My career with Decca Records: …
There was none!
The “Titanic” (Country Music Industry) hit an iceberg (Rock & Roll music) in 1954 and the iceberg won! I watched as country music was nearly destroyed and the recording companies dropped 60% of their country artists, including our own Vin Bruce whose Columbia contract was terminated in 1956. Country music radio stations decreased by 60% and Hank Snow played at the Golden Meadow American Legion for 10 people. Other major country music artists suffered the same fate nationwide.
The last I heard from Troy Martin was in 1954 when he informed me that Decca records was watching Vin Bruce’s sales and that if his current release broke out of his region they would exercise my option and sign me.
Vin didn’t and Decca didn’t and we moved on, but our musical careers were not over and our best years were still ahead as I will write about in future columns.
Back home, Vin went into business operating a service station and playing music at a local nightclub. I got a job as Chief Deputy Assessor of Lafourche Parish in March of 1953, a job that lasted 47 years and led to my election as Assessor in 1983. I retired on December 31, 2000.
In the early 2000s, my wife’s health declined and I stayed home to take care of her, but I almost drove her crazy around the house with years of just watching T.V., listening to radio and reading anything I could get my hands on. Even in the bathroom when I had nothing else, I read labels on tubes of toothpaste and Fixodent, (I’m 86 remember?) bottles of mouth wash, shave lotion and the most audacious of all, reading the ten page folded instruction and warning sheet in boxes of prescription medicine, which, believe me, can scare you to not even put a Tic Tac in your mouth.
By 2006, with the help and advice of my grandchildren I had learned, somewhat, how to exist in the computer age and at the request of my former record label, I embarked on gathering material for a double C.D. for which I spent the next three years of my life. With Facebook, I began communicating with new friends, since most of my old friends had passed away.
In 2014, an opportunity arose to write a weekly column for The Lafourche Gazette and I gladly took it. Editor Vicki Chaisson and I agreed on the title In a Small Pond. I did not use the first half of that old saying, thinking it might sound egoistic and she added a sub title, The Musical, Political and Cultural Memoirs of a Bayou Cajun. It has appeared every week since July of 2014.
This is my 89th column and I have barely touched on my many experiences with various personalities and events in my life between 1953 and 2000. Thanks to the Gazette, every one of my columns are available online.
If you own a computer or have access to one, like in our great library system, and wish to look back or catch up on past columns, here’s how: Type www.TLGnewspaper.com in your search engine’s address bar and you’ll be taken to the Gazette’s home screen. Once there, go to the columns tab and you’ll be moved to a new page. Scroll down to the second header In a Small Pond and voila! All of my past columns are available on the World Wide Web.
If you are using a smart phone to access the website, go to the home screen then click on the down arrow that says menu, then columns, then click on In a Small Pond.
If you don’t own or have access to a computer, mail a stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Leroy Martin, 150 West 214th Street, Galliano, Louisiana 70354. Just enclose a note telling me the subject as you remember it about that particular column or the date (approximant) it appeared. I’ll print and mail you a copy. I have nothing better to do and it would be a pleasure.
I enjoy writing the column and the nice comments my readers have submitted, but how long can I continue is a decision to be made by a higher authority. Stand by! BYE NOW!
Posted on Tue, March 29, 2016
by The Lafourche Gazette