This is part of a series of posts I’ve entitled, “Stories From the Road.” Each week I will post a new story from Rick Sikes, a Texas musician who traveled the roads of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and out to California for well over twenty years. With hours to pass in a van full of sweaty musicians, they found ways to entertain themselves. These stories are told in Rick Sikes’ words. I’ll do my best to correct grammar, but I want to keep them in his own voice.
“I had the pleasure and honor of doing a few gigs with Little Jimmy Dickens. What a ball of energy he was and could charm the heck out of a crowd. Once in Houston, we were playing a place out on Airline Road, called “Dancetown USA.” It was a big place, one of the hottest joints on the circuit back then, and I played there often. Little Jimmy had a terrible cold that night, so we went on out to set up while he stayed at the motel because he was feeling really bad. I was on the stage hooking up equipment and this dear lady stumbled up to the stage (she was in her cups) and said, “Are you Little Jimmy Dickens?” I said, “No, Ma’am, I work for him.” She said, “He gave me something over twenty years ago and I’ve never forgot him. Will you tell me when he gets here?” I said, “Yes, Ma’am, I sure will.” When Jimmy came in and I stood beside him, his cowboy hat came just under my armpit. I said, “Jimmy, there is a lady here who thought I was you. She may be just a little bit drunk.” The little rascal looked up at me and said, “Son, if she thought you were me, she’s a hell of a lot more than a bit drunk.” Jimmy was a great showman and one of the few old-time acts working into his eighties. He was truly one of the greats in traditional country and it was a pleasure to work with him. ”
**Little Jimmy Dickens, was an American country music singer and songwriter famous for his humorous novelty songs, his small size (4’11” [150 cm]), and his rhinestone-studded outfits (which he is given credit for introducing into country music live performances). He started as a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1948 and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1983. Before his death, he was the oldest living member of the Grand Ole Opry.**