By the Way

Charley Pride, the great American storyteller

By JEFF CLARK

jclark@sunherald.com

Charley Pride is quite a storyteller in addition to being a part-owner of the Texas Rangers.
Charley Pride is quite a storyteller in addition to being a part-owner of the Texas Rangers.

The “y” was never supposed to be there.

“The reason I have a y on my name, my name was supposed to be ‘Charle,’ but I was born with a midwife, and she got the name wrong on my birth certificate,” said Charley Pride before his show at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino.

The Country Music Hall of Fame member has a long history with the Gulf Coast, including traveling to Biloxi to play baseball when he played for the Memphis Red Sox.

He’s had numerous country radio hits, including “Mountain of Love” and “Kiss an Angel Good Morning.” But Pride is also a great storyteller. Whether recounting a show with Merle Haggard & Willie Nelson, Pride is a man of a details.

“I was waiting on a call to see if we we’re going to play in Houston -- we were booked but we had to see if they were going accept us -- It was me and my manager, Jack Johnson, the only manager I ever had,” Pride said to me during an interview. “Finally, they said they didn’t want to take me, but I went to play a show at a place called Mr. Lucky’s -- the owners owned a chain of restaurants called Mr. Bobby McGee’s -- and Waylon (Jennings) was playing, so I went up and played two songs before Waylon.”

Pride said he was touched by Jenning’s generosity.

“I was in the car getting ready to go back to the hotel and somebody started knocking on the window, and it was Waylon,” he said. “He handed me a ring and said, ‘If you don’t take this ring, I aint gonna love you no more.’ I said, ‘I’ll take it.’ I’ve been wearing it for 40 years now.”

-- Jeff Clark is a staff writer for the Sun Herald

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