Too many to thank after two decades of fun

Published 10:40 am Wednesday, March 22, 2023

By Ricky Swindle

Muffler Shop Musings

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In the words of Merle Haggard “After 20 years of pickin’, I’m still alive and kicking down the walls.”

Exactly 20 years today, The Local Yokels Show which began on Country 101, is announcing its retirement. This Saturday March 25, it will come to an end on Undefined Radio.

Tune in this Saturday at 9 a.m. on or Facebook Live to see the sendoff that has been planned for the show.

Johnny Pace and I agreed last year that we would go one more year and then lay it to rest.

I’m probably the only fellow in the world who had radio sponsors, but no radio, to advertise them on. In the words of the boys of Oh Brother, Where Are Thou we were “r-u-n-d-o-f-t” regular radio in 2017. 

My sponsors held on while we hooked up with Chad Martin and Undefined Radio and started the show over the internet.

I had to educate myself and try to help y’all understand the benefits of internet radio. We have all learned a lot over the years.

The show is a good show, down to earth and a bit hokey at times I suppose, but in 20 years I was never short on sponsors or listeners.

Truth be told, it could probably last quite a few more years but sometimes you get a feeling when it’s time to lay it down and that’s what we’re doing, going out on a high note. 

I’m leaving on my own terms this go around.

I still believe a music department person at one of our universities will realize one day that we have captured tons of North MS music that is only available in those CD cases I own.

I am of the opinion that they will come calling one day and I’ll sit back, let them listen and watch them drool.

I’m leaving all my equipment to Johnny so he can continue his Mississippi Morning Show in exchange for continuing to help me with Civitan Radio Day every year. 

I’ll still carry on that tradition every fall as usual. Civitans depend on me each year for Radio Day, and I will continue to help them as long as I’m able.

It was 14 years regular radio, and 6 years internet radio.

Folks, it’s been real and it’s been fun. It’s been real fun.

The talented people I have ran across the past 20 years is mind boggling. Never in a million years would I have thought that our area of North MS has such great, gifted and poetic songwriting capabilities. I have been amazed.

I don’t think I’ll draw much argument when I say that Steve McGregory is pretty much the best musician around our neck of the woods. If you add up all the instruments he has mastered, it kind of puts him out-front and the leader of the pack. 

He’s a good guy too, modest with that “Aw shucks” attitude after he has just naturally smoked and forevermore shucked the corn on anything with keys or strings.

Steve helped me a lot in the beginning by recording everyone he could at his studio for me to play on air. Some folks paid him and some didn’t but he just left it as “Oh well, maybe they need that few dollars more than me.” I heard him say it too many times.

Steve McGregory is a solid gold Local Yokel. Anyone can sing along to a karaoke CD, it takes a hoss with real talent to actually play songs like they came off the record.

I ran across Ricky Harpole at The Eureka in downtown Batesville in 2003. He was singing one Thursday night and the sound system he was using was garbage. 

I couldn’t understand a word but before I left, Jeff Padgett handed me his CD, I popped it in my truck player and headed home.

After hearing what he was actually singing I turned around and went back. Nothing but Southern poetry was spewing in his song “Mississippi Redneck.”  

“He was genuine, bonafide, triple dipped, double rectified, Redneck Mississippi personified and unique to his generation. Don’t like freaks and homegrown drugs, political scandals swept all up under the rug, never had no use for no union dues and no political affiliations.” That’s art right there folks. Thought out penmanship at it’s best.

He gave us a bunch of songs and many Panolian newspaper columns to add to his repertoire before leaving this world.

The Local Yokels Show introduced him to North MS in high fashion.

The late great Reverend Robert Reed was another of the many talented songwriters I ran across. The man from Sardis had songs in movies and his music was widely known and respected from Mississippi to Hollywood.

Countless others graced the mikes of the show over 20 years. Too many to name in this article.

Then we had a young Jameson Rodgers who would come in all nervous playing us his latest song and later on had number one Country hits, playing everywhere including The Grand Ole Opry. He started out on that hokey Local Yokels Show and we are so proud of him.

I plan to spend more time doing things with my better half on the weekend plus I will also keep writing for the paper as long as I have an idea to share.

TVI Fiber ran a wire to my backyard Dewdrop Inn so I’m contemplating taking my laptop out there and commence writing a book. I’m going to concentrate more on my writing for the next little while and see how it goes. 

I’ve met so many people with their interesting stories over the years that I’ve been scheming  for quite some time now to write them down.  

Take care of yourself folks and if you ever get a hankering to see a show, there’s a bunch of them on The Local Yokels Show Facebook page and YouTube. 

Or come to The Dewdrop and I’ll play you a 20 year old cassette tape my Momma recorded of the show.

I want to say thanks, folks. Thanks for 20 years of loyalty for a little old show that was only supposed to last six weeks.

God bless y’all.