One of the most bizarre stories in all of popular music is the history of “Orange Blossom Special,” arguably the century's best-known fiddle tune. The man credited with its ownership, Ervin T. Rouse, endured tragedy,alcoholism and mental illness. He spent his last years fiddling for tips in isolated taverns at the edge of the Florida Everglades, and died all but unknown. The man who claimed co-ownership, Chubby Wise, achieved fame as theseminal fiddler of the bluegrass genre, but struggled to overcome personal demons and to heal the scars of childhood abandonment and abuse. This fascinating book uncovers how their legacies are forever linked with the legendarydiesel streamliner which inspired the tune six decades ago, as it roared through American history, bringing wonder and hope to every stop. Includes a Collector's CD of rare, unreleased original recordings of “Orange BlossomSpecial” by Bluegrass Etc., Byron Berline, Dennis Caplinger, Buddy Emmons, John Henry Gates, The Hellcasters, Gary Morse, Benny Martin and Mike Stevens. Also features the original Rouse Brothers recording from 1939, a liveperformance by Chubby Wise, and six vintage bonus tracks.
Randy Noles is a publisher of city/regional magazines in Florida. During his 25-year career, he has won awards for investigative reporting, feature writingand commentary. Born in Tuscaloosa, AL, he has lived in Orlando since 1967. He is married and has two children.
“If you go back and listen to Ervin and Gordon Rouse's original 1939 recording, it's easy to hear 'OrangeBlossom Special''s beauty, elegance and power. It bonds the romance of rambling around on trains with the mystique of a far-away land known as Florida. It is pure country music; it is pure Americana.”
from theforeword by Marty Stuart