“Back in the early 70’s, I was working with Buck Owens, Freddie Hart and some other very talented people out of Bakersfield, California and recording with Capitol Records out of Los Angeles. Buck produced all the sessions for me and we had a few successes but not the hits that I needed so I called my big brother Lefty and he told me ‘David you’ve got to come to Nashville. This is where all the hits are being written. Come on out here and we’ll find you a hit.’ So, I flew to Nashville andthe first thing Lefty did was introduce me to Whitey Shafer.
I loved every song they played me and especially “That’s The Way Love Goes.” I loved the song and wanted to record it. Lefty said, ‘Well Johnny Rodriquez just cut it but I don’t think it’ll be a single because it’s only one minute, fifty-eight seconds long.’ I figured I could have the song and planned to call Buck to set everything up to record the song when I got back to California. Before I could get back to Bakersfield, “That’s The Way Love Goes” had already hit radio andwas well on its way to #1.
Whitey and Lefty were a great writing team. Whitey has been a great friend all these years and I am sure going to miss him. The world has lost a tremendous talent.”
ABOUT WHITEY SHAFER:
The Texas born Shafer’s musical career began in his hometown of Whitney where he played in a school band. In the years to come, he would tour the U.S., performing with several artists, including a largely unknown Willie Nelson. Shafer moved to Nashville in 1967 and signed with Blue Crest Music Publishing, where he wrote two songs for George Jones: “Between My House and Home” and “I’m a New Man in Town,” along with many other songs for other acts. Shafer signed contracts with Musicor and RCA as a singer, but his greatest success came as songwriter.
In the early 1970’s Shafer signed a contract with Acuff-Rose Music and in the years to come would write many songs which went on to tremendous chart success, including several #1 songs. His songs included “The Baptism of Jesse Taylor” for Johnny Russell, “Tell Me My Lying Eyes Are Wrong” for George Jones, and a list hits for Moe Bandy. Shafer had a longtime friendship with Opry member and Country Music Hall of Fame member, Lefty Frizzell. Together, he and Frizzell wrote “That’s the Way Love Goes,” a hit for Johnny Rodriguez and also Merle Haggard. The duo also wrote “I Never Go Around Mirrors” (which Frizzell recorded and became a Top 25 country hit in 1974) and “Bandy the Rodeo Clown” for Moe Bandy, which became a huge hit song not long after Frizzell’s death in 1975. After his friend Lefty’s death, Shafer wrote a tribute song entitled “Lefty’s Gone” which was recorded by George Strait for the album, Something Special.
In the 1980’s Shafer penned “Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind” (with Darlene Shafer) and “All My Ex’s Live in Texas” (with his fourth wife Lyndia). Both songs became #1 hits for George Strait, and both were nominated for CMA Song of the Year. Additionally, “All My Ex’s Live in Texas” received a Grammy nomination for Best Country Song.
Shafer released two albums, I Never Go Around Mirrors and So Good for So Long, containing some of his greatest hits. Keith Whitley chose Shafer’s “I Wonder Do You Think of Me” as the title track and the first single released after Whitley’s death and went to No. 1.
In 1989 Shafer was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.
In the 1990’s and 2000’s, Shafer continued to write for artists including John Michael Montgomery, Lee Ann Womack and Kenny Chesney. Shafer’s recording of “All My Ex’s Live In Texas” appears on the soundtrack to the 2004 video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.