Narvel Felts in Concert

Kingston, Oklahoma Striper Festival
September 15, 2007
By Faye Huffman and Essie Shell

The small town of Kingston, in Marshall County, Oklahoma was packed with people for the annual Striper Festival. Projected attendance was 15,000 for this three-day long weekend of food, fun and family activities, including a fishing tournament, arts & crafts, midway carnival, talent shows, food booths and nightly concerts. Marshall County, formerly part of the Chickasaw Nation, was created at statehood, and is located in south central Oklahoma on the Oklahoma/Texas border. It includes 589 miles of shoreline on Lake Texhoma, famous for its striped bass, or "striper" fishing. Marshall County is the smallest county in the State, but they boast of being the biggest county when it comes to heart and friendship. The folks of Kingston enjoy meeting visitors and they say they're the kind of community where "we can call you by name the next time you drop by."

This was an excellent weekend for the festival; the sun was shining on Saturday when we arrived and there was a cool breeze blowing that evening during the concert. It was hard to believe that only a couple of months earlier, Lake Texhoma was out of its banks. The county had only recently been approved for Federal Disaster Relief from the heavy rains and floods of June and July. There was a large crowd sitting in their lawn chairs waiting for Narvel's appearance as the headliner of Saturday's concert and he took the stage to a standing ovation.

Narvel started his hour-long show with three of his Top 10s from the '70s "Funny How Time Slips Away," "Drift Away," and tearjerker "Somebody Hold Me." "Pink & Black Days" quickly followed highlighting the '50s when the term "Rockabilly" was first used, followed by the 1975 Country Music Awards Record of the Year, "Reconsider Me." Back to the '50s for "My Babe." Not many singers tackle Roy Orbison's hits, but Narvel "hooked" "Crying," and then gave a rousing rendition of Jerry Lee Lewis's "Great Balls of Fire," Then it was back to the '50s for "Kiss-A-Me Baby."

The Imposters, a five-member band from Alva in northwestern Oklahoma, have been playing together for years. This fine band did a great job backing Narvel even though they had not played for him before. Their lead vocalist Tom Gruber, former District Attorney of Alva, is currently Oklahoma's Assistant Attorney General.

Narvel poured his heart into "Danny Boy" sang in memory of his only son, Narvel Felts, Jr., known as "Bub," who was killed in an automobile accident September 14, 1995, 12 years ago this week. Bub played drums for his Dad, and "Danny Boy" was the last song they performed together on stage.

Narvel sang favorites "When Your Good Love Was Mine," "Fraulein," Top 10 "Lonely Teardrops," followed by a beautiful rendition of the Platters' song, "My Prayer." To honor our troops, he sang "God Bless America" a cappella and closed his show with "Headin' Home."

Always approachable, Narvel greeted fan club members from neighboring states of Texas, Louisiana and Missouri, as well as Oklahoma, and welcomed new friends, posed for pictures and signed CD's at his autograph table alongside his high school buddy, Huey P. Long. Another great show and wonderful memories!

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