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Bus Fare To Kentucky
The Autobiography of Skeeter Davis
By Skeeter Davis
Birch Lane Press Group
1993
338 Pages
ISBN:  1-55972-191-X

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Mary Francis Penick (Skeeter Davis's Christian name) was born in a two-room shack on the banks of Eagle Creek in Glencoe, Kentucky. Energetic and imaginative, she moved so quickly that they nicknamed her Skeeter before she was in her teens.

At an early age she discovered that she had an unusual singing voice. During her high school years, she teamed up with her best friend, Betty Jack Davis, and the two became recording stars under the name The Davis Sisters.

Skeeter began singing her own brand of self-styled harmony to Betty Jack's lead vocals. The duo's first RCA recording in 1953, "I Forgot More Than You'll Everk Know (About Him)," sorared to the top of the charts, with the pioneering rocakbilly tune "Rock-a-Bye Boogie" on the flip side. The singing "sisters" continued to earn widespread recognition until Betty Jack's tragic death in an automobile accident in 1953.

In 1958, Skeeter struck out on her own under the guidance of legendary guitarist and record producer Chet Atkins. The very next year—with a top ten record, a Grammy nomination, and many record industry awards to her credit&151;she joined WSM's Grand Ole Opry. Her unsuccessful marriage to radio and television personality and bestselling author Ralph Emery in 1960 overshadowed the string of hits which followed.

Skeeter Davis was the first female country artist to have a number-one crossover hit on the pop charts. "The End Of the World" remains popular today and is hummed by youngsters who weren't even born when the song was introduced.

Bus Fare To Kentucky tells the poignant story of a vulnerable yet tenacious woman struggling to overcome seemingly countless dramatic tweists of fate. With characteristic humor, conviction, and vitality, Skeeter recalls an innocent's experience of self-discovery as well as a triumph over personal illness. A successful remission of cancer (which caused a four-year delay in completing this memoir) gave her an even stronger belief in God. Her resilient spirit, faith, and courage make Bus Fare To Kentucky a truly touching and inspiring tale.

  • Skeeter Davis lives in a Nashville suburb and continues to stop the show at the Grand Ole Opry House. She is (and has been for almost a decade) happily married to musician Joey Stampinato. An inveterate dog lover, Skeeter is much attached to her white Maltese, a small furball named Jack. He fits in her handbag and travels with her most of the time.