Mike Craver's journal entry from the Red Clay Ramblers' performance
at the 1979 Roseanne Cash-Rodney Crowell East Coast Wedding Reception

April 10, 1979  (Johnny Cash invited us to sing at Roseanne Cash and Rodney Crowell's wedding reception. It was held at Johnny and June's big sprawling home outside of Nashville. Rodney and Roseanne had been married in Lost Angeles and had come to Nashville for the reception.) 

I particularly remembered two women at the reception. The Lady in the Feathered Boa. She had sculptured features, a Spanish rose in her tightly wound and shiny hair. Exquisitely made up, cheeks like a peach, lips, and eyes small and bright. She smiled all through dinner, resting her chin on her stylishly long thin hands.  I have no idea who she was, probably some wealthy Nashville industry type. 

A vivacious young blond woman in a lilac slip dress danced around the room with a little girl. Occasionally she'd have to retrieve the little girl from our bandstand.  Later on I realized this young woman was June's daughter Carlene. 

The entire affair took place on the Cash's tennis court.  There was a huge tent erected over it and long tables set up on the court, with linen tablecloths and crystal.  Lots of flowers and also a bevy of black men in elegant waiter livery, ready to serve the guests.  There were big silver chafing dishes full of all kinds of food.  It was raw and rainy early April weather.  The tent was heated by noisy gas driven heaters that looked like jet engines up on stands. 

June Carter was all gotten up a colorful heavy gown of many colors.  With her head wrapped around with gypsy scarves, she looked like a rich old hippie chick.  She seemed very gracious and kind, yet somewhat frazzled at the same time. 

A little stage had been erected at the far end.  There was no piano.  The sound system was some sort of tossed together Radio Shack deal -- there were only a couple of mikes and we probably sounded abominable. Johnny Cash introduced us and said we played the "real ethnic music."  I didn't think this was a particularly accurate or good introduction.  Evidently most of the guests couldn't either as they promptly ignored us! 

I recognized Tom T. Hall, sitting at one of the tables near us.  He was dressed in a tuxedo and was very tanned and suave looking. He watched us but had no reaction. Most all of the other luminaries and wedding guests never even acknowledged our presence, with the exception of Carlene, who seemed friendly. 

John McCutcheon was on the bill too. The Nashville crowd seemed to enjoy his hammered dulcimer music much more than ours.  (I noticed later on that he began showing up on some of Johnny's records!) 

The Carter/Cash house was amazing.  It was new and huge and there were Pinkerton guards standing out in front of it. The wedding guests were allowed in to tour it.  There two most remarkable things were the living rooms -- there were at least four or five . each crammed full of expensive and ostentatious furniture -- each living room decorated in a different style. One was Louis 14th, another was colonial, one was modern, and there were several others I can't even remember.  The house had been built over a creek and you could see it running underneath. The only other thing I remember was that Jim had wanted to meet Rodney Crowell but I'm not sure he ever got the chance. 

Back to The Red Clay Ramblers - Carter Family Connections
Bill Hicks writes of the wedding reception gig in his Blurred Time

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August 31, 2003
updated March 1, 2008