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My parents were Louise and James … mom was a singer, song- writer, musician and artist … dad was a go-getter entrepreneur; he owned a gas station, owned and captained a charter fishing business, was a member of the coast guard, managed Elvis Presley’s road show for Colonel Tom Parker, and managed Eddy Arnold’s road show just to name a handful of the things he dabbled in. I had a normal childhood, ummm, up until I was 6. About that time mom discovered Shirley and I could sing ... at that point, though
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I did not realize it, my life’s path was chosen for me. Mom played the guitar [and organ and fiddle] so when old enough she insisted I learn the guitar as well. I started with a small 4-string and discovered playing guitar came easy to me. At this point mom and dad began entering Shirley and I in talent contests. The earliest songs we learned were the hits of the day; and these are the ones we used on talent shows. Speaking of talent shows, I want to share with you pieces of one Shirley and I won. It sounds a tad odd at the beginning because we were late entries so the two hosts didn’t know we were there … you can kind of tell in this 1946 interview [Family song 1]. Since I was always quiet and shy the interview was almost painful so I was tickled when we finally got to sing [Family song 2]. Having done well that week we were brought back the next week and then a third week when we sang a requested song that won us the top prize, Lullaby Yodel. Note: that is 12-year-old June yodeling.
By the time I hit my teens I had somewhat mastered the guitar but decided to take a few lessons anyway to further hone my skills. I should note, that sister Shirley was now working on the upright bass and brother Ford was working with a pedal steel guitar. Mom, at the time, played the organ and dad was our agent, organizer and announcer. Sensing our potential, dad began booking the family band as the Webb Sisters and later the Harmony Sweethearts; the latter stuck until Hank Williams asked us to go back to the Webb Sisters.
June and Shirley - The Webb Sisters
We were doing western shows with a local band called the Renford Akins Western Band. This is also when our singing had matured with age. I want to share with you a couple of my favorites that we were performing at that time, Cimarron Roll On, and Snowflakes. By the way, Snowflakes is the nice tempo I wanted on the Reminiscing CD. At this point we were moving through our teens and our act was becoming more and more refined …
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