June 18, 1995 in Features

When Tracy Byrd Sings, He Wants Crowd To Get Out Of Line

Jack Hurst Tribune Media Services
 

Tracy Byrd, whose “Keeper of the Stars” has been one of the most popular country songs of the past several weeks, recently won a couple of dance awards for his recent “Watermelon Crawl” and the line dance it inspired.

But he confesses that although he has long played music for dancers, he and most of his fellow natives of southern Texas don’t know much about line dancing.

“The music I naturally loved just always was dance music,” Byrd says. “I’m a big Western swing fan, and back then in the clubs a third of the stuff we were playing was old Bob Wills or Spade Cooley. So dancing - two-step, polka, waltz and jitterbug - has been involved in my music from the beginning.

“But the funny thing about South Texas is, line dancing still hasn’t caught on down there. They don’t do it. There’s only one line dance that they’ve been doing for about 15 years to a Ronnie Milsap song. They call it ‘The Freeze,’ and they’ve been doing it forever, but they won’t do any of this other stuff.

“It amazes me how big line dancing is up North, because like in Chicago, for instance, they don’t two-step. Up there, and out West - in Arizona and Nevada and California - it’s all line dancing.”

Byrd recalls once playing the Gatlin Brothers Theatre at the Mall of America in Minneapolis where he and his band introduced “this real sexy waltz” titled “Satin and Lace” and were amazed to see everybody in the place start line dancing to it.

“I stopped in the middle of the song and said, ‘Hold on a minute.’ I said, ‘Listen, fellas, this is a waltz. The reason they created this tempo, this beat, this rhythm, is so you could get real close and hold onto one of them gals. Y’all are line dancing, not even touching each other. You need to be wrapped up: This is a love song.’

“So they all wrapped up. They could do it (the waltz). They just wanted to try to line dance to it.”

Label rocks cradle

Polydor Records executives slightly discomfited the mid-to-late-30s-aged members of the Polydor quartet 4 Runner (which has the current “Cain’s Blood” in the upper quarter of the hit charts) at a Polydor reception by announcing that Polydor-Nashville was going to be a youth-aimed label.

But the executives weren’t kidding. The next Polydor quartet scheduled for introduction to the market (June 20) is The Moffatts, a Canadian-born group of brothers whose halfdozen years in the music business doesn’t sound like an awful lot until you realize it constitutes half or more of their lives.

The Moffatts are 12-year-old lead singer Scott Moffatt and his 11-year-old triplet brothers, Bob, Clint and Dave. They came to Nashville’s recording studios from Canada (where they were nominated for five Canadian Country Music Association awards at the ages of 9 and 8) via Branson, Mo. (where they appeared for a summer with the Osmonds) and a seven-month run at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas.

“What people seem to love most about these guys is that when they go onstage they’re total pros,” says their father, Frank Moffatt. “And when they come off, they’re normal little rats, just like any kids their age. They love basketball and fishing and baseball. Our job now is keeping them normal.”

This Buddy’s for you

Some of Nashville’s better-known and more diverse names are working on a Decca Records tribute album titled “Not Fade Away (Remembering Buddy Holly).”

So far, recordings have been completed of The Band and Holly’s old group, The Crickets, doing the title song; Waylon Jennings, a Holly intimate, performing “Learning the Game”; Steve Earle and Marty Stuart on “Crying, Waiting, Hoping”; Nanci Griffith on “Well … All Right”; and The Mavericks on “True Love Ways.”

“The tracks that have been completed to date reflect the beautiful simplicity of Holly’s music,” says Decca executive Mark Wright. “Each artist involved truly wanted to be a part of this project. We encouraged each artist to choose the song he/she loved the most.”

Holly’s first recording contract was with Decca, and he recorded most of his major hits on the Decca subsidiary Coral. He died in a plane crash Feb. 3, 1959, at age 22.

The album is scheduled for release Dec. 19.

Raybon goes gospel

Shenandoah lead singer Marty Raybon’s first solo album is a gospel one for the Sparrow label.

“I didn’t come to record a country gospel record - I did it to promote what God has done,” says Raybon. “There are people I have compassion for - that’s what this album is all about.”

The collection, titled “Marty Raybon,” contains eight songs co-written by the singer. It ships to the market July 6.

Cruise with Delbert

The “Delbert McClinton & Friends Sandy Beaches Cruise” of the eastern Caribbean has lined up its musical talent for the week of Jan. 7-14, 1996.

It consists of McClinton, the leather-lunged blues-singing harmonicist, along with Asleep at The Wheel, Hal Ketchum, Lee Roy Parnell, Marcia Ball, Stephen Bruton, Anson Funderburgh & the Rockets, Wayne Toups & Zydecajun, Gary Nicholson and Nick Connolly.

Information on the tour is available from Entertainment Travel Ltd. at (800) DELBERT. The excursion departs from Miami and is priced per person, double occupancy, at between $995 and $2,195 with certain additional costs.


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