Berk Bryant

Bluegrass Beat
By Berk Bryant

As I'm putting this together the sun is shining, the weather lady just said the temperature is 58 degrees above normal for this date and that we'll probably have snow by the weekend. I have read about this sort of thing going to happen. That aside for the moment, Christmas is coming up the path, and rather quickly. That's now, but now you're reading this and it's pretty much all over except the memories. And I truly hope you have good ones very good ones.

Looking into this New Year, the most of which is staring us in the face and looking like it has a big question, what are you going to do with it?

Well, a picker friend of mine is hoping folks will be opening the pages of his book a book of a true battle he was involved in, in Korea 1950. The book is titled The Stragglers.

A quick or, rather, abbreviated version of the story is about a unit that was overrun by the North Koreans. This unit was scattered. When those who survived and were able to return to Chinju, South Korea, their unit base, a group of these men with no leaders, no officers, were deployed to hold a hill. Thus they became known as the Stragglers. Again, these men were overrun and scattered. The outcome of all of this was, basically, one man was captured and later murdered by the North Koreans. One one man survived. This is his story. told by the only one of those men who can. His purpose is to let those who may read it, including the families of his fellow soldiers that were killed, know of the events of that day that lead up to why and how they died.

This friend is Charles C. Smith, a Kentuckian who volunteered for the army as soon as he could; someone signed for him. There is a lot more to the story. It is an easy read as though you were listening to the story, not reading it.

In his research for this story, Charles found that there was extremely little in the way of records of Co. B, 25th Infantry Division, and virtually none regarding this fight he and the others were involved in. The Stragglers' story is true and a part of military history, specifically that of the Korean War.

By the time most of you read this, we will be past New Year's Day. Maybe you heard or missed the All Hank Williams SR show. Quite a few times I am asked about this show, so here's the story.

Back in Virginia from '54 to '62, I did a country show when country was still recognizably country. If I remember correctly, it was New Year's Day, 1956 that I decided to do this. I was on from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. I didn't tell anyone I was going to do it I just did it. As it has been said, it's easier to ask forgiveness than to get permission. Or as the line in a Ray Price song goes, "I'd rather be sorry for something I did than for something I didn't do."

That was the start of the annual "Hank Williams New Year's Day" show. I was uncertain if the listeners would tolerate four hours of the same artist. Not only did they tolerate it, but they let it be known they were looking forward to it every year. Unfortunately, for varied reasons, I could not keep it in an unbroken tradition until about '91 or '92 when it was brought back to life on the show I was doing on WFPL and which changed over to WFPK. I hope you listen and enjoy.

Jams at Vine Grove on Fridays inside City Hall, The Bingo Hall at Blue Lick Road and South Park Road Tuesdays about 6 p.m. Hillview City Hall Thursday night 6 p.m. and Colesburg Baptist Church Friday nights 6:30 p.m. Shepherdsville starts the New Year January 1 with Cherryholmes, Jan. 8 Kings Highway, Jan. 15 Kentucky Blue, Jan. 22 Dailey & Vincent, Jan. 29 Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, Feb. 5 Larry Sparks.

I guess this gets the New Year going. Thanks to all for being with me these past years and supporting "Sunday Bluegrass." May this be a new year with a new, successful start for all. Keep tuned to WFPK 91.9 FM every day and 'specially Sunday night 811.