My Me & Merle Memoir

 

 

 

 

 

While writing the book I am also in the process of publishing an online eBook with mostly

pictures and short stories from my thousands of pictures, 12 years of journals and film

footage and the list that you will read below... there is no doubt the story is here with me.

FOR THOSE THAT PRE PURCHASE THE eBook and Printed Copies to be released

before the end of the year, I will immediately send you a link to

 

The Me & Merle Memoir venture includes the book, the eBook with pictures.  If you order

any of these 4 Pre-Orders I will send you a link to a eBook with pictures that I have created

just to give as a perk for you.  Soon as you make the purchase below I will send you link to

Picture eBook link.

 

 

Train Switchman for $25.00

1. Your name in the Thank You section of eBook

2. Thank You email from the Author

3. Picture of Merle and I in his studio.

4. Copy of eBook upon release

5. When you purchase will send you a link to ePicBook

 

Train Brakeman for $50.00

1. Your name in the Thank You section of eBook

2. Thank You email from the Author

3. Email heads up before book is published

4. Picture of Merle and I in his studio

5. Your name in Thank You area on website

6. Waiting For A Train with Haggard bumper sticker

7. Link to the Kindel eBook

8. When you purchase will send you a link to ePicBook

PAYPAL ACCEPTS CREDIT CARDS

 

Train Conductor for $75.00

1. Your name in the Thank You section of eBook

2. Thank You email from the Author

3. Email heads up before book is published

4. Picture of Merle and I in his studio

5. Your name in Thank You area on website

6. Waiting For A Train with Haggard bumper sticker.

7. Thank you post on our Facebook with link to you

8. Link to Kindel eBook for you and gift to a friend.

9. When you purchase will send you a link to ePicBook

Train Engineer for $100

1. Your name in the Thank You section of eBook

2. Thank You email from the Author

3. Your name in Thank You area section on website

4. Picture of Merle and I in his studio

5. Waiting For A Train with Haggard bumper sticker.

6. Thank you post on our Facebook with link to you

7. A hard copy of book with autograph

8. Link to the Kindel eBook

9. Phone call to tell stories about Merle Haggard

10. When you purchase will send you a link to ePicBook

_________________________________________________________________

 

The information below gives an idea to what I have to work with, and

some history on my 12 year friendship with Merle Haggard.

 

I first met Merle in 2003, as part of my on-going research into the life of Jimmie Rodgers,

after Willie Nelson advised me, “If you want to know something about Jimmie Rodgers, you

need to talk to Merle Haggard.”  After that I went down a road for seven  years to get to The

Hag.  At one point reaching Frank Mull, who is a friend to this day, and who had been working

with Merle for near 40 years, wearing many hats including tour manager, friend, and more.

 

I spent about a year within Merle’s closely knit entourage, patiently explaining my interest in

Merle’s stories about Rodgers, but without actually meeting Merle. As many journalists and

researchers know, it sometimes takes a while for an important, and maybe eccentric, artist

to feel comfortable about a stranger; he seemed to know I was around, but he was letting his

folks do the vetting.  I had worked with a number of big stars and I know how the dance goes.

 

 

Once we finally got together, Merle did indeed have a lot to say about Jimmie, which I re-

corded in notes, audio, and video recordings. Soon though, as Merle and I grew closer, I

found that I was recording more and more about Merle’s life, for he could not talk about

Rodgers without talking about his music saga, with stories about Lefty Frizzell and Bob

Wills.  I also began filming his performances and the actual touring scene of his band and

crew and over the years, Merle the living legend letting me know he wanted me to film him.

Over the course of two years, I grew into my new role as a confidant to Merle, traveling with

him on the road and visiting his ranch in Redding, California; I was always welcome on the

tour bus, his inner sanctum, for many interviews and just plain old conversations. I think he

came to trust me because of my passion to tell the Jimmie Rodgers story and connect the

dots between Jimmie and between him and is hero Lefty Frizzell.  Plus, me being an Okie

that had worked on the Santa Fe Railroad, plus he said in an interview "When I see ole

Benford walk up I know we are going to be talking about something interesting...he is a

history buff and I am too."

 

 

However, from Merle's side of the fence, he told me that because of my National work to

help runaway and missing children was why he and I met.  Over the years we started

working together on the Jimmie documentary, and I was filming some of his shows, and

as we were developing a friendship, and after the six week tour with Bob Dylan, and I

was showing him some of the film footage he asked me if I wanted to help him with his

archives, and to help develop a treatment and a trailer for a movie that he wanted to get

to the producer Ron Howard, or he would say maybe Clint Eastwood or Robert Duvall.

I said, "Hell Yes, I'd love to."

 

 

My life on the road, onstage, on board his Silver Chief bus with Merle, with his band and

crew is a story that I know he wanted me to tell.  A few months after his death it came to

me that he had passed on some of his legacy to me, an unspoken passing to the future,

not unlike Woody Guthrie might have done with my ole pal Ramblin' Jack Elliott.

 

Merle's life was country music history itself, and he knew it was.  He wanted to tell some-

one that would not only listen, but help him document and archive his tale.  While we were

talking about Jimmie Rodgers, Lefty Frizzell, Johnny Cash, Bob Wills, Willie and others

who were his heroes and saddle pals, he told me his story for it was entwined in their

story and the history of the Bakersfield Sound

 

I knew very well the scene around Merle, and I know that from managers to security and his

bus drivers, photographers were kept away from Merle.  He did not want them back stage

and he sure didn't want them on his bus, or out on his ranch.  Because of this I know I

have a very special story to tell about my time with this living legend.  After his bout with

lung cancer the stories picked up, I think he knew, like Jimmie Rodgers that his time was

not long.  In my book I will tell of our times together the last year of his life...

 

Being as close as I was to Merle, I knew that he was a very private man, and had a small

circle of people that helped him keep him on the road, and I saw him run off more writers

than set with any and talk.  I say this because I know I have a unique story to tell about

Merle, which was during a period of time that he was not only touring as a great living

legend, but was on a rise to a new level of his fame.

 

MERLE HAGGARD THE LIVING LEGEND

 

It has been said a number of times that there may never be another legend like Haggard,

his boots may never be filled.  He received many many awards over 4 decades including

The Kennedy Center Honor, over 20 awards from the Academy of Country Music, including

the Pioneer Award, Triple Crown, Poet's Award and the Crystal Milestone Award.  The

BMI Icon Award, six Country Music Association Awards, inducted into the Country Music

Hall of Fame, four Grammy Awards including the Lifetime Achievement and Hall of Fame

Award, Inducted into the Nashville Songwriter Hall of Fame, Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame,

and in 2014, CMT honored him with the Artist of a Lifetime Award.  In 2016 The ACM

created a new Award give in honor of the iconic singer, The ACM Merle Haggard Sprit

Award, which was presented to Miranda Lambert.

 

Merle earned the status of a "living legend" and influenced thousands including the likes

of George Strait, Toby Keith, Allan Jackson, Blake Shelton, and on and on...He was a

band leader, a songwriter, a singer, a guitar player, and known to have created the

"Bakersfield Sound" along with his friend Buck Owens.  His music was a sound track

for the displaced Okies during the dust bowl, he was the working man's poet.  Bob Dylan

told Rolling Stone, "Totally himself.  Herculean.  Even too big for Mount Rushmore.  No

superficiality about him whatsoever.  He definitely transcends the country genre.  If Merle

had been around Sun Studio in Memphis in the Fifties, Sam Phillips would have turned

him into a rock & roll star."

 

My bio can be seen at: 

benfordstandley.com

Benford Standley

westmultimedia@gmail.com

 

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