Christmas CD Locally Benefits North Georgia Charity

Friday, November 16, 2012
Alan Autry, on left, and Randall Franks review notes at Southern Tracks Studios 20 years ago while recording the “Christmas Time’s A Comin’” CD.
Alan Autry, on left, and Randall Franks review notes at Southern Tracks Studios 20 years ago while recording the “Christmas Time’s A Comin’” CD.

It was just over 20 years ago that the stars of In the Heat of the Night stepped into the recording studio to raise their voices to assist charities that focused on drug abuse prevention.

Show stars Alan Autry, “Bubba Skinner,” and Randall Franks, “Officer Randy Goode,” organized the effort under Autry-Franks Productions bringing together the cast and numerous stars of country, bluegrass and gospel music to assist. 

To mark the anniversary, the “Christmas Time’s A Comin’” CD is available again in association with original partner Sonlite Records, but this time exclusively through the non-profit Share America Foundation, Inc. continuing the original purpose denoted by the cast and music stars.

“This project was a labor of love for us back then and Alan and I discussed earlier this year that we needed to share it once again with the millions of Heat fans who still watch us everyday and may have missed it the first time around,” Mr. Franks said. 

Mr. Franks, who lives in Ringgold, was the studio producer on the eight-month long production that included over 60 performers, visited seven studios in four states, included 12 recording engineers and took over 175 studio hours to complete.

“Christmas is a time for family and as we look back now, we notice that there are a few vacant chairs left by our Heat family and those entertainers that supported this project, so it makes us cherish these recordings even that much more,” Mr. Franks said. "Christmas music is timeless and I know these recordings will touch hearts this Christmas and for many decades to come."

The CD was originally released in association with Sonlite Records, Crimson Records and MGM/UA Television. 

Mr. Autry and Mr. Franks joined other cast members including the late Carroll O'Connor, the late Howard Rollins, Anne-Marie Johnson, David Hart, Geoffrey Thorne, and Crystal Fox to perform a favorite Christmas song. Other cast members including Wilbur Fitzgerald, Bob Penny and Sharon Pratt joined in on group performances of "Jingle Bells" and "Christmas Time's A Comin'.''

Mr. Franks and Mr. Autry brought together several music stars that donated their performances. Among them Country Music Hall of Fame members Jimmy Dickens, Hargus “Pig” Robbins, the late Kitty Wells, the late Pee Wee King, and the late Grant Turner.

Other stars included Jesse McReynolds, the late Jim McReynolds, Jerry Douglas, the Whites, Mac Wiseman, the Marksmen Quartet, Ralph Stanley, the Lewis Family, the late Doug Dillard, the late Chubby Wise, Mose Davis, Bobby Wright, the late Johnnie Wright, the late Josh Graves, the late Jimmy Martin, Buddy Spicher, Jim Hoke, Abe Manuel, Jr., Ken Holloway, John Farley, Bill Everett, the late Gene Daniell and Wayne Lewis. 

The project includes the sounds of bluegrass, jazz, rhythm and blues, Cajun, country and pop. 

Mr. Franks said one unique opportunity this time around is fans can also see never-before-seen original interviews and studio video about the project from cast members from the studios as special Internet features at Randall Franks TV on YouTube between now and Christmas.

Locally in Northwest Georgia, monies raised from the project will benefit the Catoosa Prevention Initiative - Teen Maze 2013. Phil Ledbetter, Catoosa Family Collaborative coordinator, said that project encourages youth to make the right choices in many situations including with drugs and alcohol. 

"Our Catoosa Teen Maze is designed to allow young people the opportunity to explore life like situations and their consequences without having to suffer the real life permanency and pain," he said. 

Christmas Time's A Comin' is available in Ringgold at Cottage Treasures, Kozy Boutique, Tillie Towne and Uniktings! and in Fort Oglethorpe at Tootie’s Treasures. 

It is also available online at www.shareamericafoundation.org or via mail for a donation of $20, inside the U.S. ,and $25, outside the U.S., to the Share America Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 42, Tunnel Hill, Ga. 30755. 



The Florida Boys To Appear At The Ringgold Depot August 8

The Florida Boys will appear at Sacred Sounds Fridays, August 8 at 7:30 p.m. at the Ringgold Depot, Depot St. and U.S. 41 in Ringgold in a special concert for the Share America Foundation, Inc. Randall Franks, “Officer Randy Goode” from TV’s “In the Heat of the Night” will emcee. Continuing a 67-year legacy that has touched millions through record, television on shows such ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Native Places Top 5 In Hooters International Swimsuit Pageant

Chattanooga local Ashley Dill placed third runner up out of 100 glamorous Hooters Girl contestants from around the world last week at the 18 th  annual Hooters International Swimsuit Pageant in Vegas, and was selected by a panel of celebrity judges, including retired American Light Heavyweight UFC fighter and Hall of Famer Stephan Bonnar, reality star Sig Hansen, ... (click for more)

Federal Judge Stops Erlanger Foreclosure Of Hutcheson Hospital

In a ruling Friday, a Federal Court Judge in Rome agreed with Hutcheson Medical Center and Regions Bank to grant the request for an injunction, effectively stopping the foreclosure efforts of Erlanger Health System against Hutcheson. In stopping the foreclosure set for next Tuesday, the judge held that the public interest in keeping the hospital doors open was “insurmountable.”  ... (click for more)

Mediated Resolution Reached In TVA Kingston Lawsuits

A mediated global resolution has been achieved in 63 lawsuits pending in U.S. District Court involving more than 850 plaintiffs asserting claims against the Tennessee Valley Authority arising from the 2008 ash spill at Kingston Fossil Plant. The resolution, outlined in documents submitted Friday to the U.S. District Court in Knoxville, comes after nearly two years of ... (click for more)

A Tennessee Transplant's Thoughts On Age And Politics - And Response

I have read several opinions favoring the job performance of Representative Fleischmann as well the apparent disdain that they have for his challenger and his age.  I must disclose that unfortunately, I am unable to cast a vote in the 3rd District Republican primary.  I will however always be a Chattanoogan.  As a result, I feel more engaged in East Tennessee politics ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Orchids And Onions

With record low temperatures being recorded around the South, I didn’t know what I’d find in my garden on the first day of August but – sure enough -- there is a profusion of orchids and onions. The start of college football will be later this month and, with the chilly mornings, fall practice is a far cry from what it will be when the sweltering heat comes back next week. Here’s ... (click for more)