Woo... Mercy Daddy!
Welcome to My World: The Jimmy Valiant Story
by Jimmy Valiant with Angel
Description: Regardless of what era you come from, you have probably been entertained by James Fanning at some point in your life. You may have known him as "Handsome Jimmy," or perhaps as the "Boogie Woogie Man." There's a slight chance you remember him best as "Charlie Brown." These were some of the aliases used by James Fanning during his 40-year career wrestling under the name Jimmy Valiant -- and one thing is for sure, there's only ONE.
"Woo... Mercy Daddy" is the autobiography of Jimmy Valiant, produced independently by the man himself along with his lovely wife, Angel -- an overwhelming task considering that it would end up being nearly 600 pages and include stories from a forty year journey. In fact, the final pages of this book are literally dedicated to the very special day that marked his official retirement as an active wrestler. (Although he would continue to make appearances as a referee)
Handsome Jimmy goes back in time, to unravel the history of his childhood; the important lesson's that he learned and how he was molded into an independent adult. He follows up with the interesting tale of how he ended up in the wrestling business to begin with. Valiant looks back on all his famous mentors, and discusses many of the interesting people he worked with over the years. Perhaps the most triumphant portion of Jimmy's career, was during his legendary stint with Johnny Valiant as the Valiant Brothers; Together, Handsome Jimmy and Luscious Johnny dominated several of the top wrestling territories including the prestigious World Wide Wrestling Federation, run by Vince McMahon Sr.. Handsome Jimmy also had a lengthy run as the top heel in the Memphis territory feuding with Jerry "The King" Lawler. From there, Jimmy Valiant transformed himself into the "Boogie Woogie Man" and became an NWA legend working for Jim Crockett Promotions. For the better part of the 90s and the opening part of the 2000s, Jimmy Valiant has owned the independent circuit and made it his ambition to give back to the business with his World-famous Boogie's Wrestling Camp located in Shawsville, Virginia. Everywhere he goes, the Boogie Woogie Man is quick to invite everyone within earshot to come visit he and Angel and be their guest at BWC on any Sunday of the year, between twelve noon and four p.m. -- free of charge! The Valiant's have poured the time, money and most importantly their love into the creation of Boogie's Wrestling Camp. Judging by the photos and description included in this book, it sounds like an immaculate landscape. The grounds also include a wrestling museum and a truly special Hall of Fame featuring items from Jimmy's past and tributes to many other wrestlers. It sounds genuinely amazing and I plan to visit BWC Hall of Fame and Museum some day. I think everybody should!
I have done my best to skim over the famous career of literally one of the most charismatic wrestlers of all-time. However, there is so much more included in this book covering all of the places the notorious Jimmy Valiant has laced his boots; You will also read very candid personal testimonials about JV's family and children, his painful battle with various addictions on the road, his terrifying brush with death, and his inspiring path towards meeting his one true soul-mate. The real treasures of this book are the dozens upon dozens of fascinating road stories disclosed in the pages of this book. At times I felt like I was right there sitting next to the Boogie Woogie legend in a car riding from town-to-town, absorbing his knowledge and wisdom in extreme doses. When I finished this book, I felt a rare love and respect for a man whose life is a celebration of peace and friendship. Thank you, Handsome Jimmy!
Rating: 9 / 10 --- If you want to read a book about a bitter old man who hates everybody, then buy Ole Anderson's book -- but if you want to take a ride on the rollercoaster of positive energy, then order your copy of "Woo... Mercy Daddy!" at JimmyValiant.com today!
Reviewed by Brad Dykens on December 3, 2006.
A review by William Hatfield:
Reinvention. A word commonly used when describing an entertainer's ongoing metamorphosis throughout their careers. Some people are able to constantly reinvent themselves, some are only able to adopt new looks that aren't exactly from the heart, and others are never able to change with the times and adapt to new circumstances and accurately reflect the current social climate. It happens with musicians, actors, stage performers, and wrestlers. Reinventing oneself is all too often a publicity stunt, or worse yet, copying someone else's originality.
Whether you know him as Handsome Jimmy Valiant or "The Boogie Woogie Man" one thing is for certain, Jimmy Valiant has been reinventing himself his entire life. That heartfelt continual transformation is so emotionally and entertainingly laid out in his fantastic autobiography, "Woo....Mercy Daddy! The Handsome Jimmy Valiant Story" (available at www. jimmyvaliant. com)
Let me start off by saying that I don't generally endorse products of any kind, of course on the show we mention certain things or events that our guest are promoting, and while there may be things that I like personally, I try to let the fans decide if it's something they want to check out. With that said, I, like many long time wrestling fans, ordered Mr. Valiant's book. I have to tell the people, this is not only one of the best wrestling books written, this could be one of the greatest autobiographies ever written. I have read other books where you get the feeling of being talked at, instead of to, you feel that the author is arrogant and unappreciative, or worse yet, is bitter and has spewed only venom. Let me assure you that Boogie's book will give you a feeling of serenity and joy, excitement and hope, and ultimately help you to understand why this man was beloved by all who met him.
This was one of the only books where I actually didn't want the story to end. You feel almost as though you are in the midst of a conversation with Boogie. Mr. Valiant tells each story in a unique and loving way. If we all were one tenth as passionate about life as the Boogie Woogie Man, I think a lot more people would be happier with their lives. Jimmy Valiant is no saint, which he readily admits, but he's not self deprecating either, which I think is an important lesson for people who've lived on the edge. I could empathize with many of his lifestyle choices and I think that anyone who's ever been a hard partier can gain valuable insight into that lifestyle from reading this book. Jimmy teaches that beating yourself up doesn't work nor does it help, and the best thing you can do is learn from your mistakes, improve upon yourself and set goals. We are at this moment in time the sum total of our experiences, good, bad, or indifferent. What we've lived through makes us who we are at this exact moment, to change anything would mean to regret the past. I took away from this book that regret is useless, and knowledge of one's self is the most important reinvention tool one can use.
This book is part biography, it's part wrestling history lesson, it's a family chronicle, but I feel, that most importantly it's a love story. A love story of passion for one's career, one's family, and the love of an Angel that changed a hard living man into a loving and devoted husband. In this book, you will get everything, from his start to his finish, everything in between and then some. It's an almost surreal feeling, as though, one man were telling the life stories of several men, weaving them together with such care and dedication that you really do feel as though you are privy the thoughts and activities of an amazing cast of characters. And believe when I say, that if you are a wrestling fan, hell, if you are a person with any emotion whatsoever, you need to read this book.
That's the best thing, yes, it's a wrestling book, but in so many ways it isn't. It's a story about a man coming to terms with himself, accepting himself, finding love and salvation, Someone who even has a cursory knowledge of wrestling would love this book.
So I encourage anyone and everyone to visit www.jimmyvaliant.com to order your copy now.
As I finished the book, I sat back, reflected on what I had just read, and only one thought came to mind...."Wooo... Mercy Daddy!....what a life!"
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