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Ernest Tubb....Live From The Lonestar Cafe
Liner notes written by Ed Salamon:
It was nearly 10:00 p.m., the scheduled airtime for the "Live from the Lone Star Cafe" on New York's 50 thousand watt WHN. As the station's program director and the producer of the broadcast, I paced outside and complained because the act was still on his bus. The club's manager, Mort Cooperman, said "Have a heart-don't you realize that Ernest Tubb's a sick man?"
On that night, May 10, 1978, country music was as hot as it's ever been in New York City, which could now claim to have the most listened to country radio station in America. WHN had jumped from 14th to 2nd in non-ethnic adult audience, right behind top-40 legend WABC and stayed there. Artists including Hank Williams, Jr., Ronnie Milsap, Merle Haggard and Mickey Gilley (at the height of the "Urban Cowboy" craze) regularly played the Lone Star Cafe at 5th Avenue and 13th Street in Manhattan. I produced live broadcasts of many of these shows for WHN and more than one hundred were nationally syndicated.
Still, booking Ernest Tubb, an artist with no hits on the charts in years, was a gamble in this era of "crossover" country. Would enough of WHN's 1.6 million listeners turn out to see this legend, let alone listen on the radio? I needn't have worried on either account.
A smiling Ernest Tubb finally emerged from the bus and slowly made his way to the stage. Once in front of an audience, this frail man was amazingly transformed into a dynamic entertainer; as if drawing energy from his audience.
Those of us in the audience had no way of knowing it was the last time we would see him perform or hear him live on the WHN radio. This recording of the broadcast that I produced remains as a testament that Ernest Tubb gave his all until the final time he turned his guitar over to flash the word "Thanks".
First Generation Records is so grateful Ed Salamon had the forethought to capture this great evening for us to enjoy from the "Lonestar Cafe" In New York City.
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