Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Who Yer Daddy? Part 2 Clayton McMichen Story


Here's the only photo I have of Clayton McMichen's Georgia Wildcats with then 18 year-old Merle Travis. (Click To Enlarge)

Clayton has arm around Merle, after all he was Merle's mentor and briefly his father, at least for one day!

That one day, according to Travis was in March 1937. Merle told Clayton he and his fiance were under age and couldn't get married and Clayton replied:

"The hell you are, son. Right now I'm your pappy. I'll tell the justice of peace I'm your father."

So it came to pass that Clayton McMichen and Bert Layne (who posed as the girl's father), former members of Skillet Lickers and two of the most famous fiddler's in the world married off Merle and Mary Elizabeth Johnson.

At the time Juanita McMichen Lynch, Mac's daughter who lived in an old house in Covington with Mac and the Wildcats added, "We had a honeymoon from Merle back at the house."

According to legend Juanita added, "The preacher that married them recognized Mac and turned to him and asked, 'Do you expect me to believe that you are this boy's father?' Mac reassured the preacher and the ceremony went on."

In 1982 at the end of his life Merle did a tribute to Mac, a recording titled "The Clayton McMichen story." Mac died in 1970 but Merle wrote Juanita:

"I only wish we could have made this album half as great as your Dad was-

Your friend,

Merle Travis 1982"

Merle died later that year. His tribute to his mentor was the final musical act of his great career.

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