PRIDE: The Charley Pride Story with Jim Henderson is another great look at a music legend behind the scenes from his own perspective. Charley takes us into his world and tries to explain his thinking as each story of his life unfolds. Charley is most compelling perhaps when he speaks of the misfit aspect of himself. Not just as a black man singing music primarily sung by whites but as a genuine free thinker. Although the book touches on such things as Charley's bouts with manic depression and bitter racial prejudice, it's certainly not without humor.
Ironically, some of the humor comes from the fairly benign breed of racial tension in his life. Charley brings us with him from his days of baseball playing to his dealings with mentally disturbed fans and we thank him for the opportunity to see it all through his eyes. Enjoy these quotes from the book and see if you can get a copy for all the great stories that go with them.
Charley describes his youth:
''People thought I was a little strange anyway, and talking about walking on clouds didn't help my image any.''
''I didn't learn where babies came from until I was eleven.''
''I believed what I was told and so I always believed babies came in those little bags that the midwives carried.''
''Daddy always said I was the most aggravating of his children. I've never denied that I was mischievous.''
''Ours was not a tall barn and getting on the roof was no trouble. Getting down was. I perched on the edge for a moment and imagined myself gliding softly to earth. Not considering the alternative, I popped the umbrella open and jumped.''
''Daddy was in town after school that day and bumped into the principal. ''We had to give Charley a bustin' today,'' the principal told him. Daddy snorted and said, ''Yeah, well, who hasn't?'' ''
Charley on singing for his baseball team to pass the time:''The team was not in unanimous agreement about my talent. ''Knock off that noise,'' was a fairly common comment.''
Charley's first plane ride:
''The stewardess could tell I was scared. She walked up and said, ''Would you like a pillow?'' What she was really saying was, Would you like for me to keep you from sh*tting your pants? ''Yes. . . yes I would,'' I said.
An obligatory countryism:
''For a few days I was as restless as a bird dog in a duck blind.''
''We had talked a couple of times and played against each other in an exhibition game, but we were not exactly buddies. ''That's my buddy,'' I said, pointing to Sammy's name.''
''I don't believe I want to sign anything,'' I said.
''Well, sir,'' he said, moving back and putting a hand on his gun, ''I'd like you to step out of the car.''
''I believe I'll sign it,'' I said.''
The great exercise of name dropping must occur in celeb autobiographies as we all know and love. Charley takes us through the interesting reactions to his arrival on the country music scene from Tex Ritter, Webb Pierce, Waylon Jennings, Mel Tillis, Red Foley, Red Sovine, Redd Foxx and probably people with other colors in their name as well:
''Years later, when Loretta was picked to present me with a country music award, she got letters and phone calls warning her that she had better not hug me during the presentation. She not only hugged me, she kissed me.'' ~Speaking of Loretta Lynn
''As I walked toward him, everyone looked around nervously, maybe thinking there was going to be trouble. When I got to where Willie was standing, he grabbed me and kissed me with the whole crowd looking on. That broke everybody up.'' ~Speaking of Willie Nelson before either was very famous.
''I barely remember lying across one of the beds and conking out. When I woke up, George was right beside me.'' ~Speaking of George Jones after ''trying to match George drink for drink'' the night before.
''Without much forethought, I said exactly what I was thinking. ''I watch your show all the time,'' I told him. ''You look older in person.''
He was not flattered.'' ~Talking to Ralph Edwards-host of 'This is your life'
''I had plenty of training for my encounter with Mr. Young.'' ~Speaking of the legendary Faron Young.
Pride goes on to talk about their first encounter:
''...I guess he expected me to throw a punch or something.
''Aw, I was waiting for something worse than that,'' I said.
''Yeah. Guess what I was going to say if you had said something really bad.''
''I was going to say, 'You little pucker-mouth banty rooster son of a peckerwood!' ''
He blinked. ''You were going to say that to me?''
''Just like that.''
''I'll be damned.''
Faron would become one of Charley's biggest supporters although he wasn't afraid to ask Charley about the tough racial issues of life at that time:
'' ''Charley,'' he said once, ''I've told you that I grew up in Shreveport. Well, I haven't had a chance to talk to many of y'all. Since we got a chance, there's something I been wanting to ask you. Is it that extra bone in your heel that makes y'all outjump us?''
''What . . . ?''
''That extra bone . . .''
''What extra bone?''
Happy to dispel another racial myth, I told him it was my understanding that he and I had the same number of bones and if we jumped higher than you, it may be because we worked harder at it.
He just may have been putting me on with that question. Faron was like that.''
Onnnnn that note, check out some of Charley's video clips:
I don't normally put up this kind of video but you have to admire the kid's taste in music:
Charley Live -Crystal Chandeliers
Charley Live with Johnny Cash doing a Hank Williams Medley: