"I guess the reason that I didn't record for twenty years," Floyd Tillman said, "was simply that no one asked me. Well, maybe I just wasn't ready-or ready to do it with those willing to record me. I think this is going to be one of my best albums ever." April 2003
"Floyd Tillman-The Influence" combines the special phrasing and vocals from one of Country Music's true pioneers with the works of those who admired him the most. The album was produced by Justin Trevino and Tracy Pitcox and recorded in San Marcos. The album was released on Heart of Texas Records in Brady, Texas.
This is Tillman's final album as he is joined on his biggest hits with some of his biggest fans. At 87 years of age, Tillman delivered superb vocals along with six other members of the Country Music Hall of Fame-George Jones, Dolly Parton, Ray Price, Hank Thompson, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard.
Tillman is also featured with Frankie Miller, Johnny Bush, Connie Smith, Leona Williams, Lawton Williams and Darrell McCall.
"We are so thrilled with this project," KNEL disc jockey Tracy Pitcox said. "To be able to work with Floyd Tillman on his final album was a great honor. When we decided to take Floyd back into the studios, I asked Willie Nelson if he would record a duet with Floyd. Of course, he readily agreed. That duet led to thirteen others and instead of a solo Floyd Tillman album, we created the ultimate tribute to one of the greatest songwriters and stylists of Country Music."
Johnny Gimble lends his great fiddle and mandolin talents to this historic project. The other musicians include Dave Kirby (in his last session), Bobby Flores, Floyd Domino, Dicky Overby, Levi Mullen, John Smiley Reynolds with harmony vocals by Leona Williams, Justin Trevino and Frankie Miller.
Country Music historian Bill Malone wrote extensive liner notes for the project scanning Tillman's seventy year career as an entertainer. Never before seen photos were contributed by Rick Henson, Les Leverett and Dean Gibson.
"Floyd was still very sharp and musically sound at 87 and even wanted to play rhythm guitar on the album," producer Justin Trevino said. "Of course, Floyd had a very unique way of phrasing his vocals and playing rhythm as well. Some of the artists had trouble trying to stay (musically) with Floyd, but that was part of the magic of Floyd Tillman."
The stellar performance of the guests on the record show the love and admiration they shared for Floyd. The songs include: 1. Slippin Around with Dolly Parton 2. It Makes No Difference Now with Mel Tillis 3. I Gotta Have My Baby Back with Ray Price 4. Drivin Nails In My Coffin with George Jones 5. I Love You So Much It Hurts Me with Connie Smith 6. Each Night At Nine with Willie Nelson 7. I'll Take What I Can Get with Hank Thompson 8. This Cold War With You with Merle Haggard 9. I'll Keep On Lovin You with Darrell McCall 10. Let's Make Memories Tonight with Leona Williams 11. They Took The Stars Out Of Heaven with Johnny Bush 12. I'm Still In Love With Every Girl with Justin Trevino 13. Just As Long As I Have You with Frankie Miller 14. It Just Tears Me Up with Lawton Williams
Merle Haggard even added a special guitar solo to the Tillman classic "This Cold War With You."
"During our early days," Johnny Bush said. "Willie (Nelson) and I would be on the road. We would be listening to music and I was always a fan of Ray Price. Willie always wanted to listen to Floyd Tillman. Floyd influenced all of us."
Tillman was born in Ryan, Oklahoma in 1914. He became a singer, guitarist, mandolin and banjo player with the Mark Clark Orchestra and the Blue Ridge Playboys during the 1930's. He signed his first recording contract with Decca Records in 1939. His first hit was his self penned "It Makes No Difference Now."
During the late 1940's, Tillman wrote such compositions as "I Love You So Much It Hurts Me" (1948), "Slippin Around" (1949) and "I'll Never Slip Around Again" (1949). These songs became instant hits and sold into the millions of copies during the "early" days of country music.
Tillman would also add "Each Night At Nine" "Mr. Bottle" "I'm Still In Love With Every Girl" "Cold Cold War With You" "I'll Keep On Loving You" and "Daisy Mae" to his list of over 200 recorded compositions.
Tillman's biggest hit "Slippin Around" was the first actual cheating song written in country music. Tillman received the inspiration for the song after overhearing a man and a woman talk in a café. It became a million selling hit being recorded by Tillman, Ernest Tubb, Margaret Whiting and Jimmy Wakely and Ella Fitzgerald.
A honky tonk hero and among the first to utilize the electric guitar, Tillman was also elected into the Nashville Songwriter's Hall of Fame in 1970 and into the even greater Country Music Hall of Fame in 1984.
"My only regret is that Floyd is not here to see this project completed," Pitcox said. "I know that he was very proud of those who honored him in this special way with their vocal performances. I like to think that he can hear it and that he is smiling that famous Floyd Tillman smile-from ear to ear."
From The Liner Notes
Inside "The Influence"
"For decades, his memorable songs have inspired many great artists and brought joy and pleasure to countless people. He is a true Lone Star legend." George W. Bush
"He was a great, great writer. But he was also a great, great friend. Floyd always had a big smile, and you knew it was real. You could tell that his music wasn't the typical country music of the time. I was asking him about some of his songs one day, and I told him that I really liked one called "I'll Keep On Loving You." I thought it would take a real special woman to inspire such a sweet love song, and Floyd told me he actually wrote it about his car." Willie Nelson
"He was always an idol of mine. A great talent and a wonderful person." Hank Thompson
"It was always fun to back Floyd. Even in the last few years, when he was getting' up there in years, Floyd would have a ball. He'd forget something, but he would just laugh and the audience would get a big kick out of it."