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Obit: Red River Dave McEnery (1914-2002)


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Nathan in Texas 27 Mar 02 - 07:04 PM
Bill D 27 Mar 02 - 07:37 PM
Mark Ross 27 Mar 02 - 09:05 PM
Peter T. 27 Mar 02 - 09:37 PM
michaelr 27 Mar 02 - 10:20 PM
Nathan in Texas 27 Mar 02 - 10:32 PM
Jim Krause 28 Mar 02 - 02:56 PM
Steve in Idaho 28 Mar 02 - 04:58 PM
Mark Ross 28 Mar 02 - 06:01 PM
Joe Offer 24 Apr 16 - 10:25 PM
Cool Beans 25 Apr 16 - 10:41 AM
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Subject: 'Amelia Earhart' songwriter, McEnery
From: Nathan in Texas
Date: 27 Mar 02 - 07:04 PM

Folk balladeer McEnery dead at 87 01/16/2002 Associated Press
SAN ANTONIO, TX Cowboy balladeer David "Red River Dave" McEnery, who penned "Shame is the Middle Name of Exxon" when he was stiffed by a service station, died Tuesday. He was 87.
McEnery, who wrote thousands of songs about current events and headlines, was hospitalized Monday with a kidney ailment. One of his most well-known ditties was written about Exxon after he received a bill for $258 from one of its service stations in San Antonio for repairs he said he didn't need on his van.
"They played it in New York City, and the (company) president heard it," McEnery said in a 1991 newspaper interview. "The next thing I knew, they took the $258 off my bill."
He also wrote songs about Watergate, the Falklands War and President Reagan.

His most famous, "Amelia Earhart's Last Flight," was written in 1937 after the famed aviatrix and her navigator disappeared over the Pacific.
The song was recorded by Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys. "Amelia Earhart is one of his best," Friedman told the San Antonio Express-News for its Wednesday editions. "I've performed it all over the world, and it's a crowd-pleaser. It soars."
McEnery began singing on local radio stations as a teen-ager in San Antonio. He was later hired by a radio station in Virginia as a singing , recorded for Decca, Savoy and other record labels.
McEnery served as an infantryman during World War II, before going to Hollywood, where he appeared in several westerns

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Subject: RE: OBIT: 'Amelia Earhart' songwriter, McEnery
From: Bill D
Date: 27 Mar 02 - 07:37 PM

*sigh*...87 is pretty good...but is sad to see the 'special' ones go!...I recorded a program of him about 1976, telling his stories and singing his songs....I think I'll go see if I can find it....

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Subject: RE: OBIT: 'Amelia Earhart' songwriter, McEnery
From: Mark Ross
Date: 27 Mar 02 - 09:05 PM

I had the privilege of hanging ou(and playing) with Red River Dave in'76 at the Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife. A larger that life character, wearing gold lame boots and western string tie the same color, with his white goatee and stetson hew looke like the reincarnation of Buffalo Bill. It's hard to say who cuyt a more colorful figure that summer, Dave or Utah Phillips! He insisted on teaching me the 2nd verse to AMELIA EARHART, he was upset that the Greenbriar Boys had left it out. He was a definite original.

Mark Ross

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Subject: RE: OBIT: 'Amelia Earhart' songwriter, McEnery
From: Peter T.
Date: 27 Mar 02 - 09:37 PM

Great song, amazing to learn about the guy who wrote it -- like all these things, one assumes that it came out of nowhere. Good old Mudcat.
yours, Peter T.
P.S. Imagine having a band called Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys today.

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Subject: RE: OBIT: 'Amelia Earhart' songwriter, McEnery
From: michaelr
Date: 27 Mar 02 - 10:20 PM

Dang, isn't the Mudcat amazing!?! I've known the song since it appeared on the 1972 Plainsong album (Ian Matthews et al), but since there are no credits on the LP sleeve I assumed it to have been written by one of them!

Great song, and great addition to my store of knowledge. Thank you, Nathan.


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Subject: RE: OBIT: 'Amelia Earhart' songwriter, McEnery
From: Nathan in Texas
Date: 27 Mar 02 - 10:32 PM

To learn more about Kinky & The TX Jewboys, visit his site at

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Subject: RE: OBIT: 'Amelia Earhart' songwriter, McEnery
From: Jim Krause
Date: 28 Mar 02 - 02:56 PM

Wow, I've been singing Amelia Earhart for years. I didn't know that Red River Dave had died so recently.

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Subject: RE: OBIT: 'Amelia Earhart' songwriter, McEnery
From: Steve in Idaho
Date: 28 Mar 02 - 04:58 PM

Here's the original thread on this. And I believe there are three verses to the song - at last Saturday's session my partner Charlie, who sings this song, had at least three verses to it. Lovely tune - but only one of hundreds he wrote and performed.

Dust it off Bill D -


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Subject: RE: OBIT: 'Amelia Earhart' songwriter, McEnery
From: Mark Ross
Date: 28 Mar 02 - 06:01 PM

Actually, there are 4 verses. The one that I learned from Dave(the one the Greenbriar Boys didn't sing and that's where I learned the song)is; 2nd Verse She radioed position and said that all was well But the fuel within her tanks was running low And she'd land at Howland Island to refuel her monoplane And then on a trip around the world she'd go.

The 1st 2 verses are sung before the 1st chorus.

Mark Ross

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Subject: ADD: God's Game of Checkers (Dave McEnery)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Apr 16 - 10:25 PM

Here's another composition by Red River Dave McEnery, posted by Art Thieme. Art loved songs about Kennedy.

Thread #2285   Message #27865
Posted By: Art Thieme
10-May-98 - 12:32 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: songs about the Kennedy assassination
Subject: Lyr Add: GOD'S GAME OF CHECKERS (Dave McEnery)

by Red River Dave McEnery (who also wrote "Amelia Ehrhart") RECITED OVER MUSIC!

Once upon a time there was a little boy who stood beside his grieving mother and watched a saddened nation bear, with pomp and ceremony, its president, his daddy. Far across the country in a western state, a silver-haired cowboy watched the scene on television with tear-dimmed eyes. His heart was burdened with sorrow as he sat down and wrote the little boy this letter:

I feel I must call you son because today your daddy has gone to be with the hallowed heroes, and I never had a boy. I wanted to write you a letter and send you a present--a toy or a game. I'm enclosing a game called Checkers. I want to tell you, son, of a great American legend called GOD'S GAME OF CHECKERS.

According to history checkers is the world's oldest game dating back to the time of the ancient pharaohs. Thousands of years before Christ, our lord and savior. The checkerboard is a checkered square teaching us that we should all live on the square and always treat our fellow man fairly. There are twelve dark men and twelve light men--opponents on the board. In life we have men with souls the same way: some dark--evil, and some light--good. The dark checker makes the first aggressive move. The light must answer with skill not to be overcome. So it is in the world today. The aim of the men on the checkerboard is to reach the kingdom. So it is with us on earth. He who reaches the kingdom has won the ultimate game--the game of life and eternity. A man moves toward the king row and there are many traps and dangers of which he must be aware. Sometimes a man must be sacrificed so that others, in time, may win the final game. So it was with your daddy, boy. Old Glory is still waving, son, across our nation from the silver sands of Hawaii to the rocky coast of Massachusetts. And just like the great Americans--Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln--your daddy believed in God's game of checkers. In time a way will be found for all men to live as brothers. God grant we live to see that day. Some day the checkerboard of life will lead all men who believe to that great kingdom.

The old cowboy then saddled his horse, carried the letter and the package to a small United States post office where Old Glory rippled at half mast. That evening, as the stars filled the sky, he placed a kerosene lamp in a cabin window facing east. And somehow that light seemed to spread across the nation and join another small flame amid the heroes at Arlington.

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Subject: RE: 2002 OBIT: 'Amelia Earhart' songwriter, McEnery
From: Cool Beans
Date: 25 Apr 16 - 10:41 AM

When I was an entertainment writer at the Detroit Free Press, Red River Dave would send me press releases announcing his latest songs. He could write about anything. One distinctive title I remember (never heard the song)is "The Pine-Tarred Bat," which had to do with some minor baseball scandal involving slugger George Brett.

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