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. 



Free Screening Of Disney's Ratatouille Movie At Dalton State's Goodroe Auditorium On June 11

The public is invited to a free screening of the Disney animated film, Ratatouille, on Thursday, June 11 at 6:30 p.m. in Dalton State’s Goodroe Auditorium. The film is sponsored by Dalton State’s Roberts Library.  The 2007 family film is about a rat named Remy, who dreams of becoming a renowned French chef. But he faces opposition from his family and from society. ... (click for more)

New York Recording Artist Ms. Jocelyn Arndt With Ryan Oyer And Jess Goggans At The Camp House Saturday

Chattanooga Live Music presents Ms. Jocelyn Arndt, Ryan Oyer and Jess Goggans on Saturday, from  8-11 p.m. at The Camp House.  Tickets are $8 advance, or $12 day of show. Review on Jocelyn Arndt: Jocelyn Arndt crafts songs that evoke breathtaking emotion. Through ideal combination of melody and lyric, Ms. Arndt's music connects with her audience in a way that ... (click for more)

Dr. Linda Cash Chosen Bradley County School Director

Dr. Linda Cash, assistant director of schools for Robertson County Schools, has been chosen as the new school director for Bradley County Schools. The Bradley County School Board on Tuesday voted 5-2 to hire Dr. Cash to replace Johnny McDaniel, who was fired in a close board vote.  The other finalist was Bill Heath, who has been director of Lawrence County Schools since ... (click for more)

City Council Looking Into Need For City Court

City Council Chair Carol Berz on Tuesday brought up the issue of whether, under its charter, the city is required to have a City Court. She also asked Assistant City Attorney Phil Noblett to look into the issue of whether the city is required to have two divisions of City Court. Attorney Noblett said he also will look into the ramifications of the Municipal Court Reform Act ... (click for more)

County Officials Need To Provide A Decent Animal Shelter

Once upon a time, a group of citizens concerned about the decaying building housing the Humane Educational Society on Highland Park raised their voices in an outcry about the deplorable state of the HES facility and the over-population of unwanted and unspayed/unneutered cats and dogs in Hamilton County.   What happened then was that the City Council stepped ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Two More Kick Out UAW

Woody Hayes, the great Ohio State football coach, used to teach his players to “paralyze resistance with persistence” but, my word, the likable theory has taken quite a beating in the past two years at the NTN-Bower ball-bearing plant in Hamilton, Ala. The workers there voted to decertify from the United Auto Workers union two years ago but getting the UAW out the door has turned ... (click for more)