Stories From the Road #20


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 bus 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.


Jimmy C. Newman was a Cajun from Louisiana. He was the real deal and spoke with a heavy accent. He was quite colorful and always wore the sequined Nudie suits. He was a big hit on the Louisiana Hayride and that’s where I first met him along with a fiddler named Rufus Thibodeaux. Rufus was one of those guys that could literally make the fiddle talk. I mean, form words. He was amazing. I tried for years to get Rufus to come and play for me, but he barely spoke English and wouldn’t stray out of his comfort zone. Anyway, I had booked Jimmy C. quite a few times and he and Rufus were a lot of fun.

One time Jimmy C. came in from Nashville and Tom T. Hall had driven him down. Tom T. was trying to get into the music business. He was writing then for Jimmy Key at New Keys Talent. I knew Jimmy and Scotty Key back when they were here in Texas booking high school auditorium shows. Anyway,  Jimmy was booking single at the time and asked if we would let Tom T. sit in, sing a few songs and play guitar. No one had ever heard of him yet, but we let him sit in. I thought he was okay and that he might just make it. Little did I know he would become a much bigger entertainer and songwriter than we could imagine with eleven number one hits and twenty-six more that reached the Top Ten.

He wrote, “Harper Valley PTA,” that was a huge hit for Jeannie C. Riley. At the time, she was a  secretary at New Keys Talent. If I remember the story correctly, they got her to record a demo of the song and they decided she was good enough they wanted to release it. I don’t know exactly how it went down, but that’s the way her uncle, Johnny Moore, from Anson Texas told the story. Well, of course, it took off from there and launched her career.

Johnny Moore had a song called, “15 Acres of Peanut Land.” He and I were good friends. He didn’t like to play honkytonks (he was pretty religious) so if he got a gig he didn’t want, he’d pass it off to me. I’d do the same for him with rodeos and school dances. Anyway, he used to bring Jeanie C. around with him when she was sixteen and ask different bands to let her sit in. Her last name wasn’t Riley then. I don’t remember what it was. She sat in with us a time or two and I didn’t really think she had anything going for her. But, I’d do it as a favor to Johnny.

Anyway, after I went to prison, I kept hearing this song, “Harper Valley PTA,” by this gal from Anson, Texas, Jeannie C. Riley. I wasn’t putting it all together. After all, it couldn’t be the same little Plain Jane Jeannie that had sat in with us. And, then I saw her on TV, and my God, she had changed immensely. She as “doin’ it” then, and was incredibly beautiful as well. But, it was her. It just goes to show how sometimes the whole key to success is being in the right place at the right time.

Later on, after I got out of prison, Johnny Moore and another performer I always thought a lot of, Frankie Miller, came to Brady to play at a little Opry house and I heard it advertised on the radio. So, Jan and I drove over to the radio station where they were doing an interview and we renewed our friendship. It was so great to see both those guys still out there doin’ it.

In 2001, Johnny invited me to be a guest at the annual Johnny Moore day in Anson. It was only the second time I’d been on stage in over thirty years. It was a great honor. Johnny remained a good friend and visited every time he came down from Nashville.

If I could do things over again, I would certainly make different choices and I would have stayed more serious about the music in spite of the dirty deals, swindlers and crooks out to steal your hard work.”

Rufus Tibedeaux, Rick and Jimmy C. Newman
L-R Rufus Thibodeaux, Rick Sikes, Jimmy C. Newman
Rick,Johnny Moore,Frankie Miller
L-R Rick Sikes, Johnny Moore, Frankie Miller
ansonrick2 (2017_03_11 18_36_10 UTC)
Rick onstage in Anson, Texas 2001

I hope you've enjoyed this segment of-STORIES FROM THE ROAD-from Texas SingerSongwriterRICK SIKES


27 thoughts on “Stories From the Road #20

  1. Love your stories! Wonder if Rick ever played a honky tonk outside of Poplar Bluff, Missouri…believe the name of the country music place was ‘Queen of Hearts’??? Conway Twitty played there! Had a chance to see him there… ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jan- Every time I read one of the stories I am just so amazed, Rick truly was a wonderful man with many stories & you are so wonderful for sharing these with us. And Harpervalley PTA is still one of my all-time favorite songs!
    Love you!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Tonya. Harper Valley is still one of my favorites too. It so amazing how things happen sometimes. Jeannie C. happened to be in the right place at the right time. Big hugs for stopping by and I’ll hopefully get to hug you for real on Saturday!


  3. Ricks first song I remmember was Den of Sin and Bluebonnet Waltz. My favorite is Etched in Stone. He was a great person everyone loved him who met him and had wonderful tallent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Cathy!!! Thank you so much for stopping in and leaving a comment. Just so everyone reading will know, Cathy is Rick’s cousin and she was always one of his biggest fans. Hugs, sweet lady, and thanks again for commenting!


  4. I’m glad you stopped by, Gwen. It makes me happy that folks are enjoying these glimpses in time. I feel like I opened a time capsule with all of these writings he left behind. Thanks so much for commenting! Hugs!


  5. Another wonderful post, Jan. Rick’s big heart comes through beautifully in these stories. Thank you so much for sharing these glimpses with us. As for the song, I think it was Den of Sin, but I’m not sure. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Happy 20th post, Jan on this amazing series that I have have enjoying. Having seen Mae answer Den of Sin scrolling down to reply, (I honestly couldn’t remember) wouldn’t be fair to add me to the drawing:) A sequined nudie suit is a beige suit, right? Loved the Harper Valley PTA song growing up, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jan ii pray you a,re well ,i loved the years spent with you and rick ,,, the man ,the music ,the stories ,,i got to live alot of them ,and i got to hear most of them ,, it was great ,,, oh yea number 1 song,,,, valley of tears ,,,, love uyou girl

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, John. I always love it when you stop by and leave a comment. Rick played such a huge part in you becoming the songwriter and musician you are today and you’ve passed that on down to your son. I hope all is well with you and that your medical procedure was successful!! I love you and Bonnie.


  8. Harper Valley PTA was a HUGE cross over hit. As I was not a country music fan when I was younger, it was an intriguing song, because it seemed that she has it all figured out because she was a country singer. I grew up in Detroit, and went to school right around the corner from Hitsville USA (Motown Records). So, when there was a single mother in our midst, she was usually not privy to the self esteem Ms. Riley sang about in her song. Many of us adopted that song as our anthem. Too funny, because it wasn’t that we had children, but we wanted to be strong like her because we knew children like hers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A most interesting perspective, Annette. You are so right and single mothers in the sixties weren’t as common as they are today and took a lot of flack. Thanks for stopping in and leaving a comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Rick’s #1 song was Den of Sin, Jan. I admit I had to look it up. I remembered it was #1 in Denmark, but had to look up the title.

    As for Jeannie C. Riley and Harper Valley PTA, I have tht song on MP3 and still listen to it today. How fun that Rick actually knew her!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Mae, for stopping in and leaving a comment. I still hear Harper Valley PTA on the radio and always sing along. 🙂 It’s one of those timeless songs. Rick was right there in the smack middle of all of it. But, one bad choice changed everything. Good lesson in life. Hope you have an awesome day!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for taking us on the road trip, Jan. I remember “Harper Valley PTA,” from when I was a kid. I loved songs that told stories back then. LOL and my mother and her mother were just aghast that it made a heroine of a woman with a short skirt… preachers in the pulpit lamenting the fate of children who got lost because they couldn’t reach their mother’s miniskirt… LOL I liked the songs, but I don’t miss the good old days.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true, Teagan. Miniskirts were going to be the downfall of civilization just at the flappers were. 🙂 Funny how each generation has something new that is going to ruin it for everyone forever. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by. Hugs back!

      Liked by 1 person

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