The Cooped up Truth
Grashey writes that he met Loretta many times after their Zero Record days. He says that she was never shy in acknowledging his role in her discovery to friends in the room, but when it came to media interviews, it was always Norm Burley that she thanked. Burley provided the money for her to record and, more importantly, he released her from her contract with Zero when it was clear that she was destined for bigger things in Nashville. Burley could have kept her under contract, held out for a big payment and made life difficult for Loretta. He didn't. Similarly, Grashey could have made a big public stink about Loretta writing him out of the history books, but he mostly kept quiet, possibly because he felt it unwise to badmouth a superstar while he was still active in the music industry.
Grashey was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1989 for managing and/or producing hits for such artists as: Carroll Baker, Orella Myers, Myrna Lorrie, Buddy de Val, Jerry Palmer, John Winters, Carol Martyn, Cindi Cain, George Carone and Heather Haig, among others.
Heather Haig and her husband George Petralia were Grashey's friends and recall being at a Loretta Lynn concert at the Thunder Bay Auditorium in 1987. The First Lady of Country invited Chuck Williams on stage to thank him for discovering her in Vancouver and then she turned to the audience and asked Don to come up and take a bow, but Grashey had boycotted the show.
Grashey and Williams passed away within 10 days of one another in 2005.
In 2010, as Loretta celebrated 50 years in the music business, Nashville country music historian and reporter Robert K. Oermann interviewed her for CMA World, the official web site of the [American] Country Music Association.
The singer told him that she had been discovered at a Vancouver "chicken house" that had been "fumigated and turned into a club."
"We went into that chicken house, and there were a bunch of bigwigs who came in to listen to me," she recalled. "It was Norm Burley; he owned a big lumberyard in Vancouver. He came over to me and said, 'Let's make a record.' I said, 'I don't know how.' He said, 'I don't either. But we'll learn together.' That's how it started. I hadn't been singing three months (in front of audiences) when I first recorded."
Grashey, were he still alive, would be thrilled to hear Loretta mention The Chicken Coop, but also exasperated to hear her say that Norm Burley was there.
Other than Loretta, no one can recall Burley visiting The Coop.
The Chicken Coop was demolished circa 1970 to make room for a row of Vancouver Specials. The 1949 bungalow that was home to the party shack's owners still stands.