About A Special Friend
Chuck who you see pictured above was a musician who traveled with some of the big name bands back in the day as a lead guitarist and singer. Chuck Gibson was his stage name. His real name is Charles Lieurance.
The real story is how I met Chuck and how our friendship grew over time. It was a complete stroke of fate many moons ago. Kathleen and I were living and traveling full-time in our RV and happened to land in Zapata, Texas for the winter. I was in to doing Karaoke on the internet as a hobby (never very good at it, but just having fun). Through Bass Fishing I met a fellow fisherman who had a park model on a lot overlooking the water of Falcon Lake and we got to talking about Karaoke. He told me that he liked to sing and I was invited to bring my internet computer gear over to his place one evening as he wanted to see how I was doing it. Kathleen and I joined George and Lucy on their patio outside and as the wives talked, George and I played around singing a few Karaoke songs as I introduced George to the internet program I was using.
It was getting late in the evening and had turned quite dark when out of the darkness appeared a hunched over figure of a small man navigating with a walker, and much effort. He asked what we were doing and I told him we were singing some on-line Karaoke. He pondered that for a moment and asked If he could maybe try it. I said sure, gave up my seat to him, and asked him what song he would like to try.
Chuck said, “I just recently lost my wife to cancer and as I cared for her in her last days she would often ask me to sing to her. The one she always requested was a Willie Nelson song. ” Always On My Mind.” That was an easy song to pull up on the system. I handed Chuck the microphone and said, “when I hit this button, get ready as the words will appear here on the computer screen.” I do not know why to this day, but I hit record, rather than just hit the button to play the music and allow singing. The music started, and one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard, began to sing. The wives turned their attention to listen, George and I sat awe struck as Chuck sang with so much feeling. I remember looking at him, his eyes were closed, as he didn’t need to see the words. There was a tear sliding its way down his cheek and I won’t lie. There were a few other cheeks with tears streaming down as well. I of course have saved that recording on my computer and will treasure it for as long as I live. I am going to show the link for it below so you too can enjoy it. You will need your sound turned up as the recording from that night was a little soft. Enjoy.
It turned out that Chuck lived in a tiny twenty five foot trailer next to George and Lucy’s park model but they had not really got to know each other yet as Chuck pretty much had kept to himself. It was our music attempts that drew him out.
Rather than bore you with too much detail, over several years of traveling to Zapata, Texas and spending winters, Kathleen and my friendship with George and Lucy and ultimately with Chuck grew through music and of course food. George, being a true socialite, was known by many in the RV park and he would jump on his golf cart, make a run through the park, letting everyone he saw know that tomorrow night he was going to do fajitas and everyone was invited.
The event called fahita night was every Wednesday night. George would furnish the grill, meat, etc., and usually everyone would bring a dish to pass. The Karaoke was always fun as others beside myself and George would join in. Eventually, Chuck with his guitar and ampliphiers would show up and of course he then became the headliner for the night. This continued on each Wednesday night for several years during the winter months and the entertainment that Chuck so freely provided will be remembered by many. Our gatherings grew from just a few to upwards of 30 to 40 couples at times.
From the very beginning Chucks health was starting to deteriorate. He would entertain with endless songs that were not karaoke, but rather, him picking the guitar and singing from memory. Always a couple of beers near by his feet as he would often pause and say, “time to wet the whistle.” There was always respectful silence from the crowd as he sang and always the night was filled with requests from the crowd. I can hear them now, “would you sing,” Heart-aches By The Numbers, I’m so Lonesome I Could Cry, Your Cheatin’ Heart, Help Me Make It Through The Night, Kansas City, Welcome to My World, and one of my favorites, Long Gone Lonesome Blues, and on and on. Chuck rarely ran out of songs and his guitar skills were excellent.
Chucks deteriorating health eventually caught up with him and he moved away from the RV Park to live with his Daughter and Son-in-Law. Our gatherings at George and Lucy’s Pad eventually ended as well
Kathleen and I treasure those memories, those gatherings, those friendships, but most of all the opportunity to enjoy a mans continued attempt to entertain. He always got a twinkle in his eye as he took that last sip of beer and began to play.
Thank You Chuck.
PS: Chuck cut a demo record in Nashville in the 90’s as he and other entertainers tried to make it a hit. Chucks rendition was not chosen by the DJ’s of the time, but John Schneider, of the Dukes of Hazard Fame went on to sell many copies of the song, “Better Class of Losers”.
Here is Chucks recording of that song: