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Don Walser baseball card

11 December 2010

Store date: 14 June 1996

Don Walser, the “Pavarotti of the Plains,” was a Texas yodeller, specializing in country swing and cowboy songs. He made an appearance at Birmingham’s City Stages on 14 June 1996 at the Alabama Sampler stage. The Sampler stage had one of the finest selections of live roots music at the festival, but in its later years, City Stages opted to remove it from the landscape.

Walser was an elderly man of generous girth, with an affable charm.  He and his wife, Pat, traveled together to most of his gigs, and the City Stages concert was no exception. Sylvia Giannitrapani was my sales representative for Ryko Distribution, the company that sold us Watermelon Records at the time. She came down to the fest from Nashville and joined me at Don Walser’s set. We approached Mr. Walser afterward, where he signed this faux baseball card that Sylvia pulled from her bag. He was all smiles and friendliness through his exhaustion, and kept looking around for a chair. When one materialized, he directed it to be placed a few feet from where we stood – next to Pat, who was sitting quietly off to the side, out of the way of the commotion. As we walked with him toward the chair, he turned to me and said, with an excitement that twinkled like young love in his eye: “Have you met my wife Pat?”

Don passed away in 2006. His favorite teammate, Patricia Jane, followed him in 2008.

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From → autographs

One Comment
  1. Tish permalink

    I never would have connected that voice with the man in the picture. What a sweet love story – love of the music and love of each other.

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