November 14, 2013.
Flash back in time 99 years. It is November 14th in the little mining town of Centrahoma, Oklahoma, and a young couple has welcomed their first child, a tiny, dark little boy. That little boy, christened Hubert Paul Flatt at birth, grew up to be a beloved singer named Ken Carson.
Picking up his guitar at the tender age of 13, the persevering boy soon made his way into performance, organizing his friends into a band and performing for town events. Undaunted by the fact that he was a ‘poor boy’ from the ‘south end of town’, he even made a little money with his little harmonica troupe, as well as his jobs working caddy for the more well-to-do citizens at the town golf course.
Fast forward to the year 1934. Ken is now in Chicago, working as Hubert “Shorty” Flatt/Carson as a member of the Ranch Boys on radio and records.
Flash forward another ten years, and he’s working with the Sons of the Pioneers, recording, touring, and appearing in Hollywood Westerns with the King of the Cowboys, Roy Rogers. World War Two is raging, and Ken works swing shifts at the Lockheed air plant. To top it all, he’s also got his own radio show!
In 1954, he’s in New York, appearing on the popular Garry Moore Show as a singing cast member, singing on radio, and recording promotional jingles for advertisements.
1964: Ken is two years post-production for his successful album set “Treasury of the Golden West”, produced by the Longines Symphonette Recording Society. For that project he had been awarded the Gold Record for the albums selling over half a million copies!
Ten years later, in 1974, Ken was still in his New York home: Performing for numerous benefits, festivals, private events, and parties. He was an active as ever in his beloved golf, and by this time had won numerous tournaments and championships.
1994 was the last turn of the year that Ken was to see. Performing until the last few weeks of his life, Ken Carson died at age 79 on April 7, 1994. With almost eight decades under his belt, his full life was over.
Today, November 14th, 2013, we honor the life of Ken Carson. 99 years after his birth, we still enjoy his voice, his songs, and his music. For his birthday, there have been a number of songs uploaded to the Ken Carson YouTube channel, and can be viewed as a playlist here.
Happy 99th birthday to Kenny Carson, “The singing whistler of the west”!