Peggy Sue Interview

(Photo credit: Gor Megaera)

Peggy Sue isn't the first name that comes to mind when you hear the country classic "Don't Come Home A Drinkin' (With Lovin' On Your Mind", but it was Peggy Sue who co-wrote big sister Loretta Lynn's very first #1 song in 1966. It wasn't long after that Decca Records signed Peggy Sue to a recording contract of her very own. Peggy's very first single as a recording artist titled, "I'm Dynamite" debuted on the Country Charts in 1969 and climbed all the way to #28. Decca soon released Peggy's debut album, of the same name, produced by the legendary Owen Bradley.  Such hits as "I'm Gettin' Tired of Babyin' You", "Love Whatcha Got At Home" and "You're Leavin' Me For Her, Again" soon followed after with each one finding a place in the Top 40 Country Charts. Peggy Sue quickly returned to the studio to record her follow up album, “All American Husband,” that was released in 1970. The singles, "All American Husband" and "Apron Strings" found a safe place on the Country Charts. During the seventies, Peggy Sue continued to release singles and finding chart success.


Peggy Sue married singer/songwriter Sonny Wright, who fronted Loretta's band in the 60's, and traveled with Sonny as a duo during the seventies and eighties. Peggy then decided to step back from her own spotlight and tour wit her baby sister, Crystal Gayle as her back ground vocalist. When not touring full time with Crystal, you can at times find Peggy singing back up with Loretta.


Country Stars Central recently caught up with Peggy Sue at her home just outside of Nashville for an exclusive interview covering the highlights of her exciting career in country music, heartfelt stories from her childhood, fond memories of Loretta and Crystal, plus much more!!



(CSC) 1. Thanks for your time! What’s the latest with you?


(Peggy Sue)

Well I’ve been out there on the road with Crystal and I’ve got a little garden in the back yard. I’m going to make Dill pickles from the recipe that mom had. Crystal’s daughter had the recipe and we learned how to do it so we could hand it down to the family. They call them “Peggy’s Pickles.” They’re Dill pickles.



(CSC) 2. What has it been like being able to tour with your sister Crystal Gayle?


(Peggy Sue)

It’s good. It doesn’t put a lot of stress on me like it does on her. You know I do the back up vocals, so I can just chill out while she’s out there stressing and a’ singing (Laughs) I like that part!!



(CSC) 3. I know you’re quite the jokester. What are some of your funniest moments from the road?


(Peggy Sue)

Oh Goodness! This is one is a story from Lake Tahoe, when Loretta, Crystal and I were doing a show together. We were all on the stage a’ singing and a’ talking and I was going to tell some jokes. I got mixed up about this little dog that carried his six guns but it came out as tit guns. I didn’t think Loretta was going to make it. I don’t know why I said it and after I said it, it just stopped all of us. I said “What did I just say?”  I laughed and I thought I was going to have to leave but that’s the way we do when we get together. We never get anything done!!



(CSC) 4. What are the first and the last thing that runs through your mind before you take the stage and after you get off of it?


(Peggy Sue)

First thing, I usually stand beside the stage and I’ll say mommy and daddy help me get through this; I’ll talk to you later. If nothing happens then when I get off I just go whew!! I always ask for their help. You know I get so nervous anyway sometimes because you don’t know how the people are going to accept you. So I ask my parents for help even though they probably don’t hear me but I believe they do.



(CSC) 5. Coming from a large family, tell me where do you fall into place, and what was life like growing up in Kentucky?


(Peggy Sue)

I was number six out of eight. I was born at home at Butcher Holler. Crystal was born in Paintsville, Kentucky. I always say that’s why she’s different! (Laughs) You know and they get prettier with more practice that they’ve had! That’s what I tell her. She says “You crazy thing you!” You know back in Kentucky, where we had a chance to grow up as kids, we just played and did our chores and all the things that we were suppose to do. We had a lot of play time. We made all of our toys. This and that you know! That’s a good time! The boys, they played Cowboys and Indians all the time and played music a lot. It was good. You know I never heard mom or dad say anything about us being poor, or not having enough money to buy us something if we needed anything; they never would tell us that. So we just thought that, well that we were just as good as the people next door. They didn’t have anything either. You know we were all the same. We never asked for a lot. We just knew as long as we had something to eat, something to play with and that mommy and daddy was there we were fine. We had gone to school in a one room school house. They would teach from the first grade up to the eighth. So if you were in the fifth grade you already knew what was going to happen. You couldn’t study because the other classes were doing their thing. It was fun. I really enjoyed growing up there.



(CSC) 6. What did your parents teach you musically? Does the musical influence come from both sides?


(Peggy Sue)

It was mom, she sang more but the music was on that side and my daddy’s side. We all sat around and played the mandolin, fiddle and different things and singing all the time. It came from both sides. After everybody had everything done we’d have a big bonfire out in the yard and we’d sit around and sing and play. I can remember the popcorn. We’d pop enough for everybody. It’s like today the people go out and camp, we had it all the time. We were carrying the water in. We didn’t have water so we’d bring it in. We didn’t have all that stuff like flashlights, we had candles. We didn’t have any of that stuff to make sure there wasn’t anything around. We shared beds with each other. You wonder how in the world I ever read a book. (Laughs)



(CSC) 7. Tell me about your sisters Loretta Lynn and Crystal. What do you treasure most about them as entertainers and as your siblings?


(Peggy Sue)

Loretta was second oldest. She was thirteen or fourteen. She took care of me ‘til I was nine. She has the charisma. Some people have it, some don’t. A lot of people have to work at it. You can see it around her, it’s like an aura. I wanted to sound like her so bad when I was younger that I would listen to all of her records and I would sit there and sing them. Then when I started singing I sounded so much like her that they didn’t want me. They told me I sounded too much like her. So then I tried a different thing and then they told me “No you’re trying to sound too pop.”


I still can’t say some words today the way that they’re suppose to be. I just laugh and go on because that’s the way you are. No need in trying to change. Loretta will get up and sing with her back hurting, I still don’t know how she does it. The dresses she wears are so heavy and hot. Once she put them on, now they expect it from her. She said “I can’t let ’em down. They want to see that.”  I treasure everything about her. I can call her up when I want to any time. She’ll give me advice. Her being my sister is an extra! She’ll say “Peg you need help?” She’s always been good to me. I just treasure her. She is down to earth. If she wasn’t it just wouldn’t be her. I’m happy to be her sister.


The same thing goes for Crystal. We don’t ever argue and we stay on the road all the time. We just get out there and do our little thing. We can read each other’s minds and know what’s going on. You know when you’re that close you can. She’s fantastic, she sure is! She’s first class.


(CSC) 8. You’ve written many songs in your career, what are a few of your most memorable?


(Peggy Sue)

Don't Come Home A Drinkin' is one for obvious reasons. My bank account loves that song as much as I do and I would have to say "I'm Getten Tired of Babying You".



(CSC) 9. Tell us about your playful performance of “Tippy Toeing” with Loretta and Crystal from the Crook and Chase TV program!


(Peggy Sue)

We got up there and said “Do we know the words?” I said I’ll try to just follow you guys (Laughs) that was fun! I don’t know if we got the words all right on it or not. Gosh! So we had fun playing together.



(CSC) 10. Will you ever record an album of solo material again?


(Peggy Sue)

Well I’ve been writing Native American songs. If I try to write anymore it has to be a song that’s got meaning to it, I start thinking about my daughter that passed away. It gets to where I can’t write about it. I got to get out of that and get back into doing it right. The Native American songs are more like truth, there not like a love song. A lot of people don’t write the truth. I did a lot of research. 



(CSC) 11. You mentioned losing your daughter. When did she pass away and how?


(Peggy Sue)

In 1991; she was twenty-three. Her husband shot her in the head. So to write a song that’s got anything in it that I might feel, it’s hard. So I’ve got to write something funny or something else. He got five years of what they call second degree homicide because he was drunk at the time. He spent almost two years. I talk about it all the time, just like she was here. When I go on stage I smile up at her. 



(CSC) 12. Your mother had a very special gift. Can you tell us about it?


(Peggy Sue)

Oh yes she did. She could read your coffee grounds and tell you when something was going to happen. They would pour a cup of coffee and put a little grounds in it that were left over from the old time pot. They’d drink the coffee. Then after you drink all the coffee down to the grounds you turn your cup upside down on the saucer. You start turning the cup and as you’re turning that cup you start thinking about something that you might have on your mind that you would like for her to tell you a few things about or whatever. Then she would pick the cup up, look close at the top of the cup at the grounds that was the road closest to your life. The bottom of the grounds was the past. She could read them right out there.


I know she told Crystal some stuff that happened. Then one time she saw a horse. I put in to win a horse. Who would ever think I would win a horse? Everybody was putting their names in this pot and I won that horse. Now what was I gonna do with a horse? I had to take it out to Loretta’s ranch and have them keep it. I don’t know whatever happened to that horse. (Laughs)


I think everybody has psychic ability if they’ll only use it and meditate. She would tell us stuff that her grandma would tell her. She used all the same old remedies to heal that the Native Americans used. She learned all that. It’s just a gift I guess, that if you want to use it you can. We can feel and sense. I know when we were out in Las Vegas I kept hearing my name called. “Hey Peg. Hey Peg” I looked around and there would be nobody around. I’d look and see no one. It sounded like my uncle. That’s how he would call me “Hey Peg.”  He passed away about two weeks after that. It was almost like he was getting in touch. When we hear names being called out anymore we just look at each other.  



(CSC) 13. What is your favorite song to sing onstage each night with Crystal?


(Peggy Sue)

“Talking In Your Sleep” and “Coal Miner's Daughter” are two of my favorites. It's too hard to pick just one.



(CSC) 14. When you’re not working, what dish do you enjoy cooking up most in the kitchen?


(Peggy Sue)

Pinto beans, turnip greens, mustard greens and corn bread (Laughs) I’m an old hillbilly at heart! I make the corn bread in an old iron skillet. That’s the same way that Loretta makes it. Oh it’s good! A lot of people say “Don’t you ever get tired of eating corn bread?”  I say “No cause we were raised on it.” I don’t eat that much meat. I like a good old piece of bologna, I guess! We eat a lot of chicken on the road. I try to keep myself a’ going out there!



(CSC) 15. What are you most thankful for at this point in your life?


(Peggy Sue)

Just to get out of bed each morning and to be able to do what I love to do for a living makes each day wonderful.



(CSC) 16. Out of all the places you’ve visited, where do you enjoy traveling the most?


(Peggy Sue)

Sedona, Arizona would be the place that I enjoy; the mountains, the weather, the energy and the people are so great. They seem to be down to earth people like in the sixties and seventies. I like that kind of style. A lot of them still have philosophically that tie-dyed stuff. I like that stuff and a lot of the Native American stuff. My house is like a teepee. I like New Mexico. There are so many different places that are so beautiful. You know I have never been anywhere where I thought the countryside was real ugly. So what he (God) may have made ugly is still beautiful to me! Like the Badlands, Montana, North Dakota and around there. That’s pretty! That’s just a different side of the desert. It’s pretty in its own way. I just like it.



(CSC) 17. Who are some fellow Country Music stars (male/female) you listen to?


(Peggy Sue)

Vern Gosdin. He has more heart and soul in his voice than any other male singer. Then I like George Strait, Alan Jackson, Merle Haggard, and George Jones. That’s the ones I listen to. We did an overseas tour with Merle.



(CSC) 18. Name THREE traits about yourself that Crystal and Loretta also share!!


(Peggy Sue)

1. We love the same kind of food, beans, potatoes & cornbread; you know Country food. We all love to use Mommy's old recipes and do canning 2. We all three love to paint and we're very artistic. 3. We have the love and respect for our Native American history and culture.  And I have to give you a 4th too cause it's true, we all love to gossip, usually about each other. I have so many more traits we all three share, but we can't talk about it here. (Laughs) Also our humor and our love for the U.S. and the Native Americans; they just didn’t get a fair shake, I don’t think. Then they talk about how these casinos are going up where they don’t run them half the time. I think that they, the tribes, should run them completely. They were here first. The English and the Spaniards came up and corrupted them. They would fight amongst each other over garden food.


Just different little things like that. It wasn’t like they had to get rid of everybody and say you’re going to be exterminated. It’s just the things that they did to them. I read these things and I think how can we say we were civilized when our ancestors did things like that? If it hadn’t been for them they wouldn’t have survived another winter. They didn’t even have to give them any food or show them how to grow anything the first time. There was mean ones just like the whites. It just still bothers me that they think they’re better and they’re not.


They never put it in the history books that we did all the things that we did to them. We have Cherokee in us plus I was looking it up the other day on daddy’s side, a great, great grandpa that married a full blood Chickasaw. 



(CSC) 19. What’s one thing in life that you would never do?


(Peggy Sue)

Prostitute! That would be it. I’d have to be down!