Country Cookin'

"We hooked a mike to a cord and broadcast the whole thing live," Morey says. "Everyone loved it."

KLAK made number one within three years. Advertisers lined up, mail poured in, stars like Hank Williams visited on their way through town.

At the height of its success, in 1961, Morey sold KLAK to Ed "Sheriff Scotty" Scott, who hosted a kiddie show.

Morey made a pile of money with that station and a thousand friends. Funny thing, though, he never became a DJ.

A 1957 Martin D-28. The color of maple syrup and pancakes. Weighs more than other guitars. Has more volume, too, especially on the base strings. Hold it close to the microphone, that's all you need. The neck is straight and true; frets 100 percent accurate. When you give it a tune, it holds for months.

Elvis had one like it. When the King died, the guitar went for $125,000. Morey got his for free, from Happy Logan Music Co. as a trade for KLAK advertising time.

It doesn't have a nickname, but it should. It slides into Morey's hand like it's part of his body. After forty years, nothing else feels right.

Julia studied classical violin at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio. She was a trained concert violinist and played with symphonies in Cleveland. After her parents divorced, she followed her mother to Washington, D.C. When she met Morey, she kept her violin under her bed. He taught her to play honky-tonk; she taught him to perform the classics. He couldn't read sheet music; she couldn't play without it.

Match made in heaven.
Morey and Julia worked up ten country-and-Western numbers and played the best lounges in D.C. and the worst bars in Denver. People paid good money to hear them sing.

Julia died six years ago. Morey kept her 220-year-old violin for a few years, then sold it for $20,500. When he closes his eyes, he can still hear it.

Aw, hell, he doesn't know all the records in the damn thing. He picked it up somewhere in 1960 and hasn't changed it since. It's a Wurlitzer Centennial: bubble top, orange neon trim, chrome grill.

He plays it when he has company. He'd prefer to play live, but most of his bandmates have died. The instruments in the music room all have dust on them.

What do we have here..."Oklahoma Hills," by Hank Williams. "Slippin' Around," by Margaret Whiting and Jimmy Whitefield. "Daddy Played Bass," by Johnny Cash. "Indescribably Blue," by Elvis. "For the Good Times," by Ray Price. "Crying Time," by Dinah Shore.

How about this one: B-13, "Paradise Isle," by Leon Allison and Fred Bergin.
Morey's daughter, Lyda Quast-Iversen, plays the organ. She has music in her blood. Just like Morey. Just like Julia.

Listen to that. Sure sounds pretty. Steel guitar dripping tears. Close your eyes. Let it soak in.

What else.
Morey owns two Cadillac DeVilles, one red and one white, the biggest models they make, the only cars he drives.

He built a pool in his backyard a while back. Poured some concrete.
He got a great auction deal on a mermaid coffee table. A deer trophy, too.
You know, his eyes don't work as good as they used to, but after he had his cataracts fixed, he sees 20/20. With his specs on, of course.

He has a nervous condition, ataxia. It makes him take itty-bitty shuffling steps. Frustrates the hell out of him.

Still smokes, though. Couple of packs a day. Misty extra longs. Ladies' cigarettes.

"I don't know how I got hooked on them," he says. "I think they were giving them away. I've been smoking since I was four years old. Used to sneak puffs from granddaddy's pipe when he set it down. I'm not quitting now."

He's still drinking, too. Seagram's Seven, blended whiskey.
"I've drank enough whiskey in my life to float a battleship," he grumbles. "But I'm down to a drink a day now."

Let's see...
He built another radio station in Estes Park, KKEP, then sold it.
He grows tomatoes with his buddy Ralph Clark, who's a master gardener.

He has lady friends, too. About four of them. The main one drops off little gifts now and then.

This makes Morey smile.
Beam, actually.
"I've always got along with women," he says. "I pat them on the butt and they like it just fine. I might walk like a drunk, but above the knees I'm raring to go. And I do, too."

Contact Harrison Fletcher at his online address,, or by phone at 303-293-3553.

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