Shellman’s annual Boudleaux and Felice Bryant Festival honors the hall-of-fame husband-wife songwriting team known for hits such as “Bye Bye Love,” and “All I Have to Do Is Dream.” (Special Photo)
SHELLMAN — The package — including the book titled “All I Have to Do Is Dream: The Boudleaux and Felice Bryant Story” — is quite amazing.
Shared by Dewey Hall — an Albany fan of the hall-of-fame songwriting Bryants and one of the sparks behind Shellman’s annual Boudleaux and Felice Bryant Festival — it’s a combination history of the renowned husband-wife songwriting team and a treasure of three CDs worth of music and a companion DVD.
Among the recordings on the CDs are originals by “Little” Jimmy Dickens (“Country Boy”), Ernest Tubb (“Somebody’s Stolen My Honey”), Kitty Wells (“I’d Rather Stay Home”), Porter Wagoner (“Pay Day”), Roy Orbison (“Love Hurts”), Tex Ritter (“Fall Away”), Emmylou Harris (“Sleepless Nights”), Lynn Anderson (the classic “Rocky Top”), George Jones (“Where Did the Sunshine Go?”) and Ricky Nelson (“I’m Not Afraid”).
There are songs recorded by either Boudleaux alone (“Money Tree,” “Train Time,” “She Never Crossed My Mind” and “Devoted to You”), Felice alone (“Honeysuckle Summer”) or by Boudleaux and Felice together (“Too Hot to Dance”). And then there are those incredible classics recorded by the Everly Brothers: “Bye Bye Love,” “Bird Dog,” “All I Have to Do Is Dream,” “Problems” and “Wake Up, Little Susie.”
All written by the Bryants.
“My first thought was to put this package together and market it,” Dane Bryant, Boudleaux and Felice’s son, said in a phone call from his Nashville home. “I talked with Malcolm Mills, who owns Proper Records in London, because he’d done these kind of packages before. I spent about six years getting everything together, trying to get licensing (for all the songs), and by the time I got it put together, Malcolm had changed directions. With a package like this, if one person says no, that kills the whole thing.
“So I decided to print the book, CDs and DVD as a promotional package. It’s not for sale. We’re trying to get it into the right hands, find someone interested in recording some of my parents’ music. If Miley Cyrus decides to record one of these songs, it will pay for the package.”
Dane Bryant lovingly gathered photos of his camera-shy parents for “All I Have to Do Is Dream,” then signed Lee Wilson to write the famous songwriters’ story. It’s a story that starts, for Boudleaux, in small-town Shellman and passes significantly through Moultrie. For Matilda Genevieve “Felice” Scaduto Bryant, the story began in Milwaukee.
The couple met in Milwaukee on Valentine’s Day 1945, and within a few days they had eloped. There was one problem, though. Felice was married to another man at the time. With the help of her initially outraged mother, Felice obtained a divorce, and on Sept. 5, the couple was legally married. They moved to Moultrie and, after a short period, started what would become a lifetime passion and career, writing songs.
In 1948, Little Jimmy Dickens recorded their “Country Boy,” and they were on their way. The next year three of their songs — “One Two Three Four Five Foot Six” (Ernie Lee), “Give Me Some Sugar, Sugar Baby” (The Three Suns) and T. Texas Tyler’s version of “Country Boy” — were recorded by significant artists. The Bryants moved to Nashville the following year, and the hits started flowing.
“My parents loved the (music) business, loved the people in the industry,” Dane Bryant said. “But they were never big on attention. When I started digging for photos for the book, we ended up using just about every one we found. There just weren’t many around.
“But what I want people to remember most about my parents is that they were wonderful people. The way they raised us was a wonderful gift. I have some amazing memories from my time with them, and I think my dad would especially be proud of this project we’ve put together. I’m sure he would have been proud of the festival they have down in Shellman every year.”
The third Boudleaux and Felice Bryant Festival will take place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Shellman’s Veterans Memorial Park. Admission is free, and activities include hayrides, pony rides, inflatables and face-painting for kids, as well as antique cars and tractors for adults. Food and drink vendors will also be on hand.
“This is always a fun and family-friendly event,” Hall said.
No festival honoring the Bryants would be complete without music, and artists scheduled to perform Saturday include Bubba Hall, “The Singin’ Injun” Leo Harrison and other local talent.
Shellman is located on Ga. Highway 41 off U.S. Highway 82. Proceeds from the Boudleaux and Felice Bryant Festival will benefit the Randolph County Veterans Committee.