jimmy Martin

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pp. 91-100

When all the funerals were behind us, we tried to get back to a normal life. I spent the rest of the year booking Jimmy and others from the Opry. Timmy continued in school and started singing at hootenannies. He was having a good time, and people liked him.
Summer came and Timmy sang...

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9. Showers and Surprises

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pp. 101-115

Pregnancy was rampant in Nashville in 1964. Loretta Lynn, Brenda Lee, and I were all pregnant at the same time. Loretta was pregnant with twins, whom she named Patsy and Peggy. It seemed like all I did was go to showers.
Dottie West gave Loretta a shower first. Her shower was held at Dottie’s...

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10. You’re Gonna Change or I’m Gonna Leave

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pp. 116-131

The night before I left Jimmy Martin for good, I cooked supper. After the two older boys and I ate, I fed Buddy and Lisa and left the rest on the table for Jimmy. The boys and I were in the den watching TV when Jimmy came in the back door. The first thing he did was shove the table across the kitchen floor. He...

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11. Life after Jimmy Martin

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pp. 132-142

I was having such a good time working at the courthouse and at the Gold Record Room, and I knew a lot of people. So when the annual Disc Jockey Convention in Nashville rolled around, I decided to stop by the Andrew Jackson Hotel, where the convention was being held.
I walked into the...

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12. All My Children

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pp. 143-147

Back in Nashville, we moved into an apartment in Madison that bordered I-65. I hated the apartment but knew it would not be long and we would be moving again.
It was wintertime and Chuck decided that he no longer wanted to work as a computer programmer but wanted to go into...

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13. Life in Florida and the Kids Return

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pp. 148-159

In October 1975 Chuck was hired by Bell Helicopter to go to Tehran, Iran. We were going to take our granddaughter Michelle with us. Our friends Dick and Wilda Gernt were already living there. They were originally from Jamestown, Tennessee, but had lived in Orlando before moving to Tehran...

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14. Letting Go of Jimmy Martin

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pp. 160-171

Chuck and I were on our way home from London, England, in March 2005. We had spent a week with our friends Peter and Jan Mitchell, who lived in Weymouth. Peter was having a party to celebrate his seventieth birthday, and I didn’t want to miss it. Peter and Jan are like my brother and sister. We...

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15. Through It All, No Regrets

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pp. 172-184

Today I sometimes sit and think about the men I have loved and the “what ifs” of my life. Whenever I loved someone, I loved them with all my heart. The love for that person never completely went away. With Laney Cobbolino, I did hear about him from my sister Billie, who lived in Detroit and saw him...

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16. Jimmy Martin’s Family

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pp. 185-190

On Wednesday, August 27, 1927, the temperature was bordering 71 degrees, the gully was hot, not a leaf stirring, and mosquitos were buzzing. It was a night when another member of the Martin family would be born. This time the child would become world famous when he grew up. Sneedville would...

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Epilogue

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pp. 191-194

I always knew that Jimmy was a rambling man, but I hoped he would change. Just like I hoped he would change his mind about Mike coming to live with us. Neither of those things happened. He continued to be a rambling man throughout our time together. Most probably, he continued...

Index

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pp. 195-210

Photographs

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pp. 211-224