My Turn | Jack Leigh
Published: Monday, November 30, 2009 at 3:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, November 29, 2009 at 10:42 p.m.
“Success has many fathers”
— Sir Winston Churchill
When Chuck Leavell used the classic “Stars fell on Alabama” for his encore, there was no doubt about his feelings for us and the sold out crowd left no doubt about how we feel about him. The evening wasn’t just rocking or jazzy or beautiful, it was perfect. The following people made it that way and if it was not for every one of them, the performance might not have been what we experienced. Please forgive me if I left you out of the following thank-you:
First and foremost is Ward Pearson. He was at the table at Charlane Plantation when the idea was floated about a concert at the Bama. When we walked out on the porch, he looked at me and said “we are going to make this happen.” He was fully vested from beginning to end. Pam Penick and David Allgood at the Arts Council, along with their staff and board could not have been more professional. Tim Thompson, Doug Ray, Tommy Stevenson and the staff of The Tuscaloosa News jumped on board early and the wonderful work of Tuscaloosa Magazine’s Janet Sudnik, Robert Sutton and Ashley Boyd with their cover article was the way a lot of you found out about the concert. Chuck told me he thinks it is the finest article ever written about him and his wonderful wife Rose Lane.
WTBC’s Ronnie Quarles, Wally Price, Dave McDaniel and Tiger Jack Garrett for the call-in, introduction, and setting up the interview with Paul Finebaum. Lee Foster for background on Chuck’s early years and the interview in the magazine. Sandy Clarke at Riverhill for the wonderful poster. Fred Hunter of WBRC for his two part “Absolutely Alabama” interview at Charlane. WVUA’s coverage and ads.
The Randall Bramblett Band has a lot of new Tuscaloosa fans now and was such a great group of people. Bob McTyeire and Ram Sound contributed with a great sound and in other ways only a few of us know. The legendary “Scoots” Lyndon and his son Creigh worked in the background the whole night.
Being introduced to the crowd during the second quarter at the Alabama game was a much appreciated treat for Rose Lane and Chuck. Thank you, Dr. and Mrs. Robert Witt, Mal Moore and Ronnie Robertson. Julia Stewart on Ward’s staff and Retana Montgomery and Greg Peeples on my staff all helped in many ways. Rush Smith for all the “attaboys” and Charlie Wolbach and First Federal Bank for his sponsorship of the Blue’s Project Band tickets.
And last but not least to my wonderful wife Emily, who eased into the background on her birthday, worked tirelessly to make everyone welcome, and who at last found out that everything I had said about the Leavells was true.
Oscar Wilde said that “it is absurd to divide people into good or bad. People are either charming or tedious.” I think anyone that came in contact with Rose Lane and Chuck Leavell this past weekend was charmed and it is obvious that this talented, generous man has never lost his love for his hometown.
Jack Leigh is a resident of Tuscaloosa and organized the Nov. 20 concert by Chuck Leavell at the Bama Theatre.