Alphabetical Order by the last name of the Artist
Artists G - H - I
- Gilley, Mickey -
- Gilmore, Boyd -
- Gleaves, Cliff -
- Gordon, Rosco -
- Grayzell, Rudy -
- Griffin, Curley -
- Gunter, Hardrock -
- Hadley, Red -
- Haggett, Jimmy -
- Hallcomb (Hollcomb), Patsy -
- Hall, Roy -
- Hare, Pat -
- Official Police Statement by Pat Hare -
- Personal Statement by Pat Hare -
- Harris, Ray -
- Hill, Henry -
- Hill, Raymond -
- Hinton, Don -
- Don Hinton Untold Sun Stories -
- Hoback, Curtis -
- Hodge, Tommy -
- Holland, W.S. -
- Honeycutt, Glenn -
- Hooker, Earl -
- Hopson, Al -
- Horton, Walter -
- Hosea, Don -
- Don Hosea Untold Sun Stories -
- Houston, David -
- Howard, Edwin -
- Howlin' Wolf (Chester Burnett) -
- Hubert, L.C. -
- Hunt, D.A. -
- Hunter, Lost John -
- Isle, Jimmy -
Young Mickey Gilley, Ferriday, Louisiana
GILLEY, MICKEY - Born Mickey Leroy Gilley on March 9, 1936 in Natchez, Mississippi. Unlike the name of one his songs, "Overnight Sensation", pianist / vocalist Mickey Gilley had to travel a long road on the rock and roll and honky tonk circuit before he reached star status. For most of his career, Gilley lived in the shadow of his cousin, Jerry Lee Lewis. They both learned to play the same old Starck upright piano in Ferriday, Louisiana, where Mickey grew up. But in 1952, at the age of 16, he left his family and his music in Ferriday, moved to Houston and became a construction worker.
It wasn't until Lewis had a monster hit with "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" in 1957 that Mickey thought he could do that too, and decided that he wanted to pursue a musical career.
In August 1957 he went to Houston's Gold Star studio and cut "Tell Me Why"/"Ooh Wee Baby" for the aptly named Minor label. Undeterred by its poor sales, Gilley tried his luck at the Sun studio in Memphis, where he sang four songs at an audition (eventually released in the 1980s). Sam Phillips didn't need a Jerry Lee Lewis imitator when he had the real thing under contract. Early in 1958, Mickey hooked up with Charles 'Red' Matthews, writer of the hit song "White Silver Sands". Matthews produced the single "Call Me Shorty"/"Come On Baby" (two exuberant rockers), which was placed with Dot and sold well regionally.
Over the next few years, Gilley recorded for a wide variety of independent labels: Khoury (1959), Rex (1959), Potomac (1960), Lynn, Paula, Sabra, Princess, Supreme, San, Astro (his own label) and many more. Most of these recordings were rock and roll in Jerry Lee's style, with an occasional country number thrown in for good measure, for instance "Is It Wrong" and "Lonely Wine", both of which sold well in the South in 1964-1965. Meanwhile Mickey played a never-ending series of bars and clubs. Throughout the 1960s Gilley had his dreams, but little else.
In 1971, a millionnaire ex-welder named Sherwood Cryer talked him into becoming business partners in a nightclub they called Gilley's, in Pasadena, Texas, a suburb of Houston. Mickey performed there six nights a week and soon the club was packed every night. When some customers complained of the lack of Mickey Gilley records on the club's jukebox, he went back into the studio in 1973, still recording for his own Astro label. A club's favourite was chosen with Charlie Rich's "She Called Me Baby". In urgent need of a B-side, Gilley remembered a song called "Room Full Of Roses", a 1949 hit for George Morgan. When the Houston disc jockeys started to turn the record over, he took it to Nashville and got a national release on Playboy Records. "Room Full Of Roses" was his first chart entry and went all the way to number 1 (country, number 50 pop) in 1974, followed by a staggering sixteen further number one country hits, first on Playboy and, after that label folded in 1978, on Epic. Mickey picked up the "Most Promising Male Vocalist" award from the Academy of Country Music in 1974 and several other awards, including album of the year (for "Gilley's Smokin'", 1976). His biggest pop success was "Stand By Me" (the Ben E. King number), which peaked at number 22 in mid-1980.
In the late 1970s to early 1980s, Gilley's nightclub was a symbol of country music's growing popularity. Extensive expansion followed and for a while Gilley's was the world's largest honky tonk, encompassing more than 48,000 square feet. Attractions not only included Mickey Gilley himself and other country stars, but also a shooting gallery, pool tables, a sledgehammer strength test and a mechanical bull. A success - full movie ("Urban Cowboy") was released in 1980, filmed largely in and around Gilley's, and starring John Travolta and Debra Winger.
Gilley was now a country superstar. But it couldn't last. When the Urban Cowboy fad predictably ended by the mid-eighties, the business failed, Gilley's closed (1989), acrimonious lawsuits followed, and the building mysteriously burned down.
In 1990 Mickey opened the Mickey Gilley Theater in Branson, Missouri, which became a success. He still works there three days a week. But he didn't have any country hits after 1988. Gilley's early rock and roll recordings are well worth seeking out and display the same confidence and powerful piano playing as his famous cousin. The Jerry Lee Lewis influence is less present in the 1970s and beyond, with the accent on remakes of old country and pop ballads. Of its kind not bad at all, and generally very melodic, but they lack the excitement of his earlier records.
On March 2, 2002, Gilley, along with his two famous cousins Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart, were inducted into the Delta Music Museum Hall of Fame in Ferriday, Louisiana. In 2012, Gilley signed a Branson-based vocal group, Six, to a three-year lease to perform in his theater, with an option to buy it when the contract expires.
Mickey Gilley's first wife was Geraldine Garrett, whom he married in 1953 and divorced in 1961. She was the mother of three of his four children (Keith Ray, Michael, and Kathy). Geraldine died on March 6, 2010.
Gilley's second wife is the former Vivian McDonald, by whom he has another son, Gregory. They married in 1962. Gilley's children Kathy and Keith are in the music business. Mickey Gilley suffered a severe back injury in 2009 and can no longer play piano in the Lewis style, or is it the Gilley style?
- In total, Boyd Gilmore's recorded legacy amounts to seven songs, and his story is
available to us only as an accretion of fragments. He was born in Inverness, Mississippi, on June 12, 1905 or
1910 to Eddie Gilmore and Ella Winston. (The 1910 census was conducted on April 15, and Boyd Gilmore
was noted as four years old, but on his application for Social Security, he stated that he was born in 1910).
Boyd grew up on a plantation before becoming a musician. He was apparently raised alongside with Pinetop
Perkins, and worked in the fields himself before using music as an escape-route.
He appears to have fallen in
with the loose aggregation of musicians surrounding Ike Turner during the late 1940s, and he certainly
worked with Charlie Booker, possibly playing in the latter's "No Ridin' Blues", which was cut the same day
as Gilmore's own first Modern session (on which he was backed by Ike Turner and possibly James Scott Jr),
in January 1952.
His final session would seem to have been for Sun Records in July 1953, something of a marathon in which
Earl Hooker, Pinetop Perkins, Walter Horton and Gilmore himself took it in turns to front the proceedings.
Former ''Living Blues'' editor Jim O'Neil quizzed Houston Stackhouse about Gilmore, eliciting a little more
information, but only a little, Stackhouse first remembered him working in a juke joint near Belzoni with
Earl Hooker and Lee Kizart. In another random recollection, he spoke of Gilmore farming on the R.L.
Shurden plantation near Drew, and working some shows with Elmore James, who, said Stackhouse, was
Gilmore first cousin. By the mid-1950s, Stackhouse said that Gilmore was in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. In 1962
or 1963, he was still there playing with a trio and working at an old folk's home. Willie Nix told Steve
LaVere that Gilmore was in Pine Bluff as late as 1970. LaVere heard that Gilmore was back in Mississippi in
1971, but couldn't locate him. Soon after, Gilmore went to California, and died in Fresco of a heart attack on
December 23, 1976. (CE)
GLEAVES, CLIFF – The only reason anyone remembers Cliff Gleaves today is as a friend of Elvis Presley.
He was a disc jockey or on-air personality in Jackson, Tennessee when he began hanging out with Elvis in
Cliff Gleaves knew the first time he saw Elvis Presley perform at the Cisco Hotel in Memphis
that Elvis would be the greatest entertainer show business had known, and he told Elvis so. That constituted
the first meeting between the up and coming disc jockey, who was working for WDXI in Jackson, Tennessee
at the time.
Cliff Gleaves and Elvis Presley, living room Graceland, Christmas 1957 ^
Shortly after that first meeting outside the hotel, as Elvis awaited a ride from Scotty Moore, D.J. Fontana and
Bill Black, Gleaves and Elvis met up over a game of pool at Dewey Phillip's place to watch porn movies.
That night, Elvis invited Cliff Gleaves to New York that weekend, where he was to perform on the Milton
Berle Show. Clifton S. Gleaves, Jr. usually cited his year of birth as 1930, possibly so he wouldn't appear too
much older than Elvis and his crowd, but he was actually born on September 2, 1929 to a fairly prosperous
and well-established east Tennessee family.
A few weeks later Gleaves accepted Elvis' invitation to his home to meet his folks, and that evening, Elvis
offered him a job traveling with himself and the band. Gleaves reluctantly turned down the offer for full-time
touring and explained that financially he needed to get full time employment. Elvis said, “no problem”and
that night, to the delight of Elvis and family, Gleaves moved into the Audubon Drive home, where he lived
as part of the family, not as an employee. He became a member of the entourage, and was placed on salary.
Gleaves made a cameo appearance and uttered one line in the movie ''King Creole'', and when Elvis went to
Germany, he followed. Before Elvis left to Germany, Gleaves introduced him to Jackson's hometown beauty
queen, Anita Wood, and he indirectly introduced Elvis to the girl who supplanted Anita.
In Wiesbaden, Germany, Cliff Gleaves lived with a guy named Currie Grant who programmed entertainment on the
base. Grant knew the Beaulieu family and asked if Priscilla Beaulieu would like to meet Elvis. Grant had an
interesting observation on Elvis's relationship with Gleaves. ''Cliff was the most charismatic human being
I've ever met. He was something Elvis wanted to be and wasn't''. Elvis's stepbrother, Rick Stanley, echoed
that judgment: ''Cliff took the floor and sucked up the air. Elvis was in awe of him. Cliff was like Robin
Williams, the way he'd go off on a riff. Elvis would fly him in from anywhere to have him around''.
Gleaves left Graceland when Elvis went after the service, but made it clear he would forever be available on
call to Elvis. Gleaves joined the Presley party at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, when Elvis opened
there in 1969, but was on the far periphery of Elvis-world by then. Only once, at Miami's Fountainhead
Hilton in 1972, shortly after Priscilla had left Elvis, did Gleaves ever refuse a request from Elvis. Elvis asked
him to move back into Graceland, a request Gleaves refused.
By that time he just had a solid job at a top radio station, and was on a positive track with his life... a
direction he didn't want to change. That was the last time Gleaves saw Elvis, and he remains haunted by a
final piece of advice proffered by Elvis, ''Don't put too much faith in things”, Elvis told him. “When you get
them, they're never what you thought they were going to be. Stay detached, not involved”.
After Elvis, Cliff Gleaves entered a twilight world of Florida piano bars and cocktail lounges. He made a few
more records, but his schtick didn't translate well to disc. For a time, he lived with his parents in Fort
Lauderdale. As Peter Guralnick wrote, ''He continued to be the kind of self-styled free spirit who could still
give everyone a good laugh, but the laugh's tended to wear off after the first two or three days''. Cliff Gleaves
was back in east Tennessee, living in Humboldt, when he died on June 4, 2002.
GORDON, ROSCO - Rosco Gordon remains a legendary figure in Memphis rhythm and blues scene. Although Rosco always insisted that he was born in 1933 or 1934, making him in his teens when he saw his first successes, census records and Social Security reveal that he was actually born on April 10, 1928, Florida Street in Memphis, Tennessee.
In 1951, he began recording for Sam Phillips, who successfully pitched him to RPM Records in California, Chess Records in Chicago, and Duke Records in Houston, Texas.
Sales were impressive enough so that legal battles over the exclusive recording services of Rosco Gordon clouded much of his early career. Many of Rosco's early 1950s releases were regional hits. Virtually all of them sold well in Southern markets.
In addition, ''Booted'' reached the number 1 chart position in February 1952, and remained on the national rhythm and blues charts for 13 weeks. The follow-up, ''No More Doggin''', reached the number 3 rhythm and blues position in April 1952. Rosco's music continued to appear on rhythm and blues charts throughout the 1950s and on into the 1960s. His records appeared regularly and at times simultaneously on Duke, Vee-Jay, RPM and Sun.
On October 25, 1956, Gordon recorded the song "Hard Headed Woman" for Sun Records, but it was not released. (It is not known whether this is the same song that Elvis Presley recorded in 1958, but its doubtful!). Gordon also in the group called the Beale Street Boys, which also featured B.B. King on guitar, Johnny Ace on piano, and Earl Forrest on drums. It was while performing at the Palace Theater on Beale Street in Memphis that Elvis Presley watched Gordon perform.
Gordon was not alone is his lack of reverence for the exclusive contract. These were exciting times. Rosco was young, and the payoffs were immediate and high. Like many, he often signed away his rights on songs which could have netted him considerable security. But such opportunism was rampant in the music business during the 1950s. Looking back to the legal wrangling over ''Booted'', Rosco recalled: ''I was new in the business... Too young to really know right from wrong. Chess came to town with Ike Turner and they wanted me to record the thing. I think they promised me $1000. I ended up getting $800. Ike Turner was the guy honchoing for Chess. He went out and picked up all the black acts. He was also recording for Sun and hustling for Modern, for the Bihari brothers. I'm telling you! He even tried to record one of my tunes. I went into the studio and I did ''No More, Doggin'''. Then later on we were supposed to work and I'm out looking for my musicians. The tenor player's wife said, 'They're at Tuff Green's house. Ike picked them up and they're over there'. Ike had my whole band over at Tuff's house and I could hear the tune from the outside. I knocked on the door and waited about five or ten minutes before they opened the door. When they finally opened it I went in and started giving everybody hell. And after all of this, they still stole the publishing from me. They paid me for the recording session and nothing else. That's about all you were going to get. I tried to sue them one time for ''No More Doggin''. They finally gave me the writer's credit. I don't think I was the only one. I think every act with Modern were losers. They never paid you. They gave you whatever you agreed to up front and that was it. The only money you ever saw was as a writer. If they let you keep that''.
The suggestion to Rosco Gordon that without guys like the Biharis, the Chess brothers and the Mesners of Aladin Records, all of this music might not have been recorded. The major labels weren't doing any kind of job with it. A lot would have been lost. ''That's probably true. It probably never would have been recorded. But it sure would have been nice if they had been upfront about paying you royalties. Even a portion of your artist royalties. I never saw any of it. That's why I always felt it didn't matter who you recorded anything for. They were all going to treat you the same. I was never compensated right. If it would have been different, I would have thought twice about recording the same tune for somebody else. We were so naive about the record business. Our attitude was, ''Give me the bucks and let's move on'''!
Above, Rosco insisted that Ike Turner introduced him to Sam Phillips. in another interview, Rosco said, ''I first went with Sun Records. I heard there was a recording company down on Union Avenue so I went by, Sam Phillips gave me ''Booted'' and said to learn it. I came back with my full band and we did it for him and that was that. I was on the radio, on WDIA at the time. I went to Sam before Rufus Thomas did. Rufus was also on WDIA. He invited me there. He had an amateur show on at the Palace Theatre on Beal Street. I won the first prize and the next day I went to WDIA and they auditioned me and next week I had my own show. That was around 1950. I was just a kid - 16 or 17 (actually 22). I made the money too early''.
''When I was at Sun I supervised my own sessions. Sam Phillips was on the other side of the window but I was running the show. Ike Turner wasn't part of any of the sessions. Basically, Sam was the engineer. He also made sure you stayed there till you got your feeling. When we did ''The Chicken'', we went in at 9:00 and stayed in the studio until 4 in the morning. Of course, that was in 1955 and it was for release on Sun. He may have been a little more casual four years earlier when the product was for lease. Sam did not produce in the modern sence of the word. He didn't bring any ideas to the session. Only 'Do you feel it'? or 'Can you get it tighter'? We did all our practising before we came to the studio. We used to rehearse at the Club handy. We probably got most things in four of five takes when we were in the studio. If we hit wrong notes, as long as we felt them we left them in (laughs)''.
Sam used the expression ''Rosco's Rhythm'' to describe his piano style and the early piano-led rhythm and blues he recorded. Where did ''Rosco's Rhythm'' come from? Who influenced Rosco? ''My mother had an old piano, I would go in and play it every day. It became a thing with me. I never idolised any other musician. I never tried to copy after anyone else. Never in my life. I have no favourite musician. Favourite music, yes. But not musicians. I think I'm the best writer, the best singer. I can't back that up. I have no cash. But I think I'm the best. In the early Days I was working all over and every night. I only had three pieces. I played piano, Man Son on drums or Murry Daley. And Ray Jones on alto. later on I added a bass, but not early on. The bigger I became the more musicians I used. Bobby Bland and I went to Duke Records at about the same time. We were performing together then. We all probably went because of David James (Mattis) at WDIA. He said it was OK to go after he talked with (Don) Robey. We took his advice 'cause David James was a decent person''.
There were few artists with whom Sam Phillips had a longer relationship than Rosco Gordon. He must have held Rosco in very high regard. ''Well, I delivered. Each time I went to bat, I came up with something. You know, not a million seller, but something respectable. The only million seller I had on his label was ''The Chicken''. But that led to my problems with Sam Phillips. Bill Harvey who was with Duke Records in Houston was at the Club Handy when we were practising and he took it to Robey. Robey gave me $450 to sign the publishing over to him. And after it came out, Robey used Sun. After that Sam lost interest in me. He thought I betrayed him, which I'm sure I did now''.
Over the next several years Sam Phillips continued to issue Rosco's music.''The Chicken'' came out on Sun 237 in 1955. It was followed by ''Cheese And Crackers'' in 1956 and ''Sally Joy'' in 1957. ''Robey waited for ''The Chicken'' to run its course. It was a 'spot record'. It hit in different markets at different times and stayed big a the time. Robey waited 'til it was clear it was a big moneymaker. Then he sued. After that, Sam never did any more business with me. He gave me the proper manly respect, but as far as recording me again, no way. I even drove down from New York to Memphis to see him. The only thing he said was, \ I see you're still wearing those $200 shoes'. But he didn't want to record me anymore. I said, 'I got some stuff', but he said, 'Well...'It all went back to that one deal with Robey. That was a bad $450 investment. Remember, Sam got hit twice by Robey. He lost ''Bear Cat'' with Rufus Thomas also. But I didn't know any better. Money was money to me. They'd give me $200-300 for a record session and that was it''.
Rosco Gordon appeared in the 1957 movie "Rock Baby Rock". (The film starred
Johnny Carroll and Kay Wheeler. Kay had been one of the founders of the International Elvis Presley Fan Club and was billed in the movie as the "Queen Of Rock And Roll").
Gordon recorded "Just A Little Bit" (Vee Jay 332) in February 1960 (his only charted Billboard Hot 100 record). Elvis Presley recorded the song in 1973. There is a picture of Elvis Presley and Rosco Gordon in the Sun studio control room, which suggests that they were fast friends.
Through it all, Rosco Gordon had a higher regard for Sam Phillips than for any other label owner. ''I'll tell you why I have so much respect for Sam. He never dealt from under the deck. Whatever he had to give you for a session, he gave it to you. I learned from the man. I learned never do a tune you can't follow up. He'd say, 'Why you gonna do ''Cheese And Crackers''? What you gonna do after the cheese and crackers? Combread? Biscuits''?
In 1960, Gordon released his last charting single "Just A Little Bit", which was both an rhythm and blues and pop hit. However there were no further hits despite Gordon's youth, talent and exuberant and oddball personality. In 1962, he gave up the music industry and moved to Queens, New York with his new wife where he purchased a partnership in a laundry business. Following his wife's death in 1984, he returned to performing in the New York area.
In 2002, he was invited by filmmaker Richard Pearce to be featured as part of a documentary film about several blues musicians returning to Memphis for a special tribute to Sam Phillips in conjunction with the May 2002 W. C. Handy Awards. Called The Road To Memphis, the documentary aired on PBS television. Six weeks after filming finished, Gordon died of a heart attack at his apartment in Rego Park, Queens. His body was found on July 11, 2002, although he had apparently died several days earlier. He was 74 years old. He was interred in the Rosedale Cemetery in Linden, New Jersey. (HD)
GRAYZELL, RUDY - Born Rudolfo Jiminez on June 8, 1933 in Saspamco, Texas, just south of San Antonio, Rudolfo Jiminez was of Spanish ancestry on his father's side and Italian on his mother's. As a youngster he was exposed to a wide range of music, pop, country, rhythm and blues and Mexican music.
His Hispanic hertage melted into his early grounding in country music and his love of rhythm and blues to create a sound that one reviewer likened to Roy Orbison on a three-day drunk in Tijuana.
His father worked for a pipeline company, and Rudy grew up in San Antonio listening to Hispanic music blasting in from south of the border and country music blasting in from all around. He loved it all, but he especially loved Ernest Tubb on the Grand Ole Opry.
''I liked this chick named Norma'', he told Dan Davidson, ''but she liked some guy who played guitar and that just tore me up. So I had my folks buy me a guitar and I learned to play it''.
Aged seventeen, he assembled a combo called the Silver Buckles and they played the clubs and bars. ''They allowed you to play in clubs if you were underage'', he explained. ''You just couldn't drink. We did all the songs that were popular. Lefty Frizzell, Webb Pierce, Faron Young, Floyd Tillman''. At South San Antonio High School (known locally as South San), it was compulsory to pass algebra in order to graduate, so Rudy aced the subject by dating the math teacher. From that point he left school, music was his sole meal ticket. For someone with no charted hits, that's beyong improbable.
Band members came and went. Sometimes, Rudy led his own band; sometimes he played with Eddy Dugosh's Ah-Ha Playboys or Johnny Olenn; sometimes, they worked with him. Dugosh has faded from view, but Olenn had a log career ahead of him in music, film, and lounges. Doug Sahm probably fits into the story around this point. Rudy says that Sahm was eleven, (which would by 1952 and 1953) when Rudy showed up at his high school and told the teacher that he was Sahm's uncle and needed to take him out of school. No one seemed to question how a short Hispanic guy could be a lanky German kid's uncle. Sahm was proficient on steel guitar, electric guitar, and fiddle, but played steel for Rudy.
San Antonio, circa 1953. From left: Eddy Dugosh, Bobby Baker, Rudy Grayzell. Front: Doug Sahm. ^
Doug remembered that Rudy was still in school as well, which seems unlikely. In Sahm's unfocused recollections, he remembered playing steel guitar for Hank Williams in September 1952 on what would be the hillbilly king's last birthday... the last of twenty-nine. Hank celebrated his birthday at The Barn, a club booked and co-owned by Charlie Walker, a San Antonio disc jockey and recording artist. Walker was a pivotal figure in Rudy Grayzell's career, so it all eems to fit together somehow.
As of mid-1953, Rudolfo was an Abbott recording artist. Abbott's owner, Fabor Robison, changed his name to Rudy Grayzell, figuring that the country market wasn't ready for someone called Jiminez. Rudy's first Abbott single, "Looking At the Moon And Wishing On A Star" was clearly inspired by the recent hit "Don't Let the Stars Get In Your Eyes". It was covered by Skeets McDonald and Charline Arthur and even saw a belated United Kingdom release, on London HL 8094, in November 1954. After two more singles on Abbott, Rudy either quit the label or was dropped after one year.
Charlie Walker then landed Grayzell a contract with Capitol, where Ken Nelson produced his recordings and he was billed as "Rudy Gray". "Hearts Of Stone", the first Capitol single, was a cover of a number by the Jewels from Los Angeles, but Rudy's version was outsold by the Fontane Sisters (number 1 pop) and the Charms (number 1 rhythm and blues, number 15 pop). His flip-side, "There's Gonna Be A Ball", was hillbilly with rhythm and blues overtones. By this time Grayzell had changed the name of his band to the Texas Kool Kats. Two further Capitol singles went nowhere and in early 1956 Rudy signed with Starday, run by Pappy Daily in Houston.
Elvis Presley and Rudy Grayzell 1956. >
It was here that he cut his best rockers. "Duck Tail"/"You're Gone" was an excellent rockabilly two-sided, but a cover of "Duck Tail" by Joe Clay for RCA's Vik label stole much of its thunder. The fourth Starday single, "Let's Get Wild", released in mid-1957, had Grayzell almost going over the top, but it was probably too wild for most radio stations and didn't get much airplay.
On three of the four Starday singles, Rudy was credited as Rudy "Tutti"
Grayzell. He says that the nickname came from Elvis Presley, who called him "Rudy Tutti", but, like several other tall stories from Grayzell, this has to be taken with a grain of salt.
His next stop was at Sun Records in Memphis and again, Charlie Walker was the intermediary. As a rule, Sam Phillips didn't record artists who had already recorded for other labels, but he made an exception for Rudy (and also for Onie Wheeler around the same time). There was one session spread over two days in October 1957, arranged by Bill Justis, which resulted in the single "Judy"/"I Think Of You" (Sun 290), plus two slow numbers that now see the light of day for the first time on the Bear Family Record label.
It was probably in 1958 that Grayzell moved to San Jose, California, and signed with Award Records. His first recording there was an unreleased cover of Wynona Carr's "Should I Ever Love Again". A 1959 session yielded the novelty "The F.B.I. Story", credited to "Rudy Grayzell and his Thunderbirds, accompanied by the Sparkles". It was his last record for several decades.
By 1960, former Sun recording artist Rudy Grayzell was in Las Vegas at the Fremont Hotel, and insists that Wayne Newton was his supporting act. He stayed eighteen months before heading to Seattle when the World's Fair was there. It was the same story for years. Booking agents would see him and offer him an extended gig somewhere, and he'd go. He was even back in San Antonio for a while. For the last thirty or more years, Rudy has been based in Portland, Oregon. It might have been Eddy Dugosh who got him to Portland. One of Dugosh's former band members, Frank Wood, said that Dugosh's Redtoppers moved from Redding, California to Portland in 1959 to take up a residency at Elmo's Supper Club, and so it's likely that Rudy replaced Dugosh at Elmo's. Photos of Dugosh, Johnny Olenn, and Rudy Grayzell from that time show neatly turned out guys in check jackets and bow ties, so it's pretty clear that rockabilly had given way to supper club music.
Slowly, though, Rudy Grayzell reclaimed his unruly rockabilly roots. An undated review from a Portland newspaper said Rudy's then-regular gig at the Jolly Rogers club: ''A compact, barrel-chested man with a mop of wavy brown hair and a wide, friendly grin. Rudy never failed to take the place by storm. He sang a lot of poorly-chosen covers, mainstream country stuff or maudlin ballads mostly, but when the mood would strike him he'd let loose with one of his own badass compositions, ''Let's Get Wild'', ''Duck Tail'', or ''Judy''. He’d plant his feet wide like he was getting ready for a stiff wind, square his shoulders and squint into the ether. As he sang, he'd rock back and forth and the veins would stand out in his neck. He could still really let it all hang out. The Jolly Rogers' owner, and old fellow with a ten gallon stomach and a yen for endless Seven-and-Sevens en menthol lights, once climbed up onto the bar and did an impromptu boogaloo during a particularly fiery rendition of ''Let's Get Wild''. During breaks Rudy would cruise the room, talking to all the regulars, shaking hands with an iron grip. He was old school show biz''.
For many years, recording sessions were few and far between, but in 1987 Rudy Grayzell's comeback began with a session for Sundial. In 1990, he began appearing in Europe and became a familiar face at festivals. Audiences encountered the same manic energy that impressed the reviewer in Portland ten years earlier and the kids in Texas twenty-five years before that. In 1991, he recorded for Billy Miller and Miriam Linna's Norton Records and in 1998 he recorded for Sideburn. He announced that he planned to open a club that would serve Tutti Tacos, but the first Tutti Taco has yet to be served. Lately, Rudy Grayzell has been working with the husband-and-wife team of Victoria and Rider McDowell. Victoria was a schoolteacher in Carmel, California when (shades of Fabor Robison) she concocted a dissolvable tablet called Airborne designed to boost the body's immune system, thereby preventing colds and flu. Without proof that Airborne prevented anything, she eventually had to pay the Federal Trade Commission a fine of $23.3 million and settle another class action suit for $6.5 million. Her husband, Rider, had been an investigative reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, and developed a stage show featuring Rudy Grayzell. Anyone near Monterey this fall should check out Zombie Voodoo Scream Party. Rudy plays an evil Elvis clone, Teddy Corn. It's a new millennium, but the weirdness continues.
Curley Griffin (left) and Carl Perkins with his son Stan beside him. >
GRIFFIN, CURLEY - Born Malcolm Howard Griffin on June 6, 1918, he was partially sighted and attended a school for the blind. He was on radio WDXI in Jackson, Tennessee when he met Carl Perkins. According to Perkins, Curley came up with the idea for both "Dixie Fried" and Boppin' The Blues", but Curley's claim-to-fame really ends there. He recorded several selfproduced singles for Atomic Records.
A tape was sent to Sun because Sun's publishing company, Hi-Lo, handled the publishing. As can be deduced, Curley really wasn't much of a vocalist, although he made up in enthusiasm, what he lacked in finesse. According to Carl Perkins, Curley Griffin died in 1964 or 1965.
Promotional photo circa 1953. >
GUNTER, HARDROCK - Sidney Louis Gunter was born in Birmingham, Alabama on February 27, 1927. He attended Robinson School, Barrett, Central Park and Woodland High Schools between 1930 and 1939, returning to Woodland in 1943 shortly before entering the armed services. Prior to entering the Army Gunter had amassed a variety of experience working in sales and entertaining over WAPI, Birmingham (1939-40) as part of the Golden River Boys, which featured himself and Happy Wilson.
By this point, Gunter had already acquired his nickname
which did not refer to his 'hardrockin' style but rather to his head which remained impervious to a clout from a car trunk lid.
Happy Wilson had departed for the service at the outbreak of war. Gunter gigged around locally before his own stint in the Army. After discharge in 1945 Gunter and Wilson reformed the Golden River Boys, and worked as a unit until 1948. From that point Gunter worked as a solo but continued to book the Golden River Boys. He also had a steady gig as a childrens' entertainer on the television affiliate of WAPI (which has been variously reported as WAFM-TV and WABT-TV). Manipulating a puppet named 'Ernest Tubb', Gunter would work it to one of Tubb's records thereby engendering some good taste in the wee ones of Birmingham, Alabama.
The Golden River Boys, circa 1947, left to right: Hardrock Gunter, Bill Tucker, Carley Best, Joe Rumore, Happy Wilson, Bob Stickland. >
Hardrock Gunter made his recording debut in 1950 for the newly-formed Bama label. Both label and artist never saw a hit as large again. Gunter's "Birmingham Bounce" was an astounding success and was covered by artists as diverse as Red Foley, major country music star, it rose to number 1 on the country charts, and Amos Milburn. In fact, the Foley version easily eclipsed Gunter's original by virtue of Decca's superior distribution.
Bama soon found that a major hit was more a curse than a blessing and issued two more Gunter 78s before leasing some other titles to Jim Bulleit. The problems at Bama allowed Gunter to sign with Decca in January 1951. (The second Bama disc and the Bullet singles were issued after he signed with Decca).
Gunter's entertainment career was interrupted by the Korean War. He was called up again and served until November 1952. While on leave Gunter would resume his promotional activities and ensured that the trade papers always cited his impressive rank of 1st Lieutenant. Nevertheless, military decorations could not compensate for an endless round of PA's and Gunter found his career back in the basement when he was demobbed for the last time.
An old publishing friend, Nat Tannen of Tannen Music, suggested that Gunter contact the Wheeling, West Virginia Jamboree and that initial contact landed Gunter a steady gig on the show from 1952(*) until 1953. From that point he moved to WJLD in Birmingham, Alabama, before moving back to WWVA in 1954 for a ten year stint.
The recording scene was not so bright. Decca had not picked up his renewal at the end of the first term and after one or two abortive sessions with MGM in 1953 Gunter found himself label-less. The short stay at WJLD had given him one valuable contact, though. Programme director Jim Connally was Sam Phillips' brother-in-law and Connally knew of Phillips' ambition to enter the country market, so he suggested that Gunter and Phillips get together. Gunter could not spare the time to come to Memphis and recorded his single in Birmingham. Sam Phillips mailed the session cheques in February 1954 suggesting that the session had been held late in 1953 or early 1954. However, the coupling of "Gonna Dance All Night" and "Fallen Angel" did not revive Gunter's career, nor do much for the flagging fortunes of Sun Records.
Hardrock Gunter moved on to King Records for one session at the tail end of 1954 but King also refused to pick up their option. Gunter had moved to the morning slot on WWVA at the time he signed with King. In this way he met Bobby Durham, an old time fiddler who also worked at the station and on the Jamboree. Gunter recorded the wonderful "Jukebox Help Me Find My Baby" in the WWVA studios early in 1956 just as Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins were changing the face of country music. Durham and Bob Tuston then dubbed in the rhythm track.
Gunter later claimed that the song was about drug usage (presumably by virtue of the line "some monkey's got my baby..."), but if this is to be believed, it marked Gunter's first and last venture into the murky world of 'double entendre'.
In any event, Hardrock Gunter and Durham (the latter had contributed the flip side, "Fiddle Bop"), found themselves with an eminently saleable master that was languishing unnecessarily on the Cross Country label.
Of course, the years between the release of Gunter's Sun record and the Cross-Country venture had been very good to Sam Phillips and after Bill Randle at WERE, Cleveland, started playing the record, Gunter contacted Phillips about a lease deal. Phillips agreed and "Jukebox Help Me Find My Baby" appeared on Sun in September 1956 horn of 20 seconds of prime bass thumping. Despite the incredible prestige of Sun Records in the fall of 1956, Gunter's little opus died.
To his credit, Hardrock Gunter did not give up. He recorded consistently for years for country labels great and small, although mostly small. He started a business, the Gunter Music and Insurance Agency based in St. Clairsville, Ohio and continued his musical activities in the face of changing times (for example the "Hillbilly Twist", (Starday 581).
Hardrock Gunter was not a significant performer in the history of Sun Records, not least because he never actually went to Memphis to record. However, nothing can detract from the primitive drive of "Jukebox Help Me Find My Baby" and it is doubtful whether Sam Phillips himself could have done a better job. Gunter was a journeyman. A hardworking artist who always gave the audience their moneysworth with jokes, music and little which for his own records.
Gunter's significance to Elvis Presley's music was in his ability to incorporate a black boogie woogie piano style into his music. It was the feeling and direction of Gunter's music that prompted Elvis Presley to unwittingly incorporate a rock sound in his country tunes. In sum, it was the ability to switch from country to rhythm and blues music that distinguished Gunter's style. it provided the bridge that Elvis Presley needed to infuse traditional country songs with an rhythm and blues feeling. On March 15, 2013, Hardrock Gunter died of complications of a pneumonia at the age of 88.
HADLEY, RED - Gailey D. Hadley, known as "Red", came to Sam Phillips' attention in 1952. An
enthusiastic singer and honky tonk style piano player from Covington, Tennessee. Red Hadley was at one time scheduled by Sam to be the first country singer on Sun Records. He approached Sam Phillips toward the end of that year with several songs forged in then-popular country styles. Sam Phillips was impressed enough to schedule two sessions, on November 13, and December 5, 1952. The Sun label had lain dormant for several months and Sam Phillips spoke to Red of resurrecting it with Red's songs.
He also spoke of
licensing the songs to another label, and it seems that in the end Sam decided to try the latter course. He restarted Sun with three blues records, and he sent Red's country recordings to Lillian McMurry at Trumpet Records in Jackson, Mississippi. Unfortunately they were not issued.
Sam Phillips remembers Red with affection. "He had it, he could have made a great record. But he just
wouldn't apply himself consistently". Other people have expressed the same views. Fellow bandleaders Malcolm Yelvington and Doug Poindexter both remember Hadley's Wranglers as a talented group of individuals who didn't get along with one another. Fiddle player and record man Bill Cantrell said, "Red Hadley was a really good artist. Maybe one of the very best Sam Phillips ever had. But he had this thing with his brother Jay, where there was always a lot of contention between them. It was hard to get them to work efficiently together". Red brother Jay ''Junior'' Hadley played acoustic guitar in the band, which also included Dave Simmons on steel and Paul Brazile on electric guitar. With Red on piano this was the line-up on ''If I Had As Much Money As I Have Time (I'd Be A Millionaires)'', recorded in December 1952. The song was Red's answer to Lefty Frizzell's series of money songs: ''If You Got The Money I've Got The Time'', ''My baby's Just Like Money'', ''If You Can Spare The Time I Won't Miss The Money'' and so on.
The song ''If I Had As Much Money'' was the one Sam Phillips saw as a potential single. It had first been
tried out at an earlier session in November, when Red also cut two piano instrumentals in the honky tonk style popularised by Del Dood on Tennessee Records out of Nashville. In his endeavours on that occasion, Red was backed by the rest of the Wranglers and by a drummer brought in by Sam Phillips to give a little more drive to their sound. Although it seems incongruous, this drummer was in fact Houston Stokes, a black musician who recorded blues with Rufus Thomas, Jimmy DeBerry and other on Sun. Interestingly, the same week as the Hadley session, Stokes recorded for Phillips as a featured singer backed by a band that included jazz alto saxophonist Frank Strozier. Stokes had certainly covered all the bases that week. Sam Phillips recalled: ''Stokes wasn't an essential drummer but he had a feel for rhythm and blues and he also had a great desire to adventure a little bit. He would play anything with anybody, black or white''.
Red Hadley remained in Memphis after the abortive Sun episode, recording only twice more. In late 1954 or
early 1955 he recorded ''Brother That's All'' for Meteor Records, and in 1974 he recorded ''Rockin' With Red'' for Shelby County label. Apart from the quality is the argument that blew up from nowhere with Red's brother Jay about why he wasn't featured on the session. Maybe that had also been the point at issue back in 1952. (MH)
HAGGETT, JIMMY - James Clecy ''Jimmy'' Haggett had always been a shadowy figure from the dawn of Sun's golden era. From the scant evident available, it appeared as though Haggett worked on the periphery of the Memphis scene, dropping out of sight as the rockabilly revolution swept everything before it. However, it transpired that Haggett had coped with the new music better than anyone had previously thought.
Born December 2, 1928 in Granite City, Illinois, and moved back to
his dad's home state, Missouri, when he was small.
Later he moved to Patterson, then he sit
by the battery operation radio and listen to the Grand Ole Opry. On occasion, the neighbours would come to his little farm house and there gather around and listen to the show. Jimmy, his brother and another school friend organised themselves into a group and secured a regular 30 minute slot on KWOC in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. They also played fairs and rodeos and became well known locally before moving to KREI, Farmington, Missouri. The group played 30 minutes every Saturday and eventually secured a similar gig at KFMO, Flat River, Missouri.
Jimmy Haggett split from the group after three months at KFMO and moved back to KREI as a disc jockey. The station had promised him a chance as a disc jockey if he could find a sponsor for his show. He found a sponsor and worked a two hour show every day and started playing nightclubs with a reorganised group.
In 1953 Jimmy wrote to KBOA, Kennett, Missouri, enquiring whether they had a slot for a country musician and disc jockey. The station invited him for an interview and he started work 2-4 hours a day, still working the nightclubs virtually every night. In early 1955 Haggett booked Bud Deckelman into Kennett. Deckelman was riding the crest of a shortlived wave that began and ended with "daydreamin'" but, when he returned to Memphis, Deckelman called Sam Phillips and suggested that he contact Haggett with a view to making a record. On August 23, 1955, Jimmy Haggett and his group, who were known as the Ozark Mountain Boys at this time, made the journey to Memphis and recorded four songs for Sam Phillips.
1955 was a banner year for Jimmy Haggett. It not only marked his debut on record but it also brought acclaim at the Annual Disc Jockeys Convention on November in Nashville. The same convention that saw Elvis Presley perform to the amazement of Steve Sholes and Ann Fulcino from RCA Victor, also saw the election of Jimmy Haggett as Disc Jockey of the Year.
Haggett's record, which coupled "No More" and "They Call Our Love A Sin", was released after the negotiations with RCA over Presley's future had been completed. it was almost too late. The face of country music changed a lot during those few months and Jimmy Haett's single was lost in the shuffle as Phillips desperately tried to accommodate all of the action that "Blue Suede Shoes" was getting. Haggett decided that times were changing and that he had better change with them.
Charlie Feathers and disc jockey Jimmy Haggett, WSM, Nashville, Tennessee, February 1955 >
After his second Sun session in 1956, Jimmy had moved from KBOA to KWYN, Wynn, Arkansas, where helped to start up the station. He then moved to the prestigious 5000 watt KLCN in Blytheville, Arkansas. Once again, he was voted disc jockey of the year and worked more professional shows during 1956 than at any other time in his career. Jimmy Haggett had also made the sensible move of bringing a rock and roll singer into his band under contract.
The youngster was Buford Peak and Haggett arranged a recording session at Fernwood Records in Memphis that featured Peak. "I used him on a lot of rock and roll stuff on our personal appearances so I felt that I would like to have a record released by him to help our gigs. Slim Wallace, the owner of Fernwood, and I agreed that Buford's name would go on the label". The record became the second release on Fernwood, although sales were disappointing. Peak later left Haggett's band, joined another group and was killed in approximately 1965 on the way to a show in southern Illinois.
Jimmy Haggett's greatest success came with a song he leased to Caprock Records in Big Springs, Texas. "Without You" was a gently country ballad that had shades of Jimmy's favourite artist, Jim Reeves. It became a regional breakout in several markets but never reached the national charts. It is surprising that a major label did not offer to lease the titles because both the song and the performance were very strong.
After Jimmy Haggett left KLCN he moved back to KBOA for a year before relocating to Portageville, Missouri, as general manager of KMIS. The experience he gained there encourage him to apply for a FCC license to build his own station and, in May 1966, Jimmy Haggett and Galen Watson opened KPWB in Jimmy's hometown of Piedmont, Missouri.
Jimmy Haggett sold his share of KPWB in 1975 and has been inactive in the music business for the last ten years. There are many artists on Sun Records who moved easily, and happily, from hillbilly music to rockabilly. Jimmy Haggett epitomises those who made some concessions to the newer sounds but never quite had their heart and soul in it. To this day, he regards the two religious narrations that he recorded at Sun in 1955 as his finest work and he was disappointed that we could not trace them. It says something for Jimmy's versatility that he could move from "No More" to "Rabbit Action" in a few months, but, in the final analysis, it is a pity that he did not arrive at Sun a little sooner when Sam Phillips was seriously experimenting with country music, or a little later when Jack Clement was recording Ernie Chaffin. Perhaps the history books would have been written differently.
James Clecy Haggett died on January 30, 2000 in Oiedmond, Missouri. James Haggett is buried in Rockwell Cemetery located in Patterson, Missouri. (CE)
HALCOMB (HOLCOMB), PATSY - There was a time in 1956 or 1957 when every major record label felt it had to have its own "female Elvis". Decca had Brenda Lee, Capitol had Wanda Jackson, Columbia had Lorrie Collins, RCA Victor had Janis Martin. Perhaps Sun, which had instigated the whole rockabilly trend in the first place, didn't feel they had enough coverage with only Barbara Pittman, although her 1956 single "I Need A Man" was certainly a step in the right direction.
Patsy Halcomb remains one of the mystery figures in the world of Sun archaeology. To date, attempts to locate her have remained fruitless. She may have been the Patsy Holcomb when Martin Hawkins traced to Hartford, Alabama, born on August 8, 1931, but she died in 2010 at age 78 so he was too late to ask her. However, the Sun session sheet note her name as Patsy Halcomb, and its unlikely that it would have been written as such unless she'd spelled it out. There was a Patsy Halcomb living near Fayetteville, south of Nashville, who was born in 1935 and dies on December 19, 1996, but we do know that on June 17, 1957, Miss Halcomb (or Holcomb) entered the studio at 706 Union Avenue along with the usual pickers and grinners (Roland Janes, Jimmy M. Van Eaton, Stan Kesler) and produced, or at least worked on, two sides for single release. For reasons now lost to history, ''I Wanna Rock'' and ''Oooooh, That's Good'' were never issued, although various versions of them have appeared on Sun compilations. Halcomb also tried her hand at two other titles that have seen far less reissue interest; in fact, it is not clear these titles have seen general release anywhere, except on ''Memphis Belles, The Women Of Sun Records (BCD 16609). ''Someone To Love'' obviously stems from a later and very different session and is far less mannered and frantic than the earlier recordings.
HALL, ROY – Roy Hall was a character, for sure. A country musician from the Appalachians, he was
variously a bandleader, night club owner, road manager, show promoter, newspaper proprietor, and general
hustler. There was a time when he stayed drunk a lot and played up the legend of the two-fisted pianopounder
who wrote one of the anthems of rock and roll and recorded some of the rawest music ever to come
out of the piano cracks between blues, boogie, and honky tonk music.
Roy Hall would boast that he recorded
four million sellers, "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On", "See You Later Alligator", "All By Myself" and "Blue
Suede Shoes", omitting to mention that these songs were million sellers for Jerry Lee Lewis, Bill Haley, Fats
Domino and Carl Perkins respectively.
It is typical for the man. He was something of a fantasist. Often there
was a lot of truth in his stories as well, but Hall succeeded in obscuring the truth in each of the few
interviews he gave over the years, so attempting a reliable biographical sketch is no easy task.
Born James K. Hall on May 7, 1922 in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, a town smaller than it sounds, some twenty
miles from Bristol. ''That's the town that straddles the Tennessee state line'', he said. ''I was born on the
Virginia side. To begin with, Nick Tosches (in his book "Unsung Heroes of Rock 'n' Roll") promoted the
legend that Roy learned piano from "an old coloured man", who not only taught him the blues and the
boogie, but also how to drink hard liquor. In reality Hall started to play the piano through his mother's
influence. He had two lessons from a professional teacher, but found out that he was better at learning by ear.
"I could just listen to a tune and play it right off", he told Martin Hawkins in 1974.
In 1930, Hall was living at 237 East Third Street with his mother, Florence, and her parents, the
McCormacks. His father, Ray F. Hall, a railroad clerk, was lodging in nearby Gladeville on census day, but
ten years on he and Florence were living together with eighteen year old James, for whom no occupation was
shown. Possibly he was already working in the shadowy economy of the budding musician. He said, ''When I
started to play, we would work at all little country dances and school halls and social events in little noaccount
hillbilly towns. We played music for dancing mostly. I learned the piano first but I also learned to
play the accordion 'cos that was what was used in a lot of folk music at that time, and it was easier to carry
round the piano! Later on, when I got into the honky tonks and joints and all, then there was always a piano
and I went back to that as my main instrument''. First, though Hall had to do his bit for the War effort. He
enlisted in the Army on December 12, 1942 and was released on August 16 the following year. It was not a
matter he ever wanted to discuss.
James K. became 'Roy' sometime around 1945 or 1946. ''About then'', Hall said, ''I worked some around
Roanoke, Virginia, with some other boys, and we were the Hall Brothers. That was my first professional
band really''. Hall started playing professionally as a sideman with Uncle Dave Mason from the Grand Ole
Opry. By 1949 he had organized his own band, the Cohutta Mountain Boys. Roy played mainly piano with
this five-piece outfit and he is not the singer on "Dirty Boogie" (Fortune, 1949) and "Mule Boogie" (Bullet,
1950), the two prototype rockers for which he is best known from this early period. The singer was the
group's fiddle player, Frankie Brumbalough, but the record labels had Roy Hall's name out front and the
songs are associated with him. These two songs are by no means typical of the recordings that Hall's band
made in 1949-1950. Most of these were pure country, with some western swing thrown in for good measure.
In 1951 Hall formed a new band, the Eagles, which recorded three singles for Detroit's Citation Records. The
next year Hall recorded two singles with piano instrumentals (inspired by the success of Del Wood's "Down
Yonder") for the Tennessee label in Nashville. None of these early records achieved sales of any significance.
Roy opened an after-hours joint in Nashville called the Hideaway where he played piano. Webb Pierce was a
loyal customer at Hall's club and hired Roy as his piano player, using him on most of his recordings in 1954-
1955. Roy also did session work for Marty Robbins, Hawkshaw Hawkins and Patsy Cline. Legend has it that
Elvis Presley came to Roy's club one night in 1954, looking for work, but that Hall fired him after just one
night. "He weren't no damn good." More reliable is the claim that Jerry Lee Lewis played at the Hideaway
for a few weeks in early 1955. According to Hall, that's where Lewis first heard "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin'
On". Hall claims to be the co-writer of this song (under the pseudonym Sunny David), with Dave "Curlee"
Williams. It was first recorded by Big Maybelle on OKeh in March 1955 and then by Hall himself on
September 15, 1955, after Webb Pierce had helped him to get a Decca record deal. However, a sample copy
of this record shows Williams as the sole writer, and Williams is currently recognized as the sole composer,
after legal action from his side. Still, most of the "experts" seem to give Hall some credit for the writing of
"Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On".
Roy recorded four sessions for Decca in 1955-1956 and these yielded some superb rockabilly recordings,
like "Three Alley Cats", "Diggin' the Boogie", "Off-Beat Boogie" and "You Ruined My Blue Suede Shoes"
(the last two originally unissued). Produced by Paul Cohen, these Decca tracks featured some of Nashville's
finest session men, with a special mention for the guitar of Grady Martin.
After another single for the Fortune label in Detroit, Hall recorded two sessions for the Sun label in
December 1957. The four resulting songs were not bad at all, but Sam Phillips refused to release them and
they did not become available until decades later. His next stop was at Hi-Q Records in Detroit, a Fortune
subsidiary. Two singles were released, the first of which (1958) was particularly good. It coupled the
humorous talking blues "Bed Spring Motel" with a faster remake of "Three Alley Cats".
In 1960, Hall had a release on Pierce Records (Webb Pierce's label), "Flood Of Love"/"One Monkey Can't
Stop the Show" and that's where Hall's career as a singer came to a provisional end. For the next two decades
Roy would concentrate on production and promotional work.
None of his enterprises took off in a big way and Hall developed a drinking problem, but he quit alcohol in
1972. In the 1970s he published the "Nashville Enquirer" newspaper, which primarily dealt with the country
music scene. He relaunched the Judd label in 1974 and later recorded an album for Barrelhouse Records of
Chicago. He was still working on his big moment, confident that it would come, when he died on March 2,
1984 at the age of 61.
Roy Hall was no great vocalist, but he played a mean boogie piano and he wrote several songs that could
easily have made it. In the words of Martin Hawkins: "He was there when it counted, even before it counted.
Maybe there was a lot more to Roy Hall than we have been able to piece together, and maybe there was less.
He had a raffish charm and left some music that endured from the ruckus of his life''.
HARE, PAT - born as Pat Auburn Hare on December 20, 1930 in Cherry Valley, Arkansas
, to sharecroppers Larkin and Dorothy Hare, where he was raised by his grandmother on a plantation owned by a Mrs. Fay Van, he had had a brother who died at the age of six. In 1940, the family moved to a farm near Parkin, Arkansas, and around the same time young Auburn, whose grandmother nicknamed him Pat, started playing guitar. In his teens he took lessons from Joe Willie Wilkins, who played in Sonny Boy Williamson's II band (Rice Miller), appearing on Sonny Boy's King Biscuit Flour radio show.
He also fell in with Howlin' Wolf, and played in Wolf's band on weekends around the Forrest City/West Memphis area while still in his teens. He also played minor league baseball, and drove a "big John Deere tractor" on the farm. He was already developing into something of a bad drunk, a mean little shit who at one time climbed up on a chair to punch Howlin' Wolf who towered over him (and probably could have killed him bare handed had he retaliated).
Wolf took him back to his family and recommended they give him a whupping. There are other stories about young Pat Hare, it's hard to tell which ones are true and which are exaggerations, although there's probably at least a kernel of truth to most of them that he took a few shots a Wolf with a pistol, that he attacked a man with a rake, breaking his own finger in the process (one of his little fingers was bent and would remain so for the rest of his life). Wolf kept him on, using him for his own radio show that broadcast from West Memphis' KWEM, and Hare also appeared on the radio with James Cotton, Willie Nix, Joe Hill Louis and later on Memphis' all black WDIA playing behind his cousin Walter Bradford.
Pat Hare made his recording debut backing up Bradford on a session held at Sam C. Phillips' Sun Studio in the spring of 1952. The record Walter Bradford's Dreary Nights b/w Nuthin' But The Blues (Sun 176) is so rare that no one has actually ever seen a copy. Hare claimed to have played on several of Howlin' Wolf's RPM sides cut around the same time (the ones produced by Ike Turner and recorded at KWEM's studio), but Wolf's guitarist of the time Willie Johnson claims that he played on the sides in question. To my ears it sounds like Johnson, although their playing had many similarities. Both musicians could play complicated jazzy leads which would be followed up by crude, violent fills and chord crashes. Both used an extremely distorted tone (in day and age well before the invention of foot pedals and distortion boxes which are standard fare for any guitarist for the last forty years).
Pat Hare had left Howlin' Wolf's band (or more likely, was fired) in 1952, and it was then he joined up with Little Junior Parker's band, staying with them until April of 1953. Parker shared his band with Bobby "Blue" Bland, and they toured together as "Blues Unlimited". When not touring, he would return to the family farm, and play around Memphis working with various musicians including Johnny Ace, Rosco Gordon, Ike Turner, and James Cotton whose band became his most regular gig of the time. He also became the favorite session guitarist of producer Sam Phillips who had just opened his studio on the corner of Union and Marshall in Memphis and was leasing tunes to RPM in Hollywood and Chess in Chicago, and then releasing them on his own Sun label. Hare appeared on sides by Rosco Gordon, Little Junior Parker (including this one which appeared on Duke (''Sittin' Drinkin and Thinkin''), Walter Horton, Big Memphis Ma Rainey, Kenneth Banks and others. One of the greatest thrills for young Pat Hare however was getting to play with one of his musical heroes, Memphis Minnie who had retired to Memphis and whom Hare backed at a Memphis gig one weekend in 1953.
At Sun he appeared two early James Cotton singles, which in retrospect, would be the greatest recordings ever issued under Cotton's name, ''My Baby'' b/w ''Straighten Up Baby'' (Sun 199) and ''Cotton Crop Blues'' b/w ''Hold Me In Your Arms'' (Sun 206). What made these discs so special was Hare's demonically, distorted guitar attack, it sounded as if his strings were made of barbed wire, most especially on Cotton Crop Blues.
Another excellent session for Sun was led by harmonica player Coy "Hot Shot" Love. It would produce another disc of singular greatness, ''Wolf Call Boogie'' b/w ''Harmonica Jam'' (Sun 196).
In May of 1954, Sam Phillips decided to record Pat Hare under his own name. James Cotton was scheduled to play harmonica on the session but the two got into a fist fight that day, and Cotton disappeared. Instead, Hare is backed up by Israel Franklin on bass and Billy Love on piano on the two tunes. The first is a monstrous reading of Dr. Clayton's Cheatin' & Lyin' Blues, re-titled on the tape box ''I'm Gonna Murder My Baby'', it was and still is, one of the most foreboding and ominous recordings in the entire blues canon, along with ''Bonus Pay'' which is actually a cover of Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson's ''Ain't Gonna Be That Way''. Phillips chose not to release Hare's disc which would not be heard until it slipped out on a bootleg on the Redita label in 1976, and later appeared on Charley Records' Sun Blues Box in the eighties.
Pat Hare had become a full time musician, and he would appear on many other discs, most notably Bobby "Blue" Bland's hit ''Further Up The Road'' (Duke 170) where his guitar is featured prominently and Little Junior Parker's ''I Wanna Ramble'' (Duke 137), one of his best discs, Hare adds his own unique attack to a riff developed by Floyd Murphy on Parker's earlier Sun recordings ''Mystery Train'' and ''Love My Baby''. Hare went back on the road with the Blues Unlimited tour until Bland fired him sometime in 1957. It was the same year that James Cotton, who had joined Muddy Waters' band brought Pat to Chicago to replace Jimmy Rogers in, what was known to their contemporaries as Muddy Waters' Drunk Assed Band. He would play with Waters for the next few years, appearing on the Muddy Waters Live At Newport and Muddy Waters' Sings Big Bill LP's.
Pat Hare did not get along with Leonard Chess and was not featured much on the Chess discs he plays on, although Hare has some nice moments on the Sings Big Bill album, the first Waters LP to be recorded in stereo. His trademark distorted sonic attack is replaced by a cleaner, low volume sound. Probably at Leonard Chess' insistence, trying to make him sound more like Jimmie Rogers who favored a more twangy sound. Hare shines brightest on ''Hey Hey'' and ''Moppers Blues'' from Muddy Waters Sings Big Bill.
Sometime between 1960-1963 (the exact date is unclear) came the first "incident" to hint that Hare, who was fairly mild mannered when sober, was becoming an out of control drunk. Having left his wife in Cleveland, Hare had a girlfriend in Chicago named Louise Kennedy. They fought a lot, Hare often accused her of cheating. One night he couldn't get her on the phone so he went to her apartment with a loaded Winchester rifle and emptied it through her front window. She was home, but just too afraid of Hare's temper to answer the door. The police put out a warrant for Hare, who first hid with Muddy Waters then went back to Memphis to stay with Joe Willie Wilkins. Finally, in 1963 he returned to the family farm in Parkin, it was there that former Muddy Waters sidemen Mojo Burford and Jojo Williams tracked him down. They were starting a new band in Minneapolis and brought Pat north to play with them. Soon they were gigging at Mattie's Bar-B-Q in South Minneapolis. Pat Hare was drinking heavily and often had to be sent home for passing out on the bandstand. Once, after being sent home for two nights running, Hare demanded that Burford pay him anyway. When Burford refused Hare threatened to shoot him. Things would get worse from here, much worse.
On Sunday afternoon, December 15, 1963 Hare spent the afternoon drinking wine with well known blues drummer S. P. Leary (who was in town working in band with former Howlin' Wolf guitarist Willie Johnson and Elmore James' former sax player J.T. Brown).
Pat Hare at the time was living with a married woman named Aggie Winje. Pat called a friend of Aggie's named Pat Morrow who drove him to a third friend's house where he drank a half pint of gin. There the two proceeded to the house of James McHie, who was Hare's boss at his day job as a window washer.
Clipping from St. Paul Dispatch, December 1963 concerning Hare's double murder. ^
James McHie wasn't home, so Hare told McHie's wife to bring him to his apartment when he got in, explaining he was having trouble with Aggie who wanted to return to her husband. When Hare got home he took a couple of potshots at Aggie who ran out to Morrow's car and asked if she'd take Hare with her, she was throwing him out. Morrow took off leaving Aggie with Pat, who had worked himself into a lather. Hare got a phone call at a neighbor named Charles Cook's apartment, and while he was on the phone Hare told Cook, "That woman is going to make me kill her". The phone call was from Pat Marrow's husband who was looking for her, "You got the wrong Pat", Hare told him. Hare returned to his and Aggie's apartment where they continued to fight, soon, more shots were heard. A woman named Florence Whipps called the police. Officers James E. Hendricks and Chester Langaard responded within minutes. Officer Hendricks, armed with a shotgun headed to Hare's apartment and was heard to say "Give me the gun", followed by three shots. When Office Langaard, a few steps behind his partner arrived to see Hendricks on the floor and Hare pointing a pistol at him. Aggie was on the couch with two bullet holes in her. Langaard shot Pat Hare twice and called for back up. Two ambulances arrived, the first took away office Hendricks who died en route to the hospital. Aggie and Pat were taken to General Hospital and both underwent surgery. Aggie would die on January 22, 1964. When questioned, Hare remembered only that he was drunk and claimed to have no recollection of shooting anyone.
At the trial Pat Hare waved his rights to a jury trial, and the judge was Tom Bergin, a former cop. The trial, held February 14, 1964 lasted all of one day and Pat Hare was found guilty of first degree murder of Officer Hendricks while at the same time pleading guilty to third degree murder in the case of Aggie Winje's shooting. He was sentenced to life in prison and was sent off to Stillwater State Prison, changing his stage name to 21961-E. In prison Hare joined AA and quit drinking, he played in the prison band, Sounds Incarcerated, playing jazz, country, blues, and rock and roll to fellow inmates and later the band was allowed to travel outside the prison, appearing at public events, concerts, hospitals, and other venues. Hare was denied parole in 1974, and in 1975 he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He was operated on and had part of one lung removed. In 1977 the cancer returned and he was given chemotherapy for cancer of the throat and underwent a second surgery, this time having the muscles from the left side of his neck and under his tongue removed. He was transferred to a minimum security prison. He was often allowed to leave the prison to perform music, even appearing with Muddy Waters at a local concert where Muddy was opening for Eric Clapton.
He was filmed in 1980 for a local Minnesota TV show called PM Magazine, and was about to be given a medical pardon when he succumbed to cancer in Ramsey Hospital, St. Paul, Minesota on September 26, 1980. By the time of his death, the ironic story of Pat Hare and ''I'm Gonna Murder My Baby'' had entered blue lore. There was an interview with him, done in prison, that appeared in Living Blues magazine, and later a long feature about him in Juke Blues (the later being the source for the names and dates in this posting).
His Sun material would be re-issued many times, including on a Japanese P-Vine LP called Memphis Aggressive Guitars Volume 1. This the story of Pat Hare, killer blues guitar player.
OFFICIAL POLICE STATEMENT BY PAT HARE
Statement of Auburn Hare taken at Minneapolis General Hospital, Station 20W.
Interrogation by Det. Short and Hyvare, December 16, 1963, 10: 35 a.m. B. Kveberg, typing.
Q. What is your name?
A. Auburn Hare.
Q. What is your address?
A. 3025 Portland
Q. Are you employed?
A. Yes, window washer.
Q. Auburn we are going to take a statement from you concerning a shooting that took place at your home
3025 Portland Sunday, December 15, 1963 at approximately 8:55 pm and also at 9:03 pm. Knowing that you
do not have to give us a statement are you still willing to give a statement concerning these shootings as you
Q. Who did you live at 3025 Portland with?
A. Agnus Winje (sic).
Q. How long have you lived with Agnus Winje (sic)?
A. About five months.
Q. How long have you been in Minneapolis?
A. Since somewhere in May of this year.
Q. Where did you come from when you came to Minneapolis?
A. Earle, Arkansas.
Q. Calling your attention to Sunday afternoon did you and Agnus (sic) come to some disagreement?
A. She was flying off the handle about me going with Pat Morrow, who is supposed to be a very good friend
of Agnus' (sic).
Q. Did you leave your apartment and go someplace with Pat Morrow?
A. I went to 2616 18 Avenue. So.
Q. Why were you with Pat Morrow?
A. I called and asked her if she would take me to 10th Avenue because she has a car.
Q. How long were you gone from the apartment with Pat Morrow?
A. 45 minutes to an hour. We got lost and she couldn't find my boss' house.
Q. Was Agnes angry with you after you came back to the apartment?
A. Yes, I tried to get her to ride along with us but she wouldn't do it.
Q. Do you think she was jealous of you going with Pat?
Q. What did she do to you?
A. She kept on nagging and called me a lot of names. I asked her to leave me alone but she didn't. I don’t
know too much after that.
Q. What did you do when she kept nagging?
A. I went first and laid on the bed and then I got off the bed and went on the couch and she kept following
and nagging. That's how the whole thing started. I don't remember how I got my hand on the gun but I know
I had it in my hand. I fired some shots in the wall to scare her. The next thing I remember somebody shoved
the door open and I didn’t know who it was at first until I started shooting. It all happened in a flash. After
that I realized who it was and I gave up just like that.
Q. What kind of a gun did you use to do the shooting with?
A. '25 Caliber Automatic.
Q. Is that the automatic that you purchased at Hy's Loan Office in August?
A. Yes, it was.
Q. How many shells did that automatic hold?
A. Put seven in the magazine and one in the barrel. That would make it eight.
Q. Do you remember how many shots you fired at Aggie?
A. I don't remember.
Q. Do you remember her saying anything when she got hit?
Q. How many shots did you fire at the policeman before you recognized who it was?
A. Two or three times. That gun shoots so fast it can shoot two or three times and sound like once.
Q. Did you hear the Policeman or did you hear anyone say to you “ give me that gun.
A. Yes, but I had my back to the door and I don't know who it was and when I wheeled around I must have
Q. Where was Aggie sitting or standing when you shot her?
A. She was standing right in the middle o f the floor in the livingroom.
Q. Do you remember how many shots you fired at her?
A. About two or three times.
Q. Auburn, does that gun fire very easily?
A. Yes, very easily.
Q. How soon after Aggie was shot did the Policeman come to the front door?
A. It must have been about the same time because it all happened about the same time. She got hit and I shot
the Policeman and I got hit.
Q. Had you been drinking at all on Sunday afternoon?
A. I went over to my friend’s house because he always had some around on Sunday. I drank part of a halfpint
of gin there.
Q. You didn’t drink very much then, is that right?
A. No, I only had a good swallow out of a whole half a pint.
Q. Did you fire four or five shots at the wall shortly after 8: 30 pm?
A. Yes, I must have fired four or five shots and then got a telephone call in the next apartment so I talked on
the phone and went back to my apartment and then I loaded the gun.
Q. Auburn, is there anything else that you wish to add to this statement?
A. I’m very sorry. I didn't want that to happen. Everything happened so fast I didn’t have time to think.
Q. Is this a true statement given of your own free will without any threats or promises made to you?
Q. When it is completed and you have had a chance to read it and make any necessary corrections, are you
willing to sign it as a true statement?
A. Yes, I will.
DATE: December 16, 1963
TIME: 11 a. m.
PLACE: Minneapolis General Hospital Station 20W.
I, Auburn Hare, do hereby certify that I have received a true and exact copy of my foregoing statement.
PERSONAL STATEMENT BY PAT HARE
''The truth is, Kevin, they (the police) did come in without giving me any warning and shot me twice in the
back and once in my left arm, between elbow and shoulder but they swore that they didn’t shoot me but
twice. And the woman (Agnes Winje) didn't have a scratch on her before they got there. Everything happen
in the exchange of gunfire and that woman (Florence Whipps) that called them can tell you that if she tells
the truth about it. She left from my apartment and went back into her apartment and called the cops. And me
and the woman (Aggie) both were standing at the kitchen table drinking gin when she came into our place
and was still standing there when she left. And yes, before this woman came in I had fired some shots
into the wall. She was told that by a man (Charles Cooke) she had living there with her she wasn't even home
that's really what she was doing in our place in the first place, to see what was going on. Kevin her name is
And Kevin I'm almost sure that the door was closed, it may not have been locked but it was closed, and I
was hit in the back not in the chest but I really couldn’t say which one of the cops shot me because I didn’t
see them come in I only heard the noise when the door came open and felt the bullets hitting me in the back.
The woman and myself was treated at General Hospital and she never was unconscious as far as I know
because she and I talked on the way to the hospital and yes it s true the police never released any statement
she made. And I tried my best to get that attorney to check on that but he wouldn't do it. His name is Kermit
Gill public defender and I didn't have no jury trial, and Judge Tom Bergen (sic) he found me guilty of first
degree on the cop and allow me to plead guilty to 3rd degree on the woman and they are running together.
Oh yes Kevin one more thing the woman lived a month and 8 days after she was shot and she was sending
me word about every other day telling me how sorry she was and it was all her fault that all this thing
I don't have any letters she sent me. She always sent word by friends that would go by the hospital and see
her then they’d come by the jail and visit me and would you believe none o f them lives in the state
(A letter to Kevin Hahn, August 23 , 1973)
HARRIS, RAY - Son of sharecroppers, Homer Ray Harris was born in Mantachie, Mississippi on
September 7, 1927. Harris came from the rural areas and listened to the Grand Ole Opry. He
didn't listen to colored music. In 1953 Ray Harris had married and moved to Memphis. He
took a job on the graveyard shift at the Firestone plant working next to Bill Black. "One day
we was taking a break", he recalls, "and I asked Bill what he was doin' in music. He said that
on Saturday nights he was playin' down at the State Line, some li'l ol' club down on the
Tennessee-Mississippi state line.
He also said he was tryin' to cut a record up at Sun with a
boy named Presley. He asked me to come by during the next session.
"I went up there one afternoon. I was shy, sat in the car and waited for Bill.
We went inside
and Bill introduced me to Sam, Elvis, and Scotty. They was cuttin "Good Rockin' Tonight". I
sat with Sam up in the control room. He would listen to the playbacks and say, 'This is it!
This is it!. I didn't see it at first, 'cause you gotta remember I was raised on Hank Williams,
but even before the end of the session it was startin' to hit me. I'd played a little back
around Tupelo - wienie roasts and the like - and I listened to Presley and thought, 'Hell, that
boy ain’t doin' anything I can’t do!'.
Armed with that certainty, Ray Harris recruited a band led by guitarist Wayne Cogswell, who
had moved to Memphis from Connecticut with his wife and children in search of there
shaking music. "We disturbed the neighborhood every night", Harris remembers. "Told
everyone they would get a copy of the record when it come out. We was huntin' somethin'
different like everyone else. We just decided to go as wild as we could".
Bill Cantrell met Harris while he was working up his debut single. "Ray wanted to be another
Elvis. He couldn't sing and he wasn't good to look at, but he didn't care. You'd go visit him
and you could hear him practicing from two blocks away. He would open the door wearing
nothing but his overalls, dripping with sweat. He had an old portable recorder, and he'd go
back to singing and sweating. In the studio, he'd throw himself around, arms going like
Ray Harris was one of the unlikeliest pretenders to Elvis Presley's throne. His brand of music
was so raw and Southern that airplay outside the South would have been unhinkable.
Acknowledging that the fact with grim, selfknowing humor, Harris quit the performing end of
the business and launched a record label that would let him experience success vicariously.
But not even the proximity of success in those years gave him the impetus to resume his
recording career, which began and ended with two luminous singles on the Sun label.
Later in 1957, Ray Harris to meet one of Jerry Lee Lewis' cousin, Carl McVoy, on a construction sit. McVoy, a pianist and singer, played a goosed-up version of "You Are My Sunshine", and Harris, no stranger to the recording studio, saw a chance for a career on the other side of the glass. Together with Bill Cantrell and Quinton Claunch, he invested $3.50 in recording a demo of "Sunshine" that they pitched to Joe Cuoghi, the owner of the local Poplar Tunes record store. Cuoghi was intrigued, found some other investors, and launched Hi Records in 1957. On the strenght of artists like Bill Black, Ace Cannon, Gene Simmons and especially Al Green, Hi Records eventually eclipse Sun.
Sun 254 ^
After ten years as the eminence grise behind the hits of Bill Black and Ace Cannon, Ray Harris quit the business in 1970. He was sick of the control room, having engineered and mixed sessions twelve hours a day for most of the previous decade. In particular, Ray Harris could see no future in Al Green, in whom the other partners seemed to have an inordinate amount of faith. Burned out, Harris retreated to a house on the Tennessee River before starting a construction company in Tupelo, Mississippi.
In the mid-1970s Ray Harris and Sam Phillips built the Trace studio in Tupelo with a commitment from Playboy Records, but the deal went sour and Harris lost a considerable amount of money. By this point, Harris' daughter had married Phillips' younger son, Jerry, but the failure of Trace Recording gave Harris little enthusiasm for another partnership with his new in-law.
Ray Harris still owns a stake in a small studio near Saltillo, Mississippi, and every so often he re-enter the business. Unfailingly, though, the pendulum will swing the other way. On one such occasion, Ray Harris took all the tapes he had accumulated over the course of a thirty-year involvement in the music business, loaded them in the back of his pickup truck, and drove them to the Iuka, Mississippi, dump - where they remain.
Ray Harris was shrewd and funny. Almost completely devoid of pretension, he knew what he'd accomplished and where he'd fallen short. ''You gotta to give Sam Phillips credit for being in the right place at the right time'', he said. ''Sam knowed something different. The man amazed me. Look at the bushel barrell of top talent that came out of there. You've got to know talent in this business - and Sam knowed talent. I can appreciate that because I remember when we could do no wrong at Hi and times when I couldn't buy a hit. I never did have a hit record (as an artist) but I tried. And there's a lot of people just wanted the chance I had: to make a record in them days and be on the Sun label. It was an honor. I guess the reason I never did have a hit was I had too much country in my style. Sure had a good time tryin' though''!
Ray Harris was sixty years old, recovering from a heart bypass operation, with an operation pending to remove a cancerous growth in his throaty. He also hadn’t cut a hit in almost twenty years. Ray Harris died in November 13, 2003 in Mooreville, Mississippi, at the age of 76.
HILL, HENRY - Yet another relatively unknown quantity, the garrulous Henry Hill recorded his one session with Doctor Ross sometime during end 1952. As well as accompanying Ross - along with washboard player Reuben Martin - on a number of titles, he also recorded at least six takes of "That Ain't Right".
Each take has a different introduction, some so long that his accompanists have trouble picking up the beat. Sam Phillips must have thought enough of him to spent so much time on that one number, but his inability to fine tune his performance over so many takes is perhaps the reason that no further songs were recorded.
Guitarist Houston Stackhouse was a fount of knowledge about the Mississippi blues scene and told writer James La Rocca that he knew Henry Hill, a pianist and juke joint operator in Clarksdale, and that Henry was the father of saxophonist Raymond Hill. We know from Raymond that his father went with him to see Sam Phillips about money for ''Rocket 88'' sometime in 1952, and to sign a recording contract for Raymond. However, Raymond told Bill Greensmith that although his father was called Henry, owned night clubs, and knew many musicians, he was not a pianist. There was another Henry Hill who recorded four discs for Federal Records in 1951 and 1952 but his blues were of the smooth, urban variety and didn't sound like a man who had just walked out of a Mississippi juke, and not in a straight line at that. So, sixty years after his appearance at 706 Union Avenue Henry Hill the pianist remains a biographical question mark.
HILL, RAYMOND - Tenor sax player Raymond Hill was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi, on April
29, 1933, and was the son of one Henry Hill, a local club-owner and run a number of juke joints including a large club near Marks. His mother's father, said Hill, ''was Chinese. His name was Wong. He always ran a grocery store''. Raymond, whose unofficial middle name became Wong, grew up listening to pianists like Pinetop Perkins and Dudlow Taylor as well as musicians like Sonny Boy Williamson, Robert Nighthawk and the others who played in his father's club, not his main influence appears to have been the Little Wynn's DeLuxe Aces , led by saxophonist Winchester Davis.
Hill persuaded his parents to buy him a tenor s ax, and after considerable practice, eventually joined the Tophatters, who morphed into Ike Turner's Kings Of Rhythm. Hill told Bill Greensmith in 1979 for Blues Limited: ''The first band I started with was Ike Turner here in Clarksdale, playing dances. We used to leave Clarksdale, in fact we used to go to Greenville, Indianola, Belzoni, Yazoo City, places like this, in and out. Occasionally we would play Memphis, once in a while we would jump down and play Louisiana''. As a teenager, Raymond Hill was even a boxer at some gigs, where bouts were part of the entertainment alongside music and gambling. As his brother Charles said, ''Women was crazy about him. He had that baby face and women used to just say, 'Can I feel your skin'? and he was good looking and used to fix his hair with that process''. When he was about seventeen, Hill gave up boxing to preserve his lips for other activities. By this point, he was the lead soloist in the King Of Rhythms. Ike Turner and his vocalist, Billy Gayles, called him 'Chink' Hill played alongside Jackie Brenston, who doubled on saxophone and vocals. ''Raymond was a good saxophone player'' said Ike Turner. ''All of us was kids together, and whatever was hot on the jukebox, we would take it off note for note. So would Jackie Brenston, but Jackie was more alto and baritone sax. And Jackie would play more Louis Jordan's kind of stuff''.
According to Hill, ''B.B. King came through and heard us playing... He tells Ike, 'I think I can set up a recording for you in Memphis with Sam Phillips. Could you be in Memphis on Wednesday''? That day, Hill honked and screeched his way into history on ''Rocket 88'' but, after six months, disillusion had set in. ''This ''Rocket 88'' had pushed pretty good'', he said, ''so we started asking about the bread... but when the money started coming off the recording, Willie Kizart, Bad Boy (Willie Sims) and myself, we started getting the short end... So this is what I do. I break off from Ike and Jackie and I went back to Sam Phillips myself, my father went with me, we drives up to Memphis''.
In October 1952, Sam Phillips agreed to recorded Raymond Hill as leader on some vocal and instrumental tracks. Phillips offered the tapes to several labels, including Chess Records, and Hill might have had a record on Chess if Phillips hadn't fallen out with the Chess brothers at that precise moment . The band, now known as Raymond Hill and his Jump For Joy, enjoyed some success back in Clarksdale, and Raymond got himself a disc jockey spot on radio there. ''I was on WROX myself for a while. I was on for a plug to boost the band. It was daily five times a week for thirty minutes... I would jive around on the piano, sometimes play a tune or two''. The local Press Register newspaper reported that Raymond was ''chief of the hepcats'' for dealing out ''the hottest jive this side off - well, heaven''. His band included Clayton Love, Dennis Binder, Billy Gayles and others with whom he would make occasional trips to seek work in Chicago. One of this trips resulted in an Aladdin record under the name of Ray Hill. Clayton Love was listed as featured vocalist. By April 1954, Hill was back with Sam Phillips who this time had his own label and issued two instrumental sides by Raymond, ''The Snuggle'' and ''Bourbon Street Jump''.
Raymond Hill drifted off to Chicago in search of work, but in 1955 was re-cruited into Ike Turner's band, then resident in St. Louis. Raymond worked with him for six or seven years, recording prolifically, and fathering Tina Turner's first child, Raymond Craig, after she joined the band. When Ike and Tina went to California, Hill stayed in St. Louis eventually joining Albert King's band. Tiring of the road, he quit music. He recorded a single, ''Going Down'', for David Evans' High Water label in 1980 but was unable to produce enough of the original Kings Of Rhythms to make the anticipated album. Raymond Hill died back in Clarksdale on April 16, 1996, just shy of his sixty-third birthday. (CE) (MH)
HINTON, DON - Born under the Aquarian sign in a little town in southeastern Missouri, Don grew up only
ninety miles north of the rock and roll capitol of the world, Memphis, Tennessee. Caruthersville, only a small
dot on the map, adjacent to the Mississippi River, like so many other little-known southern towns, was
caught up in the influence of Memphis style music. It was growing up under the wing of this influence that
was to bear one of the truly styled performers that we know today.....Don Hinton. Hard work was a way of
life to every young person in the Mississippi Delta region.
The cotton fields demanded that many a boy and
girl spend their summer vacations at arduous labor. But Don was to begin his tasks in another direction; as a
shoe shine boy in his father's barber shop. More than six years was to pass, developing well-learned lessons
there, to prove invaluable in later life.
Music had never really been taken seriously in his family, other than long-remembered folk songs played by
his mother on an old upright piano. Serious music did, however, creep into Don's life. He found himself
taking violin lessons, discovering the appreciation and the virtue of the art. Studying and progressing led to
numerous performance recitals and the foundation he was to build a great ability upon - the art of
In this period of his musical life, an important event was about to occur. The unique vocal sound and style of
a singer from Memphis, Tennessee, was to have an indelible influence on him. That singer was Elvis Presley.
This overwhelming impression would prove to be the turning point for the young violin player from
Caruthersville, Missouri. Fate had dealt its inevitable hand to Don Hinton. His career as a singer and
entertainer would begin.
Things happened fast. Meeting Narvel Felts, an ABC Dot recording star, inspired his desire to pursue the
record industry. Through Sam Phillips of Sun Records, he was signed to a contract and recorded one of
Narvel's songs, along with one he had written himself. His first session found him in the midst of a great staff
band - Charlie Rich on piano; Roland James on guitar, known for his four million selling hit, "Raunchy"; and
Billy Riley on bass, famous for million sellers.
So it was to be, that from a small town in Missouri, a shoe shine boy grew up to become a supreme
entertainer, unparalleled in his own style of performance. Today we see a tribute to the field of entertainment
in his dedication to audiences everywhere...the one and only, Don Hinton.
UNTOLD SUN STORIES – DON HINTON - Born in Caruthersville, Missouri, some 90 miles north of Memphis, in 1942, Don Hinton not only grew up in the immediate post-Elvis generation but in awe of what was happening in Memphis. To him and his buddies, Memphis was the epicenter of the musical universe. His first gigs were with Junior Upchurch and the Rockers. They reckoned themselves to be the number 2 local band, second only to Narvel Felts. There was a jukebox supplier in Caruthersville named Bo Young (rumors of Bo's contacts with local organized crime seemed to be borne out when he was later murdered).
Young knew Sam Phillips, and took Don to Memphis. ''Bo liked our songs'', said Don. ''He financed the session, and Sam was there. Sam liked it well enough to want to release it on Sun. All the Sun guys were there: Roland Janes, Billy Riley, Charlie Rich... and so on.
Roland liked what we'd done and wanted to issue it on his label, Rita Records. Hi Records was interested, and so was Fernwood. I remember going to Fernwood and Bill Black's bass was there with the white trim. Fernwood wanted the record too, but everyone wanted to be on Sun, and when Sam says he wanted to release it, we jumped. They pushed ''Jo Ann'' but ''Honey Bee'' was the side that fit the era much better. Sam told me I should move to Memphis, stay at the YMCA, and hang out at Sun. I didn't do it, and I've regretted it all these years''.
Hinton says that ''Jo Ann''/''Honey Bee'' was released on the same day as Carl Mann's ''South Of The Border''. ''They sold 20,000 ''South Of The Border'' on the first day'', he told Dave Booth, ''and all the Phillips International power was behind Carl Mann. Mind You, if I was Phillips I would have done the same thing''.
Before and after his Phillips single, Don opened a few shows for Jerry Lee Lewis, Charlie Rich, Carl Perkins, and others. It was, he says, a joyful period. Then he went to Chicago. ''I went for a two-week stand in June 1961, and I left in 1972'', he says. He met his wife, Sabina, in Chicago and when they left it was to take his Elvis show on the road. He modeled himself after Elvis' Vegas period. Sabina made the sequined jumpsuits. Together, they toured the United States and Canada. They did this until 1985 or 1986. ''I'd be on the road five or six months at a stretch'', he says. He'd hang a sign outside the lounges he played, ''If you like Elvis, you'll love Don Hinton''. Playing places that Elvis didn't play made Don a lot of money, but much of it went on life sweeteners. He had no home, just a recreational vehicle.
Don came close to Elvis just once. Elvis's girlfriend, Linda Thompson caught his act and invited him to join a party of Elvis's friends at the Memphian Theater. They watched a bad war movie, and Don asked Linda if Elvis was in a mood to meet anyone. She went to ask and never came back. Don was on a trek across Canada when he heard that Elvis had died.
Don eventually settled in Mobile, Alabama. ''I loved the mystique of the town'', he says. ''Down here on the Gulf, it's a very unique area. We liked anything unique... and I'm not going to elaborate on that. I flew down one January and bought a house''. There wasn't much recording after Sun. ''I recorded in Chicago for a little offbeat label. Then I did an LP in 1985 for Mister Music Records in Nashville. It sounds cheesy, and I guess it was. We had two singles off that record''.
For the greater part of his musical career, Don inhabited the twilight world of bars and lounges. Tours could be extended indefinitely. If he went over well in one market, his booker would call ahead to other markets and line up more shows. He had no hits, but he didn't really need them as long as Elvis was in the charts. Still, it was a punishingly hard life, and Don now seems more less relieved to be putting on his sequined jumpsuit only for the occasional charity with his son, Bo, on drums, his son-in-law on organ, and his daughter Jessica, singing backup, but for the moment (1998) he's in Mobile running a dry cleaning business.
Curtis Hobock, 1957 >
HOBOCK, CURTIS – Curtis Edgar Hobock (Hoback) Jr. was born on May 7, 1926 in Hatchie, Tennessee, near Scotty Moore's home town, Humboldt. Hatchie comprised five business and less than 100 people, half of them Hobock kinfolk. The Hobocks were German and Dutch descent. Curtis had five brothers and six sisters, and worked alongside his father and brothers in the two business: farming and bootlegging.
In late 1954 or early 1943 Curtis enlisted in the US Navy with his father's permission because he was underage at the time.
Enlistment, but not Curtis. Growing up, Curtis only attended one year of school and it wasn't until he was in the Navy that he learned to read and write. It was also in the Navy that he discovered his love of music and learned how to play the guitar and steel-guitar.
He served as a steward, cook, and barber, and later transferred to the Seabees (the military construction unit) where he served in the South Pacific. Waiting to be discharged at the Navy Air Station in Alameda, California, Hobock met Geneva Sue Johnson of Hayward, California and married her on November 25, 1945. They moved to Alamo, northeast of Jackson, Tennessee, and Curtis took odd jobs, mostly farm labor, while attending body and fender repair school in Jackson on the G.I. Bill. Their first son was born in 1947 and the second in 1950. By 1952, he was in Carl Perkins' home town, Bemis, working in lumber, milling, and trucking. Driving a truck one winter he was caught in a snowstorm and was holed up for two weeks in a motel in Chicago. Returning home, he vowed to never drive a truck again as it took too much time away from home and family. He worked for the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) for a short period and then joined Central Woodworks as a millwright, staying with them until his retirement from music in the mid 1960s.
Around 1956-1957, Curtis Hobock began playing music with a local band the Stardusters, eventually taking them over as his backing group. They worked in local joints within driving distance of Jackson. Hobock mostly sang other people's songs, notably those of Jim Reeves, and drove to Memphis to appear on WHBQ's Talent Party with George Klein and Wink Martindale. He first recorded for Lu Records in Jackson, a label owned by Lamar Davis and Lonny Blackwell and named for Lamar's wife, Marilu. Hobock's first single on Lu Records appeared in June 1959, coupling ''The Whole Town's Talking'' b/w ''Do You Think''. The following month, Lu issued ''Tom Dooley Rock And Roll'' b/w ''China Rock''.
Curtis Hobock and the Stardusters at the Delmar Inn, Humboldt, Tennessee, 1956 or 1957. From left: Coy Lomax, Mrs. Eula Mae Stevens, Curtis Hobock, Tommy Jones, and Joe Ritchie. >
In 1959, Curtis Hobock recorded at Sun. One of the songs he recorded, ''Apron Strings'', has a surprisingly convoluted history. Co-writer Aaron Schroeder, also co-wrote ''It's Now Or Never'' and ''A Big Hunk O'Love'' for Elvis Presley, and was Gene Pitney's manager.
The first version was probably by ''Billy The Kid'' on Kapp Records, and it appeared in January or February, 1959. Music publisher Freddie Bienstock took the song to Germany to play for Elvis, and Elvis recorded it at home around April 1959, but told Bienstock he wouldn't record it commercially.
Bienstock gave the song to Cliff Richard who put it on the flip side of ''Livin' Doll'', and it charted in July 1959. Jay B. Loyd recorded it for Hi Records, but it wasn't released at the time, and Sam Phillips chose not to release Hobock's version. Apparently, Hobock wanted to use his musicians while Phillips wanted to use session guys. With the exception of guitarist Tommy Jones, the identity of the guys who play on ''Apron Strings'' is unknown. Hobock and Phillips fell out at some point in 1960.
Around 1963-1964, Curtis Hobock fell into the orbit of Nashville dealmaker Murray Nash, who produced four records by Hobock, two on Cee And Cee and two more on Musicenter, including a cover version of ''Lonely Weekends''. Throughout, Hobock worked as a millwright and played as many as six nights a week at clubs around west Tennessee, southern Kentucky, and northern Mississippi. On weekends during the summer, he'd load up the family head to the Tennessee River for camping, boating and water skiing. At night he would leave the family at the river and head back town for a gig, returning before dawn the next day.
Curtis Hobock retired from music in August, 1966 and moved to Fresno, California. He only played music once more in his life, at a Christmas party for the employer of his brother in-law, Hugh Johnson. He took many short-terms and part time jobs until 1967 when he became the maintenance supervisor for Duncan Ceramics, staying there until his retirement in 1977. After retirement, he built a diorama of his home town, Hatchie, Tennessee. Curtis Hobock died in Fresco, Tennessee on September 29, 1988, unaware that collectors far away were parting with large sums for his original singles.
HODGE, TOMMY - Tommy Hodge was the vocalist on a number of songs submitted to Sun around 1958 by Ike Turner, recorded in St. Louis. In the late 1950s he was featured vocalist with the Kings Of Rhythm, succeeding Johnny O'Neal and Billy Gayles and becoming a star on the local scene.
He recorded with Turner's band on Cobra, Artistic and Sue Records and there is a grainy video of him appearing on the Party Time Show in St. Louis from 1959, singing rhythm and blues hits of the day, including ''(I Know) You Don't Love Me'', one of songs on the tape Ike sent to Sun in 1958. (MH)
HOLLAND, W.S. ''FLUKE'' – known as ''The Father Of The Drums''. W.S.'s musical career began in 1954 at Sun Records as drummer for Carl Perkins and his brothers, James Buck Perkins and Loyd Clayton Perkins. He played on all of Carl's Sun releases, including the original "Blue Suede Shoes".
He was also the drummer on the "Million Dollar Quartet" session with Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee
Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins.
After the success of ''Blue Suede Shoes'' began to wane around 1959, W.S. planned to ''retire'' from the music business and get a job back in Jackson where he and his wife Joyce lived. Just before reporting to a new job working for a land surveyor in 1960, W.S. got a call from Johnny Cash.
Cash had two important dates booked up north and wanted him to go along and play drums on this two week trip. What started as a two week gig turned into almost 40 years with The Man in Black.
During his career with Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Three, W.S. played on most of their records including the mega hits ''Folsom Prison Blues'', ''Walk The Line'', ''Ring Of Fire'', ''Boy Named Sue'' and others. He can be heard on live albums including At Folsom Prison, Live at San Quentin and the famous Dylan/Cash Sessions. Fluke was the first drummer to ever play a full set of drums on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry when it was still at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Serving as road manager for the Cash organization was another capacity in which Fluke worked in his career and was the only drummer Johnny Cash ever had. He stayed with the Cash organization until 1997, when health problems caused Johnny to retire from the music business. Johnny Cash is credited with giving Fluke the name ''The Father Of The Drums'' and would introduce him from the stage as such.
While his place in music history is documented in books and celebrated by his peers, many fans believe that Holland has received far less recognition than his other contemporaries, including Presley’s drummer, D.J. Fontana, who in fact was not yet playing with Presley when Holland played on ''Blue Suede Shoes''.
Not well-known also to the general public, is that W.S. had other important contributions to rock and roll and country, including discovering Carl Mann and playing drums on Mann’s ''Mona Lisa'', bringing the Statler Brothers to Cash’s attention, and, recording with luminaries from Johnny Horton to Marty Stuart.
HONEYCUTT, GLENN - Glenn Honeycutt was a singer/guitarist who came to Memphis from Mississippi,
the same route as a younger contemporary of his named Elvis Presley, who also happened to be a cousin of
his (their grandfathers were brothers), though they never did meet. Tall, modest and wholly unassuming,
Glenn Honeycutt recognizes that the only gets into the history books for the company he kept. His preferred
style of music was a fair distance from the releases that surrounded his on Sun, but he worked hard to fit it
Like Roy Orbison, Honeycutt was a frustrated balladeer. As a matter of personal preference, he would
have rather sat at home listening to Marty Robbins than cruise around town with the car radio tuned to
Dewey Phillips on WHBQ. ''I always leaned more towards the slow songs, pretty songs'', he said.
serious lyrics even though I've written a bunch of junk myself''. In 1999, Honeycutt seemed willing at last to
embrace the fact that having a record out on Sun in 1957 placed an obligation upon him to rock. He went to
Europe in 1999 and again in 2001. In 2005, he performed at the Green Bay rock and roll festival and released
his first-ever CD, but less has been heard from him as his eightieth birthday looms.
Born near Belzoni, Mississippi on May 2, 1933. His grandfather and Elvis Presley's grandfather were
brothers. His father, Audie, died of tuberculosis in 1935 and the family left Belzoni for Nettleton,
Mississippi. This was the Depression, and Honeycutt's mother, Luna Mae, was a single parent bringing up
two children without today's welfare system. A few years later, Luna Mae married a man named George
Savage and the family moved to Memphis. Glenn attended Leroy Pope School in north Memphis and then
Humes High. With a job lined up, Honeycutt quit school around 1949, one year or so after Elvis Presley
moved to Memphis, so he didn't remember Elvis at Humes.
Glenn Honeycutt's first major musical influences was Hank Williams. He learned every song that Williams
released. Later, he preferred the smoother sound of Marty Robbins: ''The first time I ever played in public
was in 1948 or 1949. They had Saturday afternoon tea parties, you know, at the R&W Grill. They's pass the
cigar box around. I was fifteen. Johnny Bernero was playing with me. He was playing guitar back then. And
Johnny Black was playing with us too. Johnny (Bill Black's brother) would twirl his big upright bass fiddle
and we'd collect whatever we could. We also got all the free beer we could drink. We had fun, drank, beer
and played country music. I thought that was a pretty good deal for a fifteen year old kid''.
In the Army from 1952 until 1955, Honeycutt was eventually stationed near Valley Forge in Phoenixville,
Pennsylvania where he met his first wife, Mary. He Remembered a letter from home telling him that his
distant cousin was starting to do well in the entertainment business. In January 1955 Glenn and Mary
Honeycutt headed back to Memphis. ''I'm sure life was not great for Mary in those days. Our daughter was
born in February 1955 and I was off playing here, there and yonder, never even getting anywhere, just
making a little extra money. After I got out of the service I just worked in all kinds of different jobs for three
By 1954, Honeycutt was playing and singing around Memphis and in late 1955 or early 1956 Honeycutt
auditioned for Sam Phillips at Sun Records, a balladeer by inclination, Honeycutt came in with a few
country-style songs, but was rejected on that basis. ''Sam said he wasn't interested in country music. That
Nashville had it all sewed up. Why butt heads with those guys'? Glenn began talking to Slim Wallage, who
was on the point of starting Fernwood Records. ''I was trying to book some schools, stuff like that'', he said
later. ''Then I hooked up with Ronald Slim Wallace. Jack Clement was in the band for a time with me and we
played around Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas. Jack played drums mostly, and when he would want to
sing I knew just enough at the drums that I could sit down with a snare drum while he took the guitar and
could sing''. Wallace and Clement converted Wallace's garage on Fernwood Avenue into a makeshift
recording studio and recorded Billy Riley. Sam Phillips heard their work when he mastered Riley's
recordings, and offered Clement a job. Clement played Phillips some recordings he'd made with Honeycutt,
earning Honeycutt a shot on Sun.
At first they considered coupling ''Rock All Night with ''I'll Be Around'' but Phillips thought that ''Rock All
Night'' was too risque so they settled upon ''I'll Wait Forever''. The Miller Sisters were in town and sang on
the session. The single was issued in April 1957 together with the latest offering from Roy Orbison and
Sonny Burgess. ''I don't know how the other two did but my single didn't do anything'', recalled Honeycutt. ''I
don't know if it was the song or whether Sam released too many at one time''.
Honeycutt hung around Sun for another year or so. On one occasion, he walked in on Johnny Cash talking to
Phillips; on another, he sang a sausage commercial while Roy Orbison played harmonica. There was a
session in January 1958 but the songs weren't developed for release. As far as he can remember, Honeycutt
never joined any package shows. He played in bars and clubs around Memphis and the Tri State area but
never went on the road. ''The first time I was ever on radio was with Roland Janes, Billy Riley and J.M. Van
Eaton. It was a live broadcast from some little town in Arkansas one Sunday afternoon. I didn't realize that I
was supposed to talk between songs so I'd sing then take a break and there was all this dead air. The radio
people were real upset. I remember that I'd brought my own band but I begged and pleaded with Roland and
Jimmy to back me because they'd done such a good job on the record''.
In 1958 Honeycutt joined the United States Post Office as a letter carrier, a job he held until retirement. He
made three other singles in the early 1960s on Fernwood, Topp-Ett, and Black Gold, but eventually gave up
on the music business altogether, moving to Walls, Mississippi in 1972. His wife died in 1981 and, at the
time in 1986, he was planning to marry for a second time. There was none of the craziness in his music that
one associates with the best Sun records but the unissued recordings show that Honeycutt tried to fit in as
best he could. The passing of the years changed his perception and gave him some perspective. ''Things level
off, he said in 1986. ''I really looked up to Bud Deckelman because he had a big song with ''Daydreamin''', a
major hit. The man was a star and now I meet him every now and again at a house party and it's just ole Bud
and ole Glenn. That'll happen, I guess''.
''What I remember most about Sun was the door was always open. You could go in and sit around. The piano
would be sitting there, and you could piddle around with that if you wanted to. I bugged Sam to death to put
my record out. Of course, it didn't do any good but you have this dream in your mind. My whole idea every
waking hour was to get a hit record. It was foolishness but a young mind can think of a lot of foolishness. As
a result, I missed out on a lot of things. We'd be playing on weekends and New Year's Eves and Christmas
Eves. I was a married man and I should have been at home''.
He kept his day job with the United States Postal Service in Memphis, and might have been a footnote in
history had it not been for fellow country artist Randy Rich, who brought Honeycutt's name to Rhythm
Bomb Records, a London-based rockabilly revival label, the result was a tour of Germany and Sweden, on
which Honeycutt proved he could still deliver musically, and the recording of Honeycutt's first album, 40
years after he entered the business. And just to prove that Honeycutt still had what it took after all of those
years, of the 12 songs on ''Mr. All Night Rock'', there were 11 originals.
- Earl Zebedee Hooker (supposedly a cousin of John Lee Hooker) was born in
Clarksdale, Quitman County, Mississippi on January 15, 1929, but his application for Social Security states
January 2, 1930.
His biographer, Sebastian Danchin, settled on the former date after conversations with the
family. The place was Quitman County, in the heart of the Delta, near the supposed birthplace of Hooker's
supposed cousin John Lee Hooker.
What's certain is that Earl's parents, Earl Sr. and Mary Blare Hooker, migrated North to Chicago in 1930 in
search of work when Earl was around one year old. Aged about ten, he picket up a guitar and began
practicing. His biggest influence, slide guitarist Robert Nighthawk, apparently taught him some technique
Hooker was self-taught and picked up what he could from those around him. Although Hooker was gaining
proficiency on guitar, he did not show an interest in singing. This has been explained by a speech
impediment, i.e., pronounced stuttering, which afflicted him all his life. Hooker also contracted tuberculosis
when he was young. Although his condition did not become critical until the mid-1950s, it required
periodic hospital visits beginning at an early age.
By 1942, Hooker was performing on Chicago street corners with childhood friends including Bo Diddley.
From the beginning, the blues were Hooker's favorites, but this was when the more country-influenced
blues was giving way to swing-influenced and jump-blues styles, which often featured the electric guitar. T-Bone
Walker was popular and in 1942 began a three-month club stint at the Rhumboogie Club in Chicago.
He had a considerable impact on Hooker, with both his playing and showmanship. Walker's swinginfluenced
blues guitar, including "the jazzy way he would sometimes run the blues scales" and intricate
chord work, appealed to Hooker. Walker's stage dynamics, which included playing the guitar behind his
neck and with his teeth, influenced Hooker's own later stage act.
Also around this time, he developed a friendship with Robert Nighthawk, one of the first guitarists in
Chicago to switch to electric guitar. Nighthawk taught Hooker slide-guitar techniques, including various
tunings and his highly articulated approach; Nighthawk had a lasting influence on Hooker's playing. Junior
Wells, another important figure in Hooker's career, entered his life at this time. The two were frequent street
performers and sometimes to avoid foul weather (or truancy officers), they played in streetcars, riding one
line to another across Chicago.
Around 1946, Earl Hooker traveled to Helena, Arkansas where he performed with Robert Nighthawk.
While not booked with Nighthawk, Hooker performed with Sonny Boy Williamson II, including on his
popular Helena KFFA radio program King Biscuit Time. Hooker then toured the south as a member of
Nighthawk's band for the next couple of years. This was his introduction to life as an itinerant blues
musician (although he had earlier run away from home and spent time in the Mississippi Delta). In 1949,
Hooker tried to establish himself in the Memphis, Tennessee music scene, but was soon back on the road
fronting his own band. By the early 1950s he returned to Chicago and performed regularly in the local
clubs. This set the pattern that he repeated for most of his life: extensive touring with various musicians
interspersed with establishing himself in various cities before returning to the Chicago club scene.
His first recordings were made in Florida in 1952 for Henry Stone's Rockin' label, and the first record
released under his own name was on King in 1953. He appeared at Sun later in 1953. Sam Phillips'
assistant, Marion Keisker, noted that he lived in care of his mother at 3154 So Park, Chicago, but could be
reached in Cairo, Illinois at DeFrance's barber shop. On July 15, Hooker signed a one-year contract at Sun,
and recorded a session with Boyd Gilmore as vocalist, Little Walker on harmonica, Adolph Duncan on sax,
and Pinetop Perkins on piano. Phillips gave them three dollars for gas and $4.75 for whiskey. He also gave
Hooker a twenty-five dollar advance, and handed another five bucks to his manager, John Hoffman. ''I
think Earl Hooker had as much potential as any of the artists I recorded during that rime'', Phillips told
Danchin. Phillips went on to eulogize Hooker, but if he truly loved his music that much, he would have
pushed Hooker to come up with something releasable. After two sessions comprised mostly of other
people's songs, Keisker added up the advances and figured that Hooker left Sun 463.75 in the hole.
Among these early singles was Hooker's first recorded vocal performance on an interpretation of the blues
classic "Black Angel Blues". Although his vocals were more than adequate, they lacked the power usually
associated with blues singers. Hooker's "Sweet Angel" (1953 Rockin' 513) was based on Robert
Nighthawk's 1949 "Black Angel Blues" and showed that "Hooker had by now transcended his teacher".
(B.B. King later had a hit in 1956 with his interpretation, "Sweet Little Angel".) One of Hooker's most
successful singles during this period was "Frog Hop", recorded in 1956 (Argo 5265). The song, an upbeat
instrumental, showed some of his T-Bone Walker swing-blues and chording influences, as well as his own
Despite a major tuberculosis attack in 1956 that required hospitalization, Earl Hooker returned to
performing in Chicago clubs and touring the south. By late 1959, Junior Wells brought Hooker to the
Chief/Profile/Age group of labels, where he began one of the most fruitful periods of his recording career.
Their first recording together, "Little By Little" (Profile 4011), was a hit the following year when it reached
number 23 in the Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues Sides chart. With this success and his rapport with Chief
owner and producer Mel London, Hooker became Chief's house guitarist. From 1959 to 1963, he appeared
on about forty Chief recordings, including singles for Wells, Lillian Offitt, Magic Sam, A.C. Reed, Ricky
Allen, Reggie "Guitar" Boyd, Johnny "Big Moose" Walker, and Jackie Brenston, as well as Hooker being
the featured artist. He appeared on nearly all of Wells' releases, including "Come On In This House",
"Messin' With The Kid", and "It Hurts Me Too", which remained in Wells' repertoire throughout his career.
Hooker regularly performed with Wells for the rest of 1960 and most of 1961.
For the Chief labels, Hooker released several instrumentals, including the slow blues "Calling All Blues"
(1960 Chief 7020) which featured Hooker's slide guitar and "Blues In D Natural" (1960 Chief 7016), where
he switched between fretted and slide guitar. However, it was a chance taping before a recording session
that captured perhaps Hooker's best known song (although by a different title). During the warm-up that
preceded a May 1961 scheduled session, Hooker and his band played an impromptu slow blues which
featured Hooker's slide guitar. The song was played once and Hooker was apparently not aware that it was
being recorded. Producer Mel London saved the tape and when looking for material to release the
following spring, issued it as "Blue Guitar" (Age 29106).
Sensing greater commercial potential for Hooker's "Blue Guitar", Leonard Chess approached Mel London
about using it for Muddy Waters next record. An agreement was reached and in July 1962, Waters
overdubbed a vocal (with lyrics by Willie Dixon) on Hooker's single and it was renamed "You Shook Me".
The song was successful and Chess hired Hooker to record three more instrumentals for Muddy Waters to
overdub. One of the songs, again with Dixon-supplied lyrics, titled "You Need Love", was also a success
and "sold better than Muddy's early sixties recordings". Later, rock bands such as Led Zeppelin would
achieve greater success with their adaptations of Earl Hooker's and Muddy Waters' "You Shook Me" and
"You Need Love".
During his time with Chief, Hooker also recorded singles as a sideman for Bobby Saxton and Betty Everett
as well as in his own name for the Bea & Baby, C.J., and Checker record labels. By 1964, the last of the
Chief labels went out of business and ended his longest association with a record label; for some, his
recordings for Chief/Profile/Age represent Hooker's best work.
Hooker continued touring and began recording for Cuca Records, Jim-Ko, C.J., Duplex, and Globe. Several
songs recorded for Cuca between 1964 and 1967 were released on his first album The Genius of Earl
Hooker. The album was composed of instrumentals, including the slow blues "The End Of The Blues" and
some songs which incorporated recent popular music trends, such as the early funk-influenced "Two Bugs
In A Rug" (an allusion to his tuberculosis or "TB"). Hooker experienced a major tuberculosis attack in late
summer 1967 and was hospitalized for nearly a year.
When Hooker was released from the hospital in 1968, he assembled a new band and began performing in
the Chicago clubs and touring, against his doctor's advice. The band, with pianist Pinetop Perkins,
harmonica player Carey Bell, bassist Geno Skaggs, vocalist Andrew Odom, and steel-guitar player Freddie
Roulette, was "widely acclaimed" and "considered one of the best Earl had ever carried with him". Based
on a recommendation by Buddy Guy, Arhoolie Records recorded an album by Hooker and his new band.
''Two Bugs And A Roach'' was released in spring 1969 and included a mix of instrumentals and vocals by
Odom, Bell, and Hooker. For one of his vocals, Hooker chose "Anna Lee", a song based on Robert
Nighthawk's 1949 "Annie Lee Blues". As he had done earlier with "Sweet Angel", Hooker acknowledged
his mentor's influence, but extended beyond Nighthawk's version to create his own interpretation.
The year 1969 was an important one in Earl Hooker's career. He again teamed up with Junior Wells and
they performed at higher-paying college dates and concerts, including Chicago's Kinetic Playground. This
pairing did not last long and in May 1969, and after assembling new players, Hooker recorded material that
was later released as Funk, ''Last of the Late Great Earl Hooker. Also in May, after being recommended by
Ike Turner (with whom he first toured in 1952), he went to Los Angeles to record the album ''Sweet Black
Angel'' for Blue Thumb Records with arrangements and piano by Ike Turner. It included Hooker's
interpretations of several blues standards, such as "Sweet Home Chicago" (with Hooker on vocal), "Drivin'
Wheel", "Cross Cut Saw", "Catfish Blues", and the title track. While in Los Angeles, Hooker visited the
clubs and sat in with Albert Collins at the Ash Grove several times and jammed with others, including Jimi
After the Blue Thumb recording session, Earl Hooker and his band backed his cousin John Lee Hooker on
a series of club dates in California; afterwards John Lee used them for his Bluesway Records recording
session. The resulting album, ''John Lee Hooker Featuring Earl Hooker - If You Miss 'Im ... I Got 'Im'', was
Earl Hooker's introduction to the Bluesway label, an ABC subsidiary and home to B.B. King. This led to
recording six more Earl Hooker-involved albums for Bluesway in 1969: Earl Hooker's ''Don't Have To
Worry'' and albums by Andrew Odom, Johnny "Big Moose" Walker, Charles Brown, Jimmy Witherspoon,
and Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry.
Hooker's ''Don't Have To Worry'' included vocal performances by Walker, Odom, and Hooker as well as
instrumental selections. The session had a "coherence and consistency" that help make the album another
part of Hooker's "finest musical legacy". Touring with his band in California took Hooker to the San
Francisco Bay area in July 1969, where he played club and college dates as well as rock venues, such as
The Matrix and the Fillmore West. In Berkeley, he and his band, billed as "Earl Hooker and His Chicago
Blues Band", performed at Mandrake's, a local club, for two weeks as he recorded a second album for
Arhoolie. Titled Hooker and Steve, the album was recorded with Louis Myers on harmonica, blues
keyboard player Steve Miller, Geno Skaggs on bass, and Bobby Robinson on drums. Hooker shared the
vocals with Miller and Skaggs.
After his California sojourn, Hooker returned to Chicago and performed regularly around the city,
including the first Chicago Blues Festival on August 30th, 1969, which attracted about 10,000 people. In
October 1969, Hooker toured Europe as part of the American Folk Blues Festival, where he played twenty
concerts in twenty-three days in nine countries. There his sets were well received and garnered favorable
reviews. The tour exhausted him and his friends noticed a severe deterioration of his health upon his return.
Hooker played a few dates around Chicago (including some with Junior Wells) from November to early
December 1969, where after he was hospitalized, and died in Chicago's Municipal Tuberculosis Sanitarium
on April 21, 1970 at age 41. He is buried in Restvale Cemetery, the last resting place of many others who'd
left the south with music in their hearts, including Dr. Clayton, John Henry Barbee, Walter Horton, J.B.
Hutto, Magic Sam, St. Louis Jimmy, Jazz Gillum, Hound Dog Taylor, Muddy Waters, and one of the
daddies of them all, Pine Top Smith.
Unlike his contemporaries Elmore James and Muddy Waters, Earl Hooker used standard tuning on his
guitar for slide playing. He also used a short steel slide. This allowed him to switch between slide and
fretted playing during a song with greater ease.
Earl Hooker was a flamboyant showman in the style of T-Bone Walker and predated Guitar Slim and
Johnny "Guitar" Watson. He wore flashy clothes and would pick the guitar with his teeth or his feet or play
it behind his neck or between his legs. He also played a double neck guitar, at first a six-string guitar and
four-string bass combination and later a twelve- and six-string guitar combination. After his 1967
tuberculosis attack left him weakened, he sometimes played while seated and using a lighter single-neck
Although Hooker did not receive the public recognition to the extent as some of his contemporaries, he was
highly regarded by his fellow musicians. Many consider Earl Hooker to be one of the greatest modern blues
guitarists, including: Wayne Bennett, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Albert Collins, Willie Dixon, Ronnie Earl,
Tinsley Ellis, Guitar Shorty, Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker, Albert King, B.B. King, Little Milton, Louis
Myers, Lucky Peterson, Otis Rush, Joe Louis Walker, and Junior Wells.
In 2013, Hooker was posthumously inducted to the Blues Hall of Fame. Earl Hooker was indeed one of the
major talents to pass through the Sun studios, although for once Sam Phillips seemed not to have captured
the best from him.
Al Hopson on stage at Ellis Auditorium, Memphis, Tennessee, circa 1958. >
HOPSON, AL - Al Hopson worked for Warren Smith, whom he had known from schooldays in Mississippi. At that point, Hopson had more professional experience that Warren Smith. He had begun his career in 1949 with Bill Nettles in Monroe, Louisiana and claims to have played on Nettles' smash hit, "Hadacol Boogie". After splitting from Nettles, Hopson returned to Lexington, Mississippi before moving to Jackson to play fiddle with Slim Scoggins for a year.
From there he moved to New Mexico with his own group and then joined Hoyle Nix and the West Texas Cowboys in Big Spring, Texas. Hopson played with Nix between 1953 and 1954 before returning to Canton, Mississippi to host the Saturday afternoon Jamboree on WDOB. Warren Smith joined them on at least one occasion before he headed for Memphis.
Smith met Hopson again in Greenwood. "Warren knew I could play", asserted Hopson, "and we'd talk. I was playing with some local boys at the baseball park in Greenwood on the same bill as Warren, Eddie Bond, Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash. Warren was by himself then and he asked me to come pick with him".
A NOTE FROM AL HOPSON - ''To me it only seems like a short time back to the Sun Records heyday and all the great artists that came from that era. As all my friends know, I played lead guitar with Warren Smith and he also recorded two of my songs, ''I Fell In Love'' and ''Uranium Rock''. Even now though the one that gets the most comments is ''Miss Froggie''. My guitar work seems to have help up very well on that one. The only band that Warren ever had (that I knew of) consisted of myself on lead guitar, Marcus Van Story on bass and Jimmy Lott on drums. We were on many tours and shows with all the Sun stars at that time such as Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Ray Orbison. But I would have to say I really liked to be around the Carl Perkins bunch as there was never a dull moment''.
HORTON, WALTER - Also known as "Big Walter", "Mumbles", "Shaky", "Tangle Eye", "Walter", born on April 6, 1918 in Horn Lake, DeSoto County, Mississippi, his father was Albert Horton Sr., and his mother was Emma McNaire. Horton taught himself the harmonica at the age of 5. The family moved to Mound City, Arkansas, then Memphis, Tennessee and working outside the music with he frequently worked on the streets for tips from the early 1920s. In 1927, Horton recorded with the Memphis Jugband for the Victor label in Chicago, Illinois and worked with the band at the Grand Central Theater in Chicago, Illinois.
He worked also as sideman in the various blues bands that toured in the South through the 1920s into 1930s. In 1935, Horton worked for tips in Church Park (Now WC Handy Park) in Memphis, Tennessee, and worked with Honey Boy Edwards on street, juke joints, and parties in the Memphis area in 1936.
In 1940, Walter Horton settled in Chicago and then to frequently worked on Maxwell Street area for tips, and worked outside the music in Chicago and Memphis through the 1940s. In 1949, Horton worked with Eddie Taylor Band for the Club Jamboree in Chicago and recorded for Modern/RPM labels in Memphis, Tennessee in 1951, for the Chess label in Memphis at Sam Phillips' Memphis Recording Services in 1952, for Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee in 1953 and frequently worked with Muddy Waters Band in the local night clubs in Chicago; he also appeared with Johnny Shines in the Frosty Corner in Chicago and recorded with Johnny Shines for JOB label in Chicago; worked with Johnny Shine at the Purple Cat Club in Chicago, all in 1953.
In 1954, Walter Horton formed his own combo to record for the States label in Chicago, Illinois; worked at the Cosy Inn in Chicago, Illinois in 1954-1955; he frequently worked at the Tuner's Lounge in Chicago, Illinois in 1955; appeared at the Hollywood Rendezvous, in Chicago; recorded with Jimmie Rogers Band for the Chess label in Chicago in 1856; recorded with Otis Rush for the Cobra label in Chicago in 1956; he frequently worked with the Jimmy Rogers group and others or with his own group in the local club and bars in Chicago through the 1950s into 1960s.
Worked on the Drummer Lounge in Chicago in early 1960 and the Fickle Pickle Club; the Grinnell Folk Festival in Grinnell, Iowa in 1963; frequently worked with Sonny Boy Williamson II (Alex Miller), Howlin' Wolf and others in the local club dates in Chicago in 1964; worked with Johnny Young Band in the Kelly's Blue Lounge in Chicago in 1965; toured with the American Folk Blues Festival for working on concert through England and Europe in 1965 (portion from a Hamburg in West Germany are released on the Fontana label; recorded and accompaniment to Big Mama Thornton for the Arhoolie label in London, England in 1965; recorded for the Vanguard and Testament labels in Chicago in 1965; worked at the Turner's Lounge in Chicago in 19666.
In 1966, Horton appeared at the Monterey Jazz Festival in Monterey, California; recorded with Johnny Shines for Testament label in Chicago in 1966; worked at the Mariposa Folk Festival in Toronto, Canada in 1966; appeared at the Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois in 1966; recorded with Johnny Young for the Arhoolie label in Chicago in 1967; worked with Johnny Shine at the University of Chicago Rhythm and Blues Festival in Chicago, Illinois in 1968; toured with the American Folk Blues Festival and working on club and concert dates through England in 1968.
Horton also appeared in the UK film American Folk Blues Festival shown on BBC-TV in London, England in 1968; recorded for the Sire label in London, England in 1968; worked with Johnny Shine for the Blue Horizen label in Chicago, Illinois in 1968; worked at the Hunter College in New York City, New York in 1969; at the Half Note in New York City in 1969; toured with the Chicago Blues All Stars and working in US, European jazz and folk festivals, on folk clubs and concert dates in 1969.
In 1969, Walter Horton recorded with the Chicago Blues All Stars for the MPS label in Chicago; worked at the Chicago Blues Festival in Chicago in 1969; recorded for Adelphi and the Blue Horizon labels in Chicago in 1969; worked for Electric Circus in New York City in 1969; recorded with Johnny Winter for Columbia Records in Nashville, Tennessee in 1969; recorded with Johnny Shine for Testament label in Los Angeles, California in 1969; worked at the Rose and Kelly's in Chicago in 1970; toured with the American Folk Blues Festival on working concert dates through England and Europe in 1970 (portion of a Frankfort, West Germany concert are released on the Scout label); he also worked at jazz Expo 70 in London, England in 1970; at the Berlin Jazz Days Festival in Berlin, West Germany in 1970; the Wise Fools in Chicago in 1970; at the Tuner's Blue Lounge in Chicago in 1970; recorded with Floyd Jones for the Delta label in Chicago in 1970; recorded with Willie Dixon for the Yambo label in Chicago in 1970; toured with the Chicago Blues All Star Band working concerts through Europe in 1971.
In 1971, Horton appeared at the Festival of American Folklife in St. Helen's Island in Montreal, Canada; and recorded for the Xtra label in Edmonton, Canada in 1972; recorded with Hot Cottage group for the Transatlantic label in Edmonton in 1972; worked at the Alice's Revisited in Chicago in 1972; recorded with Carey Bell for the Alligator label in Chicago in 1972, recorded for the Red Lightnin' label in Chicago in 1972; worked at the Florence Lounge in Chicago in 1972; appeared at the Ann Arbor Blues Festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1973; at the El Mocambo in Toronto, Canada in 1973; at Joe's Place in Boston, Massachusetts in 1973; appeared at the University of Miami, Miami, Florida in 1974; at Richar'd in Atlanta, Georgia in 1974; at the Kings Club Waveland in Chicago in 1974, occasionally worked at Maxwell Street area for tips in Chicago in 1974, appeared at the Urban Blues Festival Auditorium Theater in Chicago in 1974; appeared at the Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife in Washington, D.C. in 1975; performed at the Keystone Korner in Berkeley, California in 1975; at the Monterey Jazz Festival in Monterey, California in 1975 (portion on the KEST-Radio in San Francisco, California; appeared at the University of Chicago Folk festival in Chicago in 1975; at the Reed College in Portland, Oregon in 1975; at the 1125 Club in Chicago in 1975; recorded with Floyd Jones for the Magnolia label in Chicago in 1975; performed at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1975; appeared at the Midwest Blues festival at the University of Notre Dame in Sound Bend, Indiana in 1975.
In 1976, Walter Horton appeared at the Vegetable Buddies Club in Sound Bend, Indiana in 1976; at The Fugue in New York City in 1976; at the Red Creek Bar in Rochester, New York in 1977; at the Belle Star in Golden, New York in 1977; the Knickerbocker Cafe in Westerly, Rhode Island in 1977; The Speakeasy Club in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1977; the Lupo's in Providence, Rhode island in 1977; at the Keystone Korner in Berkeley, California in 1977; recorded with Muddy Waters for the Blue Sky label in Westport, Connecticut in 1977; worked on club dates with Jimmie Rogers Band in 1977; appeared on the "Good Mornion' Blues NET-TV" on PBS in 1978; worked on clubs, concert on the East Coast and Mexico through the 1970s.
In 1979, Walter Horton appeared in the film Blues Brothers in 1980 and toured concerts in Europe in through 1980. Walter Horton is in the first rank of Chicago's harp player, and was influenced by John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson, and he influenced to Carey Bell, Julio Finn, Forest City Joe, Willie Foster, Little Walter Jacobs and Jerry Portnoy. Horton understate, warm, raspy vocals are secondary to his absolutely superb harp playing. Walter Horton died on December 8, 1981 at Chicago's Mercy Hospital as consequence of alcoholism. Walter is buried at the Restvale Cemetery in Worth, Illinois.
Willie Dixon has suggested, however, that in his view Walter Horton was even better than Little Walter, rating the latter as 'very good' and Big Walter as a 'helluva harmonica player'. The problem was that he was 'loaded most of the time but once you'd get him in good condition, he could run rings around all of them'. He could, for example, use a drinking glass or a tin can with the top cut out to make the instrument sound like a trombone. (CE)
HOSEA, DON - UNTOLD SUN STORIES – Don Hosea left his hometown, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, in late 1956, bound for Memphis. He started at the Cotton Club in West Memphis, and became friends with Stan Kesler.
''I still had my clothes in my car when I went to the Cotton Club'', Hosea recalls, ''and Stan was playing there with the Snearly Ranch Boys. They offered me a job. Then Clyde went over to the Gables and I formed a band with Bobbie Wood, Chips Moman, and Reggie Young.
When Elvis was off the road, Scotty Moore and D.J. Fontana would come over. I'd hang out at Sun when Elvis would come by. Warren Smith was there then, he wanted to be Elvis so bad.
If Elvis wore a certain outfit, next day Warren would be wearin' it. One time Elvis parked his Cadillac on the sidewalk outside Sun, and the next day Warren parked on the sidewalk outside Sun. A cop gave him a ticket. Warren says, You didn't ticket Elvis'. Cop doesn't even look up. Just says, 'You ain't Elvis'''.
Don Hosea started recording for Crystal Records, a label owned by bottling king Drew Canale and run by Stan Kesler, and then went with Rita Records. After Rita folded, Hosea sang with the Bill Black Combo on the road for a while, then turned up again at Sun. ''Stan and I was in the studio when Willie Cobbs come in and demo'd ''You Don't Love Me'', remembered Don. ''I had a rhythm and blues sound, and I covered it. Stan produced me at Echo studios. I think Sam had a problem with the Union, so he said to Stan that he should set up Echo as a nonunion studio. They'd cut over there, and if it panned out they'd run a dummy session with the Union and release it on Sun. Sam had a stake in Echo, but no one knew it at the time. We got a lot of airplay on that ''Uh Huh Huh'', but I never was too much into the recording side of things – I was more into performing. Right around that time I went on the road with Roy Orbison. I was the one who'd jump off the stage and do all the crazy stuff''.
In 1967, Don Hosea moved to Nashville. He wrote songs, some of which were recorded as album tracks by George Jones, Faron Young and Charlie Pride, and then ran Young's recording studio for a while. ''The Memphis days were the best of all'', he concludes. ''We weren't out for money, we were out to entertain. Now it's all business. It was fun then. We'd get in an old limo, have the best time in the world. I remember one time I woke up seven o’clock in the morning. Someone was talking outside my hotel window. It was Smokey Joe talking to his whiskey bottle, 'Sometime I hate you, sometimes I love you'. Stan was always after me to record more, but I never did like the sound of my recorded voice. I was a perfectionist a long ways from being perfect. I'd rather get on the road and entertain''.
In the 1980’s Don Hosea moved to Goodlettsville, Tennessee, bought a small farm and a log home and that’s where he continues to live today. In 1991, Don was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame that John Montahue and Barbara Pittman’s husband Willie opened in Memphis.
For many years, he’s simply been known as ‘The Cowboy’ and some don’t even know of his colorful past. Don now claims Goodlettsville as his hometown and hopes to put out an album of songs he has written saved throughout the years.
HOUSTON, DAVID – Born as Charles Davis Houston in Bossier City, Louisiana on December 9, 1935, was an American country music singer. His peak in popularity came between the mid-1960s through the early 1970s.
As a child, David Houston lived in Minden ,Louisiana , directly across Marshall Street from the residence of later Mayor Jack Batton and he was a descendant of Sam Houston, the first president of the Republic of Texas andConfederate General Robert E. Lee.
His godfather was 1920s pop singer Gene Austin, no relation to Stephen F. Austin, another founder of Texas . Like Austin, Houston lived briefly as a youth in a house at the intersection of Marshall and Goodwill streets in Minden, the seat of Webster Parish in northwestern Louisiana. Houston made his debut on Louisiana Hayride when aged only 12, to the late 1950s. He continued with his studies and, encouraged by his manager, Tillman Franks.
Houston was one of the earliest artists with National Recording Corporation in Atlanta , Georgia . In 1963, he rose to national stardom with the single "Mountain of Love"; the song, which was different from the tune made famous by composer Harold Dorman, Johnny Rivers, and Charley Pride, rose to number two on Billboard 's Hot Country Singles chart. Another song, "Livin' in a House Full of Love" (1965) did just as well.
Two sides of David Houston (''Sherry's Lips''/''Miss Brown'' (PI 3583 and SUN 403) recorded in Nashville by Bob Montgomery and leased to Phillips International in 1962, were re-released on Sun Records four years later on, October 1966.
In 1966, Houston recorded his breakthrough secular smash, "Almost Persuaded''. This song, which is unrelated to the Philip Paul Bliss hymn of the same title, is the tale of a married man managing to resist a temptress he meets in a tavern. Houston's recording of it quickly rocketed to number one that August, eventually spending nine weeks atop Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart.
Ever since "Almost Persuaded" became a country standard, no song has equaled or bettered Houston's feat. However, two country songs have spent eight weeks at number 1, Lonestar 's "Amazed ", which topped the chart from July 17 to September 4, 1999; and " It's Five O'Clock Somewhere " by Alan Jackson andJimmy Buffett , from August 9 to September 20 and then October 4, 2003 (in between "Somewhere's" seventh and eighth weeks at number 1, on September 27, 2003, Dierks Bentley 's " What Was I Thinkin' " topped the chart).
David Houston at the Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, backing by James Burton. ^
Houston was awarded 2 Grammy Awards for Best Country & Western Recording and Best Country & Western Performance, Malein 1967 for "Almost Persuaded". "Almost Persuaded" began a string of top five Houston singles through 1973, including six more number ones: " With One Exception " and " You Mean the World to Me " (1967); " Have A Little Faith " and " Already It's Heaven " (1968); " Baby, Baby (I Know You're a Lady) " (1970); and 1967's "My Elusive Dreams " duet with Tammy Wynette . In later years, Houston dueted with Barbara Mandrell on several of her early hits, most notably 1970's "After Closing Time" and 1974's "I Love You, I Love You". Houston's last Top 10 country hit came in 1974 with "Can't You Feel It".
Houston died on November 30, 1993 of a brain aneurysm in Bossier City some two weeks before his 58th birthday. He had been residing in the New Orleans suburb of Kenner. He is interred in the Rose-Neath Funeral Home Cemetery in Bossier City. Houston is survived by his only child, David Houston, Jr., who currently resides in Shreveport.
Sofia Loren and Edwin Howard >
- Born on December 20, 1897 in Gainesboro, Tennessee. Reporter with the Memphis
Press-Scimitar. A son of the editor for the Knoxville News-Sentinel, Howard started playing on his father’s
typewriter at the age of five.
After high school, William Edwin Howard postponed college to avoid being drafted for war in the middle of the
semester. Instead, he began his first job as a copy boy for the Memphis Press-Scimitar.
He was about to be
promoted to a journalist when he was called to report to duty. He attended basic infantry training at Camp
Croft, South Carolina. While in service he was assigned to be a combat correspondent to write about the
soldiers in his regiment.
In addition, his Commanding General wanted a weekly paper for the 1st Armored
Division. Edwin Howard then co-founded and was the editor for The Warrior.
In 1945 Howard returned to the Memphis Press-Scimitar but took a job with the Associated Press one week
later. Six months later, he returned to the Memphis Press-Scimitar as the entertainment and book editor and
simultaneously entered Southwestern College, now Rhodes College. Howard was a veteran newspaperman,
film columnist, and TV lively arts critic and writer. As early as 1951, he traveled the world from his home
base in Memphis (one of his claims-to-fame is that he was the first person ever interview to Elvis Presley!) to
meet and write about the ''greats'' of the day including: Clark Gable, Patricia Neal, Sophia Loren and Paul
Newman, to name just a few.
On July 27, 1954, at Marion Keisker's suggestion, Howard became the first reporter to interview Elvis
Presley for his column, "The Front Row". "Marion said he was a truck driver,"recalled Howard, "and he
could only come during his lunch hour, I'll never forget ...'', said Howard. ''He walked in there looking like
the wrath of God. Pimples all over his face. Duck-tail hair. Had a funny-looking thin bowtie on. He was very
hard to interview. About all I could get out of him was yes and no''.
In January 1959, Edwin Howard at Sun Records to cut a record and document the odyssey in print. (PI
3540). The following is extracted from his account, and is probably the most objective and detailed portrait
of the Sun studio at work during the late 1950s.
In addition to his long tenure as arts and entertainment editor of the Memphis Press-Scimitar, he was
founding editor and columnist of the Memphis Business Journal’s Life at the Top Section. Long before there
was an Entertainment Tonight, he was providing nightly celebrity news in his newspaper column, The Front
From 1964 to 1971, Edwin Howard also wrote for big movie companies like MGM, Paramount and
Universal for several decades, again meeting and writing about the entertainment greats of the day. His
awards and honors include the 1964 Boyd Martin Award for the ''Most Outstanding Motion Picture Pages in
the U.S.'', (100,000-250,000 circulation), a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship and the first
annual Tennessee Williams Theater Festival Award.
Edwin Howard was a veteran of the Italian campaign in World War II. He moved to Washington D.C. with his
wife in 1992 and continued to write about the arts and travel. He wrote five books including ''Seeing Stars,
Memoirs of a Professional Celebrity Seeker'' under the name Edwin Howard. Edwin Howard, 92, died on Monday May 7,
1997 at Virginia Hospital in Arlington, Tennessee, after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.
HOWLIN' WOLF (CHESTER BURNETT) - Also known as "Big Foot, 'Bull Cow", born Chester Arthur Burnett had been a farmer, blues singer, and soldier by the time he first recorded. His adopted nickname, though far from original, fittem him with made-to-measure precision.
Born in West Point, Clay County, Mississippi, on June 10, 1910, Burnett developed a fondness for the music of the primordial Delta bluesman Charley Patton, who lived near the Burnett family after they moved to Ruleville, Mississippi.
His father was Dock Burnett (He wasn't no blues singer, but he was a great country ballplayer) and his mother was Gertrude, he was one of 6 children and he frequently sang as a child in the Life Board Baptist Church in Aberdeen, Mississippi. He grew up listening to Charley Patton, Son House, Willie Brown, and the Jackson school of Tommy Johnson with its delicate falsetto moan, in the midst of a Mississippi blues tradition.
In 1923, Burnett moved to the Young and Myers Plantation in Ruleville, Mississippi to work outside in music. In 1928 to 1930s he frequently worked on the local dances, suppers, Saturday-night hops, fish fries, juke joints and the street in the area of Drew, Cleveland, Penton, West Point, and Ruleville, Mississippi. In 1933, Burnett moved to the Nat Phillips Plantation in Twist, Arkansas to work outside of music, but he frequently worked in the local juke joints such as Will Weller's Place, Will Smith's Place, Vandy Cobb's Place as well as frolics and in the streets in Hughes, Arkansas.
During the 1930s Burnett married Willie Brown's sister and his second wife was Lillie Handley until his death. Chester Burnett had 4 children. His half-sister, Mary, was married with Sonny Boy Williamson II (Alex Miller) circa 1937. His nickname "Howling Wolf" was given him as a child for his pranks (or) assumed pseudonym from John "Funny Papa" Smith's hit song of the same name during early 1930s.
"My grandfather give me the name, 'fore he died, John Jones", recalled Howlin' Wolf. "He used to sit down and tell me tall stories about what the wolf would do, y'know, cos I was a bad boy. I was always in devilment. So he told me the story about what the wolf done to Little Red Riding Hood. Every time the girl'd ask him, 'Mr Wolf, what makes your teeth so big??' he said, 'What makes your eyes so red??' "The better I can see you, my dear".
"And then they finally killed a wolf, and drove it up to the house, and I told 'em was a dog. He said, 'No, that's a wolf'. I said, 'What's a wolf do?'. He said, "Howl, y'know. Whoo-oo-oo'. So I got afraid of the wolf and every time I'd kill some of my mother's chickens she'd go "Whoo-oo-oo", and that scared me and made me mad. And that's how they called me Wolf, and I gets mad about this. So they just kept on calling me Wolf and so I got so I didn't care what they called me. But first I was afraid of the wolf, y'know".
"I was three years old when they started calling me Wolf. You know how it is, when people find out you get mad about something they always slip that in. The Wolf, it upset me. I didn't know it was going to be a great name for me".
Howlin' Wolf is influenced by Blind Lemon Jefferson, Tommy Johnson, Charley Patton, Sonny Boy Williamson II (Alex Miller) and he influenced artists as Woodrow Adams, Butterfield Blues Band, Cream, John Fogerty, Birmingham Jones, Floyd Jones, Little Wolf, John Littlejohn, the Rolling Stones, Sidney Semiens, Johnny Shines, The Tail Dragger (James Jones), Amos Wells Jr., Eric Clapton and The Yardbirds.
Occasional he toured with Robert Johnson, Sonny Boy Williamson II (Alex Miller), with Texas Alexander and others working in juke joints through the states of Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi from the mid-1930s. In 1938, Chester Burnett worked with Robert Jr. Lockwood, Baby Boy Warren and others on Beale Street and the Church Park (WC Handy Park) in Memphis, Tennessee. From 1939 to 1940, Burnett worked on Dooley Square in Tunica, Mississippi.
After four years in the service, between 1941 and 1945, Burnett settled in Twist, Arkansas to work outside of music as a farmer. In 1946, he returned to continue farming near Penlon, Mississippi, and formed his own band to work in the juke joints of Lake Cummings, Mississippi. In 1948 before deciding to move to West Memphis, Arkansas. Soon after coming to West Memphis, Wolf secured steady work playing whorehouses, black baseball parks, and other spots that catered to country folk in search of a little diversion. The feral energy with which he sang added a new dimension to the traditional Delta blues upon which he based his style. Wolf landed a spot on KWEM in 1950. Monday through Saturday, he appeared between 4:45 and 5:00 p.m., lacing his blues with pitches for grain and fertilizer. In his fortieth year, he became a hot item among the rural blacks around Memphis. He worked with his own group in Jukes and toured with his own group barrelhouses, smallclubs through the South and appeared as disc jockey, singer, producer, and advertising salesman for KWEM-radio in West Memphis, Arkansas.
"A disc jockey from West Memphis told me about Wolf's show", recalled Sam Phillips to Robert Palmer. "When I heard him, I said, 'This is for me. This is where the soul of man never dies". "Then the Wolf came to the studio and he was about six foot six, with the biggest feet I've ever seen on a human being. Big Foot Chester is one name they used to call him. He would sit there with those feet planted wide apart, playing nothing but the french harp and I tell you, the greatest sight you could see today would be Chester Burnett doing one of those sessions in my studio. God, what it would be worth to see the fervour in that man's face when he sang. His eyes would light up, you'd see the veins on his neck and, there was nothing on his mind but that song. He sang with his damn soul!".
From 1951 to 1953, Chester Burnett recorded for Sam Phillip's, Memphis Recording Service in Memphis, Tennessee were his recordings where released to Chess Records in Chicago, Illinois. A 1951 session with the Wolf playing harmonica as well as singing, guitarist Willie Johnson, drummer Willie Steel and on the b-side, Albert Williams or Ike Turner on piano, produced the single "Moanin' At Midnight"/"How Many More Years". This at least is how discographies usually chart this session, but harmonica player James Cotton, who was also to journey up to Chicago in the 1950s but who was at this time playing with the Wolf in Memphis, and was certainly present on later sessions, recalled in conversation with Paul Trynka being in on the Wolf's recording career from the start.
Later Howlin' Wolf in Chicago, the Chess brothers tried to recreate the sound that Sam Phillips formulated, even to the point of re-recordings some of the unissued titles from Wolf's Memphis sessions. After a few missed cues, Wolf evolved a slightly modified sound in Chicago for Chess, and eventually brought Willie Johnson to join him. He became one of the seminal figures in postwar blues, which ensured that he spent his last years touring college campuses, where he looked strangely out of place amid a sea of freshly scrubbed, young white faces.
Chester Burnett recorded for the RPM label in Memphis, in 1952 appeared on the weekly show on KXJK-radio in Forrest City, Arkansas and moved in 1952 to Chicago, Illinois to work as s single in the 708 Club and other bars and recorded for the Chess label. He worked at the Rock Bottom Club in Chicago in 1953, the Club Zanzibar in Chicago in 1953 to 1954, worked at the Silkhairs Club in West Memphis, Arkansas in circa 1954, at the Hippodrome Ballroom in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1956, Burnett moved back to Chicago and worked at the Sylvio's Lounge and formed his own band for working at the 708 Club in Chicago, worked at the Big Squeeze Club, Chicago in 1959, the Pepper's, Chicago in 1959, and toured with the American Blues Festival for working on concert dates through England and Europe from 1961 to 1964 (portions of his 1964 Musikhalle concert in Hamburg, West Germany are released on the Fontana label. He worked at the First International Jazz Festival in Washington, DC., in 1962 and worked frequently and appeared on the Big Bill Hill Show for radio WOPA in Oak Park, Illinois, and extensive residency at the Sylvio's Lounge in Chicago during 1963 to 1968.
From 1963 to 1965, Burnett worked at the Copa Cabana Club, Chicago (portions released on the Chess label. In 1964 he appeared on the International Jazz Jamboree at the Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw, Poland, appeared at the Shinding TV-show for ABC-TV in 1965, worked at the Pepper's in Chicago and worked at the Club 47, Chicago in 1966, at the Newport Folk Festival, Newport, Rhode Island (portions shown in the film "Festival), appeared in Big John's Bar in Chicago, 1966, Cafe A-Go-Go in New York City, 1967, Mother Blues, Chicago in circa 1966, at the University of Chicago Folk Festival in 1968, and appeared on the TV-show "For Blacks Only" for the local TV-station in Chicago in 1968.
In 1968 to 1969, Burnett appeared at the Club Key Largo, Chicago, and at the Mariposa Folk Festival in Toronto, Canada, at the Ash Grove in Los Angeles, the Scene in New York City, appeared on the local show for WNUR-FM-radio in Evanston, Illinois. In 1969, Chester Burnett toured in England and worked on club concert dates and recorded for the Chess label in London, England.
Back in the United States, Burnett worked at the Electric Circus in New York City, toured on and worked on club dates on the West Coast, worked at the State University of New York in Buffalo, New Yersey, at the Ann Arbor Blues Festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan 1969 through 1970. He also appeared at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago in 1969 and appeared at the Flamingo Lounge in Chicago during 1969, The Colonial Tavern in Chicago, The Riviera in Chicago, the Quiet Knight in Chicago, the Sutherland Hotel Lounge in Chicago, the Washington Blues Festival, Howard University, Washington, DC., during 1970.
He frequently worked at the Cellar in Chicago, Big Duke's Blue Flame Lounge in Chicago during the early 1970s. In 1971, Howlin' Wolf appeared in the film "Wolf", worked at the Star Dust in Chicago, and the Hunter College in New York City in 1971. Appeared at the Notre Dame Blues Festival in South Bend, Indiana, at the Alice's Revisited in Chicago in 1972 (portion released for the Chess label).
In 1972, Burnett appeared on the Ann Arbor Blues Festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan, at the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada, at the Esquire Showbar in Montreal, Canada. In 1973, he also performed at the Joe Place's, Cambridge, Massachusetts, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Municipal Auditorium, New Orleans, Max's Kansas City in New York City, at the Avery Fisher Hall in New York City.
Through 1973 to 1975, he appeared and recorded for, El Mocambo Tavern in Toronto, Canada, recorded for Chess in Chicago, appeared and worked for Grendel's Lair in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the High Capparral in Chicago, the Pepper's Hideout in Chicago, Sandy's Concert Club in Boston, Massachusetts, the International Blues Festival in Louisville, Kentucky, at Easter Concert in Cocoa Beach in Florida, the Egress in Vancouver, Canada, the Urban Blues Festival, Auditorium Theater in Chicago, and recorded for the Chess label in London, England.
From 1974 to 1975, Chester Burnett appeared and worked at the Concert Club in Montreal, Canada, the Richard's Club in Atlanta, Georgia, at the Sting in Chicago, with B.B. King at the International Amphitheater in Chicago, at the University of Chicago Circle Campus in Chicago, the New 1815 Club in Chicago, the Eddie Shaw's Place (old New 1815 Club) in Chicago all in 1975. Chester Burnett awarded honourary as Doctor of Arts degree from Columbia College in Chicago, Illinois in 1972, and he won the Montreux Festival Award for his album "Back Door Wolf" (Chess 50045) in 1975.
In 1975 inactive in the music Chester Burnett entered Veterans Administration Hospital in Chicago, where he was operated on cancer. On January 10, 1976, Chester Burnett died of cancer at Hines, Illinois. Burnett is buried at the Oakridge Cemetery in Hillside, Illinois.
Chester Burnett is one of the major shapers of the electrically amplified modern blues style that has been so dominant an influence on all popular music since his time. Howlin' Wolf's voice, dark, brooding, is vibrantly rich and immediately recognizable, and easily transcended the most banal material, and he is a true artist in every sense of the word.
Talking later about Wolf to biographers James Segrest and Mark Hoffman, Sam Phillips said, ''He had such a soulful sound that even though his words were good blues words, he didn't have to say a sound. Like ''Moanin' At Midnight'', it was a everything just stopped. Time stopped. Everything stopped. All you heard was the Wolf''. Phillips often applied retrospective spin to his reminiscenses, but recently discovered correspondence from 1951 shows that Phillips truly saw the specialness in Wolf right away. He got it first. (CE)
HUBERT, L.C. - Apart from his appearances on sessions by Howlin' Wolf, Walter Bradford, Tot Randolph,
Sammy Lewis, and Willie Johnson, and "Lucy Done Moved" - the only recording under his own name -
nothing is known of Hubert's history or subsequent career.
Thanks to Jim O'Neal's research, we know that he was born Louis Calvin Hubert southwest of West
Memphis in Hughes, Arkansas on September 10, 1923. Military records show that he was a married farmhand
working near Shreveport, Louisiana when he enlisted in October 1952. He was working in Proctor,
Arkansas, just a few miles away from his birthplace, when he applied for Social Security in 1946.
For a couple of years, Hubert was a fairly regular participant on Sun and pre-Sun recording sessions. He
appears on Walter Bradford's 1952 sessions, and we're assuming that he takes the vocal on one of those
songs, ''Lucy Done Moved''. He's on some Howlin' Wolf sessions from around the same time, but we
otherwise know nothing of him. He appears to have died on September 1, 1973. (CE)
HUNT, D.A. - Daniel Augusta Hunt was more commonly known as Junior Hunt to the people of Munford, Alabama, where he was born in May 23, 1929, the son of Jim and Ruthy Hunt. Nothing is known of his early life until he married Carrie Lee Powell, at which point he was working at Union Foundry Pipe at Anniston, Alabama by day, doubling as a musician by night. After recording just the one session for Sam Phillips - which saw release as SUN 183 - he rambled around, singing and playing wherever he could, and was arrested in Memphis in 1958 for stealing a saxophone.
He told the police his occupation was ''guitar player'' at the Bungalow Inn. Then he apparently travelled west and died in Phoenix, Arizona in May 1962.
Daniel Augusta Hunt gets into the record books for something he probably didn't even know about: Sam Phillips apparently pressed some copies of Hunt's sole Sun record on 45rpm, presumably for jukeboxes, and in 2011 collector John Tefteller paid $10, 323 for the extant copy. (BT) (CE)
HUNTER, LOST JOHN - Beyond the sketchiest old details, Lost John remains a completely unknown quantity - a great shame, since his recorded legacy, though small, is of considerable interest. His recordings were made at the Memphis Recording Service by a note in Sam Phillips' file listing two releases under Hunter's name. In a letter to Nashville's rhythm and blues disc jockey Gene Nobles, in which Phillips states that he sent an audition of Hunter to 4-Star. ''They quickly waxed him and although I am completely out of the deal after making the masters, I surely would like to see him go''. This meant that Phillips got 4-Star's usual deal: a little upfront money but no royalties. In Houston, Pappy Daily was sending Webb Pierce, Hank Locklin, and Frankie Miller masters to 4-Star on the same basis, but became so disenchanted that he started Starday Records around the same time Phillips launched Sun.
In Phillips' file beneath Lost John's name it says Lyndell Woodson, and the composer of Hunter's first single is listed as Woodson. Accordingly, Woodson could be Lost John's real name, a contact, or a musician friend, but the lack of a telephone number suggests that Hunter might have been Woodson. The 1920 census captured a black male named Lyndell Woodson, born in Tennessee in 1911, and living in Sassafras Ridge, Kentucky, not for north of Memphis. The census noted that his father was a farm labourer ''working out''. The 1930 census found the family back in Memphis, living at Grove Avenue, and East Street, just south of the bustling Beale Street neighborhood. Lyndell was shown as having no occupation, suggesting that he might already have been a blind musician. His death is harder to ascertain. There was a Lyndell Woodson who was born in Tennessee 1915and died in Los Angeles in September 1975, but it's far from certain that's our man. The one certainly is that Lost John Hunter isn't Long John Hunter who recorded for Duke. Interestingly, both discs of Lost John Hunter were labelled ''Not Suitable For radio Broadcast'' on the original 4-Star 78s. (CE) (MH)
ISLE, JIMMY - Jimmy Isle and his brother Ronnie grew up in Nashville. They wrote many songs together: Jimmy has 39 entries in the B.M.I database (almost all of them co-written with his brother) and Ronnie 69. As a singer, Jimmy first appeared on the scene in 1957, with "Stay By My Side"/ "Baby-O" on the Chicago-based Bally label. The next year he recorded what is probably his best rocker, "Goin' Wild" for Morris Levy's Roulette label (4065). Written by Ronnie Isle, "Goin' Wild" featured a group called The Southlanders on vocal backup, as well as some excellent work from the lead guitarist.
A few months later, Ronnie Isle came up with an interesting rocking instrumental, "Wicked"/"Bad Sunburn" on MGM 12682, credited to Ron Isle and the Blisters. At some point in 1958, Jimmy recorded "Diamond Ring" and "I've Been Waitin'" at a demo studio, Fidelity Recording, in Nashville. Fidelity was owned by Gary Walker, a songwriter from Springfield, Missouri. Walker leased these masters to Sun Records in October 1958, and Sun picked up Isle's contract. The most obvious selling feature of "Diamond Ring" (Sun 306) and Isle's other releases was a rhythmic hook.
After being signed to Sun, Jimmy was brought to Memphis to record one session (produced by Jack Clement) from which two singles were drawn. The backing was supplied by Billy Riley (guitar), Pat O'Neill (bass), Tommy Ross (drums), Charlie Rich (piano) and Martin Willis (sax). "Without A Love"/"Time Will Tell" (Sun 318) was released in March 1959 and, like "Diamond Ring" was geared to the white teenage market. Billboard assigned both sides a three star rating, crediting Isle with singing "with spirit and style". In honesty, Jimmy's three Sun singles were not among the greatest music the legendary label released, and the third one, "What A Life"/"Together" (Sun 332) was easily the least effective of the lot, softened as it was by sweet girl voices. It stiffed big time, thereby ending Isle's one y ear association with the label. Jimmy moved to the Everest label, on which he had three singles released (1959-60). After a slight lull, he turned up on Mala in 1963 and on Diamond in 1964, after which he disappeared. His brother Ronnie had releases on Metro (1959), Image (1960) and Warwick (1961) and later died in a car wreck. According to Hank Davis, Jimmy is still living in Nashville.
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