Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Happy Birthday June Webb

Today I want to extend birthday wishes to June Webb who will be celebrating her birthday on September 22. June was a popular country music singer in the 1950s, who spent time with Roy Acuff as the female member of his Smoky Mountain Boys. As a part of Roy's group, she spent many Saturday nights at the Opry. In addition, she also had a very nice solo career. Because she left the business in the 1960s, it is hard to find good information about her. I checked my various country music encyclopedias that I have, and there is very little information about June. Since I consider June a friend of mine, I went right to the source and thanks to June and her good friend John, I will pass along this biographical information on June:

June Webb's life's journey began in L'Anse, Michigan but like many folks in the entertainment business she moved around quite a bit. Born into a musical family, the most influential shaping of June's life was at an early age in Miami, Florida when her parents got her brother (Ford), sister (Shirley) and her involved in singing, dancing, and playing various instruments. As the journey continued to wind it's way through life, Shirley and June, backed up by the family band, became the Harmony Sweethearts. That was a busy, yet exciting time that eventually found the sisters performing with many of the country music greats, including the great Hank Williams. In fact, the Webb Sisters were scheduled, along with other acts, to perform with Hank the night he died, January 1, 1953. (The concert was to have taken place in my home town of Canton, Ohio.) Not long after, June's path took her to a solo career with many memorable appearances including the Grand Ole Opry. In the mid 1950s, after a brief stint with RCA, which included a little guitar mentoring from none other than the wonderful Chet Atkins, June signed with Roy Acuff's show as the group's lead female singer. It was during this time that June, embarking on a solo career in addition to singing with Roy's group, received the "Most Promising Female" award. In the early 1960s, after many years of performing as both a solo artist and as the lead female singer on the Roy Acuff show, June made the decision that it was time for a change, and due to family matters and life in general, she decided to leave the day-to-day grind of a high profile country music career. She basically disappeared from a very public life and started to lead a very private one, outside of country music and performing.

After that, though her life to some degree included singing and playing guitar, in general like most everyone else, the passing years along with life's path played out like an old country song. There were good times and bad, immeasurable joy and nearly unbearable sorrow while in between raising a family, putting food on the table, and doing everyday stuff. All the while, however, there was always this faint but ever present tugging at her heart, a yearning, a just below the surface feeling of missing her beloved country music.

But, just like a country song, things happen unexpectedly, and in 2008, June received an email from an interesting character, via a family friend. This gentleman told June a story about his mom and dad gathering the children, a cup of Sealtest Ice Cream and a little wooden spoon in hand, around their black and white TV on Saturday nights to watch June sing country music. That little blast from the past made it all come rushing back, the music, the Opry, the fans. June wrote the gentleman back and over time, he sent June clips of her on various shows, recordings of her 45s on personal CDs he had made, and wonderful photos of her family and her. One thing led to another and as a result June now has a wonderful website to share these memories with her many fans. is a great site. I highly recommend that everyone visit the site.

The site includes a great CD for sale, by June, called, "June Webb then....with a hint of now!" I have the CD in my collection and it is excellent and really brings back memories. You can also see June's performances on YouTube. There are several clips of her singing. Just by watching these clips, you can see that June really had a promising career going.

As she has come back into the public eye, she is also being recognized by those in the music community. Just this past month, June was inducted into America's Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame.

Even though she left the music business in the 1960s, her friends in the business did not forget her, especially Roy Acuff. In the last year of Roy's life, he specifically got in touch with June and asked her if she would come up to Nashville and appear with him on the Grand Ole Opry for a final time before he passed away. And of course, June did. The night of that performance was Saturday August 15, 1992. There were 2 shows that night and June was featured on the 2nd show. In honor of June Webb's birthday, here is the Opry line up from both shows on Saturday night, August 15, 1992, when June appeared on the Opry for a final time with her friend, and former boss, Roy Acuff:

1st show:
6:30: GHS Strings
Porter Wagoner (host): Tennessee Saturday Night
Wilma Lee Cooper: There's A Higher Power
Porter Wagoner: Misery Loves Company/Dooley

6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Jim Ed Brown (host): Looking Back to See
Jeannie Seely: Houston
Jim Ed Brown: Send Me the Pillow that You Dream On/Morning

7:00: Shoneys
Bill Monroe (host): I'm On My Way Back to the Old Home
Jeanne Pruett: Temporarily Yours
Charlie Louvin: The Family That Prays
Del Reeves: There She Goes
Billy Walker: Smokey Places
Bill Monroe: Tennessee Blues

7:30: Standard Candy
Ricky Skaggs (host); Same Old, Same Old Love
Justin Tubb: Imagine That
The Whites: San Antonio Rose
Alison Krauss: A New Fool/Another Night
Ricky & Sharon Skaggs: Love Can't Ever Get Better Than This

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Connie Smith: Did We Have to Come This Far to Say Goodbye/Satisfied
Jimmy C Newman: La Cajun Band/Jole Blon
Opry Square Dance Band/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Sugar in the Gourd
Roy Acuff: That's the Man I'm Looking For

8:30: Opryland
Hank Snow (host): I Don't Hurt Anymore
4 Guys: Big River
Jean Shepard: Why Don't You Haul Off and Love Me
Jack Greene: Statue of a Fool
George Hamilton IV: Break My Mind
Hank Snow: The Rainbows End

2nd show:
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): On A Highway Headed South
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Stonewall Jackson: Why I'm Walkin'
Bill Carlisle: Same Old Tale that the Crow Told Me
Alison Krauss: I Thought I Heard You Calling My Name
Alison Krauss & Cox Family: Standing By the Bedside of a Neighbor
Porter Wagoner: I'm Gonna Act Right

10:00: Little Debbie
Bill Monroe (host): Why Did You Wander
Roy Drusky: Blues In My Heart
David Houston: My Elusive Dreams
Bill Monroe: A Beautiful Life

10:15: Tennessee Pride/Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Night Train to Memphis
4 Guys: My Prayer

10:30: Pet Milk
Ricky Skaggs (host): I Wouldn't Change You if I Could
The Whites: Pins & Needles
Ricky Skaggs: Country Boy

10:45: B.C. Powder
Jack Greene (host): Try A Little Kindness
Jan Howard: Rock Me Back to Little Rock/Evil on Your Mind
Opry Square Dance Band: Lost Indian
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): I've Been Everywhere
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up on Your Way Down
Jean Shepard: Above and Beyond
Charlie Louvin & Charlie Whitstein: Knoxville Girl
Ray Pillow: Please Don't Leave Me Anymore
Hank Snow: My Little Old Home Down in New Orleans

11:30: Creamette
Jimmy C Newman (host): Colinda
Jim Ed Brown: The 3 Bells
Connie Smith: Once a Day
Johnny Russell: In a Mansion Stands My Love/He'll Have to Go
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya

There you have it. Again, I wish my friend June a very happy birthday and I hope that she has many more. And again, please visit her website, And, leave her a message!!


  1. Fred in Bismarck here:

    Hooray for June Webb! By coincidence, I got to thinking about her a few weeks ago, Googled the name and found her website. It's nice that her career is getting a 2nd wind and look.

    June's wonderful tenor shows off to great advantage on the gospel album Roy made for MGM c. 1958 and on his first exciting singles for Hickory -- a period when Roy "modernized" his sound with June and with the wonderful steel work of Shot Jackson (hired away from Johnnie & Jack and Kitty Wells).

    Her job on "Sweeter than the Flowers" is one of the most affecting performances you will ever hear. I ran right out and bought that single 51 years ago, I think it was, and I play it yet.

  2. Happy birthday to her, indeed.

    I count 32 members that night. Nearly HALF of the cast.

  3. Fred again:

    Speaking of member participation, as we do so often here:

    We know that, unlike in the old days, the oldtimers, who would like to be there, do not get on just any time they want.

    Suppose all the newer members (most of whose names I have not even kept track of) should magically be available and want to do the Opry on the same Saturday night:

    Would Pete Fisher gulp, break out the checkbook, schedule two shows and treat us to an old-style Saturday night? Or would people like Alan Jackson and Carrie Underwood be told, "Not tonight, I have a headache"?

  4. Fred, I am sure that if many of the Opry's newest and hot members called Pete Fisher this afternoon and said they were available to do the Opry this weekend, he would find the space to put them on. On the other side of the coin, if several of the Opry's older veterans called to say that they had a change in their plans and they could do the Opry this weekend, he might not even call them back.