"The Possum and The Voice" is part of a blog series detailing Teresa Wright's experience as acoustic guitar player and high harmony singer on the Vern Gosdin "If You're Gonna Do Me Wrong Do It Right" U.S. Tour of 1983-84.
Vern was invited to be a Special Guest at the Grand Opening of George Jones Country, a stage and outdoor venue in Beaumont, Texas. We hit the road from concerts in East Tennessee to East Texas!
You would think this Alabama gal would know all about country music, but I had gotten into playing guitar and keyboard using new electronic sounds of the mid-eighties pop rock, and hadn't kept up with everything in country.
When were were right outside the venue during a sound check, a black limo rolled up and had a solid black tag on the front with large capital white lettering that said “POSSUM."
I remember asking my friends “What’s a Possum?" All they had to say was George Jones, you know, “He Stopped Loving Her Today." I had not known his nickname, but I knew that song!!
Besides Vern, two other headliners there were special guests Gail Davies, and John Anderson. At the time “Swinging” or as us Southerners were saying “Swangin” was still a giant hit for Anderson.
After we performed, we had front row seats to enjoy the other artists.
Here’s a fun memory that our drummer reminded me of recently.
George had stepped on stage and started his show. He had a beautiful flower garden specially designed that was right in front of the stage. He started singing and many ladies were rushing up to the stage to try to touch him. He stopped playing mid song and swung that guitar back over his shoulders like he often did and said in that low George voice, “Ladies, you are all SO beautiful, but don’t step on my flowers!"
East Texas was never the same after having Vern do “If You're Gonna Do Me Wrong, Do it Right” and Jones doing all his Top Hits on the same stage, and I never asked anyone ever what did Possum mean again.
I was officially baptized into country music that sunny beautiful day.
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