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 Professional Actor Training Program At Chattanooga State Presents Boys' Life

The Professional Actor Training Program at Chattanooga State will presents Boys' Life, opening Friday. The show runs for three performances only, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.  Performances take place in the Humanities Theatre on the Chattanooga State campus, 4501 Amnicola Hwy.  Admission is free. Reservations are not needed.    ... (click for more)

Grammy Winner Michael McDonald Plays At Walker Theatre July 24

Michael McDonald will perform at Walker Theatre on July 24.  Doors open at 7 p.m. and the concert begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $125, $79.50 and $49.50 (plus applicable fees) and available here beginning Friday.  Review for Michael McDonald:  With a career that encompasses five Grammys, numerous chart successes and personal and professional accolades, as ... (click for more)

Jury Clears Juvenile Judge Philyaw Of Discrimination Charge In Dismissal Of Openly Gay Magistrate

A federal jury deliberated about an hour on Tuesday afternoon before ruling in favor of Juvenile Court Judge Rob Philyaw, who had been sued by an openly gay magistrate that he dismissed. Judge Travis McDonough had dismissed the other two defendants - Court Administrator Sam Mairs and Hamilton County - from the case at the close of the proof. Judge Philyaw said, "I thank the ... (click for more)

Attorney Elliott Says City Council Action On Mountain Creek Zoning Case "Highly Irregular And Highly Illegal"

The City Council on Tuesday night took action on a Mountain Creek zoning case, though attorney Sam Elliott said it was "highly irregular and highly illegal." The council voted 7-2 to instruct the city attorney to file a new zoning case on a section of the former Quarry golf course against the wishes of the owner of the property and the developer who plans to buy it. Attorney ... (click for more)

Why Can't Someone Unstop The Water Buildup Problem At The I-24 Cummings Highway Exit? - And Response

Exit 174 on westbound Interstate 24 is closed again as is the westbound entrance ramp. Cummings Highway is shut as well. I inquired at TDOT on Dec. 28, 2015, why this continues to happen. The engineer’s response was that the drain from ground west of the interstate runs under private land and cover over it has caused that pipe to collapse. Obviously flow still goes through, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Corker And ‘The Code’

Of all the vows, pledges, and bonds born unto the human race, nothing overrides “The Code.” It is an unwritten but deeply important knowledge that men should abide with equal respect, fierce loyalty, and chivalrous understanding of one another. For example, The Code dictates you must not and can never date a good friend’s ex-girlfriend, or ex-wife. Rather, you respect your friend ... (click for more)