Music

Country Flashback: Loretta Lynn, Ray Stevens Honor Patsy Cline at the CMA's 25th Birthday Bash

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eszRKTXv57I

One of several Patsy Cline tributes over the years to feature her close friend Loretta Lynn paired country music's first lady with its court jester, Ray Stevens.

?The Lynn and Stevens team-up comes from the CMA's 25th anniversary concert, filmed in March 1983 and aired the following month on CBS. Per a Billboard article, the CMA's celebration included not just a televised special but also a visit to the White House and an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

In the above footage posted on Stevens' YouTube account, the recent Country Music Hall of Famer joins Lynn for a medley of "Faded Love," "I Fall to Pieces," "Back in Baby's Arms" and the classic Willie Nelson composition "Crazy."

Per a Tennessean article from March 17, 1983, the TV special billed as Kraft Salutes 25 Years of the Country Music Association was filmed at Freedom Hall in Washington, D.C. So, Lynn isn't kidding when she says she was there when country music went uptown.

"The taping of the TV spectacular was attended by many Washington notables, as well as country music personalities," wrote Robert K. Oermann for the Tennessean. "Many legislators did not attend, however, because of last night's nuclear freeze debate and vote in Congress. The ambassadors from several world powers, on the other hand, were there in full force."

Politicians weren't just in priority seating that night. Longtime West Virginia senator and old-time musician Robert Byrd performed in the CMA's 25th anniversary bluegrass band with Bill Monroe, Ricky Skaggs and Grandpa Jones.

In July 2019, Lynn made a rare public appearance at Stevens' Nashville dinner theater the CabaRay Showroom, where she heard her old friend perform his comedic ("The Streak," "Gitarzan," "Mississippi Squirrel Revival") and serious ("Everything is Beautiful") work as a songwriter.

Read More: 5 Sweet Moments from Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn's Friendship

"I was so honored that my very dear friend Loretta Lynn and her family visited the CabaRay Friday night," Stevens said, as reported by ABC News Radio. "Like I told the audience, 'There are queens and first ladies of country music, but there's only one Coal Miner's Daughter!' Bless you Loretta. You are a treasure!"

More recently, Lynn and her daughter Patsy wrote a book titled Me & Patsy Kickin' Up Dust: My Friendship With Patsy Cline. The book, hailed as "important and inspiring" by Miranda Lambert, includes a forward written by Dolly Parton.

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Country Flashback: Loretta Lynn, Ray Stevens Honor Patsy Cline at the CMA's 25th Birthday Bash