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Boston Rob...Ray Pennington Memory...Go To Hell 2020

Oct 8 | Posted by: Bill Whyte |

Hello Thursday morning…another gorgeous Fall day is on the way here in middle Tennessee.



I wound up having a solo write with Rob Bellamy as his girlfriend Ayla Brown had to bow out.  Understandably so as she’s now doing a morning radio show for the country station in Boston. It’s an early early alarm clock.  Been there.  So, we let her get some rest and we tore into a song that Rob had sent me after being inspired by the TV series Yellowstone starring Kevin Costner. That show is on my gotta see list for sure.


Rob had sent me pretty much a completed song so my job was to try and make it better if I could. I loved the idea, so I was happy to do just that online with Rob. Rob also told me he’s recording a new 6 song EP and that two of our co-writes will be on the new project. I got a new song and great news all in one writing session.  A good day for sure.



Ray Pennington died in Nashville yesterday in a tragic housefire. Sad to hear this. I played Ray Pennington records when I was very young and on the air at a small market radio station in Missouri. I was a fan of his singing…thing Ray Price type stuff. He was also a pretty danged good writer and penned “I’m A Ramblin’ Man” for Waylon Jennings that was a big ole hit for Waylon. And he was a producer at RCA for several years and that’s where my personal story comes in.


I was a kid in Missouri playing music and trying to write songs. This was back in the day when if you looked up a phone number you opened the Yellow Pages. Not knowing anything I just looked up RCA and ask for an appointment and danged if they didn’t give me one. So, I went to Music City. And I walked into the iconic RCA building that still stands on Music Row today. On the second floor I sat nervously in front of a secretary who finally said, “Mr. Pennington will see you”.  I walked in his office.  One door over was Chet Atkins office.  Ray was smoking a pipe. He took my little tiny reel of tape I had with me singing a few early original songs I had written, and he put them on his reel to reel tape player and listened and then offered advice.  He suggested I move to Nashville and really dig in and learn to write. 


At that time, I had a radio job AND I was playing in a band making decent money for that time and having a blast doing so. I couldn’t figure out how I would not starve if I dropped everything and moved and did not take Ray up on the offer.  Looking back on it I realize had I done that when I was in my early 20’s and had been willing to wait tables or do whatever to pay the bills?  I probably would have had a lot more of songs recorded.  I have no regrets of course but I’ll always remember how Ray took time to listen and be so kind.


What’s really spooky is that I’ve written songs with Wood Newton in that building several times and I’m fairly sure that Wood’s office is exactly where Ray’s office was located all those years ago.


RIP Mr. Pennington.



Jerry Seinfeld compares the pandemic we’re all trying to live through as “The whole planet is getting detention”. Yep.


Designer masks are a big thing right now.  Since we have to wear one, we might as well bling out or make a statement, right?  Actor McCauley Culkin has one that has his picture from the movie “Home Alone”.  The one where he’s the kid in front of the mirror trying to shave.  There’s a “Baby Yoda” mask with Yoda’s picture on it and the caption, “Too close you are”. 


A funny sign of the times reads, “It’s No Longer 5 O’clock Somewhere.  It’s 2020. Drink When You Want”.


And then there’s Fauci’s two daughters who refuse to visit him this Thanksgiving saying, “You’re a young, vigorous guy, but you’re 79 years old.”  And it’s really tough to gnaw on a turkey leg while wearing a mask.



Nope…I did not watch the VP thing last night but read plenty about it and all I need to wish once again I was a comedy writer for Saturday Night Live or The Simpsons.  If Saturday Night Live parodies the VP Debate as they did the train wreck of the first Presidential Debate, I can predict what they’ll go for.


Look for a fly on the head of Pence…and maybe a big flyswatter.


Expect to hear “I was talking” more than once.


And look for Maya Rudolph who plays Kamala Harris on SNL to wear out funny facial expressions. Think Jim Carey in the movie “The Mask”. 


Just too easy to write that stuff these days.



Was on the baseball playoffs where I got to see this GREAT catch in the Dodger-Padre game by Dodger outfield Cody Bellinger. Far more entertaining for me. That FLY ball was much more interesting I’m betting than the one that landed on Pence’s head during the debate.



How about everyone’s favorite blue collar golfer John Daly hitting this hole in one barefooted in shorts while one of his buddies caught it on film.  My favorite part comes at the end of this footage when John points out that it was the 11th hole in one he’s hit!  I can’t get one of those on a putt-putt course free of windmills!



Yesterday about 1,000 birds flew into skyscrapers in Philly and most died. Weird. Rain and clouds may be the reason as they flew lower than normal according to the folks who know all things bird related. It almost seems like a normal thing considering how this year has gone so far.



Hardest thing to do ever for most of us. Here’s some expert advice from a cardiologist. “If it tastes good spit it out”.


And yet another Doctor suggests drinking three glasses of water before every meal will help you lose weight too.  That’s because you burn so many calories off making frequent bathroom trips.


Paula Deen is getting ready to open one of her restaurants here at Opry Mills in Nashville. It might be the only place to make Cracker Barrel seem healthier.



Young Kylie Jenner is one of the richest people on the planet…from the Kardashian clan. The twenty something is spending her money wisely too. She just got a manicure so that her nails would match her designer purse she paid $300,000 for. I have got to learn to look pretty on Instagram posts!



I’m writing with my “Hits & Grins” buddy Steve Dean and Josh Shilling online. By text Steve told me he had a gig last night.  Jokingly I replied, “what’s a gig”? (since there are few of those this year). His funny reply was, “It’s where you go sing a few songs and get paid semi big bucks…what a concept”.


It will be the first time the three of us have written together.  I write with both a lot and I thought this combo might work great…we’ll see.


And I do want to post this new song Josh Shilling wrote and recorded that’s just pretty danged good (and I’m jealous we didn’t write this together!)  and it’s all about what we’re all thinking.  It’s called "Go To Hell 2020".  Check it out. 


Have a great Thursday!





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