Our Friend, Lorene Parchman, is Gone

Posted December 28, 2007

What sad news to learn the passing of our friend Lorene Parchman, Kenny Parchman's widow, on Dec 21, 2007. Lorene died after a short battle against cancer in Jackson (TN) and was buried near Kenny on her birthday date, Dec 24. She left two daughters, Denise and Alicia, and a son Mike. All those family members were friends of "Sound of the 50's" and "Rock and Roll Revue" and helped us greatly with information and pictures.

Lorene had wed, in September 1961, a real Rockabilly Legend from Jackson but for years she had fight to obtain recognition for Kenny's musical work. When Kenny passed away in 1999, not much of his work was available and rockabilly music was not back yet in favor. In 2000, things started to move and Kenny, thanks to Bob Timmers, was featured in the Rockabilly Hall of FameŽ, Burns (TN). The help of her devoted friends Jimmy Stephenson and Virginia Singleton had lead to a wonderful paper on "American Music" magazine, from Sweden, in September 2005 after Hydra Records, from Germany, had issued a great CD with all Kenny's recordings accurately titled "I Feel Like Rockin'" in 2004. That work lead me to be in touch with Lorene in January 2006 and to send her some old papers about Kenny and some scans of now rare records issued by "Charly" records in the mid 80's. Lorene was a very friendly Lady and we started to share letters on a regular basis. When the single "Sun 252" was at last available, around mid-2006, I send her some copies soon followed by the rare EP on "Fairlane" Records where Charlie Thompson covered "Treat Me Right" with high class. Those little gifts made her very happy and lead me to write the Kenny Parchman story in a French magazine titled "Rock and Roll Revue" (#39) in December 2006.

Around Jackson, Kenny was also back in the spotlight with a very nice article in the Jackson Sun, written by Dan Morris, in October 2006. Rayburn Anthony, another "Sun" fellow, in his song "When Jackson was Jumpin'" give a credit to Kenny.

On a letter dated Aug 7, 2007, Lorene writes us these words you may like to read as tribute to her kindness:

Thanks to you "The Foot Soldier" finally got his "Medal of Honor" in Jackson. Only, I know why! Because of you. You never gave up. You fought for this. So, in my eyes, you are also a "Foot Soldier". I can never "Thank you enough". It made Alicia, Denise + myself very proud (those words are for all those for helped her, not only I). The same day at that rockabilly event in Jackson, Andy Lee told her if she would stick around until the crowd left, he would sing her some of Kenny's songs. Lorene wrote: He did!! It was great to hear these songs from a fan half a world away and to know that people really "do" care about Kenny's music; you've been telling me this for a while. Now I have experienced with my own ears and eyes. I have played "Charlie Thompson" - "Treat me Right", over and over and over. Yes? He does a "Great Job" on Kenny's song. Just as the other German guy. Love you guys.

On another letter, dated December 2006, she sends the following wishes:

Your friendship has been a welcomed change in my life. Now during this very special time of the year, I want to wish you every happiness this season had to offer And all the love one friend can send to another.

Lorene started to have lung troubles in August 2007 and was seriously ill by November 2007. News coming from Jackson were not that bad until I learned about her passing. It was time for her to meet again Kenny. On their tomb stone is written:

I am always thinking about you
That's what I will do for the years to come.

Cards can be send to her children at the following address: Alicia, Denise and Mike PARCHMAN
26 Crystal Cove
Jackson, TN 38305

To know more about Kenny Parchman's musical work, you can check www.bartemon.net (English speaking section), www.rockithydra.de, www.stompertime.com and www.americanmusicmagazine.com.

Dominique "Imperial" ANGLARES (France) Sound of the 50's houstonring@wanadoo.fr

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