Memories of My Dad
Redd's Son, Billy
Redd with one of his sons (mid 1950s)
(1960s) Redd's sons, Colonel (left) and Billy (right)
I thought it might be of interest to our readers to hear some things about my dad that most people never knew.
*My father was a very handy guy with tools in hand. When I was about thirteen years old or so my dad, my brother, and myself, built an addition on to the back of our house. It amazed me that he could do that without any former experience.
*He was a very good golfer. He taught my brother and I to play at a very young age. It was one of his favorite past times.
*He was a certified public account.
*He taught himself how to build handmade fiddles.
*He loved to tell jokes. He had more jokes than anyone I knew, but the funniest thing was, they were all clean jokes.
*He almost became a preacher, but he joined up with Pee Wee King instead, and the rest is history!
*He was a deeply religious man, and has written many gospel tunes.
*He was a Kentucky Colonel. . . (The Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels is an organization of men and women who have been commissioned Kentucky Colonels by the Governor of the Commonwealth because of their service to mankind and to Kentucky.)
*You could give him a foreign instrument that he had never seen before, and he could play a tune on it within about five minutes.
*He was a guitar teacher in his later years, and also created an excellent guitar teaching video (Redd Stewart’s Basic Guitar Study Course.)
*He never had any formal training in music; it was all self-taught.
*He loved whoppers from Burger King. He bought me my first one when I was a kid!
*He had been in every state in the United States at least twice. He told me that back in the 60's so, I'll bet that's changed!
*He spent so much time on the road that he once told me that he felt like he was one of the parts of the car.
*I honestly can say that I cannot remember one time in my life that my dad raised his voice in anger towards me, and I gave him plenty of reasons to do so!
*In the early years he sold a lot of his songs that later became big hits for others. Unfortunately, we can’t give him the credit for them. So, you have been listening to a lot more of Redd's music, but just didn't know it!
*He loved to fish.
*He was an excellent pool player.
*He taught himself how to play Bach and Beethoven on the piano, and played it well.
*He liked a lot of the Beatles music, and learned several of their songs.
*He was a radio operator in the Army and spent a lot of time in tanks.
*He only had a seventh grade education!
*And best of all, he was a great dad!
A Story From My Childhood (by Billy Stewart)
I think it is safe to say that all of us as kids have done something in public to embarrass our parents, but when one of your parents just happens to be a Country Music star, the word embarrassing takes on a whole new meaning.
The scene begins in 1962 in Louisville, Kentucky and my father was home from touring on the road. My dad was Redd Stewart, the lead singer, fiddle player, and guitar player with Pee Wee King and The Golden West Cowboys. After 10 years on the Grand Ole Opry, a bunch of hits like ‘Tennessee Waltz,’ ‘You Belong To Me,’ and almost 30 years of performing, they had become very well known, especially in Louisville where they both lived. It was common place at that time for people to come up and ask for my dad’s autograph when we were out in public.
When my dad was in town the first thing he wanted to do was take his family out to dinner. His favorite place to go was the Howard Johnson Restaurant, which in those days was a classy place to go. Since we went there a lot everyone knew who he was. Now picture my dad sitting there with his family, with a restaurant full of people trying to enjoy a well deserved dinner with his wife and three kids when suddenly my brother comes up with a brainstorm idea. So he asks for permission to go to the bathroom, grabs his partner in crime (that would be me), and off we go to destroy my dad’s evening. When we get to the bathroom my brother unveils to me his diabolical plan. I, being young and dumb, decide that this would be a very cool thing to do.
Here is the plan: take all of the toilet paper rolls we could find and clog up the toilets and sinks and then flush the toilets and turn on all of the sinks so they would run over. Great plan right! After completing our task at hand we headed back to the table to join the family as if nothing was wrong. As you can image we were snickering, which tipped off our mother that something was up. Mom says, “what did you two boys do in that bathroom?” Our faces got straight as a ruler and she knew something bad was about to happen. It was at this point that we all noticed quite a bit of commotion going on over by the bathroom door as the restaurant employees were frantically trying to stop the river of water flowing out of the men's bathroom into the restaurant. Dad looks at mom, mom looks at dad, and they both look at us with a look that could kill you right there on the spot.
With so much commotion going, on my parents used the opportunity to head for the door and whisk us off to the house. At this point in the story I must tell you that my father was one of the most gentle people I have ever met. Getting angry was just not in his DNA. But this night was an exception!
My brother and I were removed from under our beds, which we hid under as soon as we got in the house, and our butts got up-close and personal with his rhinestone covered cowboy belt. I don’t remember if my father ever confessed to the management that his sons were the ones who flooded their restaurant, but I don’t remember eating there anymore either.