It was really the type of music that you enjoyed?$$That's right.$$So that's why you stuck with country music (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) That's right. I stuck with it because I've always been a character. I've always been an individual. I, I, I never wanted anyone to tell me what you can't do. I don't like the word period anyway, can't. I don't like can't, hate, jealousy. So certain words I don't like. So, so don't come tell me, "You can't do that." That's what I was told. And I'd go (yodels). "You can't do that." I said, "Why not?" "That's not your music." I said, "Why not?" Things like that. "You can't do that." I said, "Now, there you go. Telling me what I can't do."$$What age were you when you got to that point to realize that you were singing (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) As soon as my dad [Mack Pride, Sr.] pushed me off his knee. Soon as my dad pushed me off his knee because he was--that's the one thing I give him credit for giving me the grit to be and believe in yourself and be good at whatever you do and don't let nobody put you down or--see, for example, if someone call you a name or something or say--like for example, I've called--been called names. I've been called just like anybody else, but I reached a point, I said, "Well, wait a minute. Why is this person trying to put me down?" So, I go to the mirror and I look and I say, "Well, I ain't the best looking, but I ain't the ugliest either." If you're gonna go that route, you know, about who, who's handsome, who's (unclear), who's this. I said, "Well, somebody told me I sing pretty good." So, I'm looking at--I started looking at my attributes. Pretty good ballplayer I was, too. So, I said, "What's this person? Maybe they might be a little jealous of me or something." Time to put my (unclear). I'm not putting him down or him or her or whatever. So, that's the attitude I took from very small. So once I--once I listen to the songs that I listen to and found out I could sing 'em just like anybody else. Now, I can--see, I--they say well--people would come up and say, "Well, why country music? A voice like yours, you could sing anything you want to sing." I said, "Well, I don't know whether that's so, but I can sing anything I want to sing, but I'll tell you this. I believe that I can do justice to the basic three things--the basic three musics of America." I said, "I think the three basic music in America is country, gospel and the blues. Not necessarily in that order, but they've all borrowed from one another. So, maybe it's possible that you might be just looking at the epitome of American music and listening to it, too." His voice as my voice you hear. "Well, yeah. Yeah, well." I said, "Well, I think being in the business, I should have my opinion, too, shouldn't I?" "Well, but it's just that I--." "Well."$$So, you're six, seven and you're singing--$$Um-hm.$$--and listening to gospel music?$$Um-hm.$So, now you're finished with school at sixteen and decide (simultaneous)--?$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, I, I did, but I went back and they let me come back. (Laughter) I was tenth grade and they let me come back to finish the fif- the eleventh. I finished eleventh grade.$$Okay. Okay.$$I had signed with the Yank- Yankees [New York Yankees]. My mother [Tessie Stewart Pride] and father [Mack Pride, Sr.] had to sign 'cause I was too young. I signed with the Yankees in '53  and I hurt my arm and all of that's--.$$Well, tell us about it.$$Well, they sent me to Rio Vista, California. I was going to--I just wanted--looked too good at first and I'd pulled something in the back of my shoulder and I--they sent me to Boise, Idaho. I got four hundred dollars bonus and what I did, I got the four hundred dollar bonus. I bought me a forty dollar suit and a forty dollar ring, and gave all the rest to my mom and dad 'cause I didn't--you know, I'm single. I mean, I remember doing that, you know. And so I finished spring training in Rio Vista out from Sacramento [California] and then they sent me to Boise, Idaho. I stayed there, and you see, that's, that's when they had--that's when the, the teams had from--they had from D [Class D] all the way up to Triple A clubs, which they don't quite have that way now. So this was class C [Class C] that I--that I was sent to in Boise. Then my arm, like I told you, I hurt it in Lodi, California in spring training when I went to Rio Vista.$$What year is this?$$Nineteen fifty-three .$$Fifty-three . Okay.$$Yeah. And I was about three years old then [sic.]. Well, I may--I might have been a little older. See, baseball players are not never the age they are. Well back then, you played under those rules. So anyway--so they send me down to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin and I didn't do to well. So they sent me back home. Back to Sledge [Mississippi], and I get back to Sledge and I still want to play baseball. Ah, the Negro League (snaps fingers), ah.$$So what year did you start playing in the Negro League?$$Nineteen fifty-three .$$Fifty-three .$$So, I come back to them, see. What I did--well, I'm gonna back up. First of all, I came up to join the Red Sox [Memphis Red Sox] and I didn't make it and the team took us to--this is--I, I, I jumped to--I jumped ahead.$$Right. That's okay.$$I jumped ahead. When I first went to Memphis [Tennessee], I went to try out with the Red Sox and I didn't make it with them, but a guy took a team to, to Iowa in Iowa State. In fact--in fact, it was Andy Williams' hometown of Wall Lake, Iowa. All, all black team. We were all colored then. We were colored then 'cause see, the reason why I say it like that, Denise [Denise Gines], is that even now, especially our people, you know them--and I think this can sum up whatever reason I like to put this in because I get asked so much in all these years. Says, "How does it feel to be the Jackie Robinson of country music" or "How does it feel to be the first colored country singer?" "How does it feel to be first Negro country singer?" "How does it feel to be the first black country singer?" "How does it feel to be the first Afro-American country singer?" I say, "Well, I feel the same way when I was colored. I don't feel no different." So, so when went up there to Iowa, it was an all colored team that went there to play in that league. Now, we (unclear) percentage and it was beautiful. In that Iowa--when we got to Iowa, the day--all day long the sun shining beautifully, but it seemed like every night (makes sound) she just rained. So if we don't play, we don't get no money to eat. And that's where--and this is all in my, I have an autobiography ['Pride: The Charley Pride Story,' Charley Pride and Jim Henderson]. It's all in my autobiography about how I pull up weeds and eating the bottom of weeds and the roots.$$That's how you (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, I'll tell it. It was a guy--in fact, the guy [Jim Henderson] that helped write my book, he, he looked up. It's in my book. I forget the name of the fellow that he called--he's a popcorn king and earned a lot of money. He took the team over and then start giving us money to eat 'til the rain stopped. (Laughter) Now, so once we--once we--the rain stopped and we started playing, we didn't win. So what they did--when I say they, the team and fellow and all--they went back to Memphis and raided the Memphis Red Sox pitching staff where I--where I had gone to try to make and didn't make--didn't make it before this guy took up there. So what happens, when they come raided the team, they needed pitchers. So I come back, now I join them. I got a job and I stayed in that league until I went to--you know, with all of my experience and everything 'til I got--I got all the way. I got--I made it all the way to the Los Angeles Angels, so.