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I've become good friends with Miss Nancy and George," says Daryle Singletary of his relationship with the legendary George Jones and his wife. "So I just called Miss Nancy -- I didn't want to bother George about it -- and I said, 'We're doing "Walk Through This World With Me." Would George be interested in singin' some harmony on it with me?' And she said, 'I'm sure he'd love to. Let me let you talk to the Possum.'
"She put George on the phone, and I asked him, 'Will you do it?' And he said, 'Son, anything I can do, I'd love to help you out.'"
As easy as that, Daryle Singletary had a commitment from one of country's greatest singers -- ever -- to sing on his new album, That's Why I Sing This Way, on a tune George took to No. 1 in 1967. That might have been more than enough for some people, but Daryle didn't stop there.
By the time he and his record label had finished making calls, they had received positive responses from Merle Haggard, Johnny Paycheck and Dwight Yoakam. They all wanted to sing on the album, which has just been released.
Merle sang on his 1985 hit "Make-Up And Faded Blue Jeans." And Dwight lent his voice to "Love's Gonna Live Here Again," the 1963 chart-topper from his Bakersfield buddy, Buck Owens.
But perhaps the truly special performance on the album is from Johnny, who interrupted a lengthy hospital stay to do a touching recitation of "Old Violin," a song he wrote and took to the charts back in 1986.
"It was so far-fetched to even think of asking Johnny," declares Daryle, "because, bless his heart, he's in the hospital and just really had not done anything. But about 30 minutes after we called, Johnny's manager called back and said, 'Man, I have never in my life seen the old man so excited about something. He said he'd love to do it.'"
Daryle's pretty excited, too. After all, these are the people he grew up listening to. These are the people he wanted to be like.
"It was just like a dream come true for me to be on a record with these guys -- especially on my record," says Daryle with a grin.
"These are the people who brought me to Nashville. I came here to be a traditional country singer. And these are the songs that I sang in the clubs when I moved to Nashville. That's why I'm here.
"That's why I sing this way."
-- David Scarlett