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Stories - Fancy Free
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Fancy Free
Oak Ridge Boys

It was somewhere in 1972. I was riding shotgun and my father was driving his dinosaur of a car down Interstate 20 in my childhood state of Mississippi. I had long since moved to Nashville and was just visiting. With every mile, he was closer to tears. My mother had just turned forty and was having a major, “middle age crazy” episode. He said, “I just don’t know why she left me.” Of course I did, but I wasn’t talking.

A few days later I was back at my office in Tunetown and received a call from a past acquaintance. When I signed my first publishing deal at the ripe young age of sixteen, there was another writer in his early twenties so they threw us in a room and said, “Write.” His name was Roy August Horstmeyer. I hadn’t heard from him in a couple of years. He said, “Oh Jimbeau, could you please help me out. I've got two little babies and I’m working out here at Matlock Trailer Corporation and just scraping by. Could you take a look at some of my songs?” I said, “Sure Roy, come on by.”

At the time I was managing the Oak Ridge Boys publishing companies. He brought me a stack of lyrics and I was really trying to help my old buddy out. My eyes came to rest on a title “I’m Settin’ Fancy Free”. You see, my mother’s name is Frances and I immediately heard my poor Father’s broken voice saying, “I’m Settin’ FRANCES Free”. Fifteen minutes later it was a done deal. Of course it took the Oaks eight years to record it but it went on to become my first number 1 record.

I’ve always been an ASCAP writer and Roy was with BMI. I got to go to New York with him to watch him receive a BMI Pop Award. It was fun to watch his face as his first plane ride left the ground. So you know the rest of the trip was a hoot - almost as much fun as watching my Mama’s face beaming in the audience as we received a Music City News Award, rivaled only by the down payment on my sweet wife Brenda’s and my first home.

So my friends, I’m here to testify that every good thing that has ever happened to me in this life is the direct result of my trying to help someone out.

So help yourself . . . . HELP SOMEBODY ELSE!


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