After more than 40 years in the music business, Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers have become friends with countless musical superstars. But one friendship in particular, with the late Johnny Cash, forever affected their lives and their live shows.

At a recent intimate show for The Boot and other reporters, Larry Gatlin recalled a phone call he had with Cash in 2003, when the country icon's wife, June Carter Cash, was dying.

"'The doctor said she’s mighty sick, and she isn’t going to make it much longer,'" Gatlin recalls Johnny Cash telling him. "'This morning, she whispered in my ear. She wants you and those two rascal brothers of yours to sing that "Help Me" song you wrote. That’s her favorite Gatlin Brothers song, and she wants you boys to sing it at her funeral, whenever that is.'

" ... It was eight days later," Gatlin continues. "Brother Steve, Brother Rudy and I were very honored to be able to sing at June’s going away party."

Little did the Gatlins know, however, that the Man in Black himself would soon pass away, leading them to make "Help Me" a permanent part of their concerts.

"It was barely five months later. I was very honored to be asked to help carry my friend, my buddy, my big brother, to his final earthly resting place," Gatlin recounts. "I looked down at the casket and said, ‘J.R., me and the boys are going to sing and play "Help Me," every show we ever do for the rest of our lives. We’re going to try to sing it real pretty for the folks who paid to get in, and we’re going to dedicate it to you and June every single time.'

"That’s what we’ve done the last 15 years."

"Help Me" is available for download on iTunes.

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