"Jimmy Lee" Fautheree passed away to be with his wonderful maker on June 29, 2004, at his home in
Dallas, Tx., after a short battle with cancer.
Jimmy Lee Fautheree (James Walton Fautheree) was born April 11, 1934,
in Smackover, Arkansas. When he was 12 years old, his aunt bought him a guitar
and was fortunate that his parents wanted him to be an entertainer,
and an entertainer he was!!
He spent many hours and days practicing guitar
and singing with two of his younger brothers, Lynn and Jackie, both of whom
in adulthood would follow him in musical pursuits. Their
father was an oilman and moved his family from town to town as jobs became
available, but settled in Dallas in 1946. The family was very musical minded,
so Jimmy came by it honest.
Jimmy liked and was around most phases of music, blues and hillbilly,
were his favorites, but country and gospel also fell into
place. Ernest Tubb and Jack Guthrie were big influences, but Merle Travis left
a definite impression on Jimmy with his distinctive finger-picked electric
Jimmy's performances started out in Dallas at the Big D Jamboree,
went on to the Louisiana Hayride with his friend Johnny Mathis (Country Johnny
Mathis), and wasn't long till he was being booked there for many performances.
His first Capitol session took place at the Louisiana Hayride in 1951 in Shreveport,
Louisiana. Four songs were recorded - "Go Ahead and Go" (a Jimmy Lee original),
and here, was also renamed "Jimmy Lee". Jimmy Lee went on to be a great star
in the Hillbilly field — "If You Don't, Somebody Else Will",
"Can't Find The Doorknob", "Sweet Love On My Mind",
"Sweet Singing Daddy", among many.
Later, he teamed up with his brother, Lynn (known then
as Lenny), but kept the duo name as Jimmy and Johnny. They were featured on
Faron Young's band - Faron Young & The Deputies, on to the Grand Ole Opry
in Nashville, performing there many times on the famous stage. Jimmy was featured
in many shows of Elvis Presley's early years, with Elvis being Jimmy's opening
act several times. Wow, how many can say that has happened for them!!!!!
Jimmy produced several Gospel albums, his first in the late 1970's, but in 1995,
Jimmy & Johnny again performed again for the first time in 35 years, when
they recorded a gospel tune "It Won't Be Much Longer", released on
the Dallas based TIMA Records in 2000. It was their last recording as Johnny became
ill in 1999. On this TIMA CD, one track is "Golden Oldies" by Jimmy,
is a great song well performed. The CD's liner notes by Smokey Stover declare
that Jimmy Lee Fautheree is one of the original developers of the Rock-A-Billy
style of guitar picking.
Jimmy was invited to come back for a reunion on the
Louisiana Hayride show last June 27 & 28, 2003, titled "One More Ride",
at the original Municipal Auditorium, 706 Elvis Presley Ave., Shreveport, Louisiana.
Jimmy opened the Friday night show by singing one of his recordings -
"Unknown Legend", written by Johnny Mathis. That song was perfect for
the night, and as many of the original performers such as Kitty Wells, Johnny Wright,
Bonnie, Maxine, and Jim Ed Brown, Bily Walker, just to name a few were present
to once again perform their talents, and could say, "we are home once again".
Also last year, Jimmy performed a Rockabilly Show, The Ponderosa Stomp",
in New Orleans, Louisiana, backed by Deke Dickerson and the Ecco-Fonics Band.
That performance went so well that Deke invited Jimmy Lee to his Fort Horton
studios in Austin, Tx., to record with the band. The result is: "I FOUND THE
DOORKNOB", Jimmy Lee's first recording in forty years! The new CD features
the hit "I Found The Doorknob" (answer song to "Can't Find The Doorknob"),
and many others including "Gotta Get You Near Me Blues", "Overdue",
"Box Full of Gits" (Jimmy's admirous guitar picking), "I'm Diggin a Hole",
"Big Mama Blues", "Nine Pound Hammer", and many more.
This CD is available through the web site - dekedickerson.com.
Jimmy went to Rye Sussex, England, and performed the Rockabilly Rave Show
on March 7, 2004, doing an outstanding performance. playing his guitar and
singing to many a fan, who never thought they would get to see their favorite
in person. This was a first time ever performance in Europe.
Being a natural lead guitarist and singer, Jimmy will be remembered the world
over with his wonderful talent, and that he did have. So special!!
Jimmy came home from England very sick with pneumonia, was hospitalized
several weeks, then was also diagnosed with cancer. His battle was a short time,
but his maker will reward him with flying colors, probably from the rainbow.
Send your condolences to his wife, Nancy, and sons, Jimmy Lee, and Timmy.
They would like to hear from you as Jimmy's great admirers.
Truly, we have lost a great country legend, but his remembrances will
last forever. Click on his web site - Jimmy Lee Fautheree - and read more
Funeral services will be Friday, July 2, 2004 at 11:00 am, at the New Hope
Funeral Home in Sunnyvale, Tx, on Highway 80 E, in east Dallas.
Interment will be in the Forney Cemetary.
Submitted by (and originally posted on Twangtownusa.com news board):
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