The night clerk at a shift of mountain cottages in Predeal, Romania, is not used to a lot of international calls late at night. The little hunchback with the hairy friend in the double suite is attracting attention, though. Last night it was a French scholar who at first was thought obsessed with cutting up wrists; this was actually someone with details on the biography of German conductor Karl Ristenpart. Tonight it was someone much harder to understand, an American. Something to do with hay rides and Bayou boys.
"Ah! Buzz!" quoth guest Igor when he got the latest message.
Right away the home office was notified, darn the hour. "It is the Buzz Busby thing, don't say I didn't warn you," Igor began. "The Wayne Busby biography, mainly, but also the Buzz Busby, possibly the Busby Brothers...did we do that?" Shifting through papers on the other end. "Remember I thought some of the details and quotes were spurious. You can never trust details about poison gas attacks. They should have learned that in the first Gulf War."
Wayne Busby, real name Dr. Wayne Busbice, deserves the initial and most focused blast of attention since he was the one who bothered going to the trouble of trying to sort out inaccuracies in certain information buzzing around about the Busby Brothers, a vintage country and western act. Admittedly, the better-known Buzz Busby, real name Bernarr Busbice, has been without an Internet connection subsequent to his death in 2000. An immediate chasm between what the military likes to call "the facts on the ground" and the world of music journalism occurs in the previous initial conclusion that "Wayne Busby chose to pursue a military career" rather than go, as Buzz Busby did, for the full-time music buzz.
"I pursued a career primarily in education," Dr. Wayne Busbice advised in a 2006 shout-out. Working in the public schools, he rose from teacher to counselor, assistant principal and principal. He also had a military career, including four years active service in the Air Force and service in the Air National Guard from which he retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel. "Duties as inspector general and director of logistics" followed, Busbice continues, and he "rose to the rank of Major."
There was also a sideline interest in the record label Webco. The artist was involved in both engineering as well as management in a series of indie country sides. Busbice owned the firm from 1981 through 1990, overseeing a recording studio, record label, and music publishing company, Old Home Place Music. "I sold it to Bill Emerson," Busbice says, admitting to an action that flies in the face of traditional warnings against making important agreements with bluegrass pickers. Over the course of several different details, the entire catalog created during the reigns of Busbice, then Emerson, was sold to the grandly sympatico Pinecastle firm.
As the story shifts back to the early days, the good doctor voices displeasure with a strongly negative quote that has been attributed to him. The family of nine children struggled through life on a family farm, picking cotton and raising food both to eat and to sell in order to survive. This lifestyle is usually presented as a kind of ordeal in order to set up country music, broadcasts into any and all private hells as a relief factor. "I don't believe 'It was horrible -- best I can say for it' about our early life is my quote," Busbice says. "It sounds like something Buzz might have said. It definitely does not reflect my opinion," he concludes firmly.
For many rural Southerners in that era, the focal point of weekly entertainment was the Grand Ole Opry on WSM out of Nashville every Saturday night. The Busbice family also had ears glued to the Louisiana Hayride, a show that one of the brothers, Buzz Busby, would wind up appearing on, although accounts of the era sometimes place both siblings in the lineup. Setting the record straight on associations in this period, Busbice details that he did "occasionally play with the Bayou Boys, but never belonged to the group. I did organize and perform with the Busby Brothers." This brother band indeed developed as brothers Wayne Busby and LeMoyne Busby began fooling around on guitars, passing their acquired knowledge of country music over to pipsqueak Buzz Busby when he was all of eight. The three played the popular country tunes they heard on the radio, beginning a tradition of family music that would evolve into a professional relationship.
The Busby boys were also drawn into the demented world of rockabilly from time to time, although by recording a number entitled "Live Your Life with Care," Wayne Busby must have come across like some kind of a milquetoast on that scene. Or perhaps he was trying to give some advice to brother Buzz Busby, whose professional career would go down the tubes due to alcoholism and drug addiction. "At any rate, life was tough for the Busbice family and taking care would have been a real challenge," was a somewhat banal prelude to incorrect facts stated about father, Otis Busbice. The latter was as reported exposed to poison gas in the first World War but it was not this but a heart attack that killed the man.
In 1961, the same year Wayne Busby split his "Rock and Roll Atom" in the recording studio, the buzzy little brother was convicted of forging a prescription for amphetamines and was handed a three-year prison sentence. Narcotics detectives claimed the musician's nickname had led them to him. Brother Wayne, then a Major in the Army, as well as a shade tree recording artist, was living in the Washington area and had bargained with the judge to reduce his brother's sentence, an effort that, combined with the efforts of several bluegrass-loving legislators, finally paid off. Dr. Wayne Busbice continues to own and operate Old Home Place Music, with more than 200 songs in the catalog, at least 40 written by the owner himself. The memoirs of the artist formerly known as Wayne Busby are set to be published in 2006, with a foreword by Eddie Stubbs of the Grand Ole Opry. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, Rovi