Country Boy Eddie takes the stage again

Country Boy Eddie Burns sits in front of an exhibit from his TV show as he is interviewed Wednesday at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in Tuscumbia.

It's been roughly 16 years since Country Boy Eddie Burns retired from his long running homespun country music television show that featured rising stars such as Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette.

Now 81 years old, Burns came to the Alabama Music Hall of Fame on Wednesday to shoot a segment for the WBRC television show "Absolutely Alabama."

The Birmingham Fox affiliate decided that using the old Country Boy Eddie television show set that was donated to the hall of fame would be the perfect place to shoot the segment, "Absolutely Alabama" host Fred Hunter said.

Hunter said WBRC was remodeling a studio and about to get rid of the old wooden front porch set out when someone contacted the hall of fame to see if they wanted it.

"They literally saved it from the dumpster," Hunter said.

During a break, Burns was seated on a bench beside the old tour bus belonging to the country group Alabama, talking to singer/songwriter Jim Marlboro, who appeared on the show numerous times and wrote a song, "The Country Boy Eddie Show Song," which he performed for "Absolutely Alabama."

Burns was 27 years old when "The Country Boy Eddie Show" began.

The show aired from 1957-95 and was seen across the state and other areas on cable television.

"That show was the best part of my life," Burns said. "I wish I could do it again." A combination of down-home humor and music, Burns' show featured some of the biggest names in country music, including Eddie Arnold, Roy Acuff and Bill Monroe.

Even though people would question his reasoning, Burns said he allowed virtually anyone to perform on his show. Some were good, some not so good.

"That helped my show," Burns said. "I love people, and I love people who didn't have a chance."

Burns is familiar with the Shoals and its rich musical tradition. He's performed with noted Shoals bluegrass artists Jake Landers and Herschel Sizemore and the late Rual Yarbrough.

On Wednesday, Burns performed on the old wooden set that features his photo, one of his fiddles and the trademark stuffed possum that was given to him by an Oakman resident.

"The Country Boy Eddie Show" set is in the rear of the hall of fame, near a car belonging to Happy Al Burns, another Birmingham radio and television celebrity who gave Eddie Burns his start.

Burns said they were not related, but Al Burns allowed him to play on his show when he was 13.

Eddie Burns said he doesn't listen to that much of today's country music.

"It's a little rockish," he said.

The country music he prefers is the kind that involves steel guitars, flat-top guitars, banjos and fiddles.

Burns said he prefers getting online and watching old Eddie Arnold and Ray Price videos.

He still likes artists such as Charlie Daniels, The Statler Brothers and Alan Jackson.

Hunter also interviewed hall of fame Executive Director Wiley Barnard, who said the "Absolutely Alabama" episode will give the hall of fame a bit of extra exposure.

The show will also feature a performance by Jasper resident Freddie Wade, who is a auditioning to be a contestant on the X-Factor television show, a musical competition reality show in the vein of American Idol.

Russ Corey can be reached at 256-740-5738 or russ.corey@TimesDaily.com.

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