Country Music "Remembers" by Gary Hayes
September 2008
Volume 5
Country Music
Boxcar Willie in Branson MO
Here is the late, great Boxcar Willie doing his sign...
Here is the late, great Boxcar Willie doing his signature
TRAIN MEDLEY.   Videos Courtesy of YouTube
Boxcar Willie - Branson Missouri
Here's a classic performance from the late Boxcar Willie
The late Boxcar Willie recorded in Branson, MO in 1993
Boxcar Willie..........

First my personal memory of this talented man.
I watched Hee Haw for years with my father.They were some of my fondest memories aside from us hunting
together.Boxcar was always entertaining others and making them laugh,even when he was deathly
sick.NOBODY and I mean nobody was more of a hero to me than my daddy.Nobody could drink more beer,or
knew more about cars than him.
Johnny Paycheck was next and Boxcar was next.
Not alot of y'all remember him like I do,but I hope in my heart you now do.Nobody loved Jesus more than him.
He passed away before I could move to Nashville and meet him,but Waylon told me so much about him.I'll never
forget you boxcar.......this is what I know........

Born in a small railroad shack along side the KD railroad in 1931 Lecil Travis Martin was the son of a farm and
section hand for the railroad in Sterratt, Texas. The railroad provided a small 3 room tool shed which served as
a house for them. From the front porch to the first set of railroad tracks was about six feet. This is where Lecil
spent his childhood playing on the rail cars in front of his home.

Lincoln Nebraska is where he got the idea for Boxcar Willie. His chief boom operator at the time was a
gentleman named Willie Wilson. On one afternoon Lecil was driving in Lincoln when he came upon a railroad
crossing, he was the first in line as the crossing gates closed. As the train rolled by slowly he saw a man sitting
inside an empty boxcar. This guy looked so much like Willie the boom operator he thought "there goes Willie".
He imediately pulled off to the side of the road and wrote a song called "Boxcar Willie".

In 1962 while playing a club in Boise a girl came in an set in front of the band stand that caught his eye. In fact
upon first sight he thought he just had to have her. He went over and introduced himself thinking she would
already know who he was, since he had been on the radio for years. Well it turns out she wasn't really into
country music and had never heard of him. He sat out to impress upon her who he was and did a good job
because they fell in love, got married and had four children. Her name was Lloene, she turned out to be a very
important part of Boxcar Willie. Not only was she supportive of his music she believed in him, and stood by him
through some very hard times

To this date he was still Marty Martin, and during a trip to California he decided to enter a talent contest as
Boxcar Willie at a club called Sam's place. He borrowed a buddies car and drove to San Jose to sing in the
talent contest. He won $150.00 for first place, that was the first time he had performed as Boxcar Willie.

All the while he was still in the Air Force he had been checked out on C-5's and was flying daily missions. He
decided that he was doing his fellow crew members a dis-service. Because he had music on his mind and
played nightly he could not give his full attention to the aircraft and crew. In 1976 he took a discharge from the
Air Force and became Boxcar Willie full time.    

They had moved to Midlothian, Texas and rented a small house. Boxcar's mother had died and they wanted to
be close to his father to help out. Times were hard and there wasn't much money. Box went to the junk yard
and found a couch and brought it home. They cleaned it up and adopted the family of mice that came with it.
Christmas that year for a tree his father cut the top out of his tree and gave it to them for their tree, they
decorated it with paper ornaments and strung popcorn. It was christmas eve and they had no money for a
turkey on christmas day and it bothered Boxcar. He went to the post office to check his mail and there was a
check for eighty eight dollars. The proceeds for a song he had written called "Golf on the moon." They knew
the value of that blessing and Lloene still remember's that christmas as one of the best ever.