"Your Second 50 Years"
radio show with host Hedi Headley
September 22, 2002
Interview with Ralna English

From the Lawrence Welk Show, Miss Ralna English
(Background of Ralna singing "Embraceable You")

HH: One of my favorite songs and actually a fabulous vocalist is with us here in the studio here on "Your Second Fifty Years". With us is Ralna English, all of you know this fabulous lady. This is Hedi Headley. Great to have you with us, Ralna.

RE: Well, thanks, Heddy, it's so nice to be here.

HH: It is great to have you with us. Your "Embraceable You", that's on what-your romantic album, is it?

RE: Yes, it's called "My Favorite Love Songs." I did all these songs that my mom and dad always loved, like "Stardust" and Embraceable You, and "more than you know, and "I'll be Seeing You", and…a song, oh gosh, I can't think of the name of it right now that, two of my dear friends, songwriters, wrote…Gosh

HH: One of your favorite songs…let me give you your CD here…there you go.

RE: Yeah, let me see…yeah, it's…oh, "To Each His Own"…Oh, you remember that…

HH: Oh, I love it, that was one of my mother's favorites, I think.

RE: It was such a big hit, it was written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, and I did a whole thing for them years ago. The Beverly Hills Playhouse in Beverly Hills, a whole evening of their music with Bing Crosby's son, Gary Crosby. And we just had a wonderful time. And they're such wonderful songwriters. And it's not one of my favorites, but it was one of my mom and dad's favorites and so I thought, well, you know what I really want to do this for them and dedicate it to them so I did.

HH: Oh, wonderful. Ralna English most of you know her name from, synonymous I guess with what…the Lawrence Welk Show.

RE: The Lawrence Welk Show, that's right. I've been on that show for many, many years. This is our 50th year, actually our 51st year on television.

HH: But your not even 50!

RE: No, I'm not. But I've been with the show 30 years...

HH: 30, really…

RE: 30…I started in 1969, so I can't think how many years. 32 years? 33 years? Gosh, I'm getting old. But anyway I don't feel it, Hedi, so it's OK.

HH: Well, you look fabulous, you look as young as you've always looked…

RE: Oh, thank you.

HH: …And especially the wonderful Lawrence Welk Show for many years. Tell us how you got your start on the Lawrence Welk show and a little bit about your background prior to that.

RE: Well, golly, I started singing professionally when I was 13. My mother always, she said, "Diamonds are good, buy diamonds". So I bought my first diamond ring when I was 14 with my money from singing. So…I don't do that anymore…

HH: And you grew up where? You have a little bit of a…

RE: Texas.

HH: A little bit of a Texas accent.

RE: ….along the way I lost all these diamonds that I had accumulated and I decided no more diamonds for me, there not good for me, but anyway I started out singing with a little rock and roll band in junior high school and from there I did television shows, I recorded when I was 14, I was offered a contract when I was…with Decca Records when I was about 16 but I wound up getting married. I've been married twice, most people don't know that, I was married in high school…

HH: Oh, okay.

RE: …When I got married, Decca Records cancelled the contract. They wanted competition for Connie Francis out there and I would have been, you know, that's what they were planning with me. But it kind of, you know, times have changed…

HH: The times have really changed, they're married seven times now and they'll sign you to a contract.

RE: That's right, that's right.

HH: One of your-your former husband, I don't know if it's one of them but-

RE: Well, I've been married twice.

HH: -your former husband, you actually worked with on the Lawrence Welk show.

RE: Yeah, Guy and I got married in 1969, and we were divorced fifteen years later, 1984 - did that add up? Yeah-hey that added up!

HH: And you're still doing love songs together?

RE: We still do and, you know it's…Hedi, it's so amazing because I've-we've gone through a metamorphis in our relationship. I mean, we had a time period when I was angry, you know, resentful, and then my heart changed and I began to look at him in a different light, see him in a different way. Began to appreciated his good points - really, really appreciate them and be grateful for them because we have a daughter together. And I wanted to have a good relationship with Guy. And we have such a wonderful relationship today.

HH: And you're working together? Doing-

RE: Oh we do. He just got married again, and I adore his wife. Guy's like a brother to me, we're like family, and she's like a sister to me. So, you know, I really appreciate this relationship, I mean it's just unbelievable.

HH: Well, tell us about your new CD and you're doing one with Guy.

RE: Well, Guy and I just put together some songs that we did many, many years ago together on the Welk show, and that CD is available now on my website-that's about the only place you can get it- and it's just called "Favorites" because there are a lot of things that we did many years ago and that the fans would still enjoy and it's a pretty record, pretty music, and I still listen to it, I listen to it in my car.

HH: So if they want to get your latest CD, is it easier to find it on the web or maybe in the record store.

RE: At-on my website- www.ralnaenglish.com- r-a-l-n-a-e-n-g-l-i-s-h all one word, all lower case, .com.

HH: So a great place to get any of your hit songs…

RE: Yeah.

HH: What would you say is one of your favorite songs, or-maybe there's many of them but anything that stands out that you've recorded…

RE: Well, "How Great Thou Art" of course is like a signature song for me, it's a song that Lawrence gave me many years ago to do on the Lawrence Welk Show and he had me do it at every concert, and I can remember we were at Madison Square Garden with 22,000 people, standing room only, and I sang that song, I was very young, and I sang that and it was to close the first half of the show and when I finished I experienced something that is rare, that you experience when everything just is silent. When I finished it was total silence and I thought, "Oh my goodness, aren't they going to applaud?" And then all of a sudden it was like everyone started clapping at once. And you can imagine 22,000 people, what that sounded like. But anyway, I would say "How Great Thou Art' but the most exciting thing I've done, and I'm so excited about this, I have a CD called "Amazing Grace" and I put "Amazing Grace" of course on that CD but I just re-recorded it with the Indianapolis Symphony-a brand new arrangement…

HH: Fabulous.

RE: …a brand new arrangement written by Bob Crogstad who lives here in the valley…

HH: In the Phoenix, Arizona area.

RE: …in the Phoenix, Arizona area and Bob is a fabulous arranger, symphonic arranger, and I , so I just had this recorded with the Indianapolis Symphony and it will be on my new recording called "My God, My Country".

HH: Good. And they can get that from your website.

RE: Yes. I told Bob, I said, "Bob, when we get to heaven, this is what it-the music-is going to sound like in heaven." He's just brilliant.

HH: And recently in Branson, Missouri, a whole new what-Lawrence Welk show that's going to be showing on what-PBS-you mentioned off-camera.

RE: Yes-you know, Hedi, we did a show called Milestones & Memories a few years ago and it was aired on PBS and it did so well that they asked-they-that we're gonna do another special now. We thought that might be our last one because it was the- 47 of the original cast members and it was quite a production show that we did, it was a three hour special fundraiser for public broadcasting and as I say it did so well that now we just did another one for a fund raiser for public broadcasting called "Lawrence Welk - God Bless America." We did that just a few weeks ago in Branson, Missouri with eighteen of the original stars from the Lawrence Welk and the entire orchestra there in Branson. And that will be aired on the local PBS stations in the future and I hope everybody will tune in.

HH: Yes, so they need to look for that, right?

RE: It really is a fabulous show and there wasn't a dry eye in the house when we were doing it. The audience just was…

HH: And Ralna, we only have about 30 seconds here because we want to play a little bit of one of your songs. Again, if you would like to have Ralna English's, one of her wonderful CDs, or I guess communicate with you as well, it's, the website is ralnaenglish.com. Set us up for this song that we're going to play a little bit of to close our segment here, Ralna.

RE: Well, this was Liberace's theme song, actually…

HH: Oh, okay.

RE: …years ago. But it's a song that means a lot to a lot of people, especially World War II era.

HH: Probably one of the saddest songs - what's the name of it?

RE: "I'll Be Seeing You".

HH: Okay, by Ralna English, here it goes.

(Clip of Ralna singing "I'll Be Seeing You")

 

 

 

 

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