As I mentioned in an advance item in the July 24 edition, he performed his solo act with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Saturday and Sunday at the Meyerson Center in Dallas.
IN THE audience were Mary Ann and Bill Patterson of Gilmer and their son Jim and his wife of Dallas. Jim had contacted Mathis’ manager in advance, hoping they could work in a visit with the singer. In his usual gracious way, Johnny provided them with tickets and welcomed them backstage after the concert.
A longer story in the Aug. 18 Dallas Morning News Arts and Life section quoted Johnny as reflecting on his career. A deck of the headline read:
His voice has soothed since the ‘50s.
Music Critic Mario Tarradell wrote that when he recorded an album, Let It Be Me: Mathis in Nashville last year, he paid loving tribute to his father.
“My dad was from Texas, he was a good singer and he played piano a little bit,” Johnny was quoted. The critic noted that “the beloved crooner was born in Gilmer, Texas but reared in San Francisco.”
SONGS SUCH as Make the World Go Away, Shenandoah and Crazy were the first that Johnny heard, he said in a telephone interview from Los Angeles. He added, “My dad was my best friend, and we were good buddies. At the time that he was singing this stuff, Country Music was relegated to the hinterlands. People in San Francisco didn’t listen to this.”
TARRADELL WROTE that the classic songs Johnny sang, such as Chances Are and Misty and others, “helped seal his reputation as one of the premier pop vocalists of the last 50 years.”
With impressive humility, the singer said he was thankful for the help he has had from “some pretty extraordinary people.”
Among those cited were Barbra Streisand and Deniece Williams, vocalists; Henry Mancini and Percy Faith.
Mathis remembered that at age 20 he made a Christmas album with Faith.
“It’s amazing every Christmas to hear that stuff,” he commented.