CONTAINS 1955 ELVIS PRESLEY SESSIONS 1

Live Broadcast Recordings for Elvis Presley, January 1, 1955
Live Broadcast Recordings for Elvis Presley, January 15, 1955
Live Broadcast Recordings for Elvis Presley, January 19, 1955
Live Broadcast Recordings for Elvis Presley, January 22, 1955
Studio Session for Elvis Presley, February 5, 1955
Live Broadcast Recordings for Elvis Presley, February 13, 1955
Live Broadcast Recordings for Elvis Presley, March 5, 1955
Studio Session for Elvis Presley, March 5, 1955
Live Broadcast Recordings for Elvis Presley, March 19, 1955
Studio Session for Elvis Presley, Early April 1955
Radio Commercial for Elvis Presley, April 30, 1955
Live Broadcast Recordings for Elvis Presley, April 30, 1955
Interview for Elvis Presley, May 12, 1955
Live Broadcast Recording for Elvis Presley, May 26, 1955


1955

Big Bill Broonzy and Yannick Bruynoghe's "Big Bill Blues" published.

The Montgomery  (Alabama) bus boycott. 

Chuck Berry recorded "Maybellene".

Emmett Till, a black teenager from Chicago, is murdered for talking out of turn to a white  woman near Money, Mississippi.

The New Memphis Academy of Art building (now Memphis College of Art) opens in Overton  Park.

Elvis Presley's struggle for artistic recognition began paying dividends in early 1955. From  January through April, Elvis Presley worked at perfecting his performing skills while Sun  Records continued to release his singles. The sales of Presley's 45s and 78s increased  steadily due to careful selection of songs, and Elvis Presley maintained his concert  popularity. While still just a regional act, this period was the final stage in polishing Elvis'  talent as he crafted his music for national exposure. Sam Phillips' promotional genius  during the first few months of 1955 brought Elvis Presley out of the Southern regional  market and into limited Northern recognition. While the gains up North were not  spectacular, there were also signs of interest elsewhere in the country.

In addition to Phillips' promotional work and Bob Neal's managerial skills, Elvis Presley  continued to be intimately involved in setting the course for his career. In his office across  the street from the Peabody Hotel, Elvis Presley was actively engaged in the publicity end  of things. Indeed, it had been as a result of the difficulties he had previously encountered  in this area that Elvis Presley knew that he needed an experienced manager. Friends like  Ronald Smith, who would wander down to Elvis' office where they would talk for hours  about the future, and Johnny Burnette, who often came by the office, encouraged Elvis  Presley to sign with a well-known manager. In 1954, Memphis was a small town and  everyone had a strong sense of community. If Elvis Presley was to move into the  mainstream of the music business, Ronald Smith remembered, he would have to be  professionally promoted, and everyone agreed that Bob Neal seemed to be the man for the  job.

ALL YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT THE BENEFIT SHOW

An explanation is in order concerning the many benefit performances given by Elvis Presley  throughout 1955 to 1956. Elvis Presley was always philanthropic with the money he earned  through performing. However, the "benefit show" was frequently viewed by promoters as a  means of circumventing local entertainment taxes. This was not necessarily a bad thing.  Long before Elvis, entertainment had been subject to local taxation as a means of raising  community revenue. The argument for taxing live performances usually lay along the lines  that the taxes would pay the additional costs incurred by the municipality for the auxiliary  police required to control the crowds brought together as a result of the performance. In  some towns, Memphis for instance, this tax could add 20-cents to the selling price of a $1.00  ticket. Since promoters generally believed that higher ticket prices cut into ticket sales,  they were always on the lookout for ways to side-step this tax. The most common method  was to bill the show as a "benefit". Do this, the promoter would approach a local non-profit  club or civic organization asking them to sponsor a show. In return, the promoter would  usually guarantee the club either a specific sum of money or a percentage of the tickets  sales. Either way, this would cost the promoter less than the tax, and the promoter could  either pocket the difference or pay the performers more. On behalf of the promoter, the  club members acted as the show's ticket agents, handbill distributors, security staff and  grounds crew. The non-profit organization ended up with money do good deeds in the  community. In turn, this lessened the burden on the local tax funds. It was an arrangement  that appeared to be born out of greed that seemed to have a payoff for all concerned.


JANUARY 1955

Sam Phillips arranges the launch of his Flip label. It handles mainly country music and is used  as a test label for the local market.

Bob Neal takes over Elvis Presley's management from Scotty Moore. Elvis Presley is touring  at this time with Texas Bill Strength and the Browns.

Bud Deckelman's recording of "Daydreamin'" (Meteor 5014) is released as the first country  disc on Meteor Records. "Daydreamin'" becomes a manor hit. The song had been taken to  Sun Records by writers Claunch and Cantrell but had been turned down by Sam Phillips.  Billboard reviews the Meteor version as "a capable rural waxin". A cover version by Jimmy  Newman on Dot is a major country chart contender through the summer. Deckelman is  snapped up by MGM Records who are still looking for someone to continue in Hank  Williams's footsteps.

Malcolm Yelvington's "Drinkin' Wine Spo Dee O Dee"/"Just Rolling Along" (SUN 211) is  released and reviewed by Billboard as "a great rhythm oldie sung energetically to a brisk  beat. Some juke play should come through".

Hardrock Gunter signs with King Records of Cincinnati, although his first session there had  been held three months earlier. He also returns to work as the morning disc jockey on  WWVA, Wheeling, West Virginia.

"Milkcow Blues Boogie"/"You're A Heartbreaker" (SUN 215) by Elvis Presley is released.

JANUARY 1955

At his headquarters in Madison, Tennessee, Colonel Tom Parker invited Hank Snow to his  office. They talked a few moments about mundane things, and then Tom Parker blurted out;  "There's a boy around, Elvis Presley, and I think we should book him on the show with you. I  think he'd make us some money. The kids really like him". "Be sure he behaves himself",  Hank Snow remarked. "I have thousands of loyal fans who I owe my best".

Hank Snow didn't realize that the Colonel had hoodwinked him - he was less interested in  enhancing the draw for Show's tour than he was in the prospects for cementing a  management deal with Elvis Presley, whom he felt had great potential. While on the threeweek  tour, Elvis Presley appeared before large crowds and demonstrated conclusively that  he could compete with seasoned, professional musicians. It was impossible for another  artist to follow him on stage. After the second night, Tom Parker wisely switched Elvis  Presley to the closing act, a move which infuriated Hank Snow. The Colonel also began to  feature Elvis Presley's name prominently in the publicity releases for the tour.



JANUARY 1, 1955 SATURDAY

As a result of this quest for proper management, on January 1, 1955, Elvis Presley finally  signed a contract with Bob Neal, who, as noted earlier, had been "auditioning" for the role  for several months already. The details of this management deal had actually been worked  out a few months earlier, and the well-publicized signing with Neal was designed more to  promote Elvis' third single, "Milkcow Blues Boogie" and "You're A Heartbreaker", than  anything else. Bob Neal was not a well-known national figure, but he was regarded locally as  an honest man with a solid Southern reputation. Kenneth Herman pointed out that Bob Neal  had the ability to inspire the acts he managed.


Sam Phillips, Elvis Presley & Bob Neal at photographer Lou Lowry's house signed the new manager   contract.

The official picture, which ran in the trades and in the March issue of "Country & Western  Jamboree", shows Elvis Presley sitting at a desk with a fireplace behind him, pen poised,  grin crooked, hair perfectly coiffed. Sam Phillips and Bob Neal stand beside him on either  side. Sam Phillips has his hand companionable on Elvis' right shoulder, Bob Neal is wearing  a broad smile and an elaborately bowed western tie, while all three stare straight into the  camera.

Using his gaudy Memphis Promotions Agency stationary, Bob Neal went to work earning his  fifteen percent commission for Elvis' concerts. Immediately, Bob Neal raised Elvis' concerts  fee from a range of $100 to $250 a night to $300 to $500. The problem was that Bob Neal  couldn't always secure good-paying engagements. As a result, Elvis Presley often accepted  lower-priced jobs. During 1955, however, under Neal's skilled guidance, Presley earned  $55,000, an excellent sum for a regional artist.

According to Bob Neal, ''Well, I worked out just a simple thing without consulting my  attorney or anything, just a simple, management-type-contract, that I would be his  manager and set up bookins. Of course, he was underage, so his mother and Vernon both,  or one or the other, signed the contract. I would get fifteen percent for the work I did''.

Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black appeared at the Eagles Hall in Houston, Texas.

Elvis and the band had to do something about transportation, as Scotty Moore's wife was  getting tired of riding the bus when the trio went on the road in her car. Elvis bought a  Lincoln Cosmopolitan with only ten thousand miles on it. He had his name and Sun Records  painted on the side and installed a rack for instrumentation on the top.


JANUARY 1, 1955 SATURDAY

Colonel Tom Parker became the manager of Hank Snow, one of the Grand Ole Opry's most  popular members and another RCA Victor recording artist. Snow, nicknamed "The Singing  Ranger" was Canadian by birth, although he had lived in the States for years. When Parker  took over Snow's affairs, he combined Jamboree Attractions under the banner of Hank Snow  Enterprises.


While Elvis was playing in Texas, Colonel Tom Parker's right-hand man, Tom Diskin, was firing off letters to local promoters to arrange dates for Hank Snow's West Coast tour ending in Denver on February 13, a week of extra shows from West Texas towards Nashville was the goal. As a result of the meeting with Bob Neal and Elvis the week before in Shreveport, Colonel Tom Parker had decided to include Elvis in the package, and sent Neal a contract to that effect. Neal responded the next day:

''Dear Tom
Here are the signed contracts for the Elvis Presley unit. As I told you, I have booked February 11th and 12th in Hobbs and Carlsbad, New Mexico, so Sunday the 13th unit will be killing time before going to Roswell for your show on the 14th. If you can book anything, I know you will do your usual excellent job. I think I have finally gotten Pappy Covington straightened out so that we will have no more trouble with him. If we work together as well in the future as in the past I'm sure it will be a happy and profitable association.

If there is anything also you need in material about the Presley unit please call me.

Sincerely, Bob Neal - Elvis Presley manager''.

Bob Neal's concern was not only to avoid layovers, but also to make sure that Hayride booker Pappy Covinton rose to the occasion for the new tie-in with Jamboree Attractions. Bob had taken the trip down to Shreveport to go through it all with Pappy Covinton, including a discussion of proper business conduct in relation to Pappy's request for advances on his booking commission. Tom Diskin insisted on adherence to protocol, but eventually agreed to try to involve Pappy Covington in setting up a smaller group, sans Hank Snow, to do another week starting Sunday, February 20:

''If you get any leads that we can work into on these dates, let us know, for we are finding that Elvis is very spotty, in the areas where we are trying to take him''.

Diskin's concern about Elvis' drawing power in no way hindered his pushing Elvis to promoters as ''a new star that is knocking them dead wherever he appears''.



Elvis Presley & Tommy Sands at Eagle's Hall, Houston, Texas.

In Houston, Elvis Presley headlined a sellout show at the Eagle's Hall (officially Aerie #63, Hall of the Fraternal Order of Eagle), located 2204 Louisiana Street. Elvis' performance was part of the "Grand Prize Saturday Night Jamboree", sponsored by Grand Prize Beer and broadcast over KNUZ radio from 8:00 to 11:00 p.m. The Jamboree's regulars were James O'Gwynne, Coye Wilcox, the Dixie Drifters, Ernie Hunter, Herb Remington, emcee Biff Collie, and announcer Ken Grant. Also appearing with Elvis Presley on this New Year's Day were Tommy Sands of RCA Victor Records, The Brown Brothers, Sonny Burns, George Jones of Starday Records and Jerry Jerico of "X" Records. Guest emcee on this date was Gabe Tucker, the personal manager of country performers Ernest and Justin Tubb.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

LIVE APPEARANCE ELVIS PRESLEY
FOR THE GRAND PRIZE SATURDAY NIGHT JAMBOREE 1955

EAGLE'S HALL, - AERIE 63, HALL OF THE FRATERNAL ORDER OF EAGLE,
2204 LOUISIANA STREET, HOUSTON, TEXAS
JANUARY 1, 1955 SATURDAY
PRODUCER - BUDDY COVINGTON
AIRED OVER KNUZ RADIO FROM 8:00 TO 11:00 PM



The building at 2204 Louisiana Street, Houston, Texas, where The Eagle's Hal was, 2007.


The Eagle's Hall was a large auditorium used primarily for country music concerts. There was no dance floor at the Eagle's Hall, and this agitated the crowd. That night it was filled with New Year's Day revellers, noisy and full of post-holiday spirit.

The sold-out performance before a raucous, stomping crowd prompted Elvis Presley to add a Ray Charles song to the show, "I Got A Woman". It brought a standing ovation from the sea of cowboys hats, flannel shirts, and frilly women's dresses.


What made the Eagle's Hall show unique was the fact that not all of the Blue Moon Boys were with Elvis Presley. At the last minute, Scotty Moore caught the fly and didn't travel to Houston. Scotty Moore was home in bed with a 101 temperature. That night an extremely nervous Elvis Presley took the stage, fretting over his musical accompaniment. He didn't like the idea of performing without Scotty Moore. Still, Elvis Presley felt good because his backup band had new clothes, and would otherwise make a good showing. Bob Neal had purchased Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, Bill Black, and D.J. Fontana grey sport coats, white shirts, and black bow ties. When Elvis Presley took on stage in a dark suit, black shirt, and a silver-grey tie, there was a murmur from the crowd.

01* - "GOOD ROCKIN' TONIGHT" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Roy Brown
Publisher: - Fort Knox Music Incorporated
Recorded: - January 1, 1955 - Radio Broadcast

The Eagle's Hall announcer, Ken Grant, introduced Elvis Presley as "the Bopping Hillbilly", and Elvis Presley began his set with a subdued version of "Good Rockin' Tonight". The show's master of ceremonies, Gabe Tucker, a local musician, filled in on guitar. It wasn't the show that Elvis' fans expected. Tucker's guitar work was limited, and his slow, country licks suffocated Elvis' rockabilly vocals. After he finished "Good Rockin' Tonight", Elvis Presley introduced Bill Black and D.J. Fontana to the youthful crowd.

02* - "BABY LET'S PLAY HOUSE" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Arthur Neal Gunter
Publisher: - Excelloree Music
Recorded: -  January 1, 1955 - Radio Broadcast

Next, Elvis Presley began singing "Baby Let's Play House". There were screams from the girls, and the audience shrieked with ecstasy. Elvis Presley had some trouble with the mic, fumbling it. "Thank you, friends", Elvis Presley shouted, breathing heavily.

03* - "BLUE MOON OF KENTUCKY" - B.M.I.
Composer: - William Smith "Bill" Monroe
Publisher: - Peer International Corporation
Recorded: -  January 1, 1955 - Radio Broadcast


Elvis Presley on stage at Eagle's Hall,
Houston, Texas, January 1, 1955.

Elvis Presley followed with a forced version of "Blue Moon Of Kentucky". "Ah, play it Gabe", Elvis Presley hollered, and Gabe Tucker's guitar filled the break. Elvis Presley toyed with the words "shaking" and "shouting" in "Blue Moon Of Kentucky". After the song, he quickly left the stage but returned a few seconds later. "Thank you very much, I was coming back anyway", Elvis Presley remarked. "I'd like to do a little song right here that I hope you people like. This one's called "little darling you broke my heart when you went away but I'll break your jaw when you come back' - did you ever hear that one? I'd like to do this little song here, it's called "I Got A Woman". The screams from the girls were constant during this show.


04* - "I GOT A WOMAN" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Ray Charles-Renald Richard
Publisher: - Progressive Music Incorporated
Recorded: -  January 1, 1955 - Radio Broadcast

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Elvis Presley - Vocal and Acoustic Rhythm Guitar
Gabe Tucker - Electric Lead Guitar
William P. Bill Black - Acoustic Upright Bass
Dominic Joseph Fontana - Drums (Gretsch)

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©



Ernest Tubb & Gabe Tucker, circa 1955

GABE TUCKER - Musician, who played bass and fiddle for Eddy Arnold in 1955. In 1956  Tucker became the manager of singer Justin Tubb. Acting as a promotion man for Colonel  Tom Parker, had for years travelled a day ahead of the Eddy Arnold Show, plastering  Parker's advertising all over the South. Apart from operating in the Colonel's shadow,  Tucker himself dabbled with a number of musical instruments and wrote songs. In addition  to playing guitar, Tucker was adept with the bass and trumpet. He loved to jam with local  musicians, and he was a marvellous promoter. Gabe Tucker and Colonel Tom Parker were  so much alike that when they fought, they fought like brothers.


Not only was Tucker a  consummate hustler, but he was a regular in local pool halls. As a result, he had ample  opportunity to find out what the locals thought about Elvis Presley's music.

Gabe Tucker had been privy to the stresses and strains of the era when Colonel managed  Eddy Arnold, and had negotiated a lucrative recording contract with RCA with the promise  that Arnold would tour steadily.

In the 1960s, through Parker's help, Gabe Tucker went to work for the William Morris  Agency. Tucker authored, with Marge Crumbaker of the Houston Post, the 1981 book Up And  Down With Elvis: The Inside Story.

Gabe Tucker, like Tommy Sands, Oscar Davis, Hank Snow, Horage Logan, and others, has  claimed to be the first to suggest to Colonel Tom Parker that Parker should become Elvis  Presley's manager.

JUSTIN TUBB - Son of country legend Ernest Tubb, was the same age as Elvis Presley and  they were good friends while on tour. Justin and Goldie Hill had a country hit with the  novelty "Looking Back To See" in 1954. He joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1955 and recorded  for Decca, the same label as his father.

Also on this date, Bob Neal officially took over as Elvis' full-time manager. Almost  immediately, the amount of money spent on newspaper advertising for Elvis' shows  increased dramatically. Neal soon opened an office at 160 Union Avenue in Memphis  dedicated to Elvis Presley Enterprises. (Now located Holiday Inn Hotel).

Tommy Sands, who watched the early part of the show from backstage, was impressed  with Elvis' stage presence. He had never seen such a visually exciting show. Sands  remembered that young Presley was something special, and the Texas crowd was familiar  with his music. A number of girls that Tommy Sands knew inquired about Elvis Presley.

TOMMY SANDS - Born in Chicago on August 27, 1939, Sands grew up in Texas and Louisiana.  He was a regular on Cliffie Stone's Hometown Jamboree in Dallas and appeared as a  regular on the "Louisiana Hayride". A rockabilly singer managed by Colonel Tom Parker,  Sands toured extensively with Elvis Presley in 1954-1955. Scotty Moore and Bill Black  approached Sands to become the lead singer in the Blue Moon Boys after they fought with  Elvis Presley. Sands was uncomfortable with this idea, but he played one concert date with  Scotty Moore and Bill Black. His early rockabilly and country recordings were all but  forgotten in 1956 when he appeared in the TV show "The Singing Idol". This program  catapulted Sands to stardom as a teen idol. During the time he was a rockabilly singer for  RCA Records, Sands was close to and very friendly with Elvis Presley. He lives in Hawaii  and is presently active on the Oldies but Goodies circuit.



Elvis Presley in the Sun Records years.

JANUARY 4, 1955 TUESDAY

Elvis Presley began a tour of mid-sized towns in West Texas co-produced by Billy Walker and  Tillman Franks of the Louisiana Hayride. Appearing with Elvis Presley were Walker, Jimmy  and Johnny and comedian Peach Seed Jones, billed as a "star of TV, stage, radio".

On this  tour Elvis Presley was reportedly paid a straight salary of $150 per show plus $10 a day for  car expenses. However, that amount may have varied. In addition, this fee was most likely  divided between Scotty Moore and Bill Black.


According to Billy Walker, the first date on his first tour with Elvis Presley was in Odessa.  Here Elvis, Scotty and Bill played a brief, forty-minute "teaser" show at the High School  Auditorium in the afternoon prior to the main performance that evening. While in Odessa,  Elvis and Walker also appeared on Roy Orbison's local program on KOSA-TV. No  advertisement for this show has been uncovered, but a fan who has seen a kinescope of  the Orbison television show confirms that it came from January.

Billy Walker, who would turn twenty-six on January 14, recorded for Columbia. His latest  release was "Thank You For Calling". Nicknamed the "Traveling Texan", he rejoined the  Hayride in November 1954 after an absence of several months while he appeared on the  Ozark Jubilee in Springfield, Missouri. He would later be a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Jimmy and Johnny were a comic singing duo and one of the few country acts on bluesoriented  Chess Records. They were regulars on the Big D Jamboree in Dallas, Texas.

Roy Orbison visited the Big D Jamboree in Dallas. It was there that he saw Elvis Presley for  the first time. "First thing", he recalled to Nick Kent, "he came out and spat out a piece of  gum onto the stage. He was a punk kind. A weird-looking dude. I can't over-emphasize how  shocking he looked and sounded to me that night. He did "Maybellene", and the kids  started shouting. There was pandemonium cause the girls took a shine to him and the guys  were getting jealous. Plus he told some real bad crude jokes. Dumb off-colour humour. His  diction was real coarse - like a struck driver's. But his energy was incredible and his  instinct was just amazing".

Roy Orbison recorded "Tryin' To Get To You" it at roughly the same time that Elvis Presley  recorded a version for Sun Records that remained unissued until 1956. It is conceivable  that Elvis Presley sang the tune on one of his forays through Texas - possible even on  Orbison's television show - and that Orbison learned it from him: Orbison used the same  shuffle rhythm and made the same minor lyrical change that Elvis Presley did.




JANUARY 5, 1955 WEDNESDAY

The headliner of the show was Billy Walker and not "Alvis Presley", as the lone newspaper ad read, performed with his small group at the 1,855  seat City Auditorium in San Angelo, Texas. The show kicked off at 8:00 p.m. and tickets cost  $1.00 for adults and a half that for children. Hayride artists Billy Walker and Jimmy and  Johnny and country comic Peach Seed Jones complete the lineup.

Here, Elvis Presley was, early in his first big tour, and already he was running late. For the  next two years, this would almost be the norm. 


At 9:30, just when it looked like the  promoter would have to begin refunding the audience's ticket price, Elvis Presley drove up  in his pink Cadillac with Bill's bass tied to the top.


Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black live on stage, San Angelo, Texas, January 5, 1955.

According to later reports, Elvis Presley   gave a rousing performance. After the show was over, fans crowded the stage and wouldn't   let him leave. Finally a few police officers were called to clear the Auditorium so the   stagehands could clean up. Walker Pater recalled that the performers divided a gate of  $3,000.

According to Joe Peacock, disc jockey at KTXL radio in San Angelo said, ''The afternoon of the Elvis concert, the radio station manager appeared in the control room, followed by a young man with long sideburns and suede shoes, pink, not blue, and looking like he had been living in his car''.


''I believe that it was only the day before that, I had ever heard of him, but when he asked if I would play his record, I didnt't hesitate to say yes. He went out to the car and came back with a 45rpm record of ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky''.


The Cotton Club, Lubbock, Texas, located 6410 East Highway 84 outside the city limits.

JANUARY 6, 1955 THURSDAY

Elvis Presley and the group played for the first time at the Cotton Club, owned by Ralph  Lowe, in Lubbock, Texas. The Cotton Club was the biggest club in West Texas. It provided  the only live music entertainment for people who wanted to go out, listen, be entertained,  and dance.

Its musical menu was varied, from the Dorsey Brothers big band, Bob Wills and  the Texas Playboys, to Ray Charles, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, to the Louisiana Hayride  stars, to now Elvis Presley.


Also on the bill was Wanda Jackson, Bob Wills and the local country-rock band, Buddy and  Bob - Buddy Holly and Bob Montgomery on guitars, with Larry Welborn on bass. There  were no newspaper ads, and the show was promoted over KDAV radio, 580 on the dial,  which billed itself as the first radio station in the States to play country music full-time.


Elvis Presley's show began about 9:00 p.m. followed by a dance. The Cotton Club usually  charged $1.00 admission of which the entertainers received fifty percent. A KDAV disc  jockey known as Hipockets Duncan later reported that Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill  Black received a total of $35, although Sonny Curtis, a subsequent member of the Crickets  with Buddy Holly, thought Elvis split $75 with his band members.

Other rumours suggested that Elvis Presley appeared at the Fair Park Auditorium in Lubbock,  Texas. Two Lubbock high school students, Mac Davis and John Denver, read the local  newspaper while listening to Presley's records. Too young to go to the Cotton Club, they  were still well versed about Elvis' exploits.

"I was a disc jockey, I had a band, I booked bands and I emceed a lot in those days", said  Bill Myrick.  "I booked Elvis Presley into the Cotton Club and I emceed that show. Buddy Holly was just a  kid. He was always coming around and asking, 'Can I sit in with you?'. On this night, Ralph  the owner, suggested we lei Buddy play during Elvis Presley's intermissions".

According to Waylon Jennings he said, ''The first show Elvis dis in Lubbock, I think he got paid some ridiculous amount, fifty or sixty dollars, smething like that. I was about 17, and I was backstage. I met Elvis and talked to him for a while. Scotty Moore was there and I think Elvis had Scotty's guitar backstage, and he was singing ''Tweedlee Dee''. He said, 'This is gonna be my next record, and he sang us the song''.

Sources said that local disc jockey invited Elvis to promote the show that night by playing live on the radio in the afternoon. Elvis and his band performed ''Shake Rattle And Roll'' and ''Fool, Fool, Fool'', and Stone captured both songs on acetate.



Pat Lowe Hankins remembers being embarrassed on the first meeting with Elvis. Her  father owned the Cotton Club. "My mother and Elvis were standing there talking", said  Hankins. "She asked me, 'Would you like to meet Elvis?' and I said 'No'. He wasn't famous  then. He was standing right there and I didn't know who he was. She had never before  asked me if I had wanted to meet anyone at the club. I was fourteen and I got so  embarrassed".

"He was nice and friendly. The club was not a good place for kids to be, so he looked after  my brother and me. He played Tic Tac Douch with me on a tablecloth. Yeah", laughed Ralph  Lowe Jr., "and dad docked him a dollar to clean that tablecloth at the and of the night".


Pat Lowe Hankins with Elvis at the Cotton Club, Lubbock, Texas, January 6, 1955.

"Dad would bake a ham and I would come in and make ham sandwiches", she said. "I used  to slip sandwiches out the kitchen door to Buddy Holly and Mac Davis. They were poor at  the time. Sometimes I'd slip them in through the kitchen to see someone like Fats Domino  because they couldn't afford admission".

Hankins said because of her age, she couldn't stay at the club to late, but rumours were  circulating that after Elvis Presley appearance there one night, a girl bared her breasts and  asked Elvis Presley to autograph them... and he did!

"Daddy had booked Elvis Presley, Faron Young and Wanda Jackson into the club for a  hundred and fifty dollars", said Ralph Junior. "Daddy didn't like Buddy Holly, so that's why  my sister was slipping him in the back door. The Cotton Club was a swinging place back  then. It was the only place in West Texas to go. The area was dry, but you could buy  bootleg whisky, even though it was illegal. Elvis got a cool reception that first night.

But Wanda Jackson more than made up for it when she was on". "The people were hooked  on Texas swing. I used to go up on stage when Bob Wills was singing and he'd pick me up and  keep on singing".



Ralph Lowe Jr. with Elvis Presley at the Cotton Club, Lubbock, Texas, January 6, 1955.

The fact is, little five-year-old Ralph stole a lot of Elvis Presley' thunder that first night at  the Cotton Club. Here was Elvis, hips swiveling, pelvis about to get thrown out of joint,  banging frenetically on his guitar and screaming words into the microphone and what  happens but this little kid walked on stage, toy guitar in hand, wanting to be part of the  show. After all, that kind old Mister Wills was always so friendly, surely this jumping jack  would be, too. The intrusion shocked Elvis. The crowd laughed. And Elvis soon was  following in the kindly Mister Wills' footsteps and little Ralph Lowe walked away one happy  dude.


MAC "SCOTT" DAVIS - Country-oriented singer and composer born in Lubbock, Texas, on  January 21, 1941. On October 15, 1955, in Lubbock, fourteen-year-old Mac Davis attended a  show at the Cotton Club that featured Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly on the same bill. During  his early years in the music business, he lived in Atlanta, where he played in a rock & roll  band and worked as a regional manager for Vee-Jay Records.

In the late 1960s and 1970s, many Mac Davis compositions were recorded by major artists,  including Lou Rawls ("You're Good For Me"), Bobby Goldsboro ("Watching Scotty Grow", about  Mac Davis' real-life son), and Glen Cambell ("Within My Memory"). Mac Davis tells his story in  his 1980 recording of "Texas In My Rear View Mirror" (Casablanca NB 2305), in which the  talks about Buddy Holly and leaving Lubbock, Texas.

Glen Campbell, who married David's former wife, Sarah, gave Davis the nickname "The  Song Painter". Elvis Presley recorded several Mac Davis-Billy Strange compositions like,  "Clean Up Your Own Backyard", "Charro", "A Little Less Conversation", "Nothingville",  "Memories", and two which Davis had written alone, "In The Ghetto", and "Don't Cry  Daddy".

The $40,000 royalty check that Mac Davis received for "In The Ghetto" helped bail him out  of financial problems. On the jacket of Davis' 1980 Greatest Hits album he gave special  thanks to Billy Strange, Elvis Presley, Clive Davis, and Sandy Gallin.

WANDA JACKSON - Female rock and roll star. Born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Wanda  Jackson began her recording career as a country singer on Decca Records in 1954 but  really made her mark with a string of tough rockabilly. In 1956 Wanda Jackson signed a  contract with Capitol and continued to record for until the early 1970s. Records like  "Honey Bop", "Mean, Mean, Man" and "Fujiyama Mama" established her place in the rock  and roll history books for ever, but she scored her biggest pop hit with her storming  version of Elvis Presley's "Party" in 1960. Wanda Jackson's many successes in the country  field included "Right Or Wrong" and "The Box It Came In". During 1955 and 1956 she  worked on several shows with Elvis Presley and witnessed first hand The Hillbilly Cat's rise  to fame. Wanda Jackson recalls those days with much affection, referring to the period as  "one of the most exciting times of my life".


LUBBOCK / ROCK AND ROLL RELIGION - Bible Belt Lubbock, home to Texas Tech University,  is the largest city in the Texas Panhandle and makes its money from oil and ranching. Is  proud to be one of the centers of West Texas rock 'n' roll heritage. The area is not only the  home of Buddy Holly and the Crickets, but of Mac Davis, Waylon Jennings and numerous  other performers. Lubbock is also justly proud of its Protestant heritage.

Even today, four  of the largest buildings in central Lubbock are churches. Sometimes, though, the two  forms of expression had difficulty to co-existing. In 1955, Lubbock had rigid liquor laws on  the books. No alcoholic beverages of any type were sold inside the city limits. No  newspaper advertising was accepted for liquor, beer or wine.


Also, virtually no ads were  run for the night clubs or cocktail lounges, such as the Cotton Club, that operated outside  the city limits. In West Texas, traditions change slowly. In the 1990s, there are no overthe- counter sales of package liquor, beer or wine inside the Lubbock city limits. In 1956,  there was a report that during one of the times that Elvis Presley performed in Lubbock,  he was caught in a compromising situation with the daughter of the police chief. Then, on  his next trip to Lubbock, his Cadillac was firebombed by the yowere waiting for the faster  numbers. "The biggest hall in town wouldn't have held Elvis' show that night", Tommy  Sands remembered.


JANUARY 7, 1955 FRIDAY

Elvis appears with the top of the Louisiana Hayride stars for a crowd of more than 1,600  people at the High School Auditorium in Midland, Texas.

According to Shirley McDade, ''I worked in a record shop. We sold his records in the shop, and we thought he was a black gay. He had out only two records. The people I worked for owned three record shops, one in Big Springs, one in Odessa, and the one in Midland where I worked. They would sponsor country and western musicians, who would come and appear in different places. The first time he came here, I was in Houston, and when I came back, the lady I worked for said, ''He is white and really cute. He ain't drinking and you should have been here'. I was 17, a senior in high school''. 

Billy Walker a country singer said, ''I was doing pretty good back then, had three hit records. But then that young guy crawled on stage and blowed us all out of the water. I remember that first night. i closed the show. But, after that, we let him close the show. He was absolutely fantastic. He just bowled us over''.

Elvis Presley went down so well that the artists between them agreed that it would only be fair to split the take evenly, instead of just giving Elvis the 150 dollars they had agreed on prior to the tour. When a crowd of 1600, they were certainly doing good business.

Bill Myrick an Odessa disc jockey remembers and said, ''During my time, I was a disc jockey at KEGK, here in Odessa. A friend of mine, Keith Ward, was over in Midland, that's about 20 miles from here. About 20 minutes on Highway 80, a four-line highway back then. I worked for Bill Monroe at the Grand Ole Opry back in the late forties, for about a year and a half and then i came out here''.

''One day I got this record in on Presley on Sun, and I had never heard anything about him. I played ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'', really on the account of Bill Monroe. I kinda liked what I heard, and I got several calls on ''That's All Right'', and I called Keith Ward at KJBC in Midland and asked, 'Have you got this record?'. He said, Í've got it, but I haven't played it'. I said, 'Hey, do me a favor and let's see what we can do with this thing'. We worked together pretty good. Right away, we saw the thing beginning to click. I don't know when, but Keith told me he had a chance to book Elvis out here, if I would help him. And I said, 'Go ahead, and I'll help you to promote it anyway I can'''.

''I had no idea what he did until that night when I introduced him. People just sat in awe for about a minute, and the house kind of exploded. It was almost like a family affair before it was over. He adapted so quick, Scotty and Bill did too, and everybody loved him''.




JANUARY 8, 1955 SATURDAY

An article in Billboard's "Folk Talent & Tunes" column reported that Bob Neal had takeover  the personal management of Elvis Presley, "who in a few short months has catapulted to a  top spot on the "Louisiana Hayride". Sun Records released Elvis' third single, "Milkcow Blues  Boogie"/"You're A Heartbreaker" (SUN 215). Elvis Presley resumed his weekly appearances on  the "Louisiana Hayride" in Shreveport.


Elvis Presley at the Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, Louisiana.


They arrived in Shreveport by the afternoon, and as usual they dropped by Haride booking agent Pappy Covington's office, always looking to see if Pappy had any work for them. Johnny Horton was there, and Elvis had taken an instant liking to ''The Singing Fisherman'', as he was called. After exchanging pleasantries, Elvis told Johnny that he had a new record coming out, and Johnny easily persuaded Elvis to sing ''Milkcow Blues Boogie'' right there on the spot.

As always, MC Horage Logan introduced each act that night: Buddy Attaway opened, next was Jeanette Hicks. Johnny Horton did ''Take It Like A Man'', Betty Amos delivered Hank Williams' ''Honky Tonkin''', and at 8:30, Jim Ed and Maxine Brown debuted their new single, ''Dragging Main Street''. 

Elvis is introduced as the ''Memphis Flash'' and described to the radio audience by announcer  Frank Page as wearing crocodile-skin shoes with pink socks. Elvis performs ''That's All Right'',  ''Hearts Of Stone'', ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'', and ''Fool, Fool, Fool''. The bill includes rising  country star Johnny Horton, known as ''The Singing Fisherman'', who will have a huge hit  four years later with ''The Battle Of New Orleans''.

Hayride management liked to feature familiar hits on the shows, and the musicians were obliged to swap these obligatory songs between them. ''Hearts Of Stone'' was a number 1 pop single by the Fontana Sisters and, thus, Jeanette Hicks had it in her repertoire, and so did Betty Amos. It was new to Elvis repertoire, but he most likely knew it from Otis Williams and the many rhythm and blues records Elvis checked out, collected and often incorporated into his set list. Before they began ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'', Logan informed the radio audience that Elvis was wearing crocodile skin shoes. They closed their part of the show with the Clovers' hit ''Fool, Fool, Fool'', before it was time to celebrate Elvis' 20th birthday.

The Saturday night gatherings in Shreveport were ideal occasions for the musicians to outline weekly tour strategies. They would split into smaller groups and go out on the road the following week, come back on Saturday for the Hayride, and create new ''mini-tour'' packages for the next week. Elvis was often met with disbelief when he and his two band members arrived at shows. Local promoters often assumed what they heard on record required more than just a three-piece unit. For the coming three weeks, Elvis asked Sonny Trammel and Leon Post to join the tour and play with Jim Ed and Maxine Brown, and Elvis' trio.

EARLY JANUARY 1955

Early January, Elvis was interviewed by Lynn McDowell, WBIP radio, in Booneville, Mississippi  in a promotion plugging his upcoming personal appearance in that town. Booneville was  twenty-five miles north of Tupelo.




Steel guitarist Sonny Trammel

JANUARY 11, 1955 TUESDAY

Elvis perform at the High School Gym in New Boston, Texas. From this appearance till the  end of the month, Elvis' band is augmented by piano player Leon Post and steel guitarist  Sonny Trammel, members of the Hayride band. The show is hosted by Texarkana, Arkansas,  disc jockey Ernest Hackworth.

According to Sonny Trammel he said, ''I remember we played the schoolhouse in New Boston, and we had a power failure, that stopped the show for a short while''.


On that first night of the tour more than 500 people turned out, more than the entire population of New Boston. The power failure during the show didn't seem to discourage anyone, and through Ernest Hackworth, a local disc jockey at KTWN, doubling as a comedian under the name of Uncle Dudley, the word about this new phenomenon, reached Colonel Parker and his assistant Tom Diskin, who happened to be on their way to pay Hackworth a visit.

The fact that Elvis had pulled an audience of 500 for the show certainly impressed Colonel Parker's right-hand man Tom Diskin so much that he used this fact later in the month to hype Elvis with the various promoters he was courting.

Another recurring phenomenon was Elvis seeing the girl he had met the last time he was in town. Elvis had met Jo at the New Year's Eve show at the NCO club, and invited her down to the show in New Boston, and Jo felt that Elvis was singing ''Harbor Lights'' specially for her. The whole ''date'' was often taken up by an after-the-show visit to the best local burger joint, where Elvis would overwhelm many of the girls with his appetite for burgers, French fries and milkshakes. Occasionally, Elvis would even drive the girl home, kissing her swiftly before racing away from any potential parental appearance.



Clarksdale City Auditorium, 506 East 2nd Street, Clarksdale, Mississippi.


JANUARY 12, 1955 WEDNESDAY

Elvis Presley performed for the "First Time in The Delta!". At least that's the way the ad in  the Clarksdale Press Register read. This evening, Elvis Presley began a short tour with an  8:00 p.m. show at the Clarksdale City Auditorium. Appearing with Elvis Presley on this swing  were Jim Ed and Maxine Brown, "Tater" Bob Neal, Scotty Moore and Bill Black and other  members of the Louisiana Hayride who were collectively billed as the Louisiana Hayride  Jamboree.


In addition, Texas Bill Strength, the Memphis disc jockey, was mentioned in  Billboard (November 13, 1954) as possibly being on this swing although his name does not  appear in any of the advertisements. Adults were $1.00 and 75-cents and children were 50- cents.



The Saturday night jamboree in Clarksdale was "a raunchy sort of affair", with "lots of  country people and lots of beer and lots of noise", according to Stella Pitts, who was in  Junior High at the time. In Clarksdale, Elvis Presley was "just another barn dance hick",  she later recalled. She was a frequent attended, and she and her friends were much more  interested in seeing "all those country people dancing and hugging and kissing and  hollering".

Backstage on the night of January 12, Elvis Presley listened to "Sincerely" by the  Moonglows, marvelling at the Chess Records sound. Another good example of how he used  his free time was demonstrated during this Texas Bill Strength tour.


Having read about the  Fontaine Sisters, "Hearts Of Stone", Elvis Presley quickly acquired a copy and realized  immediately that he could cover it. Otis Williams and the Charms, a black vocal group, had  released "Heart Of Stone" in November 1954, and the Fontaine Sister's version was a pale  imitation of the original.

Martha Coleman said at the end of his first performance in Clarksdale, Elvis said he wanted  to "thank all three of you for comin'". While hanging out in Clarksdale, Elvis Presley liked  to hang out at the Ranchero Drive-In.

CLARKSDALE - The nerve center of Delta blues, is the birthplace of Junior Parker, Bukka  White, Son House, and John Lee Hooker, as well as the rock and roll era's Ike Turner and  Sam Cooke. Before World War II, Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf gravited here to play juke  joints and busk on street corners. Visitors come to see Tennessee William's home and the  Delta Blues Museum, but Clarksdale, 75 miles southwest of Memphis is far from being a  smaller cousin of Beale Street. It's still a vital performing center with lively homegrown  venues. Contemporary singers Lonnie Pitchford (who often busks on 4th Street) and Rank  Frost play no-frills venues like Smitty's Red Top Lounce at 377 Yazoo Avenue, and "Red's"  at 395 Sunflower Avenue.

Injured in an auto wreck on Highway 61 in September 1937, bluessinger Bessie Smith was  brought to G.T. Thomas Hospital in Clarksdale, but died soon after. Blues folklore holds  that it was a whites only establishment and turned away her ambulance - Edward Albee  even wrote a play about it, The Death of Bessie Smith, but Thomas was actually a black  hospital.

In 1944 the hospital was converted into the Riverside Hotel (Home Of The Blues). Sonny  Boy Williams II (Alex Miller) and Ike Turner later stayed, Turner wrote and recorded with  Jackie Brenston the acetate "Rocket 88" here, and their names can still be seen in the  register. John F. Kennedy Jr., stayed here on a blues-landmarks trip around the Delta.  Located at 615 Sunflower Avenue, Clarksdale, Mississippi. Rooms: $40.

Another essential stop for a blues fan touring the Delta, is Stackhouse Records and is  crammed full of rare recordings and such blues paraphernalia as voodoo charms. It's also  an unbeatable source of local knowledge: Delta maps featuring all the definitive landmarks  are available, and the staff are pleased to give the latest information on gigs and hard-tofind  juke joints. The famous store is owned by archivist and all-around approachable guy  Jim O'Neal (one of the founders of Living Blues Magazine). He also runs the Rooster Blues  label, which records local artists like Lonnie Pitchford. Located at 232 Sunflower Avenue,  Clarksdale, Mississippi.



JANUARY 13, 1955 THURSDAY

Back in Helena, Arkansas, "by popular demand", Elvis Presley performed at 8:00 p.m. at the  Auditorium of the Catholic Club. Appearing with Elvis group was Howard Seratt, a local  performer, and "member of the Louisiana Hayride Band" - who were presumably Scotty and  Bill. It has also been determined that Sonny Trammell and Leon Post appeared on this show.  Admission for all of this was only 75-cents.


Auditorium of the Catholic Club, 123 Columbia Street, Helena, Arkansas



During this performance, Elvis Presley experimented with "When It Rains It Really Pours".  The tune had just been released on Sun Records by Billy "The Kid" Emerson (SUN 214). It  was the type of slow, bluesy tune that Elvis Presley loved, and he had already told Sam  Phillips that he, too, wanted to record it. Unfortunately, when Elvis Presley performed it  live, the audience did not respond very well. Elvis Presley was surprised by the lack of  enthusiasm, and, the next day, drove rather glumly to Marianna, Arkansas, for a Friday  night performance.

Sonny Payne, disc jockey at KFFA, and Larry Parker booked Elvis Presley for the show, in  which Elvis came out in an all-pink outfit and white shoes, then, as Doris Smith remembers  it, "changed costumes from one set to another".

Thirteen at the time, Smith was coached by the older girls she had arrived with on how to  act during the concert, "but when Elvis started wiggling, I started wiggling and nearly fell  out of my chair".

After the show, Elvis Presley invited Evelyn Jacks, an usherette, to have dinner with him.  They drove in his pink Cadillac to Papa Nick's Cafe where they dined with about six others.  Driving her home, she said she and Elvis talked about religion and he talked about his  mother. At one point, he stopped the car and swung from the low-hanging limb of a tree  like a monkey.

Bob Leuken, in charge of the concession stands that night, said Elvis came up and asked  for a Coke, got it and started walking away. "hey, you owe me for that Coke!", Leuken  shouted at Elvis. Penniless at the time, as he oft-times was throughout life, Elvis Presley  had someone else pay for it.

Unimpressed, Leuken told fellow workers, "This guy will never make it". Even more  unimpressed at Elvis' gyrations was the Catholic priest of the parish. He asked that Elvis  never again be invited to the Catholic Club - and he wasn't.



Article from the The Catholic Herald, November 10, 2006, Page 1


BY TARA LITTLE - IN HELENA, ARKANSAS THE YOUNG Elvis Presley was kicked out a Catholic  club by a priest who caught him autographing the thigh of a teenage female fan, it has  emerged.

The priest, Fr Gregory Keller, told Presley he was a "disgrace to manhood" and that he was  never to return to the club in Helena, Arkansas. The future "king of rock and roll" was  banned after a performance at the club in 1955, when he was 21 years old.


The event came to light late last month when a journalist from the Arkansas Catholic, the  diocesan newspaper, interviewed a group of pensioners who remembered Presley's early  performances.

The Catholic Club, as it was known in the 1950s, served as St Mary's Parish Hall and Sacred  Heart's School Gymnasium. The former Sacred Heart Academy was run by the Sisters of  Charity of Nazareth until 1962. The club also served as Helena's Community Centre  because it was the largest building of its kind at the time. Civic organisations, schools and  other local groups frequently hired the club for banquets, meetings and dances.

When Elvis Presley went looking for a place to perform in Helena, Arkansas, 65 miles from  Memphis, Tennessee, he was directed to the Parish Hall by St. Mary's Parishioner and radio  host "Sunshine" Sonny Payne.

Mr Payne, now 80, said his first impression of Presley was not a good one. "He had on an old  T-shirt and a cigar in his mouth. He didn't impress me one bit'', he said. "When you're in  show business, you have to look like a show person, and you can't do it in T-shirts or blue  jeans''. Annette Beauchamp, 77, said she remembered being told by several Parishioners at  the time that a "furious" Fr Keller, the Parish priest of St Mary's, had ejected Presley, for  reportedly writing inappropriate signatures on some of his adoring fans. Another fan, Lyne
Von Kanel, 70, said she never saw that side of Presley. "We would all go backstage and talk  and visit and get autographs. "He was very congenial, very nice'', she said. "The guys hated  him''. She added: "Looking back I don't see anything that was obscene or really bad about it,  it was just that we weren't used to that''.

Presley even drew the attention of America, the national Jesuit magazine, in its June 23,  1956 issue. Titled "Beware Elvis Presley," the journal quoted from several newspapers  around the country that found Presley troublesome.

One described a performance in Wisconsin as a "striptease with clothes on, not only  suggestive, but downright obscene". Before his ban from the Helena Catholic Club, the  sisters who ran the nearby Sacred Heart Academy had banned boarding students from  attending Presley's shows after the rumours of his "hip gyrations" had reached their ears.


Scotty Moore, Elvis Presley, and Bill Black on stage Catholic Club Arkansas, January 13, 1955.

According to Cecil Scaife, radio promotion director of KFFA in Helena and future national sales and promotion  manager for Sun Records said, ''The show wasn't supposed to start until 7:30, but Elvis came down about 1:00 in  the afternoon. He had nothing else to do, so he went out, drank six chocolate milk shakes, and got him a box of  sweet Havana cigars. He came back to the radio station, and started trying to smoke those cigars, and they made  him so sick he threw up. He was trying to learn to smoke a cigar, but it didn't work out. He always addressed me  as Mister. He was basically a shy person and very polite. He had played Helena once, and when word got out he  was coming back a second time, we had a capacity crowd''.

LaRawn Scaife, daughter of Cecil said, ''Elvis wore pink pants that were so wrinkled at the knees they looked like  they had been tied with a drawstring. He'd turn up on one toe and do that little knee action, and the crowd loved  it''.

''Daddy said that no one really knew who he was, and he had a hard time convincing the disc jockeys at KFFA in  Helena where Daddy was promotion director (this was when he met Sam Phillips; he called on Sam to try to get  some local acts on with Sam, and Sam hired him from KFFA). Uncle Basil was a very funny, in demand MC for local  events, and they worked together to bring the talent to Helena. I think Daddy made all of the arrangements, and  he used Uncle Basil as ''personality'' and draw. Daddy booked and promoted them with on air help from Uncle  Basil'', LaRawn said.



CECIL SCAIFE - born as Cecil Ross Scaife in Helena, Phillips County, Arkansas on April 13, 1927 to Brooks and  Elsie Lumpkin Scaife. He attended the University of Arkansas at Monticello where he was President of the  Student Body, voted ''Most Likely to Succeed'' as well as ''Wittiest'' among his peers. In 1986, he was   selected Alumnus of the year and an endowment was established in his honor. He did his graduate study at  Texas Christian University.

Ever so theatrical, soon after graduation he was off to Broadway when he was  selected the winner of a Mid South talent contest sponsored by the Memphis Press Scimitar. He loved acting   throughout his life and was in numerous films in Hollywood and appeared on Broadway.


In his early years he worked with KFFA Radio, in Helena, Arkansas and then was hired by Sam Phillips as   the first National Sales and Promotion Manager for Sun Records in Memphis. One of his biggest acts was that Cecil booked Elvis Presley  in 1955 to a Helena, Arkansas show although he also worked with Johnny Cash, Carl   Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Mann and Charlie Rich at Sun Records. Sam Phillips then asked him to move  his family to Palm Beach, Florida where he managed the nations first all girl radio station, WLIZ.

In the early 1960s the family made their last move and it was to Nashville where he opened the third multitrack   recording studio in Nashville. He later created one of the first gospel labels in the nation, ''Songs of  Faith'', which celebrated the Gospel Music Industry’s first million selling record, ''Sorry I Never Knew You'''.   When Cecil retired in 1998 he had in his desk the receipt from where he paid the original charter fee for the   Gospel Music Association of which he was one of the original founders. Scaife's other achievements include  having served on the National Board of Governors/Grammy Awards Committee, serving as a lifetime elector   to the Country Music Hall of Fame Committee, a member of the Country Music Association and the  National Association of Recording Merchandisers. He also served as president of the Nashville Chapter of   the Recording Academy (NARAS) and was responsible for bringing in his friend, Dick Clark, to host the   Nashville segment of the Grammy Awards Show which was featured on the national Grammy Award show.   He was commended for serving on President Nixon's council to combat drug abuse in the entertainment  industry and being recognized by the Religious Heritage of America for his work. He was an executive with   CBS Records for many years where he had the distinct honor of giving Johnny Cash his Gold Record Award  for ''I Walk the Line''. Cecil Scaife retired due to illness in 1998 after running Music Incorporated which he   and his wife Sherytha stared together the early seventies. It was one of the largest Christmas Music   Catalogues in the country.

Cecil Scaife was a renaissance man in the truest sense of the word. He was known for his dapper fashion   sense and loved to dress up. He wore many hats, literally. He was most known for his black cowboy hat and  his Tennessee Walking horses but had a true love of the sea and was often seen in his ''Captain's'' cap. He  designed his beloved yacht, Commodore's Lady that he docked in Florida and in Nashville for many years.  He was a teacher with an open door policy, a Gideon reaching out to others, a disciplined coach, an award   winning record producer, a loyal friend, a true cowboy, a caring and generous father and a loving and doting   husband.

Cecil Scaife was a visionary and was the force behind the music business program at Belmont University. He   was a Music Row pioneer and veteran, and was the visionary that planted the seeds for what has blossomed   into today’s thriving Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business. He knew Belmont had a   Music Education department and a Business department and he suggested to then President of Belmont   College, Dr. Herbert Gabhart, that he consider combining the two and form a Music Business Department.   He asked his good friend Bob Mulloy to help him create and then oversee the project and throughout the   years under Bob’s watchful eye, it became the world-renowned Curb College. The Cecil Scaife Visionary  Award has been established in his honor and was given earlier this week to Record Producer Tony Brown. Last years recipient of the Cecil Scaife Visionary Award was Mike Curb.

Cecil Scaife was a member of the Soujorners Class at First Baptist Church in Nashville. On March 5, 2009 Cecil Ross Scaife died at the age of 81 in Nashville, Tennessee and is buried in a private graveside in historic Mount Olivet Cemetery.



Elvis Presley backstage at the Louisiana Hayride, November 15, 1955.


JANUARY 14, 1955 FRIDAY

Remaining in Arkansas, Elvis Presley brought his show to the Futrell High School Gym in a  small town of Marianna, Arkansas. Unfortunately, there are no ads for this show, and its  existence is based solely on personal recollections.

There is also the distinct probable that  Elvis Presley was in Marianna on June 6, 1955. Carl Perkins remembers playing the back of a  flatbed truck with Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash.

Around January 14, Elvis bought a new Martin D-18 guitar, and this time he struck the metal letters forming his name vertically, as opposed to the diagonal position he used on his Martin-18. With a new record out, it seemed everything was now in place for them to move forward. Bob Neal had arranged three weeks of solid bookings.

According to Elvis' guitarist, Scotty Moore he said, ''Along about this time Bob Neal came into the picture. He was a disc jockey on WMPS and now Elvis' manager. He had an early morning country show, five to eight-thirty, something like that. The station boomed down in Mississippi, all the delta land. And he'd been booking a lot of acts into little schoolhouses and so forth. He started booking us. We were kept real busy, going down into places you never even heard of. We'd drive way off out into the country to a little schoolhouse and you wouldn't see a car around. Thirty-forty minutes ahead of time, you know, we would go in and get things set up. Fifteen minutes before the show, it was like an avalanche. Woomp''!

If Bob Neal's earning and expense report for the group is correct, with a total of 18 January dates played, excluding the Hayride shows, there was no show on the 14th. It will be? A postcard marked January 15 to Alexandria disc jockey Al Robinson at KSYL, seems to suggest that Elvis may well have spent his day off writing to as many disc jockeys as he could. On the back of the postcard, Elvis wrote, ''Dear Al, ''You're A Heartbreaker'' if you don't help me with my ''Milkcow Blues Boogie''. He signed if ''Sun Records'' and underneath Elvis Presley''.


Scotty Moore, Elvis Presley, and Bill Black backstage at the Louisiana Hayride, November 15, 1955.

Spurred by the enthusiasm of Texarkana disc jockey Uncle Dudley, Tom Parker, Hank Snow manager and former manager of Eddy Arnold and his assistant, Tom Diskin, arrived in Shreveport that night. They booked into the Captain Shreve Motel and zoomed over to the Municipal Auditorium to see the show.

If the two Toms were not overly impressed, they were at least interest enough to have conversations with Bob Neal about helping him book some dates for Elvis and his band. They left with a mutual understanding of how to proceed, and Tom Diskin would working on the situation as soon as he was back home.

Ironically, a letter from the very same Tom Diskin would be waiting in Scotty Moore's mailbox, when he got back to Memphis. It was an answer to Scotty's December request about booking dates in the Chicago area, and Diskin implying that Jamboree Attractions would not be able to help with any bookings.


Back in Shreveport, Elvis Presley made another appearance on the "Louisiana Hayride". Introduced as ''one of the newest and finest stars'' Elvis sings "Hearts Of Stone", ''That's All Right'', ''Tweedlee Dee'' and "Money Honey". In a rust suit, pink socks, and purple tie with black dots, he most definitely stood out from the other acts that night.

After the show, there were always new girls to meet, old friends to see, and Elvis Presley basked in the celebrity status. D.J. Fontana recalled that, "Elvis had barrels of energy. We'd get off a date at night and have to drive maybe four hundred to five hundred miles and he was so keyed up he'd wanna talk all night. So we'd stop the car at a restaurant and me or Scotty or Bill - whoever's turn it was - would walk him down the road a mile or so".


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

LIVE BROADCAST RECORDINGS ELVIS PRESLEY
FOR KWKH'S LOUISIANA HAYRIDE, SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA, 1954

MUNICIPAL AUDITORIUM, 705 GRAND AVENUE AND
MILAM STREET, SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA
JANUARY 15, 1955 - VIEWING TIME TV-STATION KWKH
SESSION HOURS: 8:00 PM
PRODUCER - HORACE LOGAN

01 - "HEARTS OF STONE" - B.M.I. - 1:59
Composer: - Eddy Ray-Rudy Jackson
Publisher: - Regent Music
Matrix number: - FRA1-8156 - 10-inch Acetate courtesy of Joey Kent, Louisiana Hayride
Were recorded from a badly scratched, one of a kind, acetate
Recorded: - January 15, 1955
Released: - 1996
First appearance: - The Louisiana Hayride Archive Volume 1 (CD) 500/200rpm BGR-0246-2 mono
HEARTS OF STONE
Reissued: - November 2011 MRS (CD) 500/200rpm MRS 3001256-4
THE COMPLETE LOUISIANA HAYRIDE ARCHIVES 1954-1956

02 - "THAT'S ALL RIGHT" - B.M.I. - 2:41
Composer: - Arthur Crudup
Publisher: - Crudup Music
Matrix number: - None - 10-inch Acetate courtesy of Joey Kent - Louisiana Hayride
Were recorded from a badly scratched, one of a kind, acetate
Recorded: - January 15, 1955
Released: - November 1993
First appearance: - Boxtree Records (CD) 500/200rpm MCPS BOX 001 mono
ELVIS ARMY INTERVIEWS AND 1954 LIVE RECORDINGS
Reissued: - November 2011 MRS (CD) 500/200rpm MRS 30001256-5 mono
THE COMPLETE LOUISIANA HAYRIDE ARCHIVES 1954-1956

03 - "TWEEDLEE DEE" - B.M.I. - 2:11

Composer: - Winfield Scott - Written in 1954
Publisher: - Unichappell Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - FRA1-8155 - 10-inch Acetate courtesy of Joey Kent - Louisiana Hayride
Were recorded from a badly scratched - one of a kind - acetate
Recorded: - January 15, 1955
Released: - February 5, 1999
First appearance: - RCA BMG (CD) 500/200rpm 07863 67675 2-2-17 mono
SUNRISE ELVIS PRESLEY
Reissued: - November 2011 MRS (CD) 500/200rpm MRS 30001256-6 mono
THE COMPLETE LOUISIANA HAYRIDE ARCHIVES 1954-1956

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Elvis Presley - Vocal and Acoustic Rhythm Guitar
Scotty Moore - Electric Lead Guitar
Bill Black - Acoustic Upright Bass
Leon Post - Piano
Sonny Trammel - Steel Guitar

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©



Booneville Junior College Auditorium

JANUARY 16, 1955 SUNDAY

Elvis appeared two days in Booneville, Mississippi. Also on the show were Jim Ed and Maxine Brown. In  a radio interview with Lynn McDowell, a disc jockey at WBIP, in Booneville, Mississippi,  further demonstrates Elvis Presley willingness to discuss his own talent as an outgrowth of  black music. As they talked at length about his Tupelo childhood - Booneville was twenty-five  miles north of Tupelo - Elvis Presley used the interview to praise Mississippi's influence upon  his music. Elvis Presley talked about Arthur Crudup's "Rock Me Mama", and how it changed  his attitude toward the blues.


When Elvis Presley left the WBIP studio, McDowell remarked that he had been given a  history lesson in the blues. "I'm a country musician Elvis, but that blues stuff sure sounds  good", McDowell remarked. "Thank you, sir. It's my pleasure to be here", Elvis remarked.  After they went off the air, Elvis Presley again thanked McDowell for the chance to plug his  record, and they continued to talk for almost an hour.


JANUARY 17, 1955 MONDAY

In anticipation of Elvis' upcoming show, the Booneville Banner (from January 13, 1955) gave  Elvis Presley the first front page story of his career. This honer came in the form of a brief  article, "Kiwanians To Sponsor Hillbilly Show Here", with accompanying photograph.


In the Booneville Banner from January 13, 1955 ran a short article plugs the show in Booneville.


"The fastest-rising country music star in the nation", as the Banner referred to Elvis,  resumed his tour with the Browns.


On this date they appeared at 8:00 p.m. at the  Auditorium of Booneville's Northeast Mississippi Community College in Mississippi. In the  afternoon, Elvis Presley stopped by the studios of WBIP radio for an interview with Lynn  McDowell to plug his appearance. The newspaper headline, the show was sponsored by the  Booneville Kawanis Club, which was raising money for country-wide projects.


Front of the Assembly Hall, Acorn County Courthouse, 600 Waldron Street, Corinth, Mississippi.

JANUARY 18, 1955 TUESDAY

Staying in Mississippi, Elvis Presley and the Browns played Corinth. The show, which was a  benefit for the local Jaycees, began at 7.30 p.m. at the Assembly Hall of the Acorn County  Courthouse. Also on the bill were the popular local singing duo Buddy and Kay: Buddy Bain  was a local disc jockey on WMCA radio, and Kay Crotts was a 15-year old singer from Michie,  Tennessee. Admission was 50-cents for children and $1.00 for their parents. Here, on this  show, Elvis Presley and Kay Crotts singing duet together on a Blackwood Brothers song, "I'm  Feeling Mighty Fine".


Howard Hopkins, entertainment chairman for the Jaycees is in charge of promoting the show here. A portion of the proceeds will be set aside for the Jaycee playground fund in Corinth.

"We were going to sing a gospel song on our show entitled "I'm Feeling Mighty Fine". We all   had little practice sessions before going out on stage", recalled Buddy Bain, "and Kay and I   were singing over in a corner, and Elvis Presley walked over and said, 'Buddy, scoot on   over, you can't sing that song. Let me sing it with Kay'. So he and Kay sang it, and he did   his version much different from the way I did mine. 'Cause I did mine just plain, and he did   his, 'Well-uh, uh-uh', you know, like he did. Well, Kay didn't really like it, at least she said   she didn't, but I was real jealous of the way they sung it, and he just kept singing it over   and over again, there's no telling how many times they sung that chorus, he just didn't  know when to stop. But he got on stage, it was all over".



According to Buddy Bain, a local disc jockey said, ''Bob Neal was managing Elvis then and had paid a couple of young girls to come along and scream. That wasn't too unusual by the way. You have a couple of girls start up, and the others pick it up and it warms up the audience some. The kids stopped pretty quick after they figured they'd given their money's worth''.

''But from the minute Elvis walked on, just stood in front of them with the stance and that lopsided grin, or sneer, if you thought of it that way, and struck a couple of chords on his guitar, they started screaming and they didn't stop. And neither did the rest of the audience. It was pandemonium backstage afterwards; it was pouring girls''.


Buddy Bain and Kay Crotts, Tupelo, Mississippi, 1956.

''What're you going to do with them all, Elvis'? I asked him. ''I don't know about the rest', he said, 'but I know one thing. I'm going to pick me the prettiest and get out of here', which he did. I was fast asleep by the time he came in. I was living with my mama at the time. She'd broken her hip and was just as feisty and outspoken as ever. She made him breakfast the next morning and Elvis was real appreciative, he kept thanking her over and over again for the breakfast and the sofa and finished off his goodbye with a hug and a big kiss planted smack on her lips. I hope he was out the door when her mouth with the back of her hand and said, 'Huh! What's that young fella want to go slobbering all over me for''? Outside our house, it was like backstage the night before, pandemonium.

The girls had spotted Elvis' car there and they came charging in, we couldn't believe my eyes, but they ripped that sofa to pieces, it was nothing but a wooden frame by the time they were finished''.


Buddy Bain cart, courtesy Jim Cole, University of Memphis, Tennessee.

HUBERT E. BUDDY BAIN – Was a mainstay of ''live'' mid-South local radio in the 1940s,  starting in Jackson, Mississippi in 1943 with the Loden Family, then WNOX in Knoxville and  the Renfro Valley Barn Dance. He worked with the Blue Seals Pals group through the  1940s, playing first on WJOI in Florence, Alabama and then on WSM in Nashville. He was a  traditional country singer himself, who had grown up admiring Gene Autry and Jimmie  Rodgers, but he had met Sam Phillips at WLAY in Muscle Shoals, and he knew the Elvis  Presley family from the Tupelo area, where he had grown up and where his sisters Mary  and Marie had worked with Gladys Presley in the sewing room at Reed Manufacturing  Company.


When the Blue Seals Pals broke up, Bain carried on with WSM on his own for a while and  then could be heard with Eddie Hill on WMPS in Memphis from 1949 through the early  1950s until he moved to WCMA at Corinth, Mississippi. His group in the mid-1950s included  Kay Crotts, a young girl vocalist, Merle Taylor (also known as Mason Dixon), Dexter Johnson  from the Blue Seals Pals and sometimes a young guitarist, Terry Thompson.

When Sam Phillips brought not only the first record but Elvis himself down to radio station  WCMA in Corinth one sweltering day the previous summer. Buddy played it ("Well, I played  "Blue Moon Of Kentucky", "That's All Right" was a little too much for me") and interviewed  Elvis Presley himself for about ten minutes on the air.

In 1955, Buddy Bain recorded for Meteor Records in Memphis with singer Kay Crotts and  travelling to Memphis for the session, which was held on December 5 1955. Then in 1957  Buddy Bain married Kay Crotts and so on she have been Kay Bain ever since. After the  Meteor disc, Buddy Bain took his band to the new Tune Records studio in Florence, Alabama,  run by James Joiner and in 1960 he and Kay recorded with Joiner's house band that  included Terry Johnson on guitar. Bain continue as popular country music entertainer on  radio and TV until Buddy died on May 27, 1998. Buddy and Kay sang together for 46 years,  23 of them on Channel-9 TV in Tupelo, Mississippi. Kay Bain continues to present an early  show on WTVA Tupelo.


Buddy Bain and Kay Wayne, Corinth, Mississippi, 1956.

Buddy Bain remembered and said: "You know, they came to make fun of him, but they  ended up backstage practically trying to tear him apart. He was the show, even then, it  wasn't like anything you ever heard. But there was one little thing that happened before  the show I'll never forget. They got in the middle of the afternoon, and we had a little  two-story house in Corinth, my mother and I, and we had a girl that would come in and  cook for us because my mother was in a wheelchair. Well, I invited Elvis and Maxine and  Jim Ed over to the house. And before we had supper, we gave Jim Ed and Maxine my  bedroom to lie down in and take a nap. And Elvis said, 'I'd like to lie down, too. The living  room sofa's fine for me'.


So he lay down on this long red plastic sofa that we had, with his  feet over the end, he just went right out. And when I woke him up for supper, the little  girl that worked for us, Martha Morris, had filled that table full of food, but all he would  eat was some corn bread, and he asked if we didn't have any buttermilk. Well, I chased  down to the store for it, and he just crumbled up that corn bread in the buttermilk and  ate a whole lot of it and said, 'This is delicious. Just what I want'. After supper was over,  my mother was sitting by the window, looking out like she always did, and Elvis went over  and said, 'Mrs. Bain, I really enjoyed the meal'. And he kissed her on the cheek, which my  mama wasn't used to because I didn't ever kiss her, I just said, 'Thank you, Mama'. She was  a stern woman. When he went out of the room for a minute, she said, 'Who was that  slobbering all over me?'. I said, 'Mama, that was Elvis Presley'. She said, 'I wondered who  that was".

"Then we all sat down and looked at my scrapbooks. I had lots of pictures from my early  career, in Nashville and Raleigh, North Caroline, and the famous Renfro Valley Barn Dance,  and he said to me, 'I hope someday I can be as famous as you are. I sure would like to get  to Nashville someday'. And you know what I said to him? I remember it as well as if it were  yesterday. I said, 'Elvis, if you'll learn you some good country songs, you just might get on  the Grand Ole Opry'. Of course he was very polite and thanked me, and then we went to  the show".



ABOUT KAY BAIN - Kay Crotts Bain was born in Corinth, Mississippi, and began to sing when  she was just four years old. After being involved in many school plays and musicals, Kay  was invited at the age of thirteen to sing on Buddy Bain's Farm And Home Hour on WCMA in  Corinth. After graduating high school, she joined Buddy Bain and the Buddies, opening  shows for stars like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison,  and many stars of the Grand Ole Opry.

In March of 1957, The Buddy Bain Show made its first appearance on WTVA as a half-hour  show airing live on Wednesday nights. Buddy and Kay married soon after on June 22, 1957.


Later, Buddy and Kay were asked to host the Sunshine Talent Showcase, featuring guests like  Tammy Wynette. They continued to work in radio alongside their weekly live telecasts, and  were invited to perform at the Grand Ole Opry for the first of several times in 1971.

In October of 1978, Buddy and Kay once again returned to WTVA, this time to host a daily  program called Mornin'. Among the nationally-known celebrities who have shared a cup of  coffee with them were Art Linkletter, Patsy Montana, J.D. Sumner, and Bill Anderson.  Country superstar Tim McGraw made his first television appearance on the show in 1991.  The popularity of Mornin' led to Buddy and Kay receiving an invitation in 1994 to appear on  the syndicated country music show Hee Haw.

Buddy and Kay were always on the road, entertaining at nursing homes, festivals, and  special events across the area. Their charitable work with organizations like the American  Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, and the Diabetes Foundation was honored  multiple times, including a declaration of November 3, 1996 as "Buddy And Kay Day" by the  Mississippi Legislature.

Kay has continued her charitable work and entertaining since Buddy's passing in 1997,  earning her own recognition for her dedicated efforts for charitable organizations. And she  continues to bring her many fans Kay Bain's Saturday Mornin' Show, continuing a legacy of  music and entertainment that has made her legend. She's proud to be part of the WTVA  family, and to be able to share her special gifts with people all over North Mississippi.


The Sheffield Acetate

Before his Sheffield, Alabama, performance, Elvis Presley and his band visit to radio station WJOI, across the river, in Florence, Alabama, and Tommy Van Sandt, son of the owner of the station. Tommy had a Saturday night show for the teenagers at the Sheffield Community Center and promoting the show on the air. During the day, Elvis Presley and his band recorded Big Joe Turner's ''Shake, Rattle And Roll'' and of course, maybe more at the studio of the station.

About the Sheffield Community Center recalled Sam Phillips: ''The feeling was that you hadn't made it until you had played the Sheffield Community Center. Today that's hard to believe, but that's how it was''.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

LIVE BROADCAST RECORDINGS ELVIS PRESLEY
FOR WJOR RADIO 1955

WJOR STUDIO, FLORENCE, ALABAMA
JANUARY 19, 1955 WEDNESDAY
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER - TOMMY VAN SANDT

01 - ''SHAKE, RATTLE AND ROLL'' – B.M.I. - 2:22
Composer: - Charles Calhoun-Lou Willie Turner
Publisher: - Campbell Conelly Corporation Limited
Matrix number – None - Acetate
Recorded: January 19, 1955
Released: - August 3, 2012
First appearance: - FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-3-8 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Elvis Presley – Vocal & Guitar
Scotty Moore – Guitar
Bill Black – Upright Bass

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©



Concert promotion advertisement for Sheffield Community Center, Alabama. 

JANUARY 19, 1955 WEDNESDAY

Elvis Presley travelled to Sheffield, Alabama, for a personal appearance at 8:00 p.m. at the  Sheffield Community Center, sponsored by the Jaycees. Tickets were 75-cents in advance  and $1.00 at the door. Children were 50-cents beforehand and 75-cents on the night of  the show. The local newspapers reports that Elvis Presley's appearance is one of the most  successful dates ever at the community center. That night Elvis and the band played  ''That's All Right'' and ''Tweedlee Dee'' among others, and according to several sources, ''he stole the show in 15 minutes''.


The National Guard Armory, Sikeston, Missouri.

JANUARY 20, 1955 THURSDAY

The tour continued with an 8:00 p.m. performance in the Al-High School Gymnasium in  Leachville, Arkansas. Proceeds from the show went to help Leachville High's senior class.

JANUARY 21, 1955 FRIDAY

Elvis Presley, Jim Ed and Maxine Brown, and Bob Neal, travelled just across the Missouri  border to Sikeston. Before the show, Elvis Presley dropped by KSIM radio and was  interviewed by up-and-coming country singer Onie Wheeler, a regular entertainer at the  station.


Afterward, according to Floyd Presley of Sikeston who was the brother of Elvis  grandfather, J.D. Presley, Elvis dropped by for supper, which was prepared by Floyd's wife,  Mary Etta. Elvis was still driving a Cadillac with Bill Black's bass strapped to the top.


Earl Wade of Blodgett holds a picture he took of Elvis Presley performing at the Armory, January 21,  1955 (In some books wrong dated).

Elvis Presley arrived at the Armory in Sikeston while Earl Wade and Loyd Johnson, two  members of the Missouri National Guard, were putting up folding chairs for the evening  show. Elvis, who was unknown to the two men, knocked loudly on the Armory door until  he was allowed in. He was in an obvious hurry and asked if he could use the rest room. As  Loyd showed the way he asked the young man if he knew if Elvis Presley was a white boy  or black. The stranger told Lloyd, "He's is a white boy who just sounds black". A few  minutes later, the young man went back outside and soon returned carrying a large Piggly  Wiggly grocery sack.


He asked Earl and Lloyd where the dressing rooms were. Lloyd, who  was the talkative one, replied that the dressing rooms were for that Presley boy. Elvis  said, "I am that Presley boy". When Earl later realized the significance of their earlier  conversation, he laughed so much it hurt. He took Elvis to the dressing room where Elvis  turned the grocery sack upside down. Out plopped a pink silk suit. Earl said he had never  seen anything like it. Elvis told him he got the suit in Memphis, on Beale Street.




Scotty Moore, Elvis Presley, Bill Black, January 21, 1955 (Some books wrong dated).


The 8:00 p.m. show at the red brick National Guard Armory in Sikeston was billed as the  Jimmy Haggett Jamboree, and was a benefit to raise money for the local Guard unit.  Haggett was a disc jockey on KBOA radio in nearby Kennett. 

Tickets for the show were  $1.00 for adults and 50-cents for children, and each act received $50.00. Approximately  100 people turned out to see Elvis Presley.



Elvis Presley was a huge success, although there are reports that the crowd was on the  small side. According Charlie Terrell, the show's promoter who also managed Onie Wheeler  and who also operated trucking companies from his base in Sikeston, "the crowd was  amazed by (Elvis) talent and charisma". Bob Neal, managing Elvis Presley, contacted Terrell  and placed Onie Wheeler on tours booked through Colonel Tom Parker and Hank Snow's  Jamboree's Attractions. Neal also assumed Onie's management for a while.


Floyd E. Presley, 1987

"I went with Elvis Presley to Sikeston, Missouri, on January 21, 1955, and he performed  with such intensity that he came off stage and went straight into the men's room with  water dripped from his head", Marcus Van Story recalled. "I asked him why he was  performing so hard", Van Story continued. Elvis Presley replied. That night, they drove  back to Memphis and stopped in Truman, Arkansas, for some food. "Elvis ate three  cheeseburgers and then ordered three", van Story chuckled. "The lady asked Elvis if he  planned to pay for everything". "Yes, ma'am", Elvis replied. "That night Elvis Presley  unburdened himself", Van Story continued. "He told me that he never forgot how poor he  felt living in the Lauderdale Court. Elvis was haunted by his poverty.


So, he was committed  to the music", said Van Story. "He would practice in the washroom downstairs at the  Lauderdale Court and try to learn from other musicians". Afterward, according to Doyle  Nelson of Onie Wheeler's band, everyone went to the Lakeview Inn, a small nightclub  around the corner and a few blocks away from the Armory, to hear Wheeler perform. Elvis  Presley and the Browns joined Wheeler on stage as part of the evening's merriment, and  Elvis Presley even played the drums while Wheeler sang. Scotty Moore and Bill Black didn't  stay at the Lakeview long, preferring to drive back to their Memphis homes. Elvis and his  friend from Lauderdale Courts, Farley Guy, remained in Sikeston and spent the night with  his great uncle, Floyd Presley. Farley remembers and said, "Elvis took me with him to a  concert in Sikeston, Missouri when he first started touring. He was singing there with  Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. That was the only trip I ever took with him  after he began singing".

"Onie Wheeler joined Elvis for a while when Elvis was just starting to happen", recalled  Onie's friend and guitarist A.J. Nelson. "That was around 1954 or '55. Elvis liked Onie. He  used to come to Sikeston and see Onie in this little club we played in. Elvis talked Onie  into going on the road with him. So Onie talked to us about leaving Sikeston because we  weren't making any money. He wanted us to stay there, stay together, so he'd have  something to come back to in case he didn't like working with Elvis. Onie stayed with Elvis  for about six months and then came back to Missouri. He didn't want any more of it. We  were glad he came back. Our band wasn't anything without Onie. Nobody was coming just  to see us".

"At that point Charlie Terrell started managing Onie and he got him some outside work by  himself. He'd get him jobs playing with established stars. One of them, for example, was  Jimmie Work. That was the period, right after Elvis, that he recorded "Onie's Bop". I didn't  do that record with him. He did that one himself".

ELVIS VISITED SIKESTON IN 1955 AND THE STORY ABOUT EARL WADE - When Elvis Presley  first performed in Sikeston, no one really knew who Presley was, according to Earl Wade  of Blodgett. Even Wade admitted he didn't know Presley when he met him.

"I was in the National Guard (in Sikeston) and I was helping set up chairs at the armory,"  Wade recalled. During this time Wade was interrupted by a young man trying to get into  the front door of the Armory. "Lloyd Johnson and I had the door shut and he was rattling  the door and said he had to go to the bathroom. So we showed him."

Later the same young man returned carrying a Piggly Wiggly sack with something pink and  silky hanging out. "I thought it was a pink, silky dress, but he said it was suit he got from  Beale Street," Wade said. The young man proceeded to ask where the dressing room was,  Wade explained. "I told him where it was and said but that's for Elvis Presley. He said, ‘I  am Elvis Presley,'" Wade laughed.

Byron "Barney" Caldwell of Sikeston was also working for the National Guard when Presley  visited. "I rented a piano for $15 for him so he didn't have to rent one," Caldwell said  about the first visit. "I watched him perform and it was a small crowd. I didn't think too  much about it."

Wade remembered a few parents not being impressed by some of Presley's moves. "Some  of the mothers took their daughters out when he started doing the hoochy-coochy stuff,"  said Wade, referring to Presley's then detested — and unheard of — gyrating moves. 

Caldwell called Presley a regular fellow. "It was just people weren't familiar with the type  of twisting and hadn't come around yet. He probably did more of that on ‘The Ed Sullivan  Show,'" said Caldwell, now 78. When Presley returned later that year on Sept. 7,  attendance topped 1,100 at the Armory, with some even turned away at the door. Johnny  Cash also appeared with Presley both times. This time Presley was dressed a little better  and arrived in a pink Cadillac, Wade said. His parents, Gladys and Vernon Presley, were  also along.

"He went from rags to riches in a hurry," Wade said. A then 20-year-old Chris Tyrone from  Portageville was fortunate enough to witness one of Presley's visits. She said she learned  of Presley's visit from an advertisement in the local newspaper. "I just remember I was just  thrilled to see him," recalled Tyrone, now of Sikeston. "He was just starting out. Presley  rocked the Armory with tunes like "That's All Right, Mama" and "Blue Moon of Kentucky."

"He's just a young kid full of energy and didn't have an ounce of fat on him. I remember he  couldn't be still. He was always jumping or jerking, and his hands were always sweaty. I  remember shaking his hand and feeling wetness. I'll never forget it," Wade said. As time  goes by it's definitely difficult to remember exact details about Presley's visits, but there  are some memories that will never fade, Wade noted.

"I overheard him (Presley) say he didn't drink, didn't smoke and his biggest weakness is  women," Wade said. Caldwell's most memorable moment of Presley's visit was when he left  after his first performance. "The first time he was here in an older car that didn't run good  and he parked it behind the Armory," Caldwell said. "When he left, some of the fellows had  to push him to get him started, and I remember him turning back and waving to us as he  drove out of town."

Wade remembers Presley, who was a relative to Floyd and Mary Eta Presley of Sikeston  (Presley's grandfather, J.D. Presley, was the brother of Floyd Presley), as a happy go lucky  and a  good looking kid, he said. "I could tell he was going somewhere. The younger generation  liked Elvis and he would cut up a lot during his shows. He was kind of a clown," Wade said.

That September was the last time Presley performed in Sikeston. In late 1955, his  recording contract was sold to RCA Victor. By 1956, he was an international sensation. But  Wade didn't let the opportunity pass him by. Right before Presley left the second time,  Wade captured a photo of Elvis in front of his Cadillac.

Caldwell recalled returning home to his wife following one of the Presley's performances.  She had asked him who performed that night at the Armory. Caldwell told his wife: "Well,  he was a man named Elvis Presley and I've never heard of him, but I'll say one thing, he's  different. We're transitioning into something different, and I'm not sure what it is - only  time will tell''.

Sikestone Standard Democrat 2005



© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Elvis Presley left early in the morning and drove back to Memphis to pick up Scotty Moore and Bill Black. After a full day of driving, they performed that evening on the Louisiana Hayride. That night, Elvis sing "I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine". While preparing to go on stage for his show, Elvis Presley was informed by Horace Logan that Tom Perryman, a Gladewater, Texas promoter, had booked Elvis Presley for five dates in Texas and Alabama. It took Logan a great deal of time to negotiate the contract, because the "Hayride" wanted more money for Elvis' appearances. Perryman, a shrewd promoter, hoped to make quick killing with this Elvis tour. Reluctantly, he agreed to a $750-a-night guarantee.


The haggling over the price forced the promoter to blitz his concert sites with posters, newspapers ads, and radio jingles. Tickets sold out for these five shows within three days. Logan and the Hayride's management team were amazed by the tickets sales. Perryman, an astute judge of musical talent, failed to inform Logan that Elvis Presley records were being played more than any artist on East Texas radio.

LIVE BROADCAST RECORDINGS ELVIS PRESLEY
FOR KWKH'S LOUISIANA HAYRIDE, SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA, 1954

MUNICIPAL AUDITORIUM, 705 GRAND AVENUE AND
MILAM STREET, SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA
JANUARY 22, 1955 SATURDAY - VIEWING TIME TV-STATION KWKH
SESSION HOURS: 8:00 PM
PRODUCER - HORACE LOGAN

01 - "MONEY HONEY" - A.S.C.A.P. - 2:49
Composer: - Jesse Stone
Publisher: - Walden Music Corporation
Matrix number: - FRA1-8153 - 10-inch Acetate courtesy of Joey Kent - Louisiana Hayride
Were recorded from a badly scratched, one of a kind, acetate
Recorded: - January 22, 1955
Released: - 1996
First appearance: - The Louisiana Hayride Archive Volume 1 (CD) 500/200rpm BGR-0246-2 mono
HEART OF STONE
Reissued: - November 2011 MRS (CD) 500/200rpm MRS 30001256-7 mono
THE COMPLETE LOUISIANA HAYRIDE ARCHIVES 1954-1956

02 - ''BLUE MOON OF KENTUCKY'' - B.M.I. - 1:59
Comoser: - William Smith ''Bill'' Monroe
Publusher: - Peer International Corporation
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: January 22, 1955
Released: 1979
First appearance: Virgin Records LP) 33rpm KING 1 mono
THE FIRST YEARS
Reissued: - November 2011 MRS (CD) 500/200rpm MRS 30001256-8 mono
THE COMPLETE LOUISIANA HAYRIDE ARCHIVES 1954-1956

03 - "I DON'T CARE IF THE SUN DON'T SHONE" - B.M.I. - 2:26
Composer: - Mack David
Publisher: - Famous Chappell Limited
Matrix number: - FRA1-8154 - 10-inch Acetate courtesy of Joey Kent - Louisiana Hayride
Were recorded from a badly scratched - one of a kind - acetate
Recorded: - January 22, 1955
Released: - 1996
First appearance: - Louisiana Hayride (CD) 500/200rpm CDE 1055 mono
CUTTIN' LOOSE
Reissued: - November 2011 MRS (CD) 500/200rpm MRS 30001256-9 mono
THE COMPLETE LOUISIANA HAYRIDE ARCHIVES 1954-1956

03 - "THAT'S ALL RIGHT" - B.M.I. - 1:43
Composer: - Arthur Crudup
Publisher: - Crudup Music
Matrix number: - FRA1-8152 - 10-inch Acetate courtesy of Joey Kent - Louisiana Hayride
Were recorded from a badly scratched, one of a kind, acetate
Recorded: - January 22, 1955
Released: - February 5, 1999
First appearance: - RCA BMG (CD) 500/200rpm 07863 67675 2-2-15 mono
SUNRISE ELVIS PRESLEY
Reissued: - November 2011 MRS (CD) 500/200rpm MRS 30001256-10 mono
THE COMPLETE LOUISIANA HAYRIDE ARCHIVES 1954-1956

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Elvis Presley - Vocal and Acoustic Rhythm Guitar (Martin Dreadnought 18)
Scotty Moore - Electric Lead Guitar (Gibson ES 295)
Bill Black - Acoustic Upright Bass (Kay Maestro M-1)
Dominic Joseph Fontana - Drums (Gretsch Round Badge Kit)
Leon Post - Piano
Sonny Trammel - Steel Guitar

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©



Scotty Moore, Sonny Trammell, Elvis Presley, and Bill Black
on stage Louisiana Hayride, January 22, 1955.



JANUARY 22, 1955 SATURDAY

Colonel Tom Parker informs Bob Neal by letter that he has booked Elvis on the Hank Snow  Tour from February 14 to 18, sending both a contract and a check made out to Elvis Presley  for $425, a 50 percent advance on what he can expect to earn for the tour.


JANUARY 23, 1955 SUNDAY

Elvis Presley was arrested for speeding eighty miles per hour (in a forty-five mile per hour  zone) along a narrow two-lane road in Cado Parish, Louisiana. He was brought to the jail  where Ralph Farris processed him. Ralph Farris remembers Elvis as being a polite young man  with one fault - his foot was heavy on the gas pedal.

"He was just a simple young man", said Farris. "He didn't ask questions or give me any  static like so many of 'em did in those days. He was just very polite, done what I asked him  to do. We went through the process and he was on his way". That process amounted to  Elvis posting a twenty-five dollar appearance bond for a later court date. Elvis didn't show  in court and forfeited the money.


JANUARY 24, 1955 MONDAY

During this week, Elvis Presley headlined a swing through East Texas in a series of dates  booked by Tom Perryman of KSIJ radio in Gladewater. Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill  Black were paid a total of $150 per show plus $10 a day for travel expenses. Appearing along  with Elvis Presley were Jim Ed and Maxine Brown.

Tonight's show was in the middle of an oil field at the Recreation Hall at the Humble Oil  Camp near Hawkins, Texas. Admission for this 8:00 p.m. show and dance that followed was  $1.00 for adults. The crowd numbered about two hundred, and they were "hanging from  the windows", according to Perryman.


Recreation Hall, Hawkins Oil Camp, Texas, 1955.

Colonel Tom Parker sends a Western Union telegram to George Daniels in Roswell, New  Mexico. The message requests that show in Roswell be changed to two shows on Monday,  February 14. Lineup includes Hank Snow and Elvis Presley among others.

THE STORY ABOUT HAWKINS OIL CAMP - in that thriving urban metropolis of Hawkins, rock-abilly  convert Doil Stone heard that East Texas would host Elvis for a winter tour starting the  end of January. Tom Perryman, disc jockey and radio station manager at KSIJ Radio in  Gladewater, had already scheduled the young singer in Tyler and Gilmer, and Doil contrived  to drag Elvis Presley back to Hawkins, even though his own soul would surely catch the  express train to the fiery pit of eternal damnation, according to Deacon Smith. Doil,  however, was Hawkin's star pitcher, and it just so happens that his team manager, Don  Franks, was a bigwig in Humble Oil and Refinery, the company that placed their fair town on  the map and put the ol' in ol' ya'll.

Like many towns in Texas, Hawkins owed its existence to the miraculous sludge found deep  under the red clay; oil that is, Black Gold, Texas Tea. After its explosive discovery at the turn  of the century, companies tripped over themselves to stake their claims from the Panhandle  to the Gulf of Mexico. But the Big Three: the Texas Company now known as Texaco; the one  named for the nearby body of water, Gulf Oil Corporation; and Humble Oil, (a.k.a. Esso,  a.k.a. Exxon, a.k.a. Exxon Mobil) reined supreme. Together, they carved the state into  viability sectors... too deep, potential, moderate find, and thar' she blows: Oil camps, towns  inhabited solely by the oil company employees and their families, popped up in every corner  of Texas. The colonists enjoyed all the perks their bountiful employers bestowed upon them;  cheap groceries, inexpensive or free housing, a rotation of regular entertainment, and best  of all, free gasoline for life.

So when Doil Stone asked Don Franks for his permission to allow Elvis Presley to play their  town, the Rumble Oil executive granted his blessing, his influence, and the recreation hall in  the oil camp.

On January 24, 1955, Elvis and his two sidekicks traveled the winding roads through the  Piney Woods of East Texas to begin the winter tour in front of his earliest groupies. Just like  before, Elvis received a generous 80 percent of the proceeds. All devotees paid a modest  dollar. That's three new freshly minted 45s; eight gallons of gas if you have to pay for it,  11/4 hours of baby-sitting; eight movies, four cartoons, and four newsreels; or two  autographed pictures of the King before he became royalty.

Concerned that Elvis might not pull a large enough crowd by himself, Tom Perryman booked  popular country singers Jim Ed and Maxine Brown to pad the ticket. He needn't have  worried. The little rec hall only held 150, and those teenagers were stuffed in that night like  color-coordinated sardines. Kids hung in the open windows and reclined on the grounds  around the building as the hillbilly jam thumped the wooden walls and echoed off the  adjoining live oaks, giving Tyler a taste of the treat awaiting them the following evening. The  performers played their entire repertoire, but the enthusiastic crowd begged them to stay  just five more minutes, and then five minutes more.

Long after the bass lay packed in its case and the others escaped to the Res-Mor Motel in  Gladewater, Elvis leaned against the ancient piano and sang the gospel hymns he cut his  teeth on. The Hawkins kids urged him to sing slowly so they could appreciate his beautiful  voice, and to save the strain on his throat, which hinted at a full-blown bout of laryngitis.

Elvis autographed pictures for the high school students, pictures for visitors from  surrounding cities who planned to catch the show two nights later in Gilmer, pictures for  girlfriends who were too shy to ask for his autograph, and at the urging of some of the  basketball players, a picture for pretty Lavada Robinson, which bore the inscription.

She was not amused. Stomping off, Lavada threatened to tell Don Franks of the insult on her  person.

Elvis never played Hawkins again; no one truly knows why not. No matter, nearly every  Hawkins inhabitant under twenty years of age appeared at any of his performances within a  fifty-mile radius. They piled into their Chevys and sat on each other's laps for two-plus-hour  drives to Louisiana or Texarkana. So many of them appeared at his concert in Gilmer, he  inquired politely of the crowd, "Am I in Hawkins?"

Before he went back to the motel in Gladewater that night, he signed stacks of photos until  his pen ran out of ink, Elvis borrowed Don Frank's issue corporate pen, given to an for  meritorious service over and beyond the call of duty. Not until Elvis was paid and tucked in  at the Res-Mor did Franks realize his pen had yen accidentally kidnapped the singer in an  open and shut case of kleptomania-scribo. Fourteen miles later, Franks retrieved his prize  possession, none the worse for wear and it no ransom paid.

Greatly influenced by his idol, in years to come Doil Stone formed a band of his own,  changing his name to Buddy Miller because his father feared someone would discover he had  accidentally spawned a musician. Buddy Miller and the Rocking Ramblers rearranged the old  Hank Ballard number "The Twist," recorded it, and sent a copy to Dick Clark in hopes that he  would play it on that new television program American Bandstand Instead, Clark gave it to a  virtual unknown in the business named Chubby Checker, who subsequently did play it on  Bandstand, under his own name.

Elvis moved on to Tyler and later to stardom, and eventually the faithful piano moved across  town to the church, where it sat next to the pulpit. For years to come, whenever Deacon  Smith preached from his perch on the inherent dangers of rock and roll, he unwittingly  placed his hand on the very same spot "sinner Presley" laid his when he sang those lovely  runs that night in Hawkins.

UNKNOWN DATE EARLY 1955

Buzz Long, now of Big Sandy and a Gladewater disc jockey at the time, recalls a show at the  Junior High Gymnasium sponsored by the Jaycees that lost money. It is known that Elvis  Presley appeared often in Gladewater, probably beginning in November 1954. His first  substantiated appearance in Gladewater was not until April 1955 with the Louisiana Hayride  remote, and that was a huge success.


Sonny Trammel & Elvis Presley, Mayfar Building, Tyler, Texas, January 25, 1955.

JANUARY 25, 1955 TUESDAY

Elvis Presley and his group played the Mayfair Building, located at 2112 West Front Street on  the fair grounds in Tyler. The 8:00 p.m. performance cost adults $1.00 with kids admitted  for only 50-cents.

Elvis Presley may have been scheduled to perform on a "Grand Prize Jamboree" show at  the Eagle's Hall in Houston on this date. However, the lone ad for the event (Houston Post,  January 27) lists three acts as headlining: Jimmy and Johnny, Tibby Edwards, and "Peach  Seed" Jones, all from the Louisiana Hayride. But, no Elvis Presley.

Billy Walker recalls Elvis Presley performed in Littlefield, Texas. However, a search turned  up only the ad for a show by walker with Jimmy and Johnny, but without Elvis Presley.

Colonel Tom Parker sends Western Union telegram to Mrs. D.J. Branhard in Longview,  Texas. The message asks if she has any interest in sponsoring a show in Odessa for  February 17. lineup includes Hank Snow, the Duke of Paducah, and Elvis Presley, among  others.

He send also a Western Union telegram to Bob Neal of WMPS Radio in Memphis. The  telegram announced first show Elvis did with Colonel Tom Parker.



Elvis Presley and Bill Black on stage Mayfair Building in Tyler, Texas, January 25, 1955.


According to Molly Hall, ''I sang with Elvis on the stage at the Mayfair building. I was a junior in high school and had sung all my life. I had to borrow a dress to sing in, as we were very poor. I was so proud of that red dress. When I was to come on stage, Elvis told Scotty and Bill to start me off on the wrong key. He thought that was so funny, of course I was so emberrassed, Elvis had asked me to sing with him at the Hayride, but unfortunately I was in a car accident and hit in the throat, paralyzed my vocal cords, and ended my career''.


Newspaper ad for January 25, 1955.

THE STORY ABOUT THE MAYFAIR - So the next morning Elvis hopped in the car to visit his  friend and sponsor, Tom Perryman at KSIJ radio. The station and the Perryman household  became home base for the East Texas tour. Billie, Tom's wife, fed Elvis Sometimes he stayed  at their house when the Res-Mor became overbooked during the "tourist" season.

Elvis practiced in the beautiful tropical wood-lined sound studio at the radio station, and  later Tom interviewed him to gab about last night's shindig in Hawkins and to promote the  upcoming show in Tyler that evening. Unfortunately, due to the standard procedure of  overwriting "worthless"recordings, very few of these pitches remain for posterity.

By 8 p.m. the Mayfair building on the Tyler fairground burst with excitement. Many of  Hawkins' rebellious youth piled into cars to see the show again that night, and numbers of  Tyler representatives, who danced on the rec hall's lawn, returned to bop in their own fair  city. The sum of the crowd consisted of the curious, the bored, and the defiant looking for a  hot time on a school night.


Lois Adair & Elvis Presley share a hug at the Mayfair, January 25, 1955.

One such lurker, Lois Adair, only attended because her friend Betty Bailey dragged her. Good  girls didn't frequent concerts by themselves.

Jim Ed and Maxine wound up their segment, and Elvis bounded onto the stage. Lois stood  transfixed.

Oh God, he's beautiful! Oblivious to the sound emanating from the little boy face, Lois  applauded with the rest to keep him on stage so she could look at him a while longer. Before  the last chord was struck, Lois became determined to get that man's picture.


She grabbed  Betty's arm and dragged her through the crowd. Backstage, they elbowed themselves up to  the table where Bill Black sold photographs for $1, and Elvis signed them. Lois dredged the  bottom of her purse: one tube of lipstick, one clean hanky, a bottle of nail polish borrowed  from a friend, two dimes, two quarters, and a nickel. Seventy-five cents; she was short a  quarter. Lois dug deeper. She found some lint and an abused aspirin, but no more money.  Next to her, Betty's look of despair told Lois that she couldn't cough up any spare finances  for her pal. Lois resumed her search and dive expedition but only rescued a safety pin. Over  the top of her purse, her eyes met those of Elvis, who had been watching her with a  lopsided smile. He proffered her a quarter, which she graciously accepted. Betty took their  picture, and when they backed out of the crowd, Lois thought she'd probably never see him  again.

The following August, Elvis played the Mayfair building again. After the show, a small crowd  collected around the piano where he played with apparently no urgency to leave. When his  velvet tenor slid into "Amazing Grace." Lois melted onto the piano bench with him. She  decided then and there that he wasn't just a pretty face after all.

Later that night, as teenagers cruised up Broadway, made a U-turn at Webber's, and chugged  back down  Broadway, Derrick Drive-In and Fuller's Drive-In bustled with business. With 8,000  inhabitants, Tyler boasted two full-time drive-ins, but only Fuller's had an indoor restaurant  as well. Carhops zigzagged between finned Chevys, and kids galloped across the gravel to  meet their friends just pulling in for a shake. Over the darting hoards, Elvis spotted Lois  gossiping with her inner circle.

After the initial introductions, Lois's friends gabbed excitedly with the singer but eventually  drifted away to tell other friends who they had just bumped into. Left alone for the  moment, Elvis asked Lois if he could give her a lift back to her house and visit for a spell.  After a slight hesitation, Lois ducked inside to call her mother. She asked if she could bring  home this singer she'd met. He was very nice, very handsome, and she thought he seemed a  little homesick.

Absolutely NOT!

Her mother's definitive reply sizzled over the telephone wires, torching the tail feathers of  comfortably perched birds. Reluctantly, Lois politely declined his offer.

A year later when that nice young man topped the record charts and appeared on the Dorsey  Show, Lois decided to visit him at one of his last performances at the Hayride. Her mission,  should she choose to accept it, was to get the photograph signed that Betty took of Lois and  Elvis together. Much had changed in  one year. Instead of hanging around after the show talking to girls, Elvis hid from the  groupies who swarmed him. After his performance, Lois tried to visit backstage, but her path  was barred by a security guard with strict rules that under no circumstances will any  teenagers, especially of the female persuasion, bother Mr. Presley.

Nature triumphed, however. When the guard sneezed, she flung her 5 foot 2 form past his  half-turned back and pelted backstage. Realizing his quarry had fled, he lumbered after her,  but she had already reached a congregation of performers. Elvis looked up as she skidded to  a stop, the guard panting in hot pursuit. "That's all right, l know this one," the man in pink  told the grumbling guard.

Lois never saw Elvis face to face again after that night, but she can content herself with her  hard-won autograph, a kiss from a lonely musician, and a great story to tell her customers at  the Deep Ellum burger bistro she now owns in Dallas.


Gilmer, Texas, January 26, 1955

JANUARY 26, 1955 WEDNESDAY

Remaining in east Texas, the group played the small town of Gilmer, Texas. Elvis Presley and Jim Ed and Maxine Brown  appeared at the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) Building at 7:30 p.m.  Admission was $1.00 for adults and 50-cents for students. Jim Ed and Maxine Brown were a  highly polished act.

They had a number-eight national hit the previous summer with  "Looking Back To See", were comparative veterans of the Hayride, and had an audience that  turned out for them every time.


Tom Perryman remembered this show in Gilmer, Texas, near Gladewater: "They did a lot of  their harmony gospel songs, and they had their big record, and there was a lot of older  family people there. That was the only time I ever saw anybody steal the show from Elvis. Of  course it was a big thrill for the Browns".

Not only did Scotty and Bill play behind Elvis, but also behind Jim Ed and Maxine Brown. According to Maxine she said, ''On January 26, 1955, the Browns stole the show from Elvis in Gilmer at the Rural Electric Association building. Then we did it again two days later at the high school in Gaston. I'm sure few stole shows from him after that. I know for sure that the Brown's didn't''.


Gilmer Rural Electric Cooperative Administration Building, Gilmer, Texas.

THE STORY ABOUT GILMER - Tree days into the East Texas winter tour, Elvis, Scotty, and Bill  left Tyler and tooled up Highway 155, past the stock ponds and cattle staring unimpressed at  passersby. The white pines on either side of the winding road magically transformed the land  into a green oasis in the dead of winter, as if North Carolina suddenly planted itself in the  middle of the state.

Gilmer, the site of their next performance, lay just a leisurely piece up the road. With no  tractors to pass on the two-lane road during winter, they made it to Gilmer with plenty of  time to grab a bite at the White Swan Cafe.


They sauntered into the cafe, Elvis sporting long sideburns and a pink and red checkered  sport jacket. The eyes of Texas followed them to their booth. Either they were some new  kind of musicians, or the circus had snick back into town.

Like his music, Elvis's style drew heavily from the African-American rhythm and blues  culture. He bought all his clothes at Lansky's in Memphis, a store not usually frequented by  white southern boys. In a time when the Pat Boone white button-down was the accepted  norm, the bright colors and be-bop sound simultaneously shocked and attracted audiences  into taking notice. But if the old phrase, "good girls fell for Pat Boone, bad girls fell for Elvis"  stood truc, then 90 percent of the ternale population of the fifties were bad girls.

Acquiring a table, the threesome politely ordered their supper from the wart' waitress.  Every spoonful of chili and pie closely scrutinized, the locals waited breathlessly for the  telltale disturbing behavior indicative of rock-a-billy singers, as they suspected these men to  be. After two courses and quantities of iced tea, not so much as a gun had been brandished.  The disappointed Gilmer inhabitants watched the strangers eat and leave, displaying no  outward signs of mental instability. ... until that evening.


Maxine & Jim Ed Brown

The performance hall connected to the Gilmer Rural Electrical Cooperative held about 150  but sported a real stage, an impressive addition for a town of fust over 4,000. Surrounding  the stage sat two rows composed entirely of Hawkins's devotees chattering excitedly until  the Browns started the program.

Having caught the show on Monday in Hawkins, the  teenagers decided to see it again on Wednesday in Gilmer, where they could still buy tickets.  The perennial favorites Jim Ed and Maxine Brown primed the audience. About half of the  turnout came to hear them but were willing to listen to the newcomer Presley play Chose  strange up-tempo blues songs.


Meanwhile, the kids from Hawkins waited patiently for the  Browns to leave the stage so their newly crowned favorite musician could take the stage.  They weren't disappointed.



Elvis Presley with Maxine Brown at the Gilmer Rural Electric Administration Building, Gilmer, Texas,  January 26, 1955.

When the last chords of the Browns' harmony faded, Elvis and the Blue Moon Boys vaulted to  the stage. Taking their places, left, right, and center, Bill spun his bass and slung hokey,  Dixie-cup humor to warm up both the crowd and Elvis, who notoriously got the jitters before  performing.

When the audience heated to a rolling boil, Bill stepped forward and wound  Elvis with an invisible key, jumping back just in time to miss the leg that started quivering to  the screams of the girls in the audience. The leg twitched wildly and the volume cranked to  eardrum-bursting level.


When his hips started jerking, the pounding decibels of "That's  Alright'', were drowned completely by the atonal shrieks of hormone-effluent females.  Fortunately for the performers, an overflow of estrogen apparently makes one tone deaf,  because Elvis's strained voice cracked multiple times during his songs. The case of laryngitis  that had threatened for days finally took up residence in his throat, a point not overlooked  by the neglected boyfriends in the audience.

To save the wear and tear on his voice, Elvis deputized Johnny Stokes, one of the Hawkins  zealots who caught every performance within a fifty-mile radius, into selling autographed  photos for him for the customary buck a pop. Johnny took to the task with the vigor of a  sideshow barker. For his trouble, he received two signed photos and fair commission for the  sales. Johnny would have done it for free, but somehow he never got around to telling Elvis  that fact.




JANUARY 27, 1955 THURSDAY

Tonight's show was at the Reo Palm Isle, a nightclub located two miles southwest of  Longview on U.S. Highway 259. Shows at the Reo usually began about 8:00 p.m., although  there was no announced starting time.

This evening, adults were admitted for $1.00. Sid Tutt, a lifelong resident of Longview was a  senior in high school when he attended this show. Tutt recalls that Elvis Presley played Teen  Night at the Reo Palm Isle for 160 people of the 1,800 seats.



Glynn Keeling, the owner, booked the boys as a personal favor to disc jockey Tom Perryman,  even though he had never heard of this "Elvis guy." But Reo sales ran sluggish on Thursdays,  and the cost of the drinks alone would pay the rent for the evening. The band could split the  ticket sales, if there were any.

To hedge his bets, Tom Perryman invited about a hundred friends to the club for the show.  They obligingly showed; such was the power of a disc jockey in the fifties. However, almost  no one else did. The troop played to a lukewarm scattering of 160 people. None of the  Hawkins kids showed. The Reo Palm Isle was a tad too ritzy for the teenage purse and  Longview a tad too far to drive on a school night.

Besides, everyone knew that the Reo served alcohol, right out in the open, yet.

After the show Elvis circulated through the tables and chatted with folk as he customarily  liked to do. One of the few ladies to ask for a photograph that night asked him how he was  doing, to which he replied honestly, "If something doesn't happen pretty soon, I'm going to  have to go back to driving a truck."

As the boys prepared to leave that evening, Elvis stole a glance at Glynn Keeling's new Ford  Crown Victoria painted in limited edition (very limited edition) Tropical Rose.

''I sure do like the color of that car'', Elvis told the owner. The next time Keeling saw Elvis,  the young man drove a pink Cadillac.


The Original Reo Palm Isle, Longview, Texas.

REO PALM ISLE - Reo Palm Isle, located at Farm Road 1845 and Highway 31 in Longview,  Texas, can trace its beginnings to the Palm Isle, which opened on September 12, 1935. The  club was owned by the Palm Isle Amusement Corporation, a group formed by George L.  Culver, A. G. Carter, Tom Cook, and E. B. (Bill) Deane, with Deane acting as general manager  of the club.

This group of men with Texas bravado and a $20,000 investment, wanted to  build a place that would be “the largest and most elaborate night club in the South.” The  resulting 80-by-180-foot building sported two large fireplaces for heat in the winter and  many arched windows for summer ventilation.

The dance floor was made of the finest  hardwood and could easily accommodate 1,500 couples with five square feet allotted per  person. A twenty-by-thirty-foot stage was constructed to suit any large band. The tables  were lined on a spacious raised floor so as to not interfere with the dancers. Harry Little  Scenic and Theatrical Enterprise of Dallas designed the lighting, and the Palm Isle boasted  one of the finest public address systems with the latest amplifiers and sound equipment  available. The five-acre parking lot was ample for the many guests.

Bill Deane promised to “feature the largest, best, and most popular orchestras and musical  organizations in the country.” Eddy Duchin and the New York Central Park Casino  Orchestra performed at the grand opening, and the second attraction was George  Hamilton’s orchestra. Bands that frequented the ballroom during this era included Glenn  Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Ted Lewis, Ozzie Nelson, Ella Fitzgerald, Jack Teagardenqv, Louis  Armstrong, Paul Whiteman, Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians, Jan Garber, Bob Wills,  Gene Krupa, Glen Gray, and Herb Cook.

In July 1937 Bill Deane left to become the manager of the Cooper Club, an establishment  in nearby Henderson, and the Cooper Club’s Hal Cooper took over management of the  Palm Isle. Cooper eventually owned both the Palm Isle and the Cooper Club. In June 1942  Cooper, who was inducted into the service, leased the Palm Isle to Mattie Castleberry  without a written agreement. Mattie was the owner of Mattie’s Ballroom, a popular dance  hall on the Longview-Kilgore Highway that she had opened on April 19, 1931, during the  area’s oil-boom days. She ran both Mattie’s Ballroom and the Palm Isle until 1943.

World War II tightened the supply of gasoline and affected transportation, severely limiting  a person’s ability to travel. Castleberry decided to close Mattie’s Ballroom and to buy the  Palm Isle from Hal Cooper. The last dance at Mattie’s Ballroom was on March 27, 1943, and  Mattie Castleberry officially opened the Palm Isle under her management on April 3, 1943.  Mattie didn’t have enough money to purchase the club, but her reputation preceded her,  and Cooper allowed her to pay for the club in installments. There was no written contract  between the two, and Castleberry paid her complete debt with no problems.

In August 1948 Mattie was diagnosed with cancer, and in May 1951 she sold the Palm Isle to  Jack and Neva Starnes acting as agents of Lefty Frizzell. Neva managed the club (which  they called Neva’s Palm Isle), but this was to be a short-lived investment.

In December 1951 Sherman Sparks, along with his partner Glynn Keeling, purchased the  Palm Isle from Mattie Castleberry. (She died in Marshall, Texas, in August 1954.) Sparks had  owned a small club named the Reo in Kilgore, but the establishment burned down. In  order to commemorate his former club and establish its connection to the Palm Isle,  Sparks renamed the venue the Reo Palm Isle. In July 1956 Sparks sold his ownership in the  club to Glynn Keeling. Over the years the Reo Palm Isle has provided a venue for many  stars and ascending stars, including Elvis Presley, Jim Reeves, Ray Price, Waylon Jennings,  David Frizzell, Boots Randolph, Loretta Lynn, Shelly West, Jerry Lee Lewis, Kenny Sarrett,  Frenchie Burke, Willie Nelson, Joe Stampley, Jackie Ward, Johnny Paycheck, Alabama,  Boxcar Willieqv, Hank Williams Jr., Ronnie Milsap, Lee Greenwood, Ricky Skaggs, Delbert  McClinton, David Allen Coe, and Mickey Gilley. The club's 3,000-square-foot dance floor  has been lauded as the largest in East Texas. Other features include pool tables, a  mechanical bull, and a restaurant. Reo Palm Isle was rated the best dance hall in Texas  Monthly magazine in 1976 and one of the state's top ten clubs in Texas Highways. In the  early 2000s the owners of the club were Max and Sharon Singleton.


JANUARY 27, 1955

This time Tom Parker and Tom Diskin begin spreading Elvis name throughout their world of  show business acquaintances. Diskin writes to a booking agent in Chicago looking for a TV  spot for a ''new boy'' who he believes will be one of the biggest thing in the business.


The Res-Mor Motel, U.S. Highway 80 West, Gladewater, Texas.

JANUARY 28, 1955 FRIDAY

Closing out the week for Tom Perryman, Elvis Presley and the Browns played the Gaston  High School Auditorium in Joinerville, Texas at 8:00 p.m. Admission for students for 50- cents with adult tickets costing $1.00.

One more stop on the East Texas tour and the weary compadres could vamoose home. The  band checked themselves out of the Res-Mor Motel in Gladewater on the morning of the  28th, neither party too choked up about the parting. Not exactly the Ritz Carlton, Res-Mor  was the only motel within a thirty-mile radius, so either the threesome slept there or on the  street.

The owners of the Res-Mor, for their part, couldn't wait to get rid of the musicians. Several  times they'd threatened to boot them out if the boys didn't clean up their act. The King was  one heck of a singer, but two hecks of a slob.

The town of Joinerville sat seven miles west of Henderson during its oil boom in the thirties.  Until "Dad" Joiner sold the Daisy Bradford Number 3 to H. L. Runt of Dallas, Joinerville  floated atop the largest oil field in the world. In the 1950s, when their neighbor New London  literally blew itself off the map, Gaston High School gathered both towns' children into its  hallowed halls.



Gaston High School, Joinerville, Texas.

Wallace Read, the band director of the high school, along with several of the band's parents  racked their brains for a fundraiser that would actually make money for a change, no pun  intended. One day the parents barged into Read's office with a dazzling idea. Some young  guy named Presley had wowed them at Hawkins last month.

For 60 percent of the proceeds,  Elvis Presley could play at their high school auditorium. Apparently the kids liked him for  some reason. Read had never heard of this guy. He never listened to that Hayride hillbilly  stuff if he could help it. Give him Gershwin any day.


Nevertheless, Read agreed to speak to  Superintendent Duran, and if no objections were raised, they might be able to slide Presley  themselves in the band room, in for a performance in late Elvis plinking  absentmindedly January.

Tom Perryman scribbled Elvis down for the night of January 28 in Joinerville. A final night of  the East Texas tour in the town would get Presley back to Shreveport to play at the Hayride  the follow-more enthusiastic venue than the previous night's Longview fiasco, Elvis, Scotty,  and Bill arrived early to scope out the town. Since downtown Joinerville retained about six  businesses, the tour was noticeably brief:

"Welcome to Joinerville - Population 300 and still growing", a post office, a high school, and  a barber shop, "Y'all come back, now."

The threesome pulled into a dirt lot. Scotty and Bill took a midwinter's snooze in the car,  while Elvis killed time by wandering over to the high school. He bumped into the band  director, who took it upon himself to show the new arrival around.

After touring the gymnasium, the two finally parked on the piano while they talked. Read  happily informed the young singer that the performance had sold out. The enthusiastic  students sold over 600 tickets, far more than the auditorium actually could hold. Fire  marshals not two gentlemen had a great deal to smile about. Elvis became psyched; 600  people at a dollar a piece times 60 percent meant a nice healthy paycheck for the end of the  East Texas Tour, even if he had to divide it among the troups and pay for his own records,  pictures, and equipment. He graciously thanked the band director, who decided he liked the  pleasant, respectful young man, even if his music was strange.

That evening as Mr. Read, Superintendent Duran, their wives, and 600 excited teenagers  looked on, the quiet, well-mannered boy from that afternoon disappeared into a fiend in a  pink suit. Rocketing on stage, Elvis started to quiver like an epileptic. The kids' screams  encouraging him, Elvis jerked his head and stared at the audience, forelock falling over his  face. They screamed louder. He grunted, and the place exploded. Girls jumped up and down  as the man on the stage shook from side to side. Hardly any sound cleared the high-pitched  squeals.

Embarrassed by the gyrations on stage, Read turned to apologize to his superintendent. But  Duran smiled like a Cheshire cat, rocking back and forth on his heels, dollar signs  illuminating his eyes ... cha-ching.

As the band broke for intermission, students mobbed Elvis, wanting to talk to him, touch  him, get an autograph. Mr. Read watched the boy very closely for the second half. Wish I was  his manager, he thought for the first but definitely not the last time.

After the show Read told the young man that he thought his talent was quite something, and  he felt Elvis would really make it. Little did he know how right he was.

Less than a year later, Elvis had become a star, shining on national television. On a band trip  in Houston, Read bumped into Elvis outside the Hotel Rice. Elvis recognized the band  director immediately, a fact that stunned Read. They had only met once for a couple of  hours. But Elvis always had an uncanny recall of people he'd once met. Elvis asked if Read  had come to see the show, and the teacher replied honestly that he didn't even know Elvis  was playing there. The two parted company and continued their separate paths, the teacher  once again returning to his original assessment, the polite young man did indeed have a  future, even if he didn't play Gershwin.



JANUARY 29, 1955 SATURDAY

Billboard reviewed "Milkcow Blues Boogie", giving it a rating of eighty, while saying "Presley   continued to impress". "You're A Heartbreaker" received a rating of seventy-six, and   Billboard said it was a "slick country style reading". It was the first Presley song to be placed   in jukeboxes outside the South. In January and February 1955, although still primarily a   regional artist, Elvis' music showed the first signs of breaking in other sections of the   country. That night, as Elvis Presley proudly read the Billboard review of his third record  release to Bill Black, they prepared to appear again at the Eagle's Hall in Houston.



Scotty Moore, Sonny Trammel, Elvis Presley, and Bill Black on stage Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, January 29, 1955.

Billboard reported that Bob Neal had flown to Shreveport to confer with emcee (Pappy)   Covington and other "Louisiana Hayride" officials regarding future booking for Elvis   Presley. Elvis appeared at the Eagle's Hall in Houston, Texas. The crowds were growing   larger at each concert, and Elvis Presley responded with longer performances.

It didn't take Bob Neal long to realize that he could demand more money for Elvis Presley   while at the same time obtaining more prestigious bookings. In order to secure new   concert venues, Bob Neal flew to Shreveport to discuss the strategy for expanding Elvis'   bookings with the "Louisiana Hayride" booking staff. At the "Hayride", it was the a.m.   "Pappy" Covington who urged Bob Neal to hold out for a minimum of $750 a night. This   price seemed logical due to the increased demand for Elvis' music. As a result, Bob Neal,  determined to upgrade his client's earnings, produced a slick brochure extolling Elvis'   musical triumphs.

In January, Elvis Presley was interviewed on the "Milkman's Jamboree" radio show   broadcast from 10:30 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. over WMPS in Memphis. The host was Dick ("Uncle   Richard") Stuart.

Elvis Presley closed the week at the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport.

PAPPY COVINGTON - Booking agent for the "Louisiana Hayride's" artist service bureau who   set up the early 1955 tour for Elvis Presley to play Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas (Ark-La-  Tex) during the weekdays when Elvis Presley wasn't performing on the Hayride. It was   during this tour that Elvis Presley was billed as "The Hillbilly Cat", nicknamed "The King Of   Western Bop", and Bill Black and Scotty Moore were called the "Blue Moon Boys".


JANUARY 31, 1955 MONDAY

Elvis Presley may have appeared at Bethel Springs High School in Bethel Springs, Tennessee. A mere 30-50 people braved the poor weather that night. After a set by Bud Deckleman, Elvis stormed on stage, dressed in a pink shirt, black pants, and white shoes. From some sources Elvis performed ''That's All Right'', ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'', ''Cotton Fields'', and Hank Snow's ''I'm Moving On''.

According to Johnny Weatherford said, ''Elvis was very nervous. While first walking onto the stage to begin the concert, he tripped on the wires and almost fell. He even stuttered some when he spoke''.

Several members of the audience remember Elvis calling everybody up to the stage after his performances and giving them their money back. School principal Curry Lee Hendrix, equally gracious, gave Elvis $25 for gas.

Not many were impressed that evening, but there was at least one exception. A young Carl Perkins, still waiting for his first record to be released by Sam Phillips, was there with his band. In his biography ''Go, Cat, Go!'' Perkins described how he observed the similarities between Presley's band and his own trio; it was definitely the same sound, but it was also the way Elvis moved around the stage, just like he did. He noticed how Elvis danced, shook his legs, played with the microphone, and flirted with the girls in the audience. The wild antics, the stutter as Elvis talked, Carl knew that it represented a case of bad nerves, but it also created a feeling of excitement and urgency.

Elvis didn't look like any singer Carl had seen before, and certainly nothing like the country artists of the day in their sequined suits, standing motionless as they presented their music. Elvis' set lasted only half an hour and, in addition to ''That's All Right'' and ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'', his repertoire included ''Cotton Fields'' and Hank Snow's ''I'm Movin' On''. After talking briefly with Elvis afterwards, before he drove back to Memphis, Carl innately knew that he had just seen a bright future not only for Elvis but also his own band, they were on the right track.

Brother Jay Perkins seemed preoccupied with Elvis' appearance, especially his pink shirt, complaining that Elvis was a sissy and wouldn't last long, a view likely shared by more than one jealous boyfriend in the audience. This ''pretty boy'', who so openly refused to fit in, provoked Jay, challenging the way he and many others saw themselves.

FEBRUARY 1955

By Scotty Moore's meticulous accounting, Elvis, Scotty, and Bill have grossed $2,083.63 from   their last month of touring. Half goes to Elvis, 25 percent each to Scotty and Bill, after   expenses have been paid.

FEBRUARY 1955

Bob Neal sent out his elaborate new brochures advertising "Elvis Presley and the Blue Moon   Boys". Filled with reviews of recent concerts and laden with pictures of Elvis Presley on the   "Big D Jamboree", a number of new clubs booked Elvis Presley on the strength of the   pamphlet. The bookings were often a gamble for the clubs, because they were small concert   venues. A higher-tan-usual door charge and the increased sale of beer would bring the club   to the break-even point, however, so it was worth the try. The owners were usually happy   with this arrangement, because the artistic reception was positive. The crowd was pleased   with Elvis' show, and returned to spend their money. As Elvis Presley became popular, club   owners shrewdly advertised that they had once booked the "King of Western Bop".

Many of the clubs were elaborate cocktail lounges that had not previously booked country   music. The old dance bands and jazz combos were no longer popular, and the clubs looked   for new acts.



Scotty Moore, Elvis Presley, and Bill Black on stage Messick High School, 703 South Greer, Memphis, Tennessee.


FEBRUARY 1955

Elvis Presley is the opening act on the bill at the Messick High School located at 703 South Greer in Memphis,  Tennessee . The Messick show supported Bob Neal's campaign to be elected high school president. The result of  the election was mentioned in the Commercial Appeal on February 6, but despite the effort, his son young Sonny  Neal was not elected. The show most likely took place on Tuesday or in the daytime during the first week of  February.


Messick High School was a public high school in Memphis, Tennessee, established in 1908 and operated  from 1909 to 1981. The main building was demolished in 1982, but Memphis City Schools uses some other  former Messick facilities to house the Messick Adult Education Center.



Messick High School, 703 South Greer, Memphis, Tennessee.

Messick High School was built by Shelby County to consolidate three elementary schools. It was a full 12  grade school until 1912 when the high school grades 9-12 were moved to the new and nearby West  Tennessee Normal School (Now U of M) to train teachers.

After that Messick School included only  elementary grades, but a high school building was added in the 1920s and all 12 school grades were enrolled  as of 1924. At the time of its construction, the school was in a rural area of Shelby County called Buntyn,  Tennessee, where truck farming was a major economic activity.


The school was named for Elizabeth Messick (1876-1951), a University of Chicago graduate who was  superintendent of Shelby County Schools from 1904 to 1908 and who had been criticized for spending  $30,000 to build the new high school. Messick later married Memphis Commercial Appeal journalist Elmer  E. Houck and used the name Elizabeth Messick Houck.

In its rural location, some early students lived too far from the school to walk there, so they were transported  to school in horse-or mule-drawn wagons. Initially, lunches were provided by students' mothers who brought  hot meals to the school at mid-day. With time, Messick became the first school in West Tennessee to have a  school cafeteria.

Residential subdivisions grew up in the surrounding area in the 1920s. In 1930 Messick became part of the  Memphis City Schools system. Much additional residential development occurred in the area in the late  1940s, after World War II ended. By the 1970s, however, the neighborhood was losing population and  Messick's enrollment declined. The city school board voted to close the school. The graduating class of 1981  was Messick's last, and the school's main building was demolished in 1982.

Elvis Presley then tours Cleveland and New Orleans with Jimmie Work and Bud Deckelman.


UNKNOWN DATE EARLY 1955

Sam Phillips attempted to sell Elvis Presley's contract to Randy Wood, founder (1951) of Dot  Records in Gallatin, Tennessee, for $7,500. Wood declined because he already had an upand- coming artist, Pat Boone, whom he had just acquired from Gene Autry's Republic  Records. (Randy Wood was also the name of the president of Chicago's Vee Jay Records).  After Dot Records moved to Los Angeles, the label turned down a local band who later  became the Beach Boys.



Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black promotional photograph, late 1954 or early 1955.

UNKNOWN DATE EARLY FEBRUARY 1955

Elvis Presley start a week of Bob Neal bookings, appearing with the local Meteor recording  artist, Bud Deckelman. His ''Daydreamin'' (Meteor 5014) is one of the classic of mid-South  country music.

Elvis Presley performed in Lufkin, Texas. This is one of the towns that D.J. Fontana recalls  playing very early in his association with Elvis Presley, possibly late 1954 or early 1955.

FEBRUARY 1, 1955 TUESDAY

Elvis Presley would performed in Randolph, Mississippi at the Randolph High School Auditorium.  Elvis begins a week of Bob Neal bookings, appearing with local singer Bud Deckelman of  ''Daydreamin'' fame, but the show was cancelled and a  letter from Bob Neal was send to Ruth Logest, principal of the Randolph High School that read:

Dear Miss Longest,

I'm awfully sorry that I felt it necessary to call off our scheduled appearance for tonight at the school in Randolph. But I'm sure that you understand my reasons. The weather bureau had forecast possible tornadoes in a belt from Eldorado, Arkansas to Tupelo, and with all the bad weather we were having in Memphis, it seemed like the best thing to do. I tried to call you before making the final decision, but, as you know, there are no phones at Randolph.

I will be happy to reschedule the appearance at the earliest open date we have. It may be posssible that I can set a date in the last week of February or the first week of March. I will write to you as soon as I am able to check on some dates that we have already offered in that particular time.

Again, thanks for your understanding, and I assure you that we all want to come to Randolph as soon as it is possible.

Very truly
BOB NEAL - ELVIS PRESLEY SHOWS

FEBRUARY 2, 1955 WEDNESDAY

Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black appeared at the Augusta High School Auditorium,  Augusta, Arkansas around 8:15 p.m. and the show was sponsored by the Senior Class. Admission 50c and 75c.

The newspaper ad for the show pictures Elvis, Scotty, and Bill (The Blue Moon Boys) still  dressed in their western shirts. This photograph will continue to be used for some months  in newspapers throughout the South, though Scotty and Bill have by now stopped wearing  the cowboy-styled outfits that are carryover from their Starlite Wrangler days.

According to Leon Zetterfield, ''I lived in North Little Rock and worked for a paper company. They got many of the small time local papers, and that's where I saw the ad for the show in Augusta. We had just heard Elvis and thought he was really something. He was tall and thin, had dishwater blond hair, he had a bad complexion, but he was great. He touched us and stood out. There weren't all that people there. The auditorium was full, but that wasn't a very big auditorium''.


FEBRUARY 3, 1955 THURSDAY

Elvis Presley may have appeared at the Town and Country Club in Donaldsonville, Louisiana,  on this date, except that those who should know think mot. The facility had recently been  remodelled by its owner, Ralph Falsetta, and Elvis Presley was supposedly there as part of  the "Grand Re-Opening". No hard evidence exists for this show. An interview with Tony  Falsetta, the son of the original owner, revealed that his father often had "teen nights" at  the club during which many of the local rock 'n' rollers would play. The family has no specific  memory of any performance by Elvis Presley.

When Elvis Presley appeared at this plastic-looking paradise, he was surprised by its "New  York Interior". The Town and Country was a large club with a recessed dance floor that had  been remodelled by a shrewd businessman, Ralph Falsetta, who turned it into a bar to  accommodate the hard-drinking locals. A special liquor permit allowed the club a great  deal of latitude in selling hard liquor and beer to the general public. Eventually, Falsetta  was elected Donaldsonville's mayor, and his club reflected the strong local economy.

When Elvis Presley was brought into the Town and Country, it was to celebrate the club's  new status. The best of the new country music acts played there, and the audience was  young and critical. Elvis Presley was a big hit, and he pleased the crowd with hard-driving,  energetic sets. After a four-hour concert with two short breaks, Elvis Presley, Scotty  Moore, and Bill Black drove to New Orleans.



FEBRUARY 4, 1955 FRIDAY

Elvis Presley and the "Blue Moon Boys", as Scotty Moore and Bill Black were now being  booked, made at least one and possibly several personal appearances in New Orleans. Also  with Elvis Presley were Bud Deckelman, Ann Raye, daughter of Biloxi promoter Yankie  Barhanovich, and perform also with Bill Cason and the Arkansas Troopers. The package was  promoted by Red Smith of WBOK. Elvis Presley and the band reportedly split $300 for the  day's work. No advertisement exists, but two items in Billboard confirm he was there. The  first, February 12, 1955, was written before the fact and probably came from Red Smith.  The second, February 26, 1955, is after the fact, and is likely from Bob Neal.


The Blue Moon Boys, Early 1955

Elvis first venue is Jesuit High Smith School, New Orleans, Louisiana. According to Yankie Barhanovich, Biloxi based booking agents said, ''My daughter was recording under the name Ann Raye for Decca. Her first effort, ''Sentimental Fool'', was a hit on a New Orleans radio station. Disc jockey Red Smith each week asked the recording artists to come to the Crescent City to perform their top songs. We first met Elvis at the Jesuit Auditorium. We played two shows, one in the afternoon and one at night''.

Keith Rush a New Orleans disc jockey remembers, ''I had played Elvis' first record on my radio show, but it was fellow, and competitor, New Orleans disc jockey Red Smith that suggested to me to bring Elvis to New Orleans''.

''On the day, I left the radio station at 2:00, and Elvis, Scotty, and Bill turned up in a 1950 Chevy at 2:15, too late to promote the show on the radio. I greeted them with an irritated ''What happened''? and they said that they had driven down from Memphis that morning and only stopped for gas and a burger, which they split three ways, as they had no money. I felt they all looked disheveled and Elvis needed a haircut. Red Smith got $25, the auditorium cost $50 to rent, and only 76 people turned up, and at $1 admission I lost money''.

Shirley Flenniken said, ''In late January of 1955, my sister and I heard on the radio that one of our favorite hillbilly singers, Bud Deckleman, would be on a show in New Orleans at Jesuit High School. He had a hit song out called ''Daydreamin'''. This was only about 80 miles from Baton Rouge where we lived, so we made plans to go. i was sixteen years old and my sister was nineteen. We rode down in her red '52 Pontiac Coupe. The ladies at the door said the ticket price was 1$50. We told them, 'But we drove all the way from Baton Rouge! Can't you give us a break''? They let us in for fifty cents each''.

''Jesuit High School had a very large auditorium. There were three sections, a center, and a section off to each side of that. My sister and I sat in the middle section about 10 rows from the front on the left end of the row. The place was only about one-third full, if that''.

''I had heard of Elvis Presley, of course, and liked his music, sort of. ''That's All Right'', really stunned me, when I heard it for the first time a few months back. I thought, 'Who can this guy be, singing this kind of music? It's not hillbilly!' But then I heard ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'', which I knew was Bill Monroe's song. I really liked the way Elvis sang the song, but was still a little skeptical of him. We were told he was 19 years old. I had no idea what he looked like, but thought his name sounded kind of strange and that maybe he would look strange too''. 

''Bud Deckleman and the others had finished performing, and Elvis Presley was introduced. He came out on the stage, and when I laid eyes on him and heard him sing, I was completely overwhelmed, surprised, shocked, thrilled, excited and entranced, as were most of the girls in the audience. He had brownish blonde hair, which was long and combed back into ducktails, and he had on a sport coat which may have been white, and maybe pink shirt and black pants, I can't remember exactly. He immediately began singing a fast song. And as he sang, he shook his left leg to the rhythm of the song. We girls all squealed at every movement he made, even if he just stopped singing and looked at us. I couldn't get enough of Elvis' singing, and hated to see the show end. Besides ''That's All Right'' and ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'', he sang several current rhythm and blues songs''.

''I did not own a camera, so I did not get pictures. But I did have my autograph book with me, so Gayle and I headed backstage. Right away, we saw Elvis, talking to a man in a suit, and we went up to them. They were discussing the low turnout. Elvis commented that this was the smallest audience they'd played to in quite a while, and he seemed concerned about is. Elvis just shook his head and looked down. I got up the nerve to talk to Elvis although I didn't have any idea what to say, I just asked, 'Elvis, what kind of music do you like, hillbilly or rhythm and blues''? He said in a serious tone, 'Rhythm and blues' but immediately laughed, and quickly added, 'No, I like all kind of music, it's all good in different ways, right''? And he looked over the man, who nodded in agreement. Again, Elvis' tone picked up a serious note when he described his feelings about several different types of music, hillbilly, gospel, popular, and rhythm and blues''

''His mood then changed to a very playful one. He was running all around the backstage area, being ''crazy''. My sister and I joined in on the mischief. I saw two cardboard swords lying on the floor. I picked one up and struck a sword-fighting pose. Elvis saw me, and wasted no time in running over and grabbing the other sword, and we proceeded to have a make believe duel! By this time, I was just beside myself, Elvis was so exciting and fun to be around! He was having such fun that night. He won the ''swordfight''. He took my sword away and held it up triumphantly, then laughed, ran over and hugged me, then ran away again'', Shirley Flenniken said.

Shirley continued, ''By then, several girls were waiting for autographs. I asked him to autograph a picture I'd bought, and he signed it 'Sincerely, Elvis Presley'. The next girl had him include her name, and I told my sister, 'I wish I'd asked him to put my name on mine'. He wheeled around and grabbed my photograph and asked, 'What's your name'? and added 'To Shirley'. I could've just melted right there on the spot! I didn't think he'd heard what I said! I couldn't believe what a kind and considerate person he was, besides being the best-looking guy I'd ever seen, besides being my favourite singer as of that very day. He also signed my autograph book, 'Yours Sincerely, Elvis Presley''.

''We left the school and headed back to Baton Rouge. Although it had been such a great show, I felt a kind of sadness, not knowing when I'd see Elvis again. We were just about 15 minutes into our hour-and-a-half ride home, my sister was driving, as I didn't have a license yet. Suddenly I noticed a car, what looked to me like an older model Mercury, in the right lane, with musical instruments piled on top of it, coming up alongside us. I looked closer and was stunned to see Elvis, driving the car! I waved and got his attention. When he saw me, there was immediate recognition, and he flashed me a big smile, and said, 'Where y'all headin'?.

''Baton Rouge''! I excitedly replied, still not believing that Elvis was really driving right next to us, that maybe I was dreaming this. 'We'll be going through there later on', Elvis said''.

''Soon after that, Elvis turned off Airline Highway into a Motel''.

According to Elvis Presley, ''We only played to 75 people the first time I came to New Orleans, and there seemed to be more people on the stage than in the audience. I even had to borrow petrol money to get my next date in Shreveport"".


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Elvis Presley, Bill Black, Scotty Moore at Sun Studio, with Sam Phillips at the console. During this time they recorded ''Baby Let's Play House''.

Following his appearances in New Orleans, Elvis Presley returned to Memphis for another recording session. He arrived tired and cranky. The Sun studio was full of well-wishers and other people who inquired curiously about Elvis' road trip as he prepared for the session. The carnival atmosphere bothered him. After being on he road all day, he had trouble concentrating. With very little time to prepare for the session, Elvis Presley decided to cut songs that he had recently performed in concert.


Elvis Presley and Sam Phillips spent some time talking about song selection. They needed another hit record. Elvis Presley thought that certain of his performance selections were more commercially appealing than others. As Elvis Presley travelled from one concert appearance to another, he listened to the radio constantly. He often remarked to Bill Black that he hoped to record some of the rhythm and blues tunes he had heard on the radio. Charlie Feathers, Malcolm Yelvington, Stanley Kesler, Doug Poindexter, Ronald Smith, Marcus Van Story, and other performers at Sun Records were intrigued by Elvis' constant talk about black music.

Sam Phillips agreed that rhythm and blues material was admirably suited to Elvis Presley's voice. As a result, the session, which was cut short because of Elvis' road weariness, produced two 1954 rhythm and blues songs: Arthur Gunter's, "Baby Let's Play House", and Ray Charles' "I Got A Woman". Elvis Presley also completed a version of "Tryin' To Get To You".

STUDIO SESSION FOR ELVIS PRESLEY
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1955

SUN STUDIO, 706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
3 AMPEX 350 C (54L-220) TAPE RECORDERS
FOR THE TAPE DELAY ECHO (SLAPBACK)
CONNECT TO FIVE INPUT RCA MONAURAL MIXING CONSOLE 76-D
WITH MULTI-SELECTOR SWITCH (SERIAL #1011)
SUN SESSION 7: POSSIBLY SATURDAY FEBRUARY 5, 1955
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01(1) - "BABY LET'S PLAY HOUSE" - A.S.C.A.P.
Composer: - Arthur Neal Gunter
Publisher: - Excellorec Music
Matrix number: - None - Rehearsal - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Possibly February 5, 1955

In recording "Baby Let's Play House", Elvis Presley had finally satisfied a desire to cut a record from his own collection. Gunter had first recorded his song in Nashville at Excello Records in late 1954. When Ruben Cherry's House of Records received a few copies from Ernie Young, the owner of the Nashboro Record Company, Elvis Presley had eagerly purchased one. Like Cherry, Young operated a small record shop on the north end of Third Avenue in Nashville, and he frequently traded new records with Cherry. Just prior to Christmas 1954, Elvis Presley picket up a copy of Gunter's record and loved its unique sound. Delta blues guitar combined with a country jump direction. Heavenly influenced by white rockabilly artists, Gunter's husky voice was a good model for Elvis Presley.



Original 78rpm Sun 217-B

"Whoa, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby", Elvis opened in an ascending, hiccoughing stutter that knocked everybody out with its utterly unpredictable, uninhibited, and gloriously playful ridiculousness. Elvis Presley made a small but telling change in the lyrics; where Gunter had sung, "You may get religion, baby, but don't you be nobody's fool", Presley sang, "You may have a pink Cadillac, but don't you be nobody's fool". Scotty Moore enhanced Elvis Presley's performance with two bristling solos that were light-years from his fingerpicking roots. He defined something of his own, not to mention his generation's aspirations. This looked like it could become their biggest record yet, everyone agreed.


01(2) - "BABY LET'S PLAY HOUSE" - A.S.C.A.P. - 2:15
Composer: - Arthur Neal Gunter
Publisher: - Excellorec Music
Matrix number: - U-143 SUN - F2WB-8046 RCA - Master Take 1 - Tape Box 4
Recorded: - Possibly February 5, 1955
Released: - April 25, 1955
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 217-B mono
BABY LET'S PLAY HOUSE / I'M LEFT, YOU'RE RIGHT, SHE'S GONE
Reissued - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-3-28 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Arthur Gunter got a $6500 royalty check for "Baby Let's Play House" and commented that he never got to shake Elvis' hand.

Steve Sholes Session Notes
Box 4
1. I Got A Woman That's Good To Me (Good)
2. I Got A Woman (V.G.)
3. Baby Trying To Get To You 
4. Baby Let's Play House (M)
5. Baby Ley's Play House

02(1) - "I GOT A WOMAN" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Ray Charles-Renald Richard
Publisher: - Progressive Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - BOX 4 - Take 1 - Tape Box 4
Recorded: - Possibly February 5, 1955 - Tape has yet to be located
Released: Sun Unissued

"We probably did recorded", recalled Scotty Moore, "cause later on we did cut it at Victor. I just don't remember how many we would have tried when we were just working with the three of us... When we couldn't make it happen... when we couldn't get the sound... we just left it alone". 

02(2) - "I GOT A WOMAN" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Ray Charles-Renald Richard
Publisher: - Progressive Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Tape Box 4
Recorded: - Possibly February 5, 1955 - Tape has yet to be located
Released: - Sun Unissued

03 - "TRYIN' TO GET TO YOU" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Margie C. Singleton-Rose Marie McCoy
Publisher: - Motion Music Company
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Tape Box 4
Recorded: - Possibly February 5, 1955 - Tape has yet to be located
Released: - Sun Unissued

An example of Elvis Presley's dedication to rhythm and blues was his recording of "Tryin' To Get To You". This tune, written by Rose Marie McCoy and Charlie Singleton, was a 1954 rhythm and blues hit for the Eagles. It was a tune that Elvis Presley found in the bargain bin of Ruben Cherry's House of Records. Not only was it an obscure rhythm and blues hit, but it was a song that had a balled inflection suited to Elvis' voice. Elvis Presley was comfortable recording it, but after listening to a number of playbacks, Sam Phillips didn't feel that it was suitable for release.

RCA received, and subsequently lost, a tape from this session including two takes of "I Got A Woman:, two takes (including the master) of "Baby Let's Play House", and one take of "Tryin' To Get To You". The recording date is generally mentioned as February 5, but given that Elvis Presley performed at the Louisiana Hayride that night, it's more likely to have been earlier that week.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Elvis Presley - Vocal and Acoustic Rhythm Guitar (Martin Dreadnought 18)
Scotty Moore - Electric Lead Guitar (Gibson ES 295)
Bill Black - Acoustic Upright Bass (Kay Maestro M-1)
Johnny Bernero - Drums (Gretsch Round Badge Kit)  on "Tryin' To Get To You"
Doug Poindexter - Acoustic Rhythm Guitar

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


ARTHUR NEAL GUNTER - Born in Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee, on May 23, 1926,  Gunter was one of a very few black blues artists attempting to make it in music in the  country music capital.

His father, William Gunter was a preacher and his mother was Fannie  Morrison, he was one of at least 3 children and he raised in Nashville, Tennessee, and he  formed his family group The Gunter Brothers and work to the local churches as youth and  learned the guitar from his older brother Larry Gunter.

Arthur Neal Gunter was influenced by  his brother Larry Gunter, Blind Boy Fuller, B.B. King, and Jimmy Reed and worked frequently  gigs with his brother "Little" Al Gunter.


The Nashboro Record label in Nashville brought in Arthur Gunter to record with The  Leapfrogs, as sideman, "Baby Let's Play House". It was a minor rhythm and blues hit for  Gunter, but a king size record for Elvis Presley. Ernie Young, the owner of Nashboro bought  the song for $500 from Gunter and it made Young a fortune. It was Gunter's ability to  combine blues and country music that helped Elvis Presley break through with his own  unique blend of music.

Excello Records was typical of the small labels that Sam Phillips and Elvis Presley followed  as they looked for new songs. Interestingly, there are amazing similarities between the  Excello Record label founder, Ernie Young, and Sun Records magnate Sam Phillips. Both  appreciated black music, and both had a version of its future in a white market. Excello  Records was typical of many newly-formed small records labels of the time. In 1951, Ernie  Young, the owner of a record shop on the northern end of Third Avenue in Nashville,  founded a small mail-order record label, Nashboro Records. Young was closely connected  with local disc jockey’s, which enabled him to garner radio airplay for his blues and  hillbilly artists. In a scenario that was a carbon copy of Sun Records, Young recorded local  talent like Kid King (Skippy Brooks), Louis Brooks, and Arthur Gunter. Young had the same  problems as Sam Phillips; the number of black music labels in Nashville was minuscule, the  dominance of the "Grand Ole Opry" broadcasts made country music king, and few people  paid attention to the blues. Young, like Sam Phillips, founded Excello Records to record  black artists and serve the needs of local blues buffs but, again like Phillips, Ernie Young  hoped to cross his artists over into a mainstream record buying market. Young was also  interested in country music and urged black artists to listen to it. The results of Young's  encouragement were amazing.



Arthur Gunter's ''Baby Let's Play House'' (Excello 2047)

In January 1954, Arthur Gunter wrote "Baby Let's Play House" after listening to Eddy  Arnold's 1951 country hit, "I Wanna To Play House With You". He used the barrelhouse  piano player Skippy Brooks to add some blues piano chords to the song.

Gunter had  listened studiously to white rockabilly music, and the resulting songs were a far cry from  the traditional blues that permeated local black clubs. Many of his songs were influenced  by the music of Blind Boy Fuller and Big Bill Broonzy.



In 1955 through 1961, Arthur Neal Gunter recorded with Kid King Combo for Excello label  in Nashville, Tennessee, and frequently toured with Kid King Combo and working on club  dates through the South, he worked also at the Hilltop in Little Rock, Arkansas in the late  1950s, but worked mostly outside the music in Port Huron, in the Michigan area.



Unfortunately, Arthur Gunter recorded for a small label and was destined for musical  obscurity. When his brother and fellow band member, Little Al Gunter was killed in a  barroom brawl, Arthur Gunter moved and settled for good in Michigan and went to work  for the post office. (After moving to Port Huron, Michigan, in 1961, Arthur Gunter won the  Michigan State Lottery in 1973).

Ernie Young bought the rights to "Baby Let's Play House"  and collected the royalties. "I got more money from Elvis in royalties than I did from  Arthur's record sales", Young noted. Excello Records, like most small labels, had purchased  Gunter's song outright. Young paid Gunter $500 for "Baby Let's Play House", and it was the  smartest investment Ernie Young ever made.

In 1973, Arthur Neal Gunter appeared at the Ann Arbor Blues Festival in Ann Arbor,  Michigan. On March 16, 1976, Arthur Neal Gunter died at home in Port Huron, Michigan, of  pneumonia. Gunter is buried at the Caswell Cemetery in Kimball, Michigan. Arthur Gunter  had a pleasant, forthright nature, a smokey, appealing voice, and a pure, simple country  blues guitar style, as well as a talent for writing great songs.



Elvis Presley backstage, Ellis Auditorium, Memphis, Tennessee, February 6, 1955


FEBRUARY 5, 1955 SATURDAY

Elvis Presley performed at the three o'clock and eight o'clock shows at the Louisiana  Hayride, Shreveport, Louisiana. It has been reported that wearing pink pants and tie with a  charcoal jacket, he performed "Uncle Pen", ''That's All Right'', Blue Moon Of Kentucky'',  Tweedle Dee'', and Money Honey'' on this date. Faron Young, the headliner, was supported  by Martha Carson, Ferlin Husky, the Wilburn Brothers, and Elvis Presley was listed as the  closing act.


When Elvis Presley and the band arrived in Shreveport, there was a telegram waiting from Colonel Tom Parker. After summarizing the almost two weeks of bookings he had ready, Parker wrote, ''We will appreciate you giving these dates a good plug on your show tonight. Give me best to Pappy, Horage Logan, Scotty and Bill, and hope you have a complete sell out tomorrow in Memphis''.

Colonel Tom Parker sends Elvis a second check for $550 as a deposit for additional dates  on the upcoming Hank Snow tour.


A four-column story in the Memphis Press-Scimitar of February 5, 1955 announces:

Memphis Press-Scimitar February 5, 1955

- Thru the Patience of Sam Phillips -
SUDDENLY SINGING ELVIS PRESLEY ZOOMS INTO RECORDING STARDOM

That 'Something' Has Captivated Fans Over the U.S.

By Robert Johnson, Press-Scimitar Staff Writer

One sultry night late last July, Dewey Phillips flicked a turntable switch  with one of his cotton-pickin' hands and sent a strange rhythmic chant  spinning out from WHBQ.

"Well that's all right baby...that's all right, baby..." The record ended.  Radio like nature, abhors a void and Mr. Phillips hastens to fill the  breach. "That'll flat git it", he said authoritatively. That same night,  Sleepy Eye John over WHHM tossed the other side of the record on his  admirers - and the same voice which had been reassuring. Baby now  sang plaintive praise of "Blue Moon Of Kentucky".

Someth'ng Happened

Time didn't exactly stand still, but something happened. Bob Neal of  WMPS played the record, too. The pop jockey's, entranced by something  new, began slipping "That's All Right" and "Blue Moon" in among the more  sophisticated glucose and bedlam of Teresa Brewer, Nat Cole and Tony  Bennett.

In less than a week, a momentous change began for a young teenager,  working on an assembly line, who liked to sing and play the guitar.

His name: Elvis Presley.

Elvis' first record was on the Sun label of Sam Phillips' small but  ambitious Memphis Recording Services, 706 Union. It wasn't the first  time that Sam's Sun has created a good-sized ripple in the frenzied  circles of record business. Sam is largely responsible for a new trend in  the field which the trade publications call rhythm and blues (for rhythm  and blues) and country (or hillbilly) music, and for making Memphis the  rhythm and blues capital, as Nashville is for rustic rhythm.

Within a Week

Within less than a week, Sam was frantically and painfully trying to press  enough copies of Elvis' debut platter to catch up with a 6000 backorder
which hit him before the record had even gone on sale, before it had  been released in any market outside Memphis.

And overnight, a restricted but indubitable mantle of fame settled about  Elvis, as the record went spinning out across the country -  100,000....200,000....300,000....still going. Within a month, Elvis was  invited to appear on hillbilly heaven: Nashville's Grand Ole Opry. Veteran  entertainers kept him singing backstage, after the show.

On Juke Box Jury

The record was played on Juke Box Jury. "Blue Moon" had been written  and first recorded some years earlier by a famous, Grand Ole Opry  entertainer, Bill Monroe of Kentucky. Tennessee Ernie Ford, on Juke Box  Jury that night, drawled: "If ole Bill Monroe hears this, he'll just take (his  I’ll) ole country band and head back for the hills". Monroe himself, far  from being offended, sent Elvis a note of thanks. After Elvis brought it  out, six other companies made it with their stars.

Billboard gave Elvis' first record an 85 score, very high, on both sides.  Over a 15-week period, only one other record in the same category had  an equal rating, and that was by the established star, Webb Pierce.

Sam Phillips still hasn't figured out which was the big side. "That's All  Right" was in the rhythm and blues idiom of negro field jazz, "Blue Moon  Of Kentucky" more in the country field, but there was a curious blending  of the two different music in both.

Two More

Sun brought out two more Elvis records - "I Don't Care If The Sun Don't  Shine" and "Good Rockin' Tonight", "Milk Cow Blues Boogie" and "You're A  Heartbreaker". Billboard's annual poll disk jockey’s of 1954 landed Elvis
in the list of Ten Most Promising artists on the strength of them....

In A Class Alone

Sam doesn't know how to catalog Elvis exactly. He has a white voice,  sings with a negro rhythm which borrows in mood and emphasis from  country style.

Marion Keisker, who is WREC's Kitty Kelly and Sam's office staff, calls  Elvis "a hillbilly cat".

While he appears with so-called hillbilly shows, Elvis' clothes are strictly  sharp. His eyes are darkly slumberous, his hair sleekly long, his  sideburns low, and there is a lazy, sexy, tough, good-looking manner  which bobby soxers like. Not all records stars go over as well on stage as  they do on records. Elvis sells.

In the merry-go-round doesn't start spinning too fast for a 20-year-old,  he'll end-up with enough cheeseburgers to last a Blue Moon.

Spin 'em again boys.


Scotty Moore, Elvis Presley, Bill Black at Ellis Auditorium, Memphis, February 6, 1955.

FEBRUARY 6, 1955 SUNDAY

Back in Memphis, Elvis Presley performed two shows, at 3:00 and 8:00 p.m. at Ellis  Auditorium's North Hall in a show "Five Star" bill, with headlined by Faron Young.

The  concert also featured "Beautiful Gospel Singer" Martha Carson making her Memphis debut,  Ferlin Husky (who dropped the "e" in his last name a year later), the Browns, the  Hushpuppies Doyle and Teddy, Floyd Tillman, and the Wilburn Brothers. Admission was $1.00  for general admission seats to $1.25 for the best seats.


The first show went fine. Elvis Presley sang his new song, "Milkcow Blues Boogie" and  "You're  A Heartbreaker", as well as "That's All Right" and "Good Rockin' Tonight". Elvis Presley was  fascinated, too, with the performance of Martha Carson, a spectacular redhead who looked  like a movie star and sang and moved like Sister Rosetta Tharpe when she performed her  trademark hit, "Satisfied" and a host of traditional "coloured" spirituals. She broke several  strings, danced ecstatically at the end of a long guitar chord, and in general created the kind  of smouldering intensity and infectious enthusiasm that Elvis sought to achieve in his own  performance. He asked Miss Carson afterward if she knew a particular Statesmen number,  and he made it clear that "He knew the words to every song that I had ever had out",  recalled Martha Carson. "He was very complimentary and very interest in what I did. I could  feel this was sincere, it was from the heart, it wasn't just someone saying this, he just really  idolized me, and I could feel it".



Disc Jockey Dewey Phillips joined Elvis Presley on stage at Ellis Auditorium, February 6, 1955.

On this date, between shows in Memphis, Elvis Presley and Scotty Moore across the street  to a meeting with Bob Neal met for the first time with Colonel Tom Parker. The meeting,  which also included Sam Phillips, Bill Black, and the Colonel's two right-hand men, Tom  Diskin and Oscar Davis, took place at Palumbo's cafe, across the street from the  Auditorium. The subject under discussion was Elvis' upcoming tour, a portion of which was  being booked by Parker. The Colonel had been keeping an eye on Elvis' rising popularity  for some time.


Ellis Auditorium show, February 6, 1955.

The meeting at Palumbo's did not get off to an auspicious start. The tension in the air  was already make when Elvis Presley and Scotty Moore walked in. Colonel Tom  Parker was sitting there with a big cigar, his jaw thrust out, and a pugnacious  expression on his face, as Diskin tried to explain to Sam Phillips that the Colonel  didn't really mean anything against the Sun label in particular, that he was just trying  to point out the shortcoming that would attach to any small record label, which  necessarily lacked the kind of distribution that a major company like RCA, with  which the Colonel had been associated for many years through both Eddy Arnold and  Hank Snow, could offer.

Later in the week, Tom Diskin, among others subjects, wrote RCA's head of Artists of Repertoire, Steve Sholes, to report that ''Elvis Presley is pretty securely tied up''. The off-handed remark took Sholes by surprise, as the Colonel had given him the impression that it was likely they could sign him to RCA.


Andreas Cornelius van Kuijk (Colonel Tom Parker) in Hawaii circa 1930.

COLONEL THOMAS ANDREW PARKER - A 300-pound promoter and agent, born as Andreas  Cornelius van Kuijk in Breda, Netherlands, on June 26, 1909. Parker immigrated into the  United States illegally in 1929, after which he claimed Huntington, West Virginia, as his  place of birth. He served in the U.S. Army with the 64th Coast Artillery from 1929 to 1932,  having enlisted at Fort McPherson in Atlanta. When he joined he swore allegiance to the  United States, thus renouncing his Dutch citizenship. Since Parker isn't a citizen of the  United States, it has been suggested that he is technically a "man without a country". in  1932 he married Marie Mott Ross, whom he had met in Tampa, Florida.


Tom Parker began his hawking career in carnivals and fairs, pushing anything he thought  he could sell. He founded the Great Parker Pony Circus and, later Colonel Tom Parker and  His Dancing Chickens, in which Parker placed live chickens on a hot plate covered with  sawdust, accompanied by a record player as the chickens "danced" to the music. At the  age of thirty-two Parker was elected dogcatcher of Tampa. In the 1950s Parker became the  promoter of singer Gene Austin and manager of country singer Eddy Arnold (from 1942 to  1951) and Hank Snow (from 1954 to 1956). He also managed singer Tommy Sands. On  March 15, 1956, Parker officially became the manager of Elvis Presley, for a 25 percent  fee. Parker, an honorary colonel since 1953, was Elvis' manager until Elvis' death, never  taking on another client.

Tom Parker is a shrewd, hard-working, and demanding individual who worked for the  financial betterment of both. Elvis and himself, especially himself. For this reason Parker  has become controversial. By establishing two publishing companies for Elvis Presley in  the early 1960s, the quality of the songs offered to Elvis greatly deteriorated, because the  industry's talented composers refused to forfeit a share of their legitimate royalties to  anyone. Parker espoused the philosophy of never giving away anything you can sell, i.e.,  interviews, photographs sessions, advice, even a Life magazine cover. Parker's asking price  for an interview was $25,000 for the short version and $100,000 for the long version.  Though Parker wasn't his agent at the time, Elvis signed his first contract, with Parker, for  some appearances in the South, on August 15, 1955. On January 2, 1967, Parker  renegotiated his managerial/agent contract with Elvis Presley, somehow persuading Elvis  to increase Parker's share from 25 percent to 50 percent of every cent Elvis made. Parker  used the argument that Elvis was his only client, and probably mentioned heaven knows  what other facts to convince Elvis to sign. That contract ran until January 22, 1976.

On one occasion during the 1970s, Vernon Presley attempted to tell Parker that Elvis was  going to fire him as his manager and continue to work without him. The quick-witted  Parker stopped the slower-thinking Vernon in his tracks when he produced an itemized bill  for $5 million, claimed that it was what Elvis owed him if he was indeed fired. Intimidated  by Parker, Vernon blinked and dropped the idea. He had to inform his son that Parker was  once again his financial guru.

Everyone, including Elvis and Parker, were aware that Elvis' movies deteriorated to Grade  C formula films. Parker even admitted to not bothering to read the scripts, once saying,  "Anybody who'll pay my boy a million dollars can make any kind of picture he wants". The  quality control in Elvis' career sank rapidly. Felton Jarvis ressued Elvis' recording career in  the late 1960s, but no one came along in time to rescue his film career. A number of times  Elvis was offered decent roles, e.g., "Thunder Road" (1958) and "A Star Is Born" (1976) -  only to have Parker ruin the deal by asking for too much money. Elvis had an opportunity  to perform with Arthur Fielder and the Boston pops, perform before royalty in London,  Tour Europe, Australia, Japan, even perform for President Richard Nixon at the White  House, all of which Parker nixed one way or another. It's a shame that so many millions of  Elvis' fans in Great Britain and other countries never got the opportunity to see Elvis  Presley live in concert, only because Parker couldn't leave the United States. If he had  applied for a passport, his alien status might have been discovered. Many believe that  Parker was more interested in quantity (money) than quality.

In 1973 Parker convinced Elvis Presley to sell his entire catalog of singles and albums to  RCA Records for a mere $6 million, with, of course, Parker getting half. Since Elvis had no  investments, as Parker did, he was in such a high income-tax bracket that his share of the  deal, the $3 million, was greatly reduced. It was a shrewd deal for RCA, but a terrible deal  for Elvis Presley. Elvis had no financial adviser outside of his father, so no one could tell  him it was a bad transaction. Parker also created a conflict of interest in Elvis' concert  appearances in Las Vegas, by gambling heavely in the same casinos that hired Elvis to  perform. It has been estimated that Parker lost about a million dollars a year in Las Vegas  casinos. It was reported that in November 1980 Parker sold to Warner Bross., for  $750,000, the rights to film a movie about Elvis' life. Parker's share was $200,000, the  Presley Estate received $200,000, and Parker's associates and employees received  $350,000.

Few people, however, can argue with Parker's success in guiding Elvis' career. For the most  of their relationship, there were few accounts of Elvis (who affectionately called him  "Admiral") ever disagreeing with Parker's decisions, and few accounts of the two ever  having anything but a good working relationship and friendship - although that relationship  seriously deteriorated in Elvis' later years. Parker has also been criticized for his  nonchalant attitude, especially as reflected by his attire at the funerals of both Elvis and  Vernon Presley - he wore shorts, a colorful shirt, and a baseball cap, while all of the other  guests were suitably attired. The day after Elvis' death, Parker had Vernon sign papers  allowing Factors Inc., to handle all of the merchandising Elvis-related products.

After Elvis' death the courts ruled that Tom Parker had no legal rights or interest to the  Presley Estate, and he was forced to relinquish any connection to the Elvis Presley name.  During some of the litigation against Parker, he used the defense that he was not an  American citizen and therefore could not be used in an American court. In the book "Elvis:  Portrait Of A Friend" by Ed Parker, is quoted as saying about Tom Parker: "Parker is a rude,  crude, son of a bitch, and you can quote me".

In the 1981 movie "This Is Elvis", Colonel Tom Parker remarked, "I own 25 percent of Elvis  alive (e.d. note: he owned 50 percent at the time) and I own 25 percent of him dead",  (e.d. note: he still owned 50 percent).

Tom Parker died at a heart-attack on January 21, 1998 in Las Vegas Hospital, Las Vegas,  Nevada.



Publicity photos of Elvis Presley for Sun Records 1954 - 1955.

FEBRUARY 7, 1955 MONDAY

Elvis Presley, the band, and Bud Deckleman performed in Ripley, Mississippi, in a show sponsored by the Ripley High School  senior class. The 8:00 p.m. appearance was held at the Ripley High Gymnasium. Admission  was 75-cents for adults while "kids under twelve" could save a quarter.

Johnny Bernero on the road only once with Elvis. "Elvis said, 'Why don't we go on early  and get this out of the way'. He had no ego problem with others playing the headline  times", said Bernero.


"He asked me to go on the road with him, but I was married, had five  kids at home and I told him there was just no way I could do it. He gave me a week to  think it over, but there was just no solution to the situation. I thanked him for the  opportunity".

According Joan Turner said, ''About 500 people attended, and Elvis received a moderately warm reception. The girls loved him, but some of their boyfriends seemed less impressed, possibly jealous. Many of the grown-ups acted as if they didn't know how to respond. I was particularly struck by the bright orange color of his suit and the shiny matarial (probably silk) that was made of. He was a bundle of raw energy, good looks, and talent that mosy teens could not resist''.

''I was one of the teenagers'', Turner said, ''14 when I saw his show at Ripley. I first became aware of Elvis when my brother, who lived in West Memphis, Arkansas, and worked in Memphis, brought me his first 45-rpm recording of ''That's All Right'' and ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky''. I was immediately impressed with his beautiful, sexy voice and unique style, something between the blues, which I grew up hearing here in Mississippi, southern gospel and an altogether new sound that was hard to define, but most enjoyable to hear''.

''Soon I was listening to his manager at the time, Bob Neal, an announcer on a Memphis radio station talking about Elvis, his music, and where he would be appearing. I looked forward to his visit to Ripley with much anticipation. Persuading my parents to take me to the show was quite a chore, because they were quite conservative and did not particularly approve of his music. No one had ever had the effect on my life that Elvis did that night. Yes, I'm sure part of it was that phase of rebelliousness that all teens go through, but Elvis was hope and wonder, and his music spoke to all the pent-up feelings most teenagers have but cannot express''.

''Scotty was great on guitar, and Bill, always a clown, rode the bass and never missed a beat. It was a wonderful show, and Mr. Neal and his wife were both present, Mr. Neal joking about coming through the big city of Hickory Nut to get there, the little town of Walnut just up highway 15 from Ripley''.

FEBRUARY 9, 1955 WEDNESDAY

In the late afternoon of February 9, Elvis, Scotty, and Bill left for the long drive to Alpine, Texas. They didn't get far. Bill Black, driving Elvis' newly acquired 1951 Cosmopolitan Lincoln, collided with the rear end of a truck, sending his bass fiddle flying. Miraculously, all instruments and musicians were unharmed, but it was the end of the car.

According to Bonnie Brown she said, ''I remember one night the phone rang. Our father answered, and it was Scotty. Maxine and Jim Ed were on the road. Elvis, Scotty, and Bill were in Brinkley, at the police station. Their car was wrecked, but they asked if they could borrow a car to finish the dates down in Texas. Dad and I got up and drove in the middle of the night, he in one car and me in the other. I remember it was a cold night. I know that he and I had our first argument by that time, and he didn't come out of the Police station when we got there. Bill said he was probably in the station with some girl. Maybe he was mad at Bill for having the wreck, or maybe he was embarrassed having to borrow a car from us and didn't want to face us''.



Alpine High School, 300 East Hendryx Avenue, Alpine, Texas.

FEBRUARY 10, 1955 THURSDAY

Elvis Presley and his band played for the crowd in Alpine, Texas. They appeared at the  Alpine High School Auditorium at 8:00 p.m. The show benefited the school's Future farmers  of America (FFA) chapter.

Harry Kalcheim, an agent with the powerful William Morris Talent Agency office in New  York, writes to Colonel Tom Parker that he has mislaid the picture of Elvis Presley has sent  him but agrees that he sounds promising with ''a very special type of voice''.



THE STORY ABOUT ALPINE HIGH SCHOOL - Mr. Hendrick, we have a small problem with  tonight's benefit. Did you book the singers? Yes, sir. Order the posters? Yep. Hire the local  talent? Check. Sell the tickets? What we could. Then what's the problem? The show is  about to start end the lead act isn't here yet.

The little hand chugged past eight and the big hand bungee jumped off the twelve and dove  down the starboard side of the clock. The "local talent" started to warm the crowd up at the  top of the hour, but behind the stage at the Future Farmers of America benefit, an Elvissized  hole stood in place of a real singer. John Nelson, DJ of KVLF, the "voice of the Last  Frontier" in Alpine Texas, began to fret.


The Bien Venido (Good Night) Motel, 809 East Holland Avenue, Alpine, Texas.

Audiences aren't green beans; you can't put them on  simmer for an hour and expect them to continue to swim contentedly among themselves.  Also, green beans don't own pitchforks, Future Farmers do.

For the last month John had finagled with Bob Neal by phone, letter, and telegram to get a  group that the locals would cough up some much-needed revenue to see. The manager  assured Nelson that Elvis would raise the roof and the capital. All was arranged, despite the  lack of PA system, the small auditorium, and some last minute alterations.

Always the considerate employee, John shared his headache with his boss, station manager  George Hendrick. After a few moments' deliberation on the virtue of timeliness, Hendrick  told John, you take the high road and I'll take the low road and I'll be in Alpine before ye'.  Maybe the singers thought they were supposed to play at some other Alpine High School in  West Texas. The two grabbed their coats and slipped out the door unnoticed.

In ever-widening circles, Hendrick and Nelson scoured the gravel roads around their fair  town. Their heavy cars tore past the rough terrain, strewn with tumbled boulders from the  nearby Chalk Mountains. All appeared haunted in the cold winter twilight.

Nelson began to worry that something had happened to the young men. West Texas could be  a very remote place if broken down or lost, and the winter night creeping in on them feit as  cold as ever-loving Christmas.



Newspaper Advertisement, Alpine Avalanche 1955

On their third pass, Nelson spotted the weary travelers kicking the tires of their car both in  frustration and possibly to keep warm. The old Chevy lay in a fetal position on the side of  the road, its hood and front fender bruised and aching from the collision they'd  inadvertently participated in outside Alpine.

After Bill's CPR, Scotty's abuse, and Elvis's  sweet talk, their faithful steed wheezed back to life. The threesome managed to kick it at a  slow clop into Alpine, where it probably had a great deal to complain about to the other cars  in the lot.



Despite the circumstances and the sparse ticket sales, Elvis, Scotty, and Bill played an  encore performance to a small but feisty audience. As if galvanized by the post-collision  adrenaline high, the threesome let it all hang out. John Nelson introduced the group and  Scotty and Bill galloped into their positions on stage. After a pause carefully designed to  drive the masses wild, Elvis oozed onto stage and gave them a sultry stare from bedroom  eyes. Galvanized by the look, the women bubbled screams like estrogen percolators. Elvis  executed his trademark "snap and jerk," launching into an upbeat hillbilly repertoire unlike  anything these West Texas folks had ever heard. He twisted back and forth to the music,  glancing occasionally over his shoulder at John Nelson, who still stood rooted to the stage,  transfixed.

Elvis wasn't the only one who noticed the lurker; Hendrick hissed at the DJ from the  sidelines. After several attempts, Hendrick diverted Nelson's attention just long enough to  send him the psychic message, "get off the stage, John." In case the vibes got jumbled on  the way through the cosmosphere, Hendrick jerked an impatient thumb toward the side of  the stage. John shook himself back to reality and scuttled off the stage. The band rocked on.

After the performance, Elvis signed records and photos for the excited teens. With very  little coaxing, he succumbed to autographing the petticoat of the banker's daughter. After an  hour or so, Scotty, Bill, and the Nelsons asked if he wanted to join them at a party at a  fellow disc jockeys house. Elvis declined with a smile, glancing over the corner where the  barn daughter loitered. He had a date. The girl admired her petticoat and smiled back him  appreciatively.

The next morning came very early to the boys. They staggered out of their rooms at the Bien  Venido Motel on the main drag through town and stumbled over to the station for an  interview and last minute automobile arrangements. They had to figure out how to get their  limping car to New Mexico. A man by the name of Colonel Tom Parker booked the musicians  for a gig in Carlsbad as a "favor" to Bob Neal. This would be the first but definitely not the  last "favor'' Parker performed for the boys.



Stage of the American Legion Hall, Carlsbad, New Mexico.

FEBRUARY 11, 1955 FRIDAY

Elvis Presley performed at the Sports Arena in Carlsbad, New Mexico. Appearing with Elvis  Presley were blues singer Nancy Jones and Bill Robertson, tap dancer. Admission was $1.00  for adults, 50-cents for students, with children under twelve only a quarter.

Later that night, Elvis performed in Hobbs, New Mexico.



FEBRUARY 12, 1955 SATURDAY

Elvis Presley and his group remained in Carlsbad, New Mexico, to entertain at a dance at the  American Legion Hall. The show ran from 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Admission was $1.50. After  appearing in Carlsbad the day before, the crowd at the Legion Hut this evening was so large  that over a hundred people had to be turned away at the door. Elvis' two-day stand in  Carlsbad had been arranged locally by Lee Hamric. Significantly, the Carlsbad show had been  booked with the cooperation with Colonel Tom Parker. Bob Neal had asked for the Colonel's  help and, as Elvis Presley watched Bob Neal negotiate with Parker, he realized the full  extent to which Bob Neal was basically the wrong person to guide his career. Colonel Parker  demonstrated that he had connections among concert promoters that Bob Neal just couldn't  match.

According to local musician Don Scarbrough, ''The Legion Hut (or Hall) sits out in Happy Valley. It's on a side road in a little community. It's a small building with brick extrior and could hold about 200 people. You come in the front; a hundred feet long, fifty feet wide. There is nothing there. Way in the back there is a stage about ten feet high, covering the whole back wall. Everybody played at the Legion Hut, well almost everybody did''.



Elvis Presley at Fair Park, Lubbock, Texas, February 13, 1955.

FEBRUARY 13, 1955 SUNDAY

Elvis Presley, "The Bebop Western Star of the Louisiana Hayride", returned to Lubbock where  he headlined a 4:00 p.m. matinee at the Fair Park Coliseum, Lubbock, Texas. He was teamed  with the Duke of Paducah, Charlene Arthur, Jimmy Rodgers Snow, and local singers Ace Ball  of Okeh Records and Bill Myrick and his Rainbow Riders served as the backup band at the  show. At the bottom of the bill was Lubbock's own Buddy and Bob. This show was booked by  Bob Neal, in conjunction with Colonel Tom Parker and was the first official involvement of  Parker with Elvis Presley.


Jimmy Rodgers Snow, who was scheduled to join the tour recalled,  "A chartreuse jacket and black pants with a white stripe down the side, and the kids were  just going wild. I'd never seen anyone quite like him, even as a kid he had that something  about hum, he just had it. I had never heard of Elvis Presley when I went out there, I had no  idea who he was, the Colonel just called me in, him and Tom Diskin, and said, 'I got you  booked with this guy, Elvis Presley, out in Lubbock, Texas'. But we talked that night, we ran  around that night, as a matter of fact Buddy Holly was hanging around the show. And we just  became friends immediately", said Jimmy Rodners Snow.

According to disc jockey Bill Myrick, ''When Dave Stone and these people up in Lubbock realized that Elvis would be headliner material, they set up the show in the Fairpark Coliseum, and they called me and asked me if I would come and bring the band, and open and emcee the show as well. I played the Cotton Club Saturday. When I came to the club that night, Buddy Holly came up, he was about fifteen or sixteen (Buddy Holly was 18 years old in 1955), and two more boys. He said, 'Do you mind if I sit in with you'? I said, 'We don't play the stuff that you play, but I'd be glad to put you on during the intermission'. They played for 45 minutes, and I could tell from the crowd that they really liked them. So, the next day, about an hour before the show, we had a packed house. I introduced Buddy Holly that day at the Coliseum. He was just a kid getting started''.



Buddy Holly & Elvis Presley on stage Fair Park Coliseum, Lubbock, Texas.

"The place was packed an hour before showtime", said Bill Myrick. "They were jammed in  there. We didn't know what to do. I saw Buddy standing backstage and I asked him, 'Are  you ready to play?'. He said he was ready. So I went out and welcomed the crowd and I  told them if they'd like, maybe we could get Buddy and his band to come out and entertain  them until the show started. Or, they could just sit there and twiddle their thumbs. They  didn't seem to want to twiddle, So I brought Buddy on. He played forty-five minutes and  when it came showtime, the crowd didn't want him to leave. That was his first big  audience".


"When Elvis Presley came on, people became aware immediately that he had become a  star. He played furiously. He tore the strings right off his guitar and he kept on performing.  I didn't think they were ever going to let him off that stage, they were yelling so hard.  Elvis asked 'em, 'What y'all want me to do? Stay out here all night?'. They really cheered at  that prospect".

"I had played with Bill Monroe before", said Myrick, "and I knew how "Blue Moon Of  Kentucky" sounded, but when I heard that record by Elvis, I had never heard it sung that  way. It definitely wasn't bluegrass. Me and Keith Ward from KJBC-radio started getting  requests for Elvis, so that's when we decided to book him".

Although the newspaper advertisement for the Coliseum concert didn't mention say so, it  is probably that the same performers played this evening's show and dance at Lubbock's  Cotton Club located just beyond the city limits of town.


The Duke of Paducah

THE DUKE OF PADUCAH ("DOOKA P'DOOKA") – Benjamin Francis “Whitey” Ford (1901-1986)  was a leading country comedian from the late 1930s to the mid-1950s. He had only a  third-grade education and was fond of calling himself a graduate of the “University of Hard  Knocks.” Following four years in the Navy (1918-1922), he joined a Dixieland jazz group as  a banjoist, working in Arkansas and Missouri. Based in Chicago, beginning in about 1929,  Ford performed on WLS and eventually toured with Gene Autry.

In the mid-1930s, while based at St. Louis radio station KWK, Ford acquired his Duke of  Paducah stage moniker, earlier invented by humorist Irvin S. Cobb. (Ford’s nickname  “Whitey” came from his blonde hair.)

In 1937, Ford teamed with Red Foley and John Lair to organize the Renfro Valley Barn  Dance.

During the late thirties and early 1940s, Ford starred with Louise Massey & the Westerners  on the NBC network radio show Plantation Party out of Cincinnati and Chicago before moving  in 1942 to star on the Grand Ole Opry’s NBC network segment, a role he would maintain  until replaced in 1947 by Rod Brasfield, whom he helped to recruit. Subsequently, Ford  made several series of popular radio shows, some of them recorded and syndicated widely  throughout the United States and others fed live to CBS from various locations while on tour  with Eddy Arnold.


His homespun humour played upon his garish green-check suit, his stocky build, his  seemingly futile attempt to play the banjo, and his closing line, "I'm going back to the  wagon 'cause these shoes are killin' me". The Duke was a personal favourite of Gladys  Presley who was a faithful fan of the Opry's Saturday night radio broadcast. Ford served as  a scout for Colonel Tom Parker, persuading him to sign Elvis Presley. In 1955 he convinced  Vernon and Gladys Presley, who were leery of Parker, how much good Parker could do for  their son.

Ford kept working at the Opry and touring, even heading a troupe billed as the Rock and  Roll Revue during the mid-1950s. Beginning in 1958, he hosted Country Junction, a  Nashville television show that aired on WLAC-TV for a number of years.

Eventually many  of his jokes found their way to Hee Haw, whose producers bought his joke library. Ford  donated numerous radio scripts and extensive scrapbooks to the Country Music Hall of  Fame® and Museum. The remainder of his substantial collection of American humor was  acquired by Emory University shortly before his death in 1986. Four months after his  passing, he was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

LIVE BROADCAST RECORDINGS FOR ELVIS PRESLEY
FOR KDAV RADIO
 
AT FAIR PARK COLISEUM,  1012 AVENUE, LUBBOCK, TEXAS 1955
LIVE PERFORMANCE: FEBRUARY 13, 1955 SUNDAY
RECORDING ENGINEERS - LEREY ELMORE, DAVE PINKSTON,
 AND RAY WINKLER




The final show of this brief tour was held at Fair Park Coliseum on the grounds of the Panhandle and South Plains Fairgrounds in Lubbock, Texas. A capacity crowd of 6,000 was on hand at 8:00 p.m. to see Elvis Presley. An extra supporting act for this show was George and Earl (featuring George Aycock). The concert was promoted by Dave Stone and Hi-Pockets Duncan of KDAV. 


The ''Fool, Fool, Fool'' acetate

It was common at the time for artists to visit local radio stations when touring, encouraging the local disc jockeys to play their records, often performing live (or taped) on the air to promote their upcoming shows. Because Elvis Presley and his band had so little recorded repertoire, they would supplement their own repertoire with covers like the above, both recent Atlantic singles. "Fool, Fool, Fool" was a number one rhythm and blues record by the Clovers in 1951. 

Acetate 78rpm of Elvis demo, wrongly titled "What A Fool I Was". It's been reported by some that Elvis Presley recorded "Fool, Fool, Fool" while at Sun Records. No proof of that has yet come firth.


01 - "FOOL, FOOL, FOOL" - B.M.I. - 1:51
Composer: - Ahmet Nugetre
Written in 1951 by co-founder of Atlantic Records in New York City, NY
Publisher: - Unichappell Music
Matrix number: - WPA5-2533 - Acetate Presto Recording Corporation, Paramus, New Yersey
Recorded: - February 13, 1955 - Acetate Demo
Released: - June 1992
First appearance: - RCA BMG (CD) 500/200rpm PD 90689(5)-5-2 mono
THE COMPLETE 50'S MASTERS
Reissued: - February 5, 1999 RCA BMG (CD) 500/200rpm 07863 67675 2-2-12 mono
SUNRISE ELVIS PRESLEY

"Shake, Rattle And Roll" was a 1954 rhythm and blues hit in its original version by Big Joe Turner, and a number seven pop hit in its instant cover version by Bill Haley and His Comets. Poor, almost inaudible recordings exist of other Presley shows from early 1955, documenting that the repertoire also included LaVern Baker's "Tweedlee Dee" and the Charms' "Heart Of Stone", as well as another Clovers song "Little Mama", all 1954 releases, and Ray Charle's "I Got A Woman" and the Drifters', "Money Honey" released just weeks before.

02 - "SHAKE, RATTLE AND ROLL" - B.M.I. - 2:17
Composer: - Charles Calhoun (Also known as Charles E. Calhoun)
Publisher:- Progressive Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - WPA5-2534 - Acetate Presto Recording Corporation, Paramus, New Yersey
Recorded: - February 13, 1955
Released: - June 1992 - Acetate Demo
First appearance: - RCA BMG (CD) 500/200rpm PD 90689(5)-5-5 mono
THE COMPLETE 50'S MASTERS
Reissued: - February 5, 1999 RCA BMG (CD) 500/200rpm 07863 67675 2-2-13 mono
SUNRISE ELVIS PRESLEY

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Elvis Presley - Vocal and Acoustic Rhythm Guitar (Martin Dreadnought 18)
Scotty Moore - Electric Lead Guitar (Gibson ES 295)
Bill Black - Acoustic Upright Bass (Kay Maestro M-1)
Unidentified - Piano

"Fool, Fool, Fool" and "Shake, Rattle And Roll" provided by Leroy Elmore, Dave Pinkston and Ray Winkler.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


Roswell Daily Record

FEBRUARY 14, 1955 MONDAY

Back in New Mexico, Elvis Presley and most of the entertainers from his Lubbock show  joined a Hank Snow jamboree for the evening as they played Roswell, New Mexico. There  were two performances, at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., to benefit the Roswell Fire Department.  Seats were $1.00 in advance and $1.25 at the door. The show was held at the North Junior  High School Auditorium. On tonight's billing, Elvis' name was below that of Snow, the Duke of  Paducah, and Snow's Rainbow Ranch Boys. Elvis' name did however appear above that of  Charlene Arthur and Jimmy Rodgers Snow.


The concert appearance was reportedly Colonel Tom Parker's first involvement with Elvis  Presley. He assisted Bob Neal in getting Elvis Presley booked in Carlsbad.

Tom Parker has instructed Elvis to meet Tom Diskin at Rosswel, New Mexico, ''leading  hotel'', no later than 3\;00 p.m. in order to do radio promotion and get the shedule for his  first appearance this evening on the already-in-progress Hank Snow Jamboree tour.

According to Jimmie Rodgers Snow, ''Elvis liked to sing Dad's songs. There was one he would be doing just right straight out, ''From A Beautiful Bouquet'', a song my dad wrote when he was in Canada, before we even moved to the States. I remember it impressed my dad that he would even know this song, because it was never released in the U.S.''.

Kenneth Irwin said, ''My friend Don Close and I went to the Hank Snow show at the North Junior High. It was packed. We were so impressed as the crowd brought the house down when Elvis played. We bought his first record at the show and styed for the second show, as did most of the crowd''.

Don Scarbrough a local musician said, ''Elvis didn't really make that music on an impression. It seemed to me like he was there for Hank to change suits. Hank had got all these new Nudie suits. I loved Hank Snow's ''I'm Movin' On''.


Steve Sholes' replay letter to Tom Diskin, February 15, 1955.

FEBRUARY 15, 1955 TUESDAY

Elvis Presley and his "Bop band" as the ad read, performed in Abilene, Texas, with the Hank  Snow Jamboree. The show was held at the Fair Park Auditorium. Also on the bill was Slim  Willet, a country singer/songwriter famous as the composer of "Don't Let The Stars Get In  Your Eyes". Shows were at 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. with seats running $1.00 in advance at $1.50  at the door.

The Albuquerque show was a disaster. Faron Young treated Elvis Presley with contempt,  and Bob Neal appeared more interested in getting autographs than in promoting Elvis'  career.

Following his appearance with Faron Young, Elvis Presley increasingly upset with  Neal's management. Bill Black urged him to consider new options. The upcoming shows  with Hank Snow, Black noted, would allow Elvis Presley to see Colonel Tom Parker  organized and operated a package tour. Since hank Snow was a major country act, the tour  would also test Elvis' ability to work a large, sophisticated country audience. Clearly, there  was more to the situation than just the fabled machinations of the Svengali-like Colonel,  sizing up Elvis Presley as a vehicle to making his fortune; young Elvis Presley was also  considering the advantages of the Colonel's management. The stage was set for a business  deal, and the Colonel and Elvis were about to join forces in one of the most legendary  relationship in the history of the music business.

On February 10, Colonel Tom Parker has had Tom Diskin inform Steve Sholes, RCA's head of  A & R in the company's country and western division that Elvis Presley ''is pretty securely  tied up'' at Sun while simultaneously trying to convince Sholes to sign Tommy Sands  instead. Sholes replies on this date that ''the last I heard from the Colonel seemed quite  favorable toward our signing Elvis Presley so naturally your comments with respect to  Presley were a little surprising''. His letter does not indicate that he feels Tommy Sands is  a suitable replacement.

According to local musician Dean Spratlin, ''The person presenting the Hank Snow show, Slim Willet, was a large man and I would guess that his name was a business name he had taken. Slim was a local disc jockey and he wrote songs and sang music. Dean Martin recorded a hit record that Slim wrote titled, ''Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes''. After Elvis performed on stage, I felt that if I went outside I might see him in the back of the auditorium. When Elvis did not come out shortly, I retreated to the side of the building and stayed outside for a while. I went inside and was standing in the side lobby looking through two open doors to see Jimmie Rodgers Snow singing on stage, when I noticed Elvis standing real close to me, and alone. He was also looking through the doors. The crowd was moderate. We must have said 'Hello' at the same time. Elvis was easy to talk to, and I was thrilled that he did not ignore me. He talked freely''.

Slim Willet, the disc jockey of KRBC in Abilene, had taken many bands to Abilene and, after seeing Elvis in Lubbock back in January, was thrilled to find Elvis as part of the Hank Snow show. He arranged an autograph session at a local department store and the customary promotional visit on the radio during the afternoon. Elvis, Scotty, and Bill drove up to the KRBC radio station that afternoon and were greeted by Slim and Slim's band member, Roland F. Smith. Elvis, Scotty, and Bill followed Roland to Thornton's Department Store in a beat up old Chevy that Roland later discovered belonged to the Browns' father. They sat down for a coke. After Roland left, Elvis and the boys wandered over to the record shop and were promptly greeted by a group of girls. As the signing came to a close, Elvis decided to shop around the store, and he bought a white sport coat which he proudly wore that night at the performance. Elvis stole the show that night.

Slim had invited Breckenridge disc jockey Sid Foster to come and see the show, and like most other disc jockeys, Sid walked away determined to book Elvis for his own town.



Elvis Presley and disc jockey Slim Willet, Abeline, Texas, February 15, 1955.

WINSTON LEE MOORE (SLIM WILLET) (1919–1966) - Slim Willet, songwriter, disc jockey, record  producer, and television personality, was born Winston Lee Moore in Victor, Texas, on December 1, 1919.  He was the son of Luther and Fannie Moore. In 1935 the family moved to Clyde, and Willet attended Clyde  High School. He married Jimmie Crenshaw in Clyde in 1938. They had two sons, Ted and Tim.

After serving a brief stint in the United States Army during World War II, Willet returned to the Abilene area  and later entered Hardin Simmons University.


While working as student manager of the school radio station,  he adopted the ironic pseudonym Slim; he was far from slender. He took the name Willet from the Willets,  characters in his favorite comic strip "Out Our Way." Upon graduation from Hardin Simmons in 1949, he  went to work for radio station KRBC as an advertising salesman and disc jockey. He had already begun  writing songs, including "Pinball Millionaire," which was recorded by both Hank Locklin and Gene O'Quin.

Willet began his recording career in 1950 with the Dallas-based Star Talent label. His first release, the selfpenned  "I'm A Tool Pusher from Snyder" (later changed to "Tool Pusher On A Rotary Rig"), was one of the  songs with which he became most associated. In 1952 he recorded "Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes."  Released nationally on 4 Star Records, the song reached number 1 on Billboard's country and western chart,  and at one time there were four versions of "Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes" in the C&W Top 10.  Perry Como also took the song to the top of Billboard's pop chart.

At the height of his popularity, Willet was making regular guest appearances on the Big D Jamboree in  Dallas, the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, and the Town Hall Party in Compton, California. Although he  never had another hit to match "Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes," he continued to write and record. He  formed the Edmoral and Winston labels to release not only his own recordings but also those of area  performers such as Dean Beard, Hoyle Nix, Curtis Potter, Darrell Rhodes, and Jimmy Seals. Willet even  dabbled with the emerging rockabilly sounds of the day and recorded some sides under the name Telli W.  Mils, the Fat Cat ("Telli W. Mils" is "Slim Willet" spelled backwards). In 1959 he released Texas Oil Patch  Songs by Slim Willet, an album devoted to life in the oilfields and one of the earliest country music concept  albums.

While continuing with his radio activities, Willet set up an advertising agency to handle local promotional  ventures. In this capacity, he booked Elvis Presley's first appearance in Abilene on February 15, 1955. Willet  was also a pioneer in live television on KRBC-TV, in addition to hosting the Big State Jamboree. The weekly  variety-show format provided exposure for many area performers, including the young Larry Gatlin. Willet  left his disc jockey job at KRBC in 1957 and joined radio station KNIT. In 1964 he became general manager
of KCAD, one of the few all-country music radio stations in the state.

The combination of radio, recordings, and television made Willet well-known in the Abilene area. He  apparently died of a heart attack on July 1, 1966, and was buried in Victor, Texas. He was elected to the  Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Fame in 1994. He is also honored in the West Texas Music Hall of Fame.



FEBRUARY 16, 1955 WEDNESDAY

Elvis Presley continued with Hank Snow as they played the Senior High School Field House in  Odessa, Texas. Attendance was estimated at 4,000. Emcees for the show on this date were  radio personalities Lee Alexander and Bill Myrick of KECK, Odessa, along with Keith Ward of  KJBC, Midland. Tickets for the show ran $1.00 in advance and 25-cents more at they door. Tickets for sale at The Record Store on 1508 North Grant.

The show was sponsored by the Young Home Owners of Odessa. Some two hundred  screaming girls attacked Elvis Presley as he was trying to leave the building, tearing his coat  completely off his back.


Other artists for the show, Hank Snow and his Rainbow Ranch Boys, The Duke of Paducan, Charlene Arthur, Jimmy Rodgers Snow. 

Cecil Hollifield owned record shops in Odessa and Midland. Off-times on his jaunts into  West Texas, or just passing through, Elvis would stay at the Hollifield's home. Bill Myrick  went off to a disc jockey’s convention in Nashville after the February show and he was  singing Elvis' praises. Many of the country music disc jockey’s there said they had never  heard of him, but Myrick told them, "You will".

"His records were selling well", said Cecil Hollifield, "but we all thought he was a black  singer". "He was cute", said Shirley McDade. "That afternoon he was driving over to Odessa  and he asked me to ride over with him. En route, he sang songs to me in the car. And after  that, he began calling me every day and he would dedicate songs to me on the air when he  was singing at the Louisiana Hayride. Finally, he came to visit my family in Midland".

"My family was really strict. They wouldn't let me go out with him alone. If I went riding  with him in his car, they would follow in their car. Once we drove to see him at the  Louisiana State fair in Shreveport. He gave me some cuff links that some Texas fan club  had given to him. And after he later appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show in New York, he  brought me the first pair of high heels I ever owned! We drove around a lot, practically  through every small town in West Texas".



Odessa High School Auditorium, Odessa, Texas.


McDade was sitting at home one night when a saddened Elvis Presley called her from  Hope, Texas. "His car had just burned up near Hope", she said. "He was very sad. He had  been really proud of that car. In fact, he called me three or four times that night, he was  so sad.

The last call, my parents wouldn't let me talk. They said it was too late". "Elvis",  she said, "didn't drink or smoke at that time. He was very nice, a perfect gentleman. When  we would go out to eat, he would eat country fried steak constantly.



He loved it! One time  I was allowed to drive with him over to Andrews where he was doing a show. Mom and dad  were there. Mom really liked Elvis, but he was older and out of school. After the Andrews  concert, we drove home and were sitting in the driveway. We hadn't been there five  minutes when dad came out and got me".

While in Odessa, Elvis Presley may have appeared again on Roy Orbison's television show.  Upon leaving his TV show in Odessa, Roy Orbison moved to the larger market of Fort Worth.  In an interview with Roy Orbison published in Goldmine (February 1, 1981), Elvis'  appearance on Orbison's Fort Worth television show is discussed. The program was telecast  live from Panther Hall. Roy Orbison recalled that Johnny Cash also appeared on the same  program with Elvis Presley. In the interview, Roy Orbison mentions that these appearances  were done to promote their upcoming concerts, and consequently should not be considered  as part of a regular tour. None of the known Fort Worth appearances fit the scenario. Roy  Orbison recalled from his original vantage point in the audience. "Just a real raw cat singing  like a bird. .... First thing, he came out and spat on the stage. In fact he spat out a piece of  gum... Plus he told some real bad, crude jokes, you know, this dumb off-colour humour,  which weren't funny. And his diction was real coarse, like a truck driver's... I can't  overemphasize how shocking he looked and seemed to me that night".

FEBRUARY 17, 1955 THURSDAY

The Hank Snow tour travelled to San Angelo, Texas, for two shows, at 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. at  the City Auditorium.

Elvis Presley was brought in for two concerts. Hank Snow had already completed a lengthy  leg of the tour with dates in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. His finelytuned  show included Jimmy Rodgers Snow, Charlene Arthur, and a comedian, the Duke of  Paducah. Colonel Tom Parker watched intently as Elvis Presley excited the four thousand  people in the audience. Following the show, the Colonel talked with Presley about his  future. Tom Diskin, Colonels Parker's assistant, encouraged the Colonel to sign the  youngster. Tom Diskin informed the Colonel that Elvis Presley had a special musical flair,  and had been talking to the Colonel for months about Elvis Presley. For some reason,  Parker, Diskin argues, was always hesitant about Elvis' appeal. A more plausible  explanation is that the Colonel was not a hasty person when it came to signing new acts.  Tom Parker not only listened careful to Diskin, but also to Gabe Tucker and Tommy Sands.  They all praised Elvis' music. For the Colonel, it was simply a matter of figuring out  Presley's appeal - it was a long range one? Or was Elvis Presley simply a local phenomenon  destined to fade into obscurity?


Louisiana Hayride, Municipal Auditorium, Shreveport, February 19, 1955. From left: Scotty Moore, Jim Reeves' guitarist Leo Jackson (sitting), Sonny Trammel, Elvis Presley, and Bill Black.

FEBRUARY 18, 1955 FRIDAY

After a long drive, Hank Snow and Elvis Presley wound up their short tour in West Monroe,  Louisiana. The 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. shows were held at the Auditorium of West Monroe High  School Auditorium and were sponsored by the Monroe and West Monroe Jaycees. Also on the  bill was local singer Jack Hammons & the bayou Country boys.

Jack Hammons said, ''I was twenty-seven in 1955; married with two children. I made records for Starday. I met the Colonel at the Old Francis Hotel in Monroe where I worked. He asked me if I would help promote the show. Elvis got ''the shakes'' before going on in Monroe, and asked me to open the show. My band was called Jack Hammons & The Bayou Country Boys. The place was packed. When the Colonel left, he hadn't paid me for my work, but the next time he was in the area, he stopped by and paid me''.

When Elvis Presley completed the tour on February 18, he had delivered one of his  strongest shows. The audience was younger, louder, and more responsive to the music.  They asked for pictures of Elvis Presley, but there were none to sell.

Apart from the  constant demand for his records, realized Tom Parker, a carnival-trained peddler, there  was clearly an opportunity to sell pictures, trinkets, and junk merchandise at great profit.  At the time, then, Parker viewed Elvis Presley from the standpoint of a sideshow  attraction, and probably had little understanding or appreciation for the exact nature of  the appeal of Presley's music. The sound and substance of Elvis' act was a puzzlement, the  result were quite clear, however - money could be made, and lots of it.

The stop in Monroe, Louisiana, is also pertinens in another way. Elvis Presley had tried to  break into show business in 1953 and 1954 by auditioning for a local Louisiana country  music show. Richard Wilcox, sales manager at KWKA in Shreveport in 1953-54, remembers  Elvis Presley hangout around town looking for singing jobs. "The Hayride bands would  rehearse at the big studio", Wilcox told Dary Matera, "and Elvis would ride the bus from  Memphis all night so he could watch them jam on Saturday mornings".

Ben Marshall was with the West Monroe Jaycees (Junior Chamber of Commerce), the civic organization that booked the Hank Snow revue.

The event was a fundraiser, promoting on to Atlanta, a planned trip to a national Jaycees convention in Atlanta. Ben was nervously waiting on the steps op the auditorium, as the bands were late because of the driving distance Ben was the man in the ticket room. The revue was booked for two shows, one at 7:30 p.m. and another at 9:30 p.m. He rembers that Parker first asked for $1,250 in advance for an advertising budget. The jaycees didn't have it, so instead Parker put up $650 were split 50/50. According to Ben, Parker had brought a dealer from Las Vegas to do the money count (probably Parker's assistant, Tom Diskin). It was amazing how quickly the man could count the tickets and the cash. There were a few missing tickets (as can happen when the ticket sellers do not turn the tickets in). Parker was initially going to charge them for the missing tickets, but ended up forgiving the discrepancy. After the show, Ben was in the ticket office with Parker when Elvis came in and nervous said, 'How was it? How was my act'? Parker said, 'Elvis, I never saw you look better'. He then asked Ben, 'Hey, Ben, wasn't he great''? Ben agreed. The funny thing is that neither of them saw the show because they were in the ticket office dealing with the money count. Ben reports, the first show was 90% full. The second was less crowded.

FEBRUARY 19, 1955 SATURDAY

A brief mention of Elvis appeared in Billboard. According to the report, he was "hot" in  Eldorado, Arkansas. "His style really pleases the teenagers". Back in Shreveport, Elvis Presley  performed his regular Saturday night spot on the "Louisiana Hayride".

Across the river from Shreveport, in Bossier City, and next to the Al-Ida Motel where Elvis  usually got a free room because the owners felt sorry for his financial plight and wanted to  help, Elvis frequented a restaurant owned by George Dement, who would later become  mayor of Bossier City.

"He ate, and ate big, in here", said Dement. "We had this sort of short, low cigarette  machine. It had the only mirror on it that we had in the restaurant. Elvis was kind of tall and  had sideburns and every time he'd look at himself in that mirror he had to stoop down.  Every time he'd walk in, we'd punch each other and say, 'Watch him. He's gonna stoop down  and comb his hair when he goes by', and sure enough, he would. He primped every time he'd  walk past that mirror".



Elvis Presley and disc jockey Charley Stewart, Little Rock, Arkansas, February 20, 1955.

FEBRUARY 20, 1955 SUNDAY

Billed as the "WSM Grand Ole Opry" show, Elvis Presley was third on the bill behind the Duke  of Paducah and Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters as he began week long tour of  Arkansas and Louisiana. Also appearing with Elvis Presley were Jimmie Rodgers Snow,  Charley Steward, another RCA Victor recording artist who was managed by Colonel Parker,  the Singing Hardens, Sammy Barnhard, Bob Neal, and Uncle Dudley, the stage name of Ernest  Hackworth of KTWN radio in Texarkana.


Hackworth promoted this tour in conjunction with  an old friend, Colonel Parker. Bonnie, Ernest's first wife, and Marie Parker, the Colonel's  wife, sold tickets, "Hack" acted as the program's emcee, and the Colonel worked the crowd  selling programs. The Colonel later offered Hackworth a part of Elvis' contract for $3.000.   Hackworth, who didn't much care for rock 'n' roll, turned it down, preferring to remain in   radio.

On this date there were a pair of shows, at 3:00 and 8:15 p.m., at Ar-Robinson Auditorium   in Little Rock. Tickets were 75-cents in advance, $1.00 at the box office and 50-cents for  kids. It is believed that Gladys and Vernon Presley attended this performance, invited by   Elvis Presley who wanted to introduce them to the Colonel. Gladys, as was mentioned  above, was a big fan of the Duke of Paducah.   Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black receive $350 for these two shows instead of   their usual $200 per day.

According to Mike McGibbony said, ''We were four of five guys, I guess in tenth grade. It was on a Sunday afternoon. It was at the Robinson Auditorium, where they also held the Barnyard Frolics. The Robinson Auditorium holds about 2000-2500 people, and I bet you there weren't even 300 people there. There wasn't any hoopla. Elvis just walked out on stage and just started playing. He had on black pants, black shoes, a lavender shirt, and a sport jacket. We really loved him, and people started hollering and clapping. So when it was over, we went out in the large lobby, concrete and marble, and started talking with Elvis, Scotty, and Bill. I was a young guitar wanna-be, and I went directly to Scotty Moore, and we just had a nice conversation.

Joyce Joyner Hightower remembers, ''It was the winter of 1955, and things were going on as usual. I was attending Central High School in Little Rock and going to the Barnyard Frolics at the Robinson Auditorium on Saturday nights, like I had done for the past two years. Several Arkansas folks got their starts at the Frolics, including Jim Ed, Maxine and Bonnie Brown. I was the Barnyard Frolics' mascot, running around all over backstage, singing or taking up tickets at the front of the auditorium. It was the time of my life and the most exciting thing was about to happen. In early February, a gentleman by the name of Bob Neal came by the Frolics. I happened to be taking up tickets, and he approached me and told me he was bringing a young man to perform in a few weeks. He asked me if I had heard of Elvis Presley, and I told him yes. I had already bought the Sun 78 ''That's All Right''. He asked me if I would come and bring a lot of my girlfriends to fill up the front row. He said, 'I want you girls to scream and holler when Elvis comes out', and I said, 'No problem''!

''A few weeks passed, and finally Sunday, February 20, came. My mother and I headed for the Robinson Auditorium in Little Rock. As usual, I was roaming around backstage, and Mother decided to stay backstage for the show. My girlfriends and I filled the front row seats as we had been asked to do. Elvis came out and started playing and shaking, and we just (for a moment) sat with our mouths dropped open in awe, then we started screaming, and the whole auditorium came alive. Elvis wore a shirt in shades of purple with black pants and a white sport coat. Elvis had borrowed a guitar from A.C. Lynch, and when A.C. got his guitar back, Elvis had rubbed the finish off of the back with his belt buckle, moving it back and forth. A.C, along with his band, the Drifters, was the Frolic's house band. Needless to say, A.C., was not at all happy about the fact that Elvis had scarred his precious guitar''.

''I was actually introduced twice to Elvis, as I had asked Charley Stewart to introduce me. I had been the president of the Charley Stewart Fan Club for several years. Les Willard, another regular on the Frolics, called me over and said, 'I want you to meet Elvis Presley', and Elvis said, 'Oh, I already met her, and she's a lot prettier than you', referring to Les, who was six feet seven and weighed around 130 pounds. We all had a good laugh over that. My mother, who was backstage, was visiting with a nice lady, Gladys Presley, and Gladys seemed to be needing someone to take Elvis and her home for dinner. I begged Mother to invite them home for dinner''.


Elvis Presley and his group played the Arkansas City Auditorium in Camden, Arkansas, and the show  was billed as the WSM Grand Ole Opry Show. Admission for adults to the 8:00 p.m.  performance was $1.00 in advance and $1.25 at the box office. Children got in for 50-cents.

According to Jimmie Rodgers Snow, ''I did a show with the Carters Sisters in Arkansas, and we got stuck on a road that had not been paved, and it rained a lot, and all our cars got stuck in the mud. We couldn't move them, and a farmer picked us all up, and Elvis and I and the Carter Sisters all rode in the back of the truck in the open, all the way into the town where we were playing in a little theater.  Very interesting, that crowd went wild. We were riding in that truck with our instruments and all that''.

FEBRUARY 21, 1955 MONDAY

Clyde Snider remembers and said, ''Well, I saw Elvis live, when I was still a kid! Elvis had come to my hometown as part of the show. He arrived late and came onto the stage explaining that he'd had a car breakdown, and in fact Elvis was covered in sweat from trying to deal with the car problem (my dad and I later learned that Elvis' car was still across the street in a repair shop)''.


Hames Ware said, ''There was some 'name' country stars, because my father went. I remember Elvis was supposed to be fairly early on the bill but didn't show up until quite late, because he had car trouble driving to Camden. He came out on stage through the middle of the back curtain with his acoustic guitar, and his shirt was very sweaty. In my mind, I can see him parting the middle of the back curtain and coming on stage alone. I don't remember the songs he sang. When he finished, the crowd went wild, trying to get him to come back on stage, but he never did. I remember my father commenting toward the end of the show that this guy is going to be big someday. Years later, I remember having a conversation with a guy who worked at the service station across the street from Muni Hall who told me that Elvis' car was worked on at the station while Elvis was on stage''.


The Art of Betty Harper



FEBRUARY 22, 1955 TUESDAY

Elvis Presley performance this evening was in the large meeting room of the Hope City Hall   in Hope, Arkansas. Also on the bill were Whitey "The Duke Of Paducah" Ford, Mother   Maybelle and the Carter Sisters, Jimmy Rodgers Snow, Charley Steward, and Uncle Dudley.

The show was produced by Carroll A. Wynn of KXAR radio, who was one of the few women   promoters at this time. The show may have been co-sponsored by Holsom Bread, as one teen   recalled getting in free with a bread wrapper. In any event, the show did not draw anything   close to a full house.



Elvis Presley and his band on stage, Hope, Arkansas, February 22, 1955.

This night Elvis Presley faced an extremely tough country audience, composed largely of   country purists. Nevertheless, Elvis Presley charmed the crowd with renditions of "Uncle   Pen" and "Old Shep".

Everyone has heard of that night, near Hope, Arkansas, when Elvis Presley's Cadillac burned   up. But few have heard, as a famous national broadcaster says, the rest of the story, and as   told by Scotty Moore. "We were trailing Elvis in a second car. We saw this smoke coming out   and sparks and Elvis didn't seem to know it. We were blinking at him and honking our horn,   but he paid us no attention. Just kept drivin' until the car burned up".

The reason, he said, was Elvis was preoccupied. He said Elvis had a girl in the front seat   with him. He said she had her head in Elvis' lap during the fire. And she wasn't just   whistlin' Dixie.

In Hope, the Hempstead Country Melody Boys were supposed to play for a local dance but were asked to give up the date for the Grand Ole Opry show in Nashville.

Lura Mitchell wrote in the T. Tommy Time newsletter in 1955, ''On February 22, we had a big Elvis Presley show here. He featured his two men, Scotty Moore and Bill Black; also Charley Stewart, Jimmie Rodgers Snow, and Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters. I have never seen so many people. Believe me, there couldn't have been anyone left without a headache. I've never heard such screaming in all my life as the people did when Elvis came out. Sounded like the building was going any minute. Quite a guy''.

FEBRUARY 23, 1955 WEDNESDAY

Remaining in Arkansas, Elvis Presley and the group of performers stopped at the Auditorium  of Watson Chapel High School in Pine Bluff. Seats were 75-cents in advance and $1.00 at the   box office. There were two shows, at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. According to a later published  reports (Pine Bluff Commercial, September 11, 1977), Vernon and Gladys Presley were on  hand for this concert, and following the show everyone ate a late supper at Pine Bluff's Hob
Nob Restaurant.

Seeking bookings for Elvis Presley all over the country, the Colonel contacts A.V. ''Bam''   Bamford, an influential promoter who first gained prominence in Nashville by booking Hank  Williams in the early fifties, now located in California. Parker informs Bamford that Elvis is ''a great artist but will need lots of buildup before he's a good investment''.

According to Allene Wilson, ''Anyone who would call a sixteen-year-old girl 'ma'am' was brought up right''. Wilson grew up in Arkansas and began singing publicly at age three. She sang country for the Arkansas Hayride and was a part of the Tommy Trent radio program. She still recalls the morning, just as the radio show finished, when Elvis Presley walked into the studio. ''He was to perform in concert at Pine Bluff High School that night with Hank Snow and some other country artists. They were there to do radio spots to play during the day. Elvis came in and said, 'Hello, Ma'am'. I don't remember him saying anything else. He just sat down at the piano and started playing Christmas songs''.

Allene Wilson knew Jim Ed and Bonnie Brown, two other country stars, so Elvis did not intimidate her. She knew who he was, liked his music, and bought his records.

''I just immediately sat down beside him. He played ''Crying In The Chapel'', Amazing Grace'', and ''Peace In The Valley'', and I sang them along with him. What stood out most was his shyness. He was very polite, and he came across as a really nice person who didn't he was a good person. He was just mot comfortable being in the limelight''.

Singer Bonnie Brown said, ''I remember he performed in Pine Bluff at the Pine Bluff High School with the Carters, and they all came to our house, where Mom had fixed a hyge dinner for them''.

Bonnie's sister Maxine Brown remembers, ''They came to our little house at 34 Cypress Drive. My, that was a time! Elvis was in charge of the evening's entertainment. He played piano and got all of us singing, the Brown Trio, Mother Maybelle Carter and her daughters. That night, Elvis was at his very best. He was sweet and gracious, showing that winning side of his nature'', she said.

FEBRUARY 24, 1955 THURSDAY

Elvis Presley, the Duke of Paducah, Mother Maybelle and The Carter Sisters, Charley Stewart, and Jack Hammons; and the extra special Jimmie Rodgers Snow, made a pair of  appearances in Bastrop, Louisiana. Shows at the South Side Elementary School's multipurpose  room were at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. The event was sponsored by KTRY radio.  Admission sales at Bastrop.

Bastrop, Louisiana, was a small town with country audience. Younger and more energetic,   this time the crowd demanded "That's All Right". The Bastrop audience responded so   strongly that it was obvious that they had listened to the "Louisiana Hayride" broadcast,   where Elvis Presley had been the most applauded act.  After the Bastrop show, Elvis Presley received a phone call from Horace Logan informing   him that his next appearance on the "Louisiana Hayride" would be televised. Elvis Presley   had the luxury of a few days off between the Bastrop appearance and the televised  "Hayride" show, so he worked on his stage mannerisms and consulted extensively with Sam  Phillips about the type of songs to perform on live TV.

As Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, Bill Black, and D.J. Fontana drove to Shreveport, they were   excited about appearing before a television audience. There is no doubt that TV was a   major factor in success in the music world. There would be television scouts from the   major networks shows watching Elvis Presley.

Roxie Thrash a 1955 Bastrop High School graduate said, ''I did not have the money to get in, however, I never missed a beat. There was an open window where I watched the entire show. I remember what a thrill it was. The place was packed. I remember, I ran around to the back when the show was over and peeped around to see Elvis and his band putting their equipment in their cars. Such a thrill. 

Bobby and Barbara Priest said, ''We went to the show at the Southside Elementary cafeteria. Southside had no auditorium, but there was a small stage set up in the cafeteria. After the shows, Elvis took our cousin, Sue Holly, to the local skating ring'', and Jim Nichols said, ''I remember that the posters hung on telephone poles, had the Duke of Paducah listed as the headliner, then the Carter Family, and Elvis in small letters''.

According to country singer Jack Hammons, ''I overheard the Duke of Paducah say, 'Elvis, don't go out there and sing those gospel songs, people know you are not sincere'. It was visible how that comment hurt Elvis. The crowd in Bastrop was not so large. Sometime that night Elvis asked me, 'Do you want to be on the Hayride''?, and when I said yes, Elvis said he would talk to Horage Logan about it. I think I was with Elvis at the Hayride a few weeks leter, he had now gotten the pink Cadillac''.

Mrs. Canfield said, ''My grandmother held her hands over my eyes and said, 'Don't you look at that', while still looking herself and tapping her foot. People were screaming so loud, and it just got louder the longer he sang. The next day, I overheard my grandmother on the party-line (a phone shared with another customer), laughing and telling about that singer''.



Municipal Auditorium, Texarkana, Texas, February 25, 1955.

FEBRUARY 25, 1955 FRIDAY

Although there are no ads, local lore holds that Elvis Presley played Texarkana in February -  that his mother and father came down for the show - and that this is where Elvis Presley was  first spotted by Colonel Tom Parker. Let's begin first with availability. This is the only Friday  night open in February (At this time, Elvis only performed in Texarkana on Fridays). The tour  that Elvis is completing was booked by Ernest Hackworth who has vivid recollections of  Gladys Presley sitting on Elvis' lap in the dressing room of the Texarkana Auditorium just  before Elvis went on stage.


Cheesie Nelson remembers that he was hired as an opening act  for this show, and he brought along Pat Cupp for support on steel guitar. Finally, what about  Colonel Parker. As we have seen, it wasn't Elvis that he first met in February in Texarkana, it  was Elvis' parents. Whether or not they had been along for the whole tour - and "Hack"  thinks they only came for the day - Gladys was certainly in Texarkana.

Colonel Parker writes to Harry Kalcheim at the Williams Morris Agency office in New York,  once again soliciting Kalcheim opinion of ''this Elvis Presley Boy'' at the and of his letter. The  Colonel adds his own opinion that Elvis can succeed if he is ''exploited properly''. It should  be noted that here that, as a master promoter, the Colonel saw proper ''exploitation'' as his  calling card, with no element of opprobrium attached.

Kalcheim wrote back to the Colonel, asking if Elvis would be able to audition for the Arthur Godfrey Show in New York on March 9. It is not known whether Bob Neal had tried to contact the Arthur Godfrey people himself or simply called the Colonel and asked for help. However, the situation escalated the frustration that both Colonel Parker and his right hand, Tom Diskin, felt in relation to the whole Elvis issue. The uncertainly and mistrust that had been planted in Elvis during the meeting in Memphis on February 6, regarding Bob Neal and Sun Records, clearly mirrored their own concerns. The meeting had shattered the notion that they could easily move Elvis to RCA, and they had to accept a loss of credibility with RCA's Steve Sholes, when they had to tell him they couldn't deliver the artist. This new situation posed a risk that Elvis would actually succeed on the TV show, and possibly put Bob Neal and Sun Records in a position where they would not need Jamboree Attractions at all.

The Colonel expressed concern to Kalcheim that he did not want to have a situation whereby Elvis would get national TV exposure and he would not be getting the benefit of setting it up. Tom Diskin and the Colonel, who was in Florida, exchanged letters debating the situation and worrying that they were wasting their time. Diskin referred to the 'run around' they were being given by Presley and his manager and saw no reason why they should 'wet nurse' Elvis by going to New York with him, spending precious time and money. The 'run around' was Tom Diskin's take on what he felt had turned into a one-way arrangement, with Neal asking for more dates from Jamboree Attractions, yet unwilling to let them use Elvis for their shows in Texas, since Neal could do these without them.

Colonel Tom Parker wrote Tom Diskin on March 2, ''I don't see much use in wasting any money or time on Presley till we know that they need us and only when they contact us direct for help in some ways''.

Eventually Bob Neal gave Jamboree Attractions the assurance they were seeking, cutting them in on any deals that might arise from the national TV exposure, indeed a streep price for Neal to pay, should Elvis succeed big time. Finally, a March 23 date was set for the audition.



Municipal Auditorium, Texarkana, Texas, February 25, 1955.

Gwenn Telford of Texarkana also remembers this show well. She was fourteen at the time,  and only attended because she was friends with Bea Cupp, whose brother Pat, was also on  the bill with his group, the Flying Saucers. To add support for this date, Cupp can recall  playing a Texarkana show with Elvis that also included Mother Maybelle with the Carter  Sisters and the Duke of Paducah.

Gwen and her friends had no trouble getting backstage, where everyone swarmed around  Elvis Presley. She overheard someone say that Elvis Presley was staying at the Almo Plaza  Motel, which was only two blocks from her home.


After the show, Gwen and three or four  friends went to her house for a slumber party. They soon slipped out and went to the  motel. Elvis Presley and Scotty Moore, being perfect young gentlemen, offered to take the  teens for a ride in the Cadillac. In turn, the young women showed them the sights of  Texarkana. When the evening was over, Elvis Presley drove them to her house. As a parting  remembrance, she was given her "first kiss" by Elvis.

It was a constant challenge to try expand the range of cities for Elvis to work. An invitation to go to Cleveland was most welcome. They drove up in Bob Neal's car and stopped at radio stations on the way, at least the one in Pocahontas, Arkansas.


Cleveland Plain Dealer, February 26, 1955.

FEBRUARY 26, 1955 SATURDAY

Billboard reported that Elvis was "currently on tour with the Browns in Mississippi, Alabama,  Mobile, and Arkansas". This item apparently refers to the short tour beginning January 12th.

Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black performed for the first time above the Mason- Dixon line, that imaginary United States boundary dividing the North from the South.  There were two shows in Cleveland, Ohio, at the Circle Theater's Hillbilly Jamboree. Also  appearing with Elvis Presley was Jimmy Work.


The movie theater was located at Euclid  Avenue and East 105th Street. Stage shows began at 7:30 and 10:30 p.m., with a pair of  movies sandwiched between. The films this evening were both westerns, "Johnny Guitar"  starring Joan Crawford and the obscure B-movie "Texas Uprising". Elvis Presley was booked  on the Hillbilly Jamboree by Tommy Edwards "The City Slicker Turned Country Boy" of  WERE radio who also acted a emcee for the show. Elvis and his band were paid a total of $ 4150.

The show that night went fine. Elvis Presley remained largely unheralded in Cleveland, but  if Bob Neal had been apprehensive about a northern audience's receptivity to this new  music, his fears were quickly put to rest. Elvis Presley went over the same as he had  throughout the South; the young people went wild, and the older folks covered their  mouths. Bill Black's souvenir photo sales were brisk, as he mixed easily with the fans and  made change from his money belt, and Tommy Edwards sold a fair number of their records  in the lobby.

Elvis Presley the following songs that night: "I Forgot To Remember To Forget", "That's All  Right", "Blue Moon Of Kentucky", and "Good Rockin' Tonight".

Following the show, Elvis Presley was taken by Edwards to the studios of WERE radio on  12th Street where he was introduced to Bill Randle, a popular disc jockey. Randle  broadcast rock and roll weekdays on WERE from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m. On Saturday he flew to  New York City where he could be heard coast-to-coast over the CBS Radio Network. He  returned to Cleveland on Saturday nights to broadcast locally beginning at 11:00 p.m. On  this particular Saturday, Randle interviewed Elvis sometime after 11 o'clock. This  interview may have aired "live", or it may have been taped for broadcast at a later time.  There are minor differences in the versions of the story, and Randle is said to have a tape  of the interview.

As a result, there were inquiries made to Sam Phillips from northern one-stop record  distributors about the availability of Elvis' records. Places like Al Smith's Record Bar in  South Bend, Indiana, ordered Presley's records and advertised them extensively. This mailorder  house listed Presley's "Milkcow Blues", the store's name for "Milkcow Blues Boogie" as  one of their ten best-selling songs. In Hammond, Indiana, Elvis Presley records were sold  in a small shop as a result of the owner's trip to Louisiana. Having caught Elvis on the  "Hayride", he had eagerly brought back early Presley releases to put on sale in his recordrepair  shop.

Jimmy Work's biggest country hit was his first release, "Makin' Believe" on Dot Records. He  had eight singles on the label through 1957. In 1959, he also recorded two singles for All  Records.

Elvis Presley performed at the Creole Club in Mobile, Alabama, and it drew a hastily  organized local fan club. Throughout this tour Elvis Presley closed his show performing  "That's All Right" twice. He laughed the people out as he left the stage. After the show,  Elvis Presley met a fan, Virginia Sullivan. She was a buxom, raven-haired beauty who had  sent Elvis Presley a titillating letter. Naturally intrigued, Elvis Presley sent word to bring  her backstage. When Sullivan arrived, she was wearing a tight blue dress that revealed her  full figure. They spent half an hour talking as Elvis Presley unwound. Elvis told her that it  was important for him to stay in touch with his fans. After searching out her opinions, Elvis  Presley found that the fans often had strange ideas about his musical future. Virginia told  Elvis that he should try to sound like Frank Sinatra. Politely, Elvis Presley excused himself  and apologized for having to drive back to Shreveport.

Elvis and the band totals up its income at the end of February, earnings have doubled to  over $4,000. Bookings will peak the following month, bringing in over $5,000, then return  to approximately $1,000 a week through September. Out of this sum, the band pays for its  own expenses (gas and automobile maintenance, hotel bills, booking and promotion  commission) before making the agreed-upon 50-25-25 split.

According to WERE radio disc jockey Tommy Edwards, ''Although Bill Randle was the undisputed kingpin of the Cleveland area radio scene at that time. I discovered Elvis and brought him to Cleveland. We had a big population of people coming up from West Virginia, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania. They came to work in the auto factories, and they didn't have an outlet for country, what we called hillbilly, music at the time. So I prevailed upon my bosses to let me try a country show, just on Saturday, in my same time slot''.

''I called myself the city slicker turned country boy, and I leveled with the people straght away and said, 'Now, I don't know a darned thing about this music, but you help me out and I'll play it''. ''One of the country acts I brought in town was Elvis Presley, then a Sun Records artist. It was in February 1955. I heard his recording of ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'', which is one of the greatest all-time bluegrass songs. I think we paid $350 for all four of them. That included a manager, Bob Neal, Elvis, Scotty, and Bill Black. Elvis was nothing sensational''.

''I level with people today'', Edwards continued, ''cause everybody else says: 'the minute I heard that boy, I knew'! and I never Felt that way at all. I thought he'd be big for a year and a half or so and then die out and somedody new would take his place. I never dreamed in my wildest dreams that he'd go that far''. After the show, the concise appraisal Edwards offered his readers was that ''Elvis Presley knocked the little girls dead''.

Tommy Edwards brought Elvis Presley to meet with Bill Randle, who was also a top disc jockey at WCBS in New York and consequently commuted between the two cities. ''I took Presley down to the studio on 12th Street. Randle was doing an all night show, a Saturday night request-type show or some damned thing like that. He had the habit of letting people cool their heels off in the outer office or in the hallway, and he'd call somebody in when he was good and ready to. He liked to make people wait, especially song pluggers. If they had to report back to their offices in New York that they hadn't seen Randle, there'd be hell to pay. He loved his power.

''I went in and said, I got the kid out here', and Randle said, 'OK, I'll get to him'. So we must've waited 20-25 minute, and then he gave Elvis a perfunctory little interview, two minutes or so. He sloughed him off, in other words, which was an indication that he didn't think much of him either. This was the first appearance by Elvis in Cleveland. But the second time he came out, Randle's attitude had completely changed''.

Bill Randle invited Bob Neal to sleep at his place: ''Bob Neal to my mind was a really interesting person. He was very bright. He was a country disc jockey, but he was also a businessman-entrepreneur-hustler, but with a lot of class'', recalled Edwards.

Randle gave Neal a contract to get Elvis a try-out on CBS-TV's top-rated variety show, Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts, a network broadcast that Neal thought might break Presley big time.

Back in his office in Madison, Tennessee, Colonel Tom Parker was trying to get longtime business associate Harry Kalcheim, of the powerful William Morris talent agency in New York, to take an active part in Elvis Presley's career development. ''I feel sure we can make money with him when we get him exploited properly'', he wrote.




MARCH 1, 1955 TUESDAY

Elvis Presley performed in Randolph, Mississippi at the Randolph High School Auditorium,  beginning at 8:00 p.m. This performance was a contribution of the canceled show of February 1, 1955.

When the Lincoln was wrecked in Arkansas, Bob Neal brought the car back to Memphis. To his dismay, he learned that the car had not been insured, and because of its current condition, it would only provide a small discount on a purchase of another car. 

According to Bob Neal, ''I had made inquires about new transportation. I knew Elvis had his mind set on a Cadillac, a pink Cadillac. Vernon, Elvis' father, told me that there was a little money set back, and asked if I was able to negotiate a deal based on a trade-in of the wreck and on my knowledge of what engagements were on the books for the immediate future. But there was one problem. The Presleys had no credit standing or reputation. As I had expected, nothing would do except the pink Cadillac. But financially, it looked like an impasse. For several days, there were nervous meetings and consultations. Then, Elvis came to the office: ''Mr. Neal, will you do me a favor'? 'If I can, Elvis'. 'Well, the salesman said I could get the Cadillac if I can get somebody to sign for me'. He paused, then beseechingly: 'Will you sign for it for me'''?

Neal and his wife eventually agreed to sign for the car on the condition that it was fully insured.

The press material Neal sent out to concert promoters and disc jockeys already featured a reference to Elvis' ''hobby'' of collecting pink and black, and with the new car the image was further emphasized. Elvis said, ''I kinda thought that would be a gimmick and really, it drew a lot of attention in the trade papers, about the pink suit and the pink car''.



Anne Braley, left: Jo Hawkins & Elvis, backstage, DeKalb 1955.

MARCH 1955

Dub Chandler, who opened the DeKalb, Texas, show in March 1955 was living in De Queen  during that summer. He remembers a show that Elvis Presley played at the Seiver County  fairground. The only other act that he remember is Jim Ed, Maxine and Bonnie Brown.  Chandler believes that the show was part of the annual county fair, making it in late  summer-early fall. According to Ernest and Gail Hackworth of Texarkana, who also remember  this show, Elvis Presley performed outdoors from the back of a flat bed truck.


In the middle  of his act, Elvis Presley broke a string - something that happened with regularity - and as he  was handling the guitar to someone off stage, the guitar dropped to the ground. Ernest  automatically flinched - he also owned a Martin Dreadnought 20 and knew how much they  cost. The Hackworths also believe that Roy Orbison may have played this particular show. A  check of the De Queen Bee from May through October 1955 turned up no mention of Elvis  Presley.

MARCH 1955

The issue of Country and Western Jamboree was the first national magazine to recognize  Elvis Presley's Sun records in a big way. This Chicago-based magazine featured a photo of  Elvis Presley, seated, with Sam Phillips and Bob Neal flanking him. Country and Western  Jamboree had polled more than five hundred  disc jockey’s to analyze Presley's popularity. "Milkcow Blues Boogie" was featured in the  magazine's "Movin' Ahead" section, and "I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine" was a top ten  pick. The magazine also mentioned the first two Sun releases, and praised Elvis Presley's  performing style.

There was an immediate impact from Country and Western Jamboree, as well as from an  article in Cowboy Songs. Soon, Bob Neal's office was flooded with requests for concert fees  and a future booking schedule. Sun Records sent promotional literature to disc jockey’s in  Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia. There was a general curiosity  about Elvis' music and, as a result of this interest, a Washington, DC, radio station  contacted Bob Neal about an interview. Although there was still no firm indication that  bookings outside the South were readily available, Neal was ecstatic over the prospect of  media coverage in the North.



This is the original U.S. Armory where Elvis Presley performed on the night of March 2, 1955.  Currently the structure is serving as the Jackson County Recycling Center. You could easily see the  vast empty hall-like interior from the street through the open bay doors. But the building still retains  its original appearance, which predates Elvis' visit by several years.

MARCH 2, 1955 WEDNESDAY

Elvis Presley played a double-header, beginning at 8:00 p.m. at the U.S. Armory in Newport,  Arkansas. Here, Elvis Presley, Betty Amos, Jimmy Work and Bob Neal entertained the crowd  for two hours.


Immediately following this show, the same group rocked the house at Porky's Rooftop Club  where bands often performed on the flat roof. This time of the year the upper area was  usually set up with tables for customers. Porky Sellers had opened the place in 1953 as an outdoor facility, but soon put a roof over it. They had one microphone, two 12'' speakers, and a 35-watt amp. The house P.A. was available for the artists. Porky was duly impressed, but felt that Elvis had to change his attitude, the singer needed more discipline and less cockiness.

These and all of Elvis' other performances during the month will be booked by Bob Neal, who  continues to push the Colonel for another Hank Snow tour.



Elvis atop the hood of his car at Cheesie Nelson' service station, Texarkana, Arkansas.


MARCH 4, 1955 FRIDAY

Elvis Presley was passing through Texarkana and stopped at Cheesie Nelson's father's service  station on the state line to have his car washed. This was something that he did every time  he was in Texarkana. He picked up the telephone and called Cheesie at home and asked him  if he wanted to go the DeKalb. Elvis Presley promising to bring him back that night. Cheesie  Nelson rode to the show with Elvis in his pink and white Ford Crown Victoria.


That evening Elvis Presley played the Gymnasium of the local High School Auditorium in  DeKalb, Texas. Opening for this show was Dub Chandler, his five-piece band and his sister,  Becky Alice, fifteen; and Lois Marie, seventeen. Other acts on the bill were Tibby Edwards,  Jeanette Hicks, Floyd Cramer and Jimmy Day from the Hayride. Nelson recalls that Elvis  Presley received $40 for the date. The show was booked by Jim LeFan of nearby  Texarkana. Chandler summed up Elvis' performance by saying, "He could wiggle out of his  clothes without touching them with his hands".


DeKalb Gymnasium, DeKalb, Texas.

STORY ABOUT DEKALB HIGH SCHOOL GYMNASIUM - Ever since disc jockey Ernest Hackworth  (a.k.a. Uncle Dudley) had interviewed Elvis for that December 1954 Texarkana show, he'd  kept his eyes and ears peeled for any decent money-making opportunities to waltz through  his neck of the woods. He liked that quiet-spoken young man, and he thought Elvis had the  correct fuel mixture to blast into orbit but just needed the right launch pad to com bust  upon.

So when the Lion's Club of DeKalb, a little town 30 minutes west of Texarkana, announced  that it sought a vehicle to dig up a little capital for their cause, Hackworth knew just what to  suggest.


How about a benefit concert? he asked them. And he knew just the perfect person  to pack the house. . . Senor Presley.


Jimmy Day (left); Scotty Moore; Elvis Presley & Bill Black, DeKalb, Texas, March 4, 1955.

As the self-designated revenue-acquirers for the town's Lion's Club, the DeKalb football team  thought the idea positively sparkled with its sheer brilliance. Many of them listened  faithfully to the Louisiana Hayride broadcasts; several of the players even caught the  January 9th New Boston show a few miles down the road. They thought that Elvis would  surely be the easiest sale in the world, and in their impromptu poll, three-quarters of the  seniors said they'd attend in a heartbeat ... and bring a date. That already added up to more  return than their last two fund raisers combined. The DeKalb football team took a vote and  announced that they endorsed the idea 100 percent. Their coach did not.


One day as various members of the team lounged around the locker room organizing the  upcoming ticket sales attack, the coach poked his head out of his office and sauntered over  to the huddle. He had made a decision, Coach told them. He didn't want his players helping  sell tickets for that sex maniac. In the silence that ensued the members looked at each other  to determine who would be the first to laugh at what could only be a bad joke. Morris  Hodgson drew the short straw.

He stood and adjusted his 6 foot 2 linebacker's frame so that the 747 wingspan he called  shoulders would clear the overhead beams. Hodgson inquired politely, I beg your pardon, sir?  (That's East Texan for "huh?") Coach repeated himself to much the same reaction.

Trained since in vitro to speak respectfully to elders, Hodgson attempted to correct his  coach's errant judgment. Elvis isn't a sex maniac, he told the coach, he's just ... modern.  Anyway, the kids love him and they'll pay to see him and that is after all, the point of a  benefit concert (...and if you weren't a closet Boone collector, you'd understand this very  elementary concept). Even though the last part of that sentence never actually left the  linebacker's mouth, the coach must have heard it telepathically, because a shouting match  ensued, followed shortly by a rush of testosterone that permeated the already saturated  locker room.

In the left corner, at his first exhibition game, weighing 230 pounds, it's an incensed  linebacker on a charitable mission. And in the other corner, returning to the ring after a ten  year Twinkie hiatus, we have a 240-pound self-righteous football coach. May the best ego  win. Ding ding.

Both men circled each other, analyzing their opponent. Hodgson feinted with a spray of  politically correct rhetoric; helping the Lions, feeding the starving orphans, that sort of  thing. Suddenly Coach jabbed with an age discrimination barb and Hodgson was forced on  the ropes flinging one of his own. Coach sucker punched with a sex-maniac insinuation, but  before the referee could break the clinch, Hodgson retaliated with a clean right hook about  middle-aged coaches and their alleged inability to recognize sex when they saw it.

Coach grabbed Hodgson (which was probably not the brightest thing to do to an angry  linebacker), and Hodgson automatically punched back. The coach flew backward and deracked  a set of barbells.

At the inquiry, in front of Principal J. D. Loggins, fighting your coach over a rock 'n roll  singer seemed much stupider in hindsight than it had during the heat of the battle. After  much discussion, the principal gave his blessing to the ticket sales, but nixed any idea of a  Hodgson/Coach rematch.

On the night of the concert, Hodgson manned the ticket table at the front door, mumbling  under his breath that for all the trauma and his near expulsion, this concert better drive in  bus loads of cash for the blankety-blank Lions, charitable or otherwise.

He didn't have long to grumble; tickets sold briskly and the house bulged with  breathingroom-only space. Perky Betty Amos, sans the Carlisles, started the evening with a  hopping tune, Scotty, Bill, and Jimmy Day pivoting to the beat behind her. After touring East  Texas with the Browns, Betty had agreed to a cameo for her old pal Elvis.  Meanwhile, Elvis surreptitiously snuck into the high school, friend Cheesie Nelson in tow.  Cheesie detached and elbowed his way through the crowd to grab a good spot for the show,  while Elvis detoured to the men's locker room, oblivious to the dislodged barbells and the  reason for it.



Elvis prepared for the show, his attention distracted by Betty Amos cranking the crowd out  on the floor. Normally he spent this portion of the evening pacing like a caged tiger, waiting  for his turn to light the room, but his reverie was broken by Willie Cox, the local shutterbug.  Toting his Argus c-3.35 millimeter camera, Willie asked Elvis if he minded a few snaps. Elvis  told him he didn't mind at all and inquired about the camera. Diverted by Willie's favorite  subject, the two spent the pre-game gab-hing about techno-gadgets, cars they'd like to own  but didn't, girls they'd like to date but couldn't (Elvis's end of the conversation fell a bit  sparse here), and sports that neither men played but wanted to. Elvis watched them and  Willie shot them.



Elvis hanging out in the dressing room, DeKalb High School, March 4, 1955.

Next door, the wall thumping ended and Betty queued her bud to make his appearance. Elvis  said his temporary alohas and exited the locker room, joining Betty on stage. Willie followed  him around for the rest of the evening, snapping pictures whenever he got a good angle,  unintentionally establishing the first

East Texas paparazzi. Unlike future photographers too numerous to mention in Elvis's career,  Willie had the class to cease and desist when Elvis waylaid his date for the evening, Jo Ann  Hawkes.

Footnote: Perhaps it should be mentioned, that although Morris Hodgson continued to tackle  through college and listen to Elvis, he never again combined the two sports.

MARCH 5, 1955 SATURDAY

Elvis Presley appeared on that portion of the "Louisiana Hayride" which was telecast by  Shreveport, Louisiana, station KWKH-TV, the local CBS affiliate. This was Elvis' first TV  performance, and he was introduced on the show by Horage Logan. (Elvis' previous  "Louisiana Hayride" shows were broadcast on radio only).

''Guest number 13. What an applause he received!'' wrote Joyce Railsback in her diary. At the Louisiana Hayride, Elvis was now a star. Even over the radio, the ovation greeting his arrival was spectacular. His set seemed to change very little, despite the Hayride's edict that performers maintain a fresh repertoire: ''Tweedlee Dee'', ''Money Honey'', and ''Shake Rattle And Roll'' were not Elvis' own records, but they had become mainstays in his concert appearances, and on the Hayride as well. This Saturday evening, though, he had added another of his Clovers favourites, and enthusiastic revved-up version of their 1954 rhythym and blues hit, ''Littrle Mama''.

MARCH 1955

When Bob Neal left Cleveland the week before, he was armed with a contact for getting a tryout for the Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts TV shows, and an endorsement from disc jockey Bill Randle that this might be an opportunity for national exposure.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

LIVE BROADCAST RECORDINGS ELVIS PRESLEY
FOR KWKH'S LOUISIANA HAYRIDE, SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA, 1954

MUNICIPAL AUDITORIUM, 705 GRAND AVENUE AND
MILAM STREET, SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA
SATURDAY MARCH 5, 1955 - VIEWING TIME TV-STATION KWKH
SESSION HOURS: 8:00PM-11:30PM
PRODUCER - HORACE LOGAN

Elvis Presley appeared on that portion of the "Louisiana Hayride" which was telecast by Shreveport, Louisiana, station KWKH-TV, the local CBS affiliate. This was Elvis' first TV performance, and he was introduced on the show by Horage Logan. Elvis' previous "Louisiana Hayride" shows were broadcast on radio only. Even over the radio, the ovation greetings his arrival was spectacular. Elvis set seemed to change very little, despite the Hayride's edict that performers maintain a fresh repertoire, ''Tweedlee Dee'', ''Money Honey'', and ''Shake Rattle And Roll'' were not Elvis' own records, but they had become mainstays in his concert repertoire, and the Hayride as well. This Saturday evening, Elvis had added another of his Clovers favourite, an enthusiastic version of their 1954 rhythm and blues hit, ''Little Mama''.

01 - "TWEEDLEE DEE" - B.M.I. - 2:14
Composer: - Winfield Scott
Publisher: - Unichappell Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Were recorded from a badly scratched, one of a kind, acetate
Recorded: - March 5, 1955
Released: - August 3, 2012
First appearance: - FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-1-14 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

02 - "MONEY HONEY" - A.S.C.A.P. - 2:16
Composer: - Jesse Stone
Publisher: - Walden Music Corporation
Matrix number: - None - Were recorded from a badly scratched, one of a kind, acetate
Recorded: - January 22, 1955
Recorded: - March 5, 1955
Released: - August 3, 2012
First appearance: - FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-3-15 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

03 - "HEARTS OF STONE" - B.M.I. - 1:36
Composer: - Eddy Ray-Rudy Jackson
Publisher: - Regent Music
Matrix number: - None - Were recorded from a badly scratched, one of a kind, acetate
Recorded: - March 5, 1955
Released: - August 3, 2012
First appearance: - FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-3-16 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

04 - "SHAKE, RATTLE AND ROLL" B.M.I. - 1:38
Composer: - Charles Calhoun
Publisher: - Campbell Conelly Corporation Limited
Matrix number: - None - Were recorded from a badly scratched, one of a kind, acetate
Recorded: - March 5, 1955
Released: - August 3, 2012
First appearance: - FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-3-17 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

05 – "LITTLE MAMA" – B.M.I. - 2:02
Composer: - Willie Carrol-Ahmet Ertegun-Carmen Taylor- Gerald Wexler
Publisher: - Chappel Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Were recorded from a badly scratched, one of a kind, acetate
Recorded: - March 5, 1955
Released: - August 3, 2012
First appearance: - FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-3-18 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

05 - "YOU'RE A HEARTBREAKER" – B.M.I. 2:05
Composer: - Charles Alvin Sallee
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Were recorded from a badly scratched, one of a kind, acetate
Recorded: - March 5, 1955
Released: - August 3, 2012
First appearance: - FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-3-19 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Elvis Presley - Vocal and Acoustic Rhythm Guitar (Martin Dreadnought 18)
Scotty Moore - Electric Lead Guitar (Gibson ES 295)
Bill Black - Acoustic Upright Bass (Kay Maestro M-1)
Jimmy Day – Steel Guitar
Floyd Cramer - Piano

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©



Returning to Memphis, Elvis had a recording session in March 1955 for Sun Records. Johnny Bernero was brought in to play drums and augment Scotty Moore's guitar and Bill Black's bass. That night Elvis Presley recorded two full reels of "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone", a song that Stanley Kesler and Bill Taylor had written expressly for Elvis Presley. It was conceived as a country tune with a blues direction.


This original material came from two members of the Snearly Ranch Boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. Trumpeter Bill Taylor and steel guitarist Stanley Kesler worked up "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone', borrowing the melody from a Campbell's Soup advertisement.


Surviving tapes reveal that it was first conceived as a slow blues, and the group recorded it with a guitar figure lifted from the Delmore Brothers' "Blue Stay Away From Me". At some point, however, the group changed their approach and reworked the song into a medium tempo hillbilly shuffle. 

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR ELVIS PRESLEY
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN STUDIO, 706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
3 AMPEX 350 C (54L-220) TAPE RECORDERS
FOR THE TAPE DELAY ECHO (SLAPBACK)
CONNECT TO FIVE INPUT RCA MONAURAL MIXING CONSOLE 76-D
WITH MULTI-SELECTOR SWITCH (SERIAL NUMBER 1011)
SUN SESSION 8: SUNDAY MARCH 6, 1955
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

This recording session most likely because the information on the tape reel of the slow version of outtakes of ''I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone'' says March 5, but Elvis was in Shreveport, Louisiana, the session took place likely on Sunday March 6. The original master (Sun 217) probably recorded later in April. 

"It was written in the style the way it came out on the original record", recalled Stanley Kesler. "They always experimented with songs, trying them at different tempos and this and that. They tried to do that in a bluesy, slowed-down style but it didn't really work, although there's one of those outtakes that Elvis sings really good. The backing wasn't that good but Elvis really puts his heart into it. There's one cut, I can't remember which one it is but it's really good".

01(1) - "I'M LEFT, YOU'RE RIGHT, SHE'S GONE" - B.M.I. - 3:00
Composer: - Stanley Kesler-Chuck "Bill" Taylor
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - SPA1-4281 – Complete Take 1 - Tape Box 6 – Slow Version
Listen as Take 7 in Session Logs.
Recorded: - March 6, 1955
Released: - June 1987
First appearance: - RCA BMG (LP) 33rpm 6414-1-R mono
THE COMPLETE SUN SESSIONS
Reissued: August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-27 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

According to Sam Phillips, ''A lot of times it was a tempo that I absolutely knew they weren't going to like, but we were in a situation where we just weren't getting anywhere, and when they came back, to the original tempo, it was like they'd hit a home run. Elvis was a little bit reluctant to lean quite as country on some things as I wanted him to. Not Nashville country, but the simplicity of a melody line. We couldn't jump on the blacks too fast, and we had to stay away from the country, and we knew we were going to be a away, away from the pop''.

The result was radically different from anything the band had done before. Plus as a brand-new song, for which Phillips owned the copyright, additional income would follow.

01(2) - "I'M LEFT, YOU'RE RIGHT, SHE'S GONE" – SLOW VERSION - B.M.I. - 2:51
Composer: - Stanley Kesler-Chuck "Bill" Taylor
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - SPA1-4282 – Complete Take 2 - Tape Box 6 – Slow Version
Listen as Take 8 in Session Logs
Recorded: -  March 6, 1955
Released: - June 1987
First appearance: - RCA BMG (LP) 33rpm 6414-1-R mono
THE COMPLETE SUN SESSIONS
Reissued: August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-28 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

01(3) - "I'M LEFT, YOU'RE RIGHT, SHE'S GONE" - B.M.I. - 2:51
Composer: - Stanley Kesler-Chuck Taylor
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - SPA1-4284 – Complete Take 3 – Tape Box 6 – Slow Version
Listen as Take 11 in Session Logs
Recorded: -  March 6, 1955
Released: - June 1987
First appearance: - RCA BMG (LP) 33rpm 6414-1-R mono
THE COMPLETE SUN SESSIONS
Reissued: August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-29 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

01(4) - "I'M LEFT, YOU'RE RIGHT, SHE'S GONE" - B.M.I. - 0:09
Composer: - Stanley Kesler-Chuck Taylor
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - SPA2-4283 – FS Take 4 – Tape Box 6 – Slow Version
Listen as Take 10 in Session Logs
Recorded: -  March 6, 1955
Released: - June 1987
First appearance: - RCA BMG (LP) 33rpm 6414-1-R mono
THE COMPLETE SUN SESSIONS
Reissued: August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-30 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

01(5) - "I'M LEFT, YOU'RE RIGHT, SHE'S GONE" - B.M.I. - 2:40
Composer: - Stanley Kesler-Chuck Taylor
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - OPA1-4196 – Master Take 5 – Tape Box 6 - Slow Version
Recorded: -  March 6, 1955
Released: - 1974
First appearance: - Bopcat Records (LP) 33rpm LP-BP-100 mono
GOOD ROCKING TONIGHT
Reissued: August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-31 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

Reportedly, Sam Phillips first released the version above to Memphis disc jockey’s, but not to the general public. The title "My Baby Is Gone" has been on numerous bootleg releases. The original copyright title was "You're Right, I'm Left, She's Gone". An advertisement for Jimmy Rodgers Memorial Day Celebration in Meridian, Mississippi, on May 26, 1955, printed the title that way.

Steve Sholes Session Notes
Box 6
I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone
7. I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone (Slow Tempo) 2:44
8. I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone (Slow Tempo) 2:40
9. I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone (Slow Tempo) V
10. I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone (Slow Tempo) Breakdown Full Take
11. I'm Left, You're Right, She's Right (Slow Tempo) V

01(6) - "I'M LEFT, YOU'RE RIGHT, SHE'S GONE" - B.M.I. - 2:40
Composer: - Stanley Kesler-Chuck Taylor
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - SPA1-4286 – Complete Take 6 – Tape Box 6 - Slow Version
Listen as Take 12 in Session Logs
Recorded: -  March 6, 1955
Released: - June 1987
First appearance: - RCA BMG (LP) 33rpm 6414-1-R mono
THE COMPLETE SUN SESSIONS
Reissued: August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-32 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

01(7) - "I'M LEFT, YOU'RE RIGHT, SHE'S GONE" - B.M.I. - 1:35
Composer: - Stanley Kesler-Chuck Taylor
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - SPA1-4285 – Incomplete Take 7 – Tape Box 6 - Slow Version
Listen as Take 13 in Session Logs
Recorded: -  March 6, 1955
Released: - June 1987
First appearance: - RCA BMG (LP) 33rpm 6414-1-R mono
THE COMPLETE SUN SESSIONS
Reissued: August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-33 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Elvis Presley - Vocal and Acoustic Rhythm Guitar (Martin Dreadnought 18)
Scotty Moore - Electric Lead Guitar (Gibson ES 295)
Bill Black - Acoustic Upright Bass (Kay Maestro M-1)
Jimmy Lott or Johnny Bernero - Drums (Gretsch Round Badge Kit)

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©



ELBERT ''JOHNNY'' BERNERO - A Sun studio staff drummer between late 1955 and the close  of 1958, and drummer for the Dean Beard Band who played on some of Elvis Presley's Sun  cuts, although he was never credited, Bernero set a high standard for drummers.

Born in  Memphis on September 22, 1931 and started playing drums in 1951 when he joined Smokey  Joe Baugh at the 81 Club on Highway 51 in Memphis. He later spent some time with the Jack  Hale big band before he became the session drummer at Sun Records in 1955.

Bernero  worked across the street from Sun at the Memphis Light, Gas and Water Company.


He had an arrangement with his superintendent that he could go across to Sun to cut  sessions. In this way, he met Elvis Presley in late 1954 and early 1955. Johnny Bernero  played drums for Elvis Presley on "I Forgot To Remember To Forget", "Tryin' To Get To You",  "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone", "Mystery Train" and "When It Rains It Really Pours".

"I was playing with Freddie Burns' band at the old 81 Club on North Second Street at the  time", said Johnny Bernero. "I had a very understanding boss at Memphis, Gas & Water  Division. If Sam needed me for a session, he would call and I could take off and go down  there. I would come back and work longer that day, or another day, to make up for the  time lost at work. Elvis paid me fifty dollars a session, which was far more than scale. One  night we were recording a good little while. Elvis went into the control booth and talked  with Sam a good half-hour. He came out and told me, 'Johnny, we're not going to be able  to finish this session'. Still, he paid me the fifty dollars. He was very nice". The session  work at Sun became so regular, once or twice a week, that Johnny Bernero left his drums  permanently set up in the Sun studio.

By 1956, Bernero was becoming enmeshed in the rockabilly revolution. He had played on  the early sides by Warren Smith and joined Warren for many of his gigs, especially those  within driving distance of Memphis. Early in the year Elvis Presley called him at the  Memphis Light, Gas and Water and asked him to come on the road. Bernero thought it over  and then refused. He had five children and realised that life on the road was no life for a  married man.

By 1956 Bernero had ditched the ever-unreliable Smokey Joe and replaced him with  Thurman "Ted" Enlow for Sun Records and such tunes as "Bernero's Boogie", "Rockin' At The  Woodchoppers Ball", and "Cotton Pickin' Boogie" were evidence of Bernero's talent.  Bernero who recorded for Memphis' Fox Records in 1955 and had a minor hit with "Rakin'  And Scrapin'" for Atlantic Records in 1956.

Johnny Bernero was not a rock and roll drummer, his roots were too deeply implanted in  western swing. Bernero started working with Carl McVoy at the VFW Club. They worked as  a duo until Ace Cannon came in on tenor sax. By this point, Johnny Bernero had stopped  working at Sun and was on the payroll at Hi Records. He arranged with Joe Cuoghi that Ace  Cannon be transferred from Fernwood to Hi Records, and Bernero and Cannon agreed to  go into the music business together as partners. Together they wrote "Tuff". It was  released under Cannon's name but the partnership ended in some acrimony when the first  royalty cheque rolled in.

"Ace said, 'John, you know this is the first chance I've had to make any real money and I just  can't see giving half of it away'. My countenance fell. Anyway, after some legal proceedings, I  ended up getting 30% of what I was entitled to".

After that embittering experience, Johnny Bernero soon quit the music business and even  sold his drums, and became an insurance salesman. For many years listeners wondered  who the uncredited drummer was on some of Elvis Presley's Sun recordings, falsely  believing that it was D.J. Fontana. But Fontana has stated that he never played on any Sun  record. Johnny Bernero was the session drummer that Sam Phillips used when he wanted  to change his musical direction. However, he left behind a small but wonderful legacy of  music rooted in his first love, western swing. Johnny Bernero died of respiratory failure  on July 28, 2001 in Fulton, Kentucky, at the age of 69. He is burial at the Water Valley  Graves County, Kentucky.



MARCH 6, 1955 SUNDAY

Elvis Presley was booked on a five-day tour with Jimmy Work, Whitey "Duke Of Paducah"  Ford, and Betty Amos. The tour swung through Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana,  and Missouri.

MARCH 7, 1955 MONDAY

Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black are now the headliners on a show at the City  Auditorium in Paris, Tennessee, made up for the most part of lesser-known artists like Betty  Amos, Onie Wheeler, and Jimmy Work.



From left: Tabby Ann Blackburn, Elvis Presley, and Kyrene Fennel backstage at the Catholic Club, St. Helena, Arkansas, March 8, 1955.

MARCH 8, 19555 TUESDAY

Elvis Presley, Betty Amos, and Jimmy Work returned to Arkansas, to play an 8:00 p.m. date  in St. Helena at the Catholic Club Auditorium.


MARCH 9, 1955 WEDNESDAY

At 8:00 p.m., Elvis Presley and Onie Wheeler, along with the two entertainers from the previous day, played  the Armory in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Tickets were a minimal 75-cents for adults and 50-cents for children.  Elvis Presley gave a wild show and the crowd would not let him leave the stage until he broke every string  on his guitar.

In a letter to his associate, Tom Diskin, Colonel Tom Parker complains once again that they can't waste time  and money on Presley without being assured of exclusive control on certain dates and places. He does not  want Bob Neal or any other promoter benefit from the effort and expense he puts into opening up new  territy for the young Presley.


Elvis Presley, Bob Neal, Jimmy Work & Onie Wheeler, March 9, 1955.

ONIE WHEELER - Elvis Presley first met Onie Wheeler in Sikeston the previous January. Wheeler, a  Sikeston native, toured with Elvis constantly from March to June 1955. He began working on KWOC radio  in 1945, and by 1955 he was recording hot country in a rock and roll vein "Onie's Bop" for Columbia  Records while still singing on his own radio show on KWOC. Beginning in 1957, he had several sessions  for Sun Records with one single "Jump Right Out Of This Jukebox"/"Tell 'Em Off" (SUN 313), released in  February 1959. In May 25, 1983, Wheeler died suddenly while performing on stage with the Grand Ole  Opry in Nashville, Tennessee.




According to Karen Wheeler, daughter of Onie Wheelers recalls, ''I met Elvis when I was about six years old. We  were living in Sikeston, Missouri at the time, and my daddy and Elvis were going to be performing at the Sikeston  Armory (more likely Poplar Bluff because there is no supporting evidence for the show that time in Sikeston).  Daddy wanted mama to see Elvis and his shows, because he thought that Elvis was one of the best entertainers  there was. He couldn't stop bragging about Elvis to mama. So finally, mama said she would come. I was sitting in  the audience with her, and when Elvis came out on stage, I asked mama what was wrong with him''.



The Wheeler family, from left: Bette Jean, Karen, Danny, and Onie.

''Because he  looked all sleepy-eyed and acted strange compared to other entertainers that I had seen before. My mama said,  'He's just an old smart alec'!  Somebody that knew Elvis and my daddy went back and told them what my mama had said. This hurt Elvis so bad  because he really thought a lot of my daddy and wanted to make a good impression on daddy's family. So when  we came backstage to meet Elvis, the first thing he did was pick me up and tell me how cute I was. Then he  focused on mama. They ended up sitting on a bench and talking for a long time. Elvis was determined that my  mama was going to like him. And she absolutely loved him after that. Elvis could do not wrong in my mama's  eyes'', Karen said.



Left to right; Gene Smith (Elvis' cousin), Betty Amos, Helen Hobgood (Bob Neal's wife), Scotty Moore, Charles Neal, Elvis Presley, and Bob Neal. Standing: Onie Wheeler and Bill Black, Clarksdale, Mississippi, March 10, 1955.


MARCH 10, 1955 THURSDAY

Elvis Presley performed in Clarksdale, Mississippi, at the City Auditorium. His 8:00 p.m. show  featured humour from Bob Neal and songs from Jimmy Work and Betty Amos. The show's  emcee was "Fiddling" Bill Cantrell, a local favorite. Adults could get in for $1.00 and $75- cents while children were admitted for 50-cents.


According to Shirley Fleming, ''We had been out playing tennis. Here comes the pinkest car I had ever seen. My friend Carol Black, she was a good-looking girl and a flirt, said, 'That's Elvis', and the race started. We caught them and they pulled over. After the show, Elvis went outside to talk to the girls. I was the chaperone, Carol was the one Elvis fancied, and I had the Brownie camera, and I wasn't really an Elvis fan. Scotty and Bill wanted to get home. We talked about the Hayride and Scotty said, 'It sure is a long way for what you made''.

Harry Lalcheim cables the Colonel that he has set up the Godfrey audition for March 23, and  should Elvis win first place, he will appear on Godfrey's morning TV show for the following  three weeks.

MARCH 11, 1955 FRIDAY

Elvis Presley and the band performed at Jimmie Thompson' Arena, Alexandria, Louisiana.

MARCH 12, 1955 SATURDAY

Elvis Presley once again appeared on the "Louisiana Hayride" in Shreveport, Louisiana.

MARCH 13, 1955 SUNDAY

Elvis for private reasons in Memphis.

MARCH 14, 1955 MONDAY

Elvis Presley made an appearance on the "Town And Country Jubilee" in Washington, DC.,  hosted by Jimmie Dean and broadcast over WMAL-TV (the local ABC-TV affiliate) at 5:30 p.m.  Elvis was interviewed by Dean, but he did not perform. Elvis Presley discussed rockabilly  music with his host. There was enough interest in Presley's future to attract New York  television producers.

Colonel Tom Parker agrees to pay for the trip to the Arthur Godfrey show after securing  Neal's promise to protect the Colonel's interest in any bookings that may arise from the  tryout.

After the show, Elvis Presley took a train to New York and auditioned for the "Arthur Godfrey  Talents Scouts" TV show.




Tom Diskin write to Harry Kalcheim, about Godfrey show, March 15, 1955.


MARCH 15, 1955 TUESDAY

Unbeknownst to Elvis Presley, an invitation from Colonel Tom Parker to join the Hank Snow  Jamboree as a regular was just a couple of months away, but, in the confusion surrounding  his future, Elvis Presley reluctantly agreed to sign one-year contract with Bob Neal on this  date, giving Neal a 15 percent commission and subject to renewal in March 1956, when, if  necessary, it could be revised again.


There was a profitable concert market opening to Elvis Presley, so it was financially  expedient to buy out some of his appearances on the "Louisiana Hayride" to ensure his  availability. It cost Elvis Presley 4400 a month to be freed from his regular Saturday night  "Hayride" appearances, but the expense gave him the option of accepting more lucrative  dates.

Elvis Presley was now approaching a concert market that quaranteed $500 to $750 a  night, and there were plenty of good bookings available at that price. Despite a friendly  agreement which freed film from the "Hayride", Elvis Presley told Horace Logan that he  still wanted to appear from time to time. Logan realized that Elvis Presley had roots in the  "Hayride", and he urged the youngster to come onto the show whenever possible.

Elvis signs an amended one-year àgreement with Bob Neal from which Neal receive a 15  percent management fee.



MARCH 16, 1955 WEDNESDAY

Most likely Elvis Presley play a ''small time Grand Ole Opry'', type show at Ruffin Theater,  Covington, Tennessee, promoted by theater owner Jack Sallee, writer of ''You're A  Heartbreaker'', and the local radio station. It seems likely that he returns to the area to play  the Tipton County Fair later in the year.


Sometime in March, Bill Black wrecks the Lincoln under a hay truck in Arkansas. Elvis borrows  the family car from Jim Ed and Maxine Brown for a brief Texas tour that may have included  dates not yet identified.


Elvis Presley backstage at Dessau Hall, Austin, Texas, March 17, 1955

MARCH 17, 1955 THURSDAY

Although Ray Campi played a style of music popularized by Elvis Presley, he didn’t go to any  of the three shows Presley played in town in Austin, Texas at The Dessau Hall, the  Sportcenter and the Skyline City Coliseum where Elvis opened for Hank Snow. Also featured on the show the local musicians Doug and The Fallstaf Swing Boys.

''If you weren’t Elvis, you didn’t like Elvis, at the time'', Campi said. The Memphis Cat had  everything that eluded Campi, most notably fame, screaming girls and a fleet of brand new  Cadillacs.

But the first time Elvis Presley played in the area, at Dessau Hall on March 17, 1955, only  about 75 people showed up. The only disc jockey in town that had been playing his records  was KVET’s rhythm and blues jock Lavada Durst, so most people thought he was black. And  not many white kids went to black shows back then.

Another resident of Austin, booking agent D.R. Price said, ''About 100 people showed up for the weekend performance and that in a hall that seated 700. He didn't fill it uplike Bob Wills did. The only problem we had was getting him on the bandstand. They drove in and sat out front 'till time to go on. I went outside to see what was the matter, and he was chewing his fingernails. Another problem was that most of the folks had come out to dance and just weren't ready for Elvis. So after Elvis was through, his band stayed on the stand and ran through a few dance numbers to please the crowd.

Leon Carter, an musician said, ''The crowd was thin; real bad. They didn't get no publicity on him. Nobody knew him. We had about sixteen people. One older couple came in. They came up close to the bandstand as he was performing, and I heard the lady say to her husband, ''That kid is bogus. I'm leaving''.



Texas A&M G. Rolle White Coliseum, College Station, Texas.

MARCH 19, 1955 SATURDAY

After a disappointing turned at Austin's Dessau Hall two nights before, the Elvis band cast  their sights on College Station, Texas, home of Texas A&M University, and future Heisman  Trophy winner John David Crow, who had just joined the football team that year and  looked rather promising.

Elvis arrived at the G. Rolle White Coliseum on the Texas A&M campus in overdrive. Elvis  and his band members promised a three-concert deal to Biff Collie, the prominent disc  jockey in Houston who gave the group one of their first breaks.


Eagles Hall expected them  at 8 p.m., and Bryan/College Station lay northeast of Houston about one hour's drive for  normal people. Elvis, Scotty and Bill could do it in thirty-five minutes after the farmers  relinquished the two-lane roads to the speed-aholics for the evening.

Elvis asked the promotors if they minded if he and the band played early, much to the  audible groans of the other singers. Billed fourth or not, no one wanted perform after Elvis  on these traveling Hayride shows. The audience often left after his stint. Perhaps they  didn't want the mood spoiled. Increasingly, no one wanted to perform Elvis either. Ever  since Hawkins, Elvis attracted a large contingency of teenagers that followed him to any  concert near them.

Unfortunately, they didn't hide their impatience very well and rustled rudely while the  earlier singers tried to play.


Elvis Presley live on stage, G. Rolle White Coliseum, College Station, Texas, 1955.

Then tonight, Elvis Presley pulled off a double-header. He opened the evening at 8:00 p.m.  in College Station, Texas, at the G. Rolle White Coliseum on the campus of Texas A&M  University. Headlining were Flatt and Scruggs, Little Jimmy Dickens, Archie Campbell, Wilma  Burgess, and Debbie Day. Elvis Presley came on early in the show.

After he completed his performance, he speed down State Route 6, eighty miles to  Houston. He closed the show at the Cooks Hoedown Eagle's Hall on the "Grand Prize  Saturday Night Jamboree", which was broadcast over KPRC, 950 AM. The show ran from  8:00 to 11:00 p.m.


Tommy Sands was the opening act, and, in recalling how Elvis Presley  performed, Tommy Sands felt that he appeared to have something to prove. "I could see a  drive in Elvis Presley that most of us didn't have", Sands remembered. "He knew what he  wanted and went after it". Elvis Presley pulled out all the stops, and the audience loved  the show.

Appearing with Elvis Presley and Tommy Sands that night were, the Dixie Drifters, the Brown  Brothers and Sonny Burns, among others. Normally a Saturday night radio show on KNUZ, it  was occasionally simulcast on television.


THE COOKS HOEDOWN RECORDINGS - The only notation on the tape to indicate a time or  place of the recording was the announcer introducing Presley as being in Houston, Texas.  The announcer was later discovered to be Bob Winsett Hunter, now living in Memphis,  Tennessee, who was working at KPRC radio in 1954 and 1955.

It was also established that  only two musicians were playing with Elvis Presley on the recording, indicating a time  before D.J. Fontana permanently joined the group as the drummer. Scotty Moore, the  original guitarist with Elvis, was contacted for affirmation of his appearance on the tape.  That was the beginning of hours of discovery of here to unknown facts about the first year  in the dynamic career of the three young men from Memphis.


Scotty Moore tells the story  on this recording of what it was like, how they survived weeks of playing and hoping  without pay, what the audience reaction was to this phenomena, how the first record was  made, how the style of music was born, and much more. The photographs appearing in the  booklet are from collections of Scotty Moore, and his former wife Bobbie Moore. Bill  Collie, Nashville, Tennessee, one of the country music world's best known voices and  strongest supporters, contributed immeasurably by recalling his part in the bookings of the  group in the Houston area and as one of the first country disc jockey’s in the Nation to  play the Sun recordings of Elvis Presley. Fate was also kind in providing the service of  Stanley Kesler, author of "I Forgot To Remember To Forget" and "You're Right, I'm Left,  She's Gone" as producer-engineer, and to assist in the research. Reprints of newspapers  ads and stories courtesy of the Houston Post, The Houston Chronicle, and Scripts-Howard  Newspaper, Incorporated.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

LIVE BROADCAST RECORDINGS ELVIS PRESLEY
FOR KGRY RADIO GRAND PRICE JAMBOREE 1955

COOKS HOEDOWN EAGLE'S HALL, HOUSTON, TEXAS
LIVE RECORDING 8:00-11:00PM SATURDAY MARCH 19, 1955
REISSUE PRODUCERS - STANLEY KESLER AND BILL HEFFERMAN
RECORDING ENGINEERS - STANLEY KESLER & DISCJOCKEY HOOT GIBSON
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS - GOLDEN EDITION LIMITED

Elvis Presly and his band arrived late and played shortly after midnight.


The producers said to be performances from three shows recorded in March. The tapes with the remaining songs from these shows have been destroyed. The recordings were officially released by the United Kingdom record company Virgin in 1979, after having circulated on bootlegs for some time. Elvis Presley appeared in Houston, Texas, at the Eagle's Hall for the "Grand Prize Jamboree". The show was broadcast simultaneously over KPRC-TV and KNUZ radio. Also on the bill were Hoot Gibson (not the film star, but a discjockey on KGNY, Cary, Indiana), Sonny Burns, the Brown Brothers, Tommy Sands, James O'Gwynn, Coye Wilcox, the Dixie Drifters, Ernie Hunter, and Herbie Remington. The show ran from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. The April 2nd issue of Billboard mentioned that Elvis Presley may have had other dates in the Houston area.


01 - "GOOD ROCKIN' TONIGHT" - B.M.I. - 1:49
Composer: - Roy Brown
Publisher: - Fort Knox Music Incorporated - Blue Ridge Music
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - March 19, 1955
Released: - 1979
First appearance: - Virgin Records (LP) 33rpm KING 1 mono
THE FIRST YEARS
Reissued: August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-3-20 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955


02 - "BABY LET'S PLAY HOUSE" - B.M.I. - 2:14
Composer: - Arthur Gunter
Publisher: - Fort Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - March 19, 1955
Released: - 1979
First appearance: - Virgin Records (LP) 33rpm KING 1 mono
THE FIRST YEARS
Reissued: August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-3-21 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

''Baby Let's Play House'' probably from a different performance the same week.

03 - "BLUE MOON OF KENTUCKY" - B.M.I. - 1:26
Composer: - William Smith "Bill" Monroe
Publisher: - Peer International Corporation
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - March 19, 1955
Released: - 1979
First appearance: - Virgin Records (LP) 33rpm KING 1 mono
THE FIRST YEARS
Reissued: August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-3-22 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

04 - "I GOT A WOMAN" - B.M.I. - 2:21
Composer: - Ray Charles-Renald Richard
Publisher: - Progressive Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - March 19, 1955
Released: - 1979
First appearance: - Virgin Records (LP) 33rpm KING 1 mono
THE FIRST YEARS
Reissued: August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-3-23 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

05 - "THAT'S ALL RIGHT" - B.M.I. - 1:30
Composer: - Arthur Crudup
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - March 19, 1955
Released: - 1979
First appearance: - Virgin Records (LP) 33rpm KING 1 mono
THE FIRST YEARS
Reissued: August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-3-24 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

06 - "SCOTTY MOORE TELLS THE STORY OF THE FIRST YEAR" - B.M.I. - 21:13
Released: - 1979
First appearance: - Virgin Records (LP) 33rpm KING 1 mono
THE FIRST YEARS
Reissued: - 1983 RCA (LP) 33rpm PL-10504 mono
THE FIRST YEARS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Elvis Presley - Vocal and Acoustic Rhythm Guitar (Martin Dreadnought 18)
Scotty Moore - Electric Lead Guitar (Gibson ES 295)
Bill Black - Acoustic Upright Bass (Kay Maestro M-1)
Dominic Joseph Fontana - Drums (Gretsch Round Badge Kit)




The five songs by Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, Bill Black, and D.J. Fontana contained on this recording were from a live appearance at Eagle's Hall, Houston, Texas, March 19, 1955. It took months of investigation, and scores of interviews to uncover sufficient information and documentation to establish that as fact. Twentythree years after a whirlwind career in which myth and fact often were one and the same, memories of the living are clouded with the dust of time, and the dead offer only that which the living can perceive. The tape recording of this performance by the group did believed to be the first concert ever recorded.





© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


THRU THE KALEIDOSCOPE – Like Alice in Wonderland, it all appeared to have inverse logic.  The thing that were supposed to make sense were becoming obsolete or extinct, and the  thing that seemed absolutely senseless found huge acceptance in a world hone mad with  matter, money and morals. One hundred sixty-five million John Q Publics living in the United  States in 1954 had adopted the personality of the Mad Hatter Hare in Lewis Carrol's famous  story, in a hurry to get to a very important place. They didn't know where, they just knew it  was someplace else. James Dean had struck they key note in "Rebel Without A Cause", only  to meet with an early demise in a collision with one of nature's more stable creations.  Senator Joseph McCarthney had a cause that founds its way into 26 million American homes  via television, that marvellous new wonder in black and white.


In bringing about the demise  of McCarthney a nation was exposed to its divisions. The United States Supreme Court in the  landmark case of Brown VS. The United States ruled that "separate but equal" was no longer  acceptable to the Court's interpretation of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.  Immediate racial de-segregation of the nation's public schools was ordered and the long,  sordid story of implementation began.

Eddie Fisher, a popular singer of the moment, left America's Sweetheart, Debbie  Reynold's, for the world's most glamorous woman, Elizabeth Taylor. We were building  bomb shelters in our basements, backyards and office buildings while the scientist  exploded the second Hydrogen Bomp in the Bikini atoll. The result was a new fashion in  swim attire named for the de-nuded island. In a matter of days, Dr. Enrico Fermi, Italian  physicist, who had spear-headed the development of the original Atomic Bomp, died of  cancer, and the nation's first Atomic submarine Nautilus, was launched at Groton,  Connecticut. The French capitulated to the Communist Vietmin in Indochina, thereby  clearing the way for the establishment of North Vietnam. Jonas Salk inoculated nine  hundred thousands school children with anti-poliomyelitis vaccine. The TV moguls  cancelled Sid Ceasar's highly successful "Show Of Shows", and brought us the monotone,  cryptic dialogue of the Los Angeles cop Jack Wedd's Dragnet. This was all in 1954, and, if  that wasn't enough to made a Phi Betta Kappa key look like a pass to the local Play Boy  Club, we learned to launch at war as we watched John Patrick's play "Teahouse Of The  August Moon", saw brilliance in Jack Kerouac's dissertation on gasoline pumps in his essay,  "On The Road", and enjoyed watching Betty Furness make love to a Westinghouse  refrigerator each week on Playhouse 90.

These were the signs of the time. It is small wonder then that when Scotty Moore met Elvis  Presley for the first time in mid-1954, neither gave a second thought to the illogical  coupling of "race" music and Hillbilly songs. Perhaps Bill Black with his genius for comedy  was the only one of the three to see humour of it all. It was quite one thing to get  together and amuse themselves with their little joke, but it was something else to  entertain the megalomania of record producer Sam Phillips and assume that here was the  new music of the nation. Ah, but as I said this was 1954, and nobody knew where they  were going; only that they were in a hurry to get there. It was as if the messenger was far  more important than the message. And so he was. Message came later. For now it was  show-time, and the world was treated to one of the greatest shows of all time.

Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black took their thing to the world on Phillips' Sun  Recordings of "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" and "That's All Right", and the world took to the  new music like Alice at the Queen's tea party. They were praised, cursed, adored, banned,  and generally regarded as responsible for everything that was happening in the nation,  good and bad. Here was the most inventive creation to come to the recording medium  since the hole in the center of the label. More than the records, though, it was the  personal appearance, the real live see him in person thing, that blew people's minds. How  it all started, and where it began are the focal points of this recording. What it begot is  well known history by now. For the first time you may hear the overture to one helluva  show.  After a year of pain-staking research of one years in the lives of a number of my friends,  both present and past, without whom there would never have been a story to tell, here  Ladies and Gentlement is "The First Year".

Liner notes by Bill Hefferman


MARCH 20, 1955 SUNDAY

According to a brief mention in Billboard, April 2, 1955, Elvis Presley may have been in the  Houston area for several days playing other shows booked by Biff Collie and Jack Starness,  Jr. No doubt two of these appearances were at Magnolia Gardens this afternoon and at  Cook's Hoedown Club, Houston, Texas, in the evening.

In an interview with Biff Collie, Elvis Presley complained about getting rest on the road.  Collie ask, "I known the problem on these tours is getting enough rest to go on the stage.  How do you manage to get enough rest". Elvis said, "Well, I don't. In fact, don't any of us  get much rest. It's a lot of work when you do three shows a day. We do four shows  sometimes". Collie ask, "So you just have to catch it when you can?". Elvis said, "That's  right. Then usually, when it's all over with, there's a lot of people around and, well, you  just don't get much rest". And Collie ask, "Between towns, you have to climb in the sack  somewhere to rest awhile". Elvis said, "That's right. We average about four to five hours  (of sleep) a night".

MARCH 21, 1955 MONDAY

According to Sally Reese resident of Parkin says, that Elvis Presley performed at the Parkin High School in Parkin, Arkansas. ''I sat on the front row. Remember he had on either pink pants and a chartreuse jacket or chartreuse pants and a pink jacket. They didn't go together, they were so bright. And I remember I screamed and yelled, like everybody else. I was the first one on the stage to get his autograph. My father was at the show. He sat at the back of the auditorium, but unlike some other parents it didn't disturb him. The suit was satin! We stormed that stage. It affected you that way. I had never experienced anything like that. It was fantastic''.


MARCH 22 / 23, 1955 TUESDAY / WEDNESDAY

Elvis Presley travelled for the first time in an airplane to New York City to audition for  "Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts" TV show on the CBS building on 49 East, 52nd Street. His  performance did not impress the producers, and Elvis was not accepted for the show. The  Arthur Godfrey talent coordinators were note accustomed to spending much time with  new acts. They watched Elvis Presley perform and quickly rejected him. Nervous and  erratic, Elvis Presley had made an unfavourable impression. Godfrey's talent coordinator  told Elvis Presley that he was just not suited for national television. Much like the initial  response at "Grand Ole Opry", Godfrey's program director made fun of Elvis' music.


The  executives who auditioned new acts were heavily influenced by Frank Sinatra, Perry  Como, Nat King Cole, and Frankie Lee. If a singer didn't have the vocal affectations and  stylings of pop crooners like these, it was difficult to secure a spot on the Godfrey shows.

"We went up there and didn't pass the audition", recalled Scotty Moore. "I don't remember  it as such. We didn't know enough about the showbiz to know what was goin' on. It was  somethin' Bob Neal had set up, and we were in awe of going to New York and seeing the  big city".

While in New York, Elvis is reported to have gone to Harlem to see Bo Diddley perform at  the Apollo Theatre. Also in mid-March, Elvis Presley stopped his regular weekly  appearances on the "Louisiana Hayride" to concentrate on spreading his popularity outside  of the South and Southwest. However, since his contract with the "Hayride" until October  1955, it cost $400 a week to get him out of a contract which only paid him eighteen  dollars a show.

"I don't remember Elvis seeing Bo Didley", recalled Scotty Moore, "he may have. Bill and I  didn't go, but Bob Neal might have taken him over there".

When Bob Neal arrived at the airport, Elvis and his parents were already there.  According to Bob Neal, ''I doubt that he had slept much, but he was literally bubbling with excitement. Freshly scrubbed and dressed in his best, his eyes were dancing with exhilaration, and the famous one-sided grin seemed to light up the drab old airport. 'Is everything all ready, Mr. Neal'? I assured him that we were all ready to go, tickets in hand, and that he would enjoy flying. It was his first flight, and there was more than a little nervous apprehension in his expression. There was a jolly roar from the building entrance as Black came in carrying the old stand-up bass fiddle under one arm and a small suitcase in the other hand. Scotty followed with his guitar, amp, and other personal effects in tow. Almost immediately we were faced with our first problem. 'Sir, you'll have to check that instrument as baggage', the attendant said, indicating the bass fiddle. 'What'! Bill screamed. 'No Sir, no way I'm gonna check this instrument. Why? It'd probably get all messed up. I gotta carry it with me'. After a flurry of give and take and quoting regulations, Elvis nervously cleared his throat and spoke to the counter man. 'Sir, my name is Elvis Presley. We are goin' to New York for the Arthur Godfrey program, and we just gotta have the bass fiddle 'cause it's part of the show. I sure would appreciate it if you could let us carry it with us'.

The attended happened to like Elvis' records, and an autograph was exchanged for some airline flexibility, eventually placing the bass fiddle in the seat next to Bill all buckled up With a hug to his father, and a tearful goodbye to his mother, Elvis was on his way to New York. They checked into an inexpensive but clean hotel with the smallest double rooms Neal had ever seen. He and Elvis shared one room, Scotty and Bill, and the bass fiddle had the room next door. After freshening up, Neal took them all out to the sights in the fading light of the early evening.

''A short cab ride took us to the studios for the Godfrey auditions, says Bob Neal, ''Elvis and company stood quietly, with only an occasional chuckle, as I told the receptionist who we were. She looked over her list of appointments and told us to find a seat until we were called. There were several equally nervous acts sitting and waiting their turn, all occasionally glancing around the room at the others waiting, wondering what talents they might have''.

After about forty-five minutes, the long-awaited call came, and Elvis, Scotty, and Bill carried their instruments through the door. I followed and watched as technicians helped them arrange equipment and make brief voice tests for the microphones. Then, an impatient female voice came through the talkback speakers: 'All right, let's go. We have a lot of people waiting'.

''Elvis nodded at Bill and Scotty, and the studio began to rock with the familiar beat of ''That's All Right'', at first with slight restraint, and then, as the stage fright faded, with an all out performance of the trio. As the song ended, there was unearthly silence in the studio with no applause to punctuate the ending. Then the unseen voice said: 'Okay. Got another one'? This time it was ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'', and Presley warmed to the task with some of the moderate gyrations he made famous and a hint of the one-sided smile that became so well known. Though there was no live audience to watch him, Elvis gave it everything he had. Again, then quiet, and, 'Let's have one more'. Now the tempo became electric, Bill Black swinging back and forth as he slapped the bass with Scotty, no trace of emotion, his eyes closed tight to the beat of ''Baby Let's Play House''. I could see through the window of the dimly lit control room and could not help noticing that some of the shadowy figures behind the glass were swaying with the excitement of the rhythm and I suddenly had a feeling that Elvis really had their attention, maybe he would make it. Elvis seemed pleased with the overall performance: 'I reckon we just have to wait to hear from them, won't we'? 'I'm afraid that's all we can do now', I said. The call never came''.




ARTHUR GODFREY'S TALENT SCOUTS CBS-TV SERIES (1948-1958) - hosted by Arthur  Godfrey, which had been created by Irving Mansfield, the onetime husband of author  Jacqueline Susann. Elvis Presley and the Blue Moon Boys (Scotty Moore and Bill Black)  went to New York City in March 1955 to audition for "Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scout". They  were turned down. At nearly the same time, Pat Boone auditioned for the show and won  first place. He later became a regular on Godfrey's other TV series, "Arthur Godfrey and  His Friends". Buddy Holly and the Crickets win first place on the show in 1956, his  recording of "A Rose And A Baby Rith" Colonial 420 and ABC Paramount 9725) was released.  The song reached number 6 on the charts.


Other artists who made their TV debuts on  "Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts" included Steve Lawrence, Connie Francis, Jimmy Rodgers,  Tony Bennett, Guy Mitchell, Rosemary Clooney, the Chordettes, Carmel Quin, and Patsy  Cline, who made her debut in 1957 singing "Dig A Little Deeper". In 1954 the Foggy River  Boys, with lead singer Charlie Franklin Hodge, also won on the program. Elvis recalled  watching that particular episode.


Scotty Moore, Elvis Presley, Dermott-McGehee announcer Doug Ward, Bill Black, and state trooper Kenneth McKee at the Tin City Truck Stop and Restaurant in Dermott, Arkansas, March 25, 1955.

MARCH 24, 1955 THURSDAY

Elvis Presley perform at the T.A. Futrell High School Auditorium in Marianna, Arkansas. Also on the bill Bud Deckerman and Onie Wheeler. Show starts at 8:00 p.m.. Admission is 50c and $1:00.

Donna Webb remembers going to the show at the T.A. Futrell High School in Marianna. Donna and her friends had heard about Elvis on the Red, Hot and Blue show from Memphis when the first record came out.

''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'' was the title that stuck. She and her girlfriends would take the train, coming from Helena, stopping at the depot in Marianna, and ride up to Memphis to buy Elvis' records there. Some of the girls knew Basil Scaife (aka Cecil Scaife), a disc jockey at the radio station in Helena. Cecil arranged the show and got front row seats for the girls. Elvis arrived in his pink Cadillac wearing a navy blue suit with shirt unbuttoned. There was a decent crows, and Elvis dedicated songs to each of the girls. He sang, ''I Got A Woman'' to Donna. The next night there was a show in Dermott, but Donna's mother wouldn't give her permission to go.

According to Wilson Kell, ''I didn't know who Elvis Presley was. I was a football coach. The high school principal said, 'Could you come to the school tonight, and lock up for a singer who's gonna come'? So I went, and locked up, and let everybody in, and locked up afterwards. When it was over, I was ready to go home. There were a lot of people up on the stage with him. It was a combination of a gym and an auditorium and had a stage at one end. I waited for about 15 to 20 minutes, so they just kept standing there talking, so finally I said, 'Look, I'm going to lock up and go home. If you want to talk anymore, I would appreciate it if you would all go outside''.

MARCH 25, 1955 FRIDAY

Elvis Presley and the band perform at Dermott High School in Dermott, Arkansas. The show was sponsored by the Senior Class and started at 7:30 p.m. Admission: adults 75 cents, and children 50 cents.

Lonnie Strange remember, ''In 1955, my grandfather, Kenneth McKee (I called him Gengan), was an Arkansas State Trooper stationed in Dumas. A local man named O.T. Coley and his wife ran a truck stop and restaurant in Dermott called the Twin City Diner. It was a place to sit, visit, and drink coffee with local people, which is something my grandfather did very well. He was 27 years old when he made the acquaintance of three young men on a journey to make their marks on the world. They were on their way to be on the Louisiana Hayride, a radio show based out of Shreveport, Louisiana. My grandfather visited with them on a fairly regular basis, and on this particular day, a picture was taken of them drinking coffee. My grandfather, dressed in his state trooper uniform, had his picture made with Bill Black, Scotty Moore, and Elvis Presley, who was holding my grandfather's revolver. Gengan was always very proud of this picture, and he could say that he knew Elvis and the Blue Moon Boys before they were really famous. We've had the picture hanging in our house for years. I asked about it when I was a little girl, and he said, 'Yes, Elvis did have blue suede shoes on''. 

Pat Scavo says, ''The first time we heard it, the rhythm and blues sound, was from the station between Dermott and McGehee, and that's where we heard that Elvis would be in Dermott and give a concert. So we absolutely went down by the carload to see him perform. When we heard him on the radio, he sounded like a black man, and we were used to dancing to all the jitterbug songs. ''Honey Hush'', ''Shake Rattle And Roll'', so when we saw that he was white, we couldn't actually believe that that voice was coming out of him. All the girls screaming, and the boys were behind us fanning us with their handkerchiefs, because we were going bananas. My dad kept saying, 'A flash in the night. He will never last''. The concert was a fundraiser for the Dermott Senior Class trip and was co-ordinated by Billy Mac Hartness. Billy Mac asked us if we could take Elvis and the Blue Moon Boys to someone's house since there was no place in Dermott to wind down after the concert. So, Pat Lally said we could all go to her house in McGehee, and we did, and had to get permission from our parents to stay out late''.

According to Pat Lally, ''He came to my house for a party after the show. We were so tickled that he would come, I could just envision myself sitting right close up to him in the car, and then they put the bass fiddle down in the middle. I was on one side of the bass fiddle; he was on the other. I was crushed''. 

''My mother said I could have a few kids over to dance, but there were over a hundred, and my mother was about to have a conniption fit. She said she knew she would know when he came in the door, because all the kids would be screaming and hollering. When he hit that door, you could have heard a pin drop. Everybody was standing with their mouths open, because he was actually there. Elvis asked Pat Scavo, who was one of our best friends, where the little boy's room was, and she was so dumbfounded that he had spoken to her, that she could just point, not talk. We saved everything he touched. We made a shrine. The basketball, the cup he drank out of, the towel he used to dry his hair. He was at my house from about 10 'till 2 in the morning''.

''We couldn't get him to come up and be around the kids, he didn't know how to dance with the girls. He just didn't know how to handle it. He actually stayed back and talked to my mother all the time. He didn't have much to say to anybody, and he talked about his mother with my mother. She said he was the nicest young man. She fell in love for the second time. He asked me, at 2 o'clock in the morning, if I would show him to town. Now, McGehee had a population of 5000 people, and they roll up the sidewalk when it gets dark. So my mother told him she didn't think there would be anything to see at 2 o'clock in the morning, and he said, 'I respect your wishes, and if I had a daughter, I wouldn't let her go out with a total stranger'. That won her over right there'''.

MARCH 26, 1955 SATURDAY

Elvis Presley returned to Shreveport for an appearance on the "Louisiana Hayride" with  newcomer Al Ferrier. This item appeared in the April issue of a country music magazine:  "Faron Young is playing the Jamboree at the Circle Theater, Cleveland March 26 with Elvis  Presley, Wilburn and York Bros. and Justin Tubb filling in the rest of the month".

Sentence  syntax is a little confusing here. One might assume that Young was playing the Circle Theater  with Elvis Presley on March 26. Billboard also ran an item on the Circle Theater on February  12, 1955, and it stated "Elvis Presley set for similar stint in March".

The Hillbilly Jamboree in Cleveland was a Saturday night affair. Most shows featured only  one "headliner" along with the Jamboree regulars. Newspapers ads for the Circle Theater  indicate that Mac Wiseman, not Faron Young, headlined on March 26. The York Brothers  did play the Circle Theater on March 12 with Justin Tubb appearing there March 19. On  April 2, the headliners at the Hillbilly Jamboree were Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs.

It is doubtful if Elvis Presley was ever scheduled for the Circle Theater in March, and both  of the news stories are confusing only in light of his February 26 appearance. On Saturdays  in March 1955, Elvis Presley was scheduled to perform in Shreveport on the Louisiana  Hayride on March 5, 12, and 26, and he was in Houston on March 19 and April 2.

MARCH 27, 1955 SUNDAY

Elvis Presley performed at the Airmen's Club, Shreveport, Louisiana. Elvis Presley will be  headliner on a musical comedy stage show. Backing up with Scotty Moore and Bill Black. Elvis  expected to repeat some of his tunes at the Airmen's Club that late night, in addition to  mixing up a few country tunes with some pop and novelty numbers.

MARCH 28, 1955 MONDAY

Later that night, Elvis Presley performed at the local Big Creek High School Auditorium 8:00 p.m. in Big  Creek, Mississippi, sponsored by the senior class. Admission for this special feature will be 50 cents and 75 cents.



Elvis Presley backstage with unknown fans, Toccopola, Mississippi.

MARCH 29, 1955 TUESDAY

Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black appeared at the local High School Auditorium in  Toccopola, Mississippi. Reliable evidence has not been uncovered but according to Ed Bounds, ''Oxford is my home; real close to Toccopola. We had a little meet place on the square, the Oxford square, at the confederate monument. We'd just get together and meet, and decide what we were gonna do for the night, you know, a bunch of guys running around. I was fixing to be a senior in high school, and so were all the other guys.


We were just sitting there and up drives this pink Cadillac with a big bass fiddle strapped on top, and Elvis was driving the car, and he said, 'Can you all help us out? How do we get to Toccopola'? I had an old '48 Ford and I just said, 'Why don;t you just follow us'? Toccopola is way out in the country, and we were considered city boys. Well, we decided we were gonna buy a ticket and see the show. But they told us, to avoid trouble with the local boys, 'You'll have to go and sit on the other side''.

Bill White remember that Elvis broke his guitar strings that night. ''It was people from all around at the show. The gym was full. It was a small town, but the gym was fairly big. I was in the 11th grade, and I was president of the class. We lived about 3/4 of a mile from the school, and my whole family went, because our class was sponsoring the show. We got 40 percent and they got 60. Bob Neal was the emcee. The reason we were able to get them was because of Mrs. Taylor (teacher). One of out sponsors was Kemmons Wilson's cousin or sister, and he had some kind of connection. (Kemmons Wilson was the owner of Holiday Inn, and a friend of Sam Phillips). I remember my daddy saying, If that guy who broke the guitar strings make it in country music, then I quit'''.

The Colonel voices his concern to Bob Neal once again about Sun Records. It is very difficult,   he says, to interest promoters outside of the small range of Sun's distribution in the young  singer. He asks Neal to find out from Sam Phillips where the records are selling so that he  can seek out promoters in those areas.


MARCH 30, 1955 WEDNESDAY

At 8:00 p.m., Elvis Presley, Betty Amos and Onie Wheeler, along with T. Tommy and his band,  packed the house at a jamboree at the High School Auditorium in Eldorado, Arkansas. This  evening's show was sponsored by Mike Michael of KDMS radio in El Dorado.

Before that, the folks getting ready for the annual El Dorado Days celebration had no  earthly idea what was about to hit them. The show was billed as a Louisiana Hayride road  show and there were some big names - Jimmy Lee, Rusty and Doug Kershaw - headlining  the gig. Mike Michaels, a local disc jockey who hailed from Memphis, and was the Emcee,  he invited a local band of young kids to open the show.


The El Dorado High School campus circa 1940.

They had their own show on El  Dorado's main station on Saturday. Everybody around those parts knew the Chiltling Switch  Roadrunners. How did they come by a name like that?

"That's the name of the town we came from", said Bobby Bird. "We were a group of young  boys ages seven to thirteen. Mike booked us to open the show at War Memorial Stadium.  Before the show, Elvis asked me if I would tune his guitar. He sat there in his car signing  autographs while I tuned it. It was that D-18 Martin with the unborn calfskin with "Elvis  Presley" dyed in pink on it".

"After awhile, Elvis asked, 'You got my guitar tuned?' I said, 'Yeah'. He took it and went on  stage. Before he went on, Scotty and Bill were doing most of the talking. Bill was doing  most of the talking. But when Elvis took the stage, it was his show! He was not the  headliner, but he stole the show. It was the greatest performance I had ever see. He went  up there on that stage wearing violet pants, a black shirt, orange jacket and white bucks.  "That's All Right" was the only song of his we knew at the time. He sang maybe a halfdozen  songs during his part of the program".

"While Elvis was singing and dancing about, the fans were hollerin' and shooting
firecrackers", Bird said. "Girls were falling out of the bleachers, fainting. It was like being  hit by a hammer. Not everyone in the audience took so well to Elvis Presley. "Some boys  get mad because of the effect Elvis was having on the girls", said Bird. "They let the air out  of the tires of his Cadillac. They had to bring in a tow truck with an air tank to re-inflate  those tires. It't didn't seem to bother Elvis at all. he just sat there patiently in his car  signing autographs. He was very polite. You could tell even then he was on his way".

Lura Impson wrote in her April 1955 T. Tommy Time newsletter: ''On March 30th, we had a ball in El Dorado. We had a wonderful show! Haven't had so much fun in a long time! The show featured T. Tommy, Elvis 'the Cat' Presley, Bob Neal, Betty Amos, Floyd Cramer, Jimmy Day, Al Hobson, Breacher Hartness, Onie Wheeler. I enjoyed meeting Elvis Presley's manager, Bob Neal, and fanclub president Helen Hobgood. They are wonderful people and everything was lovely, except we had a big juice flat, and on T. Tommy's car, too. Of course we had no trouble fixing it, 'cus there were seven of us in the car. We had plenty of help from all directions''.

MARCH 31, 1955 THURSDAY

Elvis Presley and Onie Wheeler travelled to Longview, Texas, for this evening's show at the  Reo Palm Isle. Admission was $1.00. Although not specified in pre-performance ads, the  entertainment at the Reo Palm Isle usually began about 9:00 p.m. and the stage show was  followed by several hours of country dancing.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Sam Phillips thought that the arrangement would benefit from the presence of a drummer, so he called the sixteen-year-old Jimmie Lott, who had auditioned at Sun Records with an East High School Jazz Band earlier in 1954.


"Sam asked me if I would be interested in doing some studio work", recalled Lott, "and I said I would. I was maybe fifteen or sixteen years old, and I was at home one night and took a phone call from Sam Phillips. I had bronchitis at the time, but I loaded up my drums into my mom's car. Elvis was standing in the doorway of the studio. He had long greasy ducktails, which was not too cool with my group.


We cut three songs, "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone", "You're A Heartbreaker", and "How Do You Think I Feel". "I set a latin tempo to "How Do You Think I Feel", which D.J. Fontana used when they rerecorded the song at Victor. Sam asked me if I would be interesting in working with the group and I told him a had another year of school and couldn't".

STUDIO SESSION FOR ELVIS PRESLEY
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN STUDIO, 706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
3 AMPEX 350 C (54L-220) TAPE RECORDERS
FOR THE TAPE DELAY ECHO (SLAPBACK)
CONNECT TO FIVE INPUT RCA MONAURAL MIXING CONSOLE 76-D
WITH MULTI-SELECTOR SWITCH (SERIAL NUMBER 1011)
SUN SESSION 9: UNKNOWN DATE PROBABLY EARLY APRIL 1955
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01 - "BLUES STAY AWAY FROM ME" - B.M.I.
Composer: - A. Delmore-R. Delmore-W. Raney-H. Clover
Publisher: - Cambell Connelly & Company Limited
Matrix number: - None – Unknown Take
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1955 - Delated

A Scotty Moore rehearsal ''How Do You Tink I Feel'' with Elvis' voice, Bill Black's bass off mike. His backup musicians were Bill Black on bass and NOT Johnny Bernero, but Jimmy Lott on drums. Elvis attended the session and can be heard singing the song off mike. "How Do You Think I Feel" remained unreleased until 1987, when it appeared as one complete track in the boxed set "The Sun Country Years 1950 - 1959" and the bootleg CD ''When All Was Kool'' (1991). A few little surviving snippets offered tantalising glimpses of the creative process at work. The last of those little snippets is included on this session. Unfortunately, Elvis Presley is largely off mike. On the session was Doug Poindexter. The guitar licks heard on this song, used by the Delmore Brothers in a 1949 recording ''Blues Stay Away From Me'' were added by Poindexter. "I listened to the Delmore Brothers and they helped with guitar licks I used at Sun Records", Poindexter revealed. Richard Weize of Bear Family Records have discovered many unknown and unreleased Elvis Presley recordings up through the years.

02(1) - "HOW DO YOU THINK I FEEL" - B.M.I. - 3:17
Composer: - Wayne P. Walker-Webb Pierce-Woodron Wilson Sovine
Publisher: - Gedarwood Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Rehearsal Take 1
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1955
Elvis' voice, Bill Black bass off mike, at rehearsing.
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm boxed set BFX-15211 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-34 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

On the Bear Family Records LP boxset "The Sun Country Years 1950 - 1959" and the bootleg CD ''When All Was Kool'' released in 1991, ''How Do You Think I Feel'' was released as one complete track. 

02(3) - "HOW DO YOU THINK I FEEL" – B.M.I. - 1:14
Composer: - Cindy Walker-Webb Pierce-Woodron Wilson Sovine
Publisher: - Gedarwood Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Rehearsal
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1955
Released: - 1986
First appearance: -   Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm boxed set BFX-15211 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - August 3, 2012 FTD Records (CD) 500/200rpm 506020-975049-2-35 mono
A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE RECORDINGS 1953-1955

03 - "SINCE I MET YOU BABY" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Ivory Joe Hunter
Publisher: - Unichappell Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Tape Lost
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1955 - Probably Rehearsal

04 - "YOU'RE A HEARTBREAKER" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Charles ''Jack'' Alvin Sallee
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Tryout – Tape Lost
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1955

05(1) - "I'M LEFT, YOU'RE RIGHT, SHE'S GONE" - B.M.I.
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Take 1 – Breakdown – Tape Box 5
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1955
Released: - Sun Unissued

05(2) - "I'M LEFT, YOU'RE RIGHT, SHE'S GONE" - B.M.I.
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Take 2 – Pickup – Tape Box 5
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1955
Released: - Sun Unissued

05(3) - "I'M LEFT, YOU'RE RIGHT, SHE'S GONE" - B.M.I. - 2:28
Composer: - Stanley Kesler-Chuck Taylor
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Take 3 – Pickup – Tape Box 5
Recorded: - Unknown Date March 1955
Released: - Sun Unissued

05(4) - "I'M LEFT, YOU'RE RIGHT, SHE'S GONE" - B.M.I. - 2:33
Composer: - Stanley Kesler-Chuck Taylor
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Take 4 – Tape Box 5
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1955
Released: - Sun Unissued

05(5) - "I'M LEFT, YOU'RE RIGHT, SHE'S GONE" - B.M.I. - 2:38
Composer: - Stanley Kesler-Chuck Taylor
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Take 5 – Tape Box 5
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1955
Released: - Sun Unissued

Steve Sholes Session Notes

Box 5
I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone (F2WB-8047)
1. I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gon (Breakdown) 
2. I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone (Pickup) (BD)
3. I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone (2:28)
4. I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone (2:33)
5. I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone (2:38)
6. I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone (2:34) Master



Original 78rpm Sun 217-A

Drummer Jimmie Lott had another brief encounter with the group. He had moved to North Carolina with his family when Elvis Presley headlined a country package show in Greensboro in February 1956, just as "Heartbreak Hotel" was breaking. "I went to the back door and Scotty and Bill remembered me", recalled Lott. "They let me in. Elvis remembered me. He said, "Hey, drummer! and we went and ate breakfast after the show".

Jimmie Lott joined Warren Smith's band after returning to Memphis. He recorded several sessions with Smith, but eventually left to pursue a career in sales as his family responsibilities mounted.

"That's the tape of... Sam's putting echo / slapback on my guitar...", recalled Scotty Moore. "This tape is the tape that was on the second machine - the machine that he's only feeding my signal to. It's only a run through, it's not a finished take. The signal being delayed on.

Jimmy Lott claims that the same day, "How Do You Think I Feel" and "You're A Heartbreaker" was recorded. So far though the only tape to surface is one featuring Scotty Moore's guitar part for "How Do You Think I Feel". Elvis is said to be audible in the background, from a session December 8, 1954. Does this show that Steve Sholes didn't list everything on a tape, or prove that someone has a missing tape.

05(6) - "I'M LEFT, YOU'RE RIGHT, SHE'S GONE" - B.M.I. - 2:36
Composer: - Stanley Kesler-Chuck Taylor
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 142 SUN - F2WB-8047 - Master Take 6 - Tape Box 5
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1955
Released: - April 25, 1955
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 217-A mono
I'M LEFT, YOU'RE RIGHT, SHE'S GONE / BABY LET'S PLAY HOUSE
Reissued - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-3-27 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Elvis Presley - Vocal and Acoustic Rhythm Guitar (Martin Dreadnought 18)
Scotty Moore - Electric Lead Guitar (Gibson ES 295)
Bill Black - Acoustic Upright Bass (Kay Maestro M-1)
Jimmy Lott or Johnny Bernero - Drums (Gretsch Round Badge Kit)
Probably Doug Poindexter - Guitar

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


The Pierce Ector County Auditorium was built in 1954 and can accommodate more than 5,000 seated  people. Nowadays the Ector County Coliseum is the home of an arena football team called the West  Texas Roughnecks and an ice-hockey team called the Odessa Jackalopes. It also hosts the Sand Hills  Rodeo and the biennial Permian Basin International Oil Show. The building resembles an indoor  stadium, and the gracious manager not only took us on a tour of the building, but also told us about  the many events that have been held there.

APRIL 1, 1955 FRIDAY

Onie Wheeler opened the 8:15 p.m. show when Elvis Presley played a "Rockin'-Rollin' Dance"  in Odessa at the Pierce Ector County Auditorium. Scotty Moore and Bill Black backed Elvis  Presley, as usual, along with a local drummer, Charles Ray Scott.

Also backing Elvis were pianist Floyd Cramer  and steel guitarist James Clayton "Jimmy" Day, two regular members of the Louisiana  Hayride's house band. Tickets were $1.25 per person and attendance was reported at 850.  The show's sponsor was the local Voting Home Owners Club.



Elvis Presley with Tex Hendrick in Odessa, Texas, April 1, 1955.

According to Joyce Trower, ''I worked in the Odessa shop, and Mr. Holifield had him in here, it seems like almost every month. I sold tickets for the show in the shop. My boyfriend stood guard at the door to the dressing room, and he couldn't understand that the girls were climbing over him to get to Elvis. One time they came through here, and they didn't have a drummer. I had been in a band at high school, and I called Charles Ray Scott. He came and played a little for them, and they said, 'Great'! and he played the show that night''. A reported audience of 850 gathered that night.


APRIL 1955

"I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone"/"Baby Let's Play House" (SUN 217) by Elvis Presley is   released (April 25). Elvis Presley is now touring with Onie Wheeler. He also appears on the   Big D Jamboree in Dallas, Texas, with Tex Ritter.

Slim Thodes is signed to Sun Records. Slim and his band The Mountaineers are now on   WMCT-TV, Memphis and KVTV, Pine Bluff, Arkansas weekly. Billboard reviews Rhodes'   "Don't Believe"/"Uncertain Love" (SUN 216) as "strong talent, despite run of the mill ideas".

"I've Been Deceived" (Flip 502) by Charlie Feathers and "Someday You Will Pay" (Flip 504)   by the Miller Sisters are released.




The promoter failed to adequately advertise the concert, and it was a long, dull evening  Elvis Presley was depressed. During the show, they played country tunes. Most country  artists didn't use drums, and the tradition-minded country crowd was curious about D.J.  Fontana, whom Elvis Presley had brought along. After the performance, Elvis Presley once  again reasoned that perhaps Bob Neal was not the right person to guide his career.  Whenever Elvis Presley felt depressed, ho drove to the "Louisiana Hayride" to spent some  time with his musical friends.



APRIL 2, 1955 SATURDAY

According to a brief article in Billboard, Elvis was booked solid through April. It was  mentioned that Onie Wheeler would be working a number of dates in Arkansas with Elvis.  (During April, Elvis appeared at a jamboree in El Dorado, which drew a full house to the local  High School Auditorium. Appearing with Elvis Presley were Onie Wheeler, Betty Amos, and T.  Tommy and his band. Elvis Presley was also reported to have played Texarkana with Chessie  Smith, and St. Helena late in April).

From 8:00 to 11:30 p.m., Elvis Presley performed in Houston on a remote broadcast of the  Louisiana Hayride. Headlining the show was Slim Whitman. Also appearing on this  broadcast were Jimmy Newman, Betty Amos, Johnny Horton, Jeanette Hicks, Jack Ford  and Hoot and Curley. A later report called the turnout of country music fans, "one of the  largest crowds ever to fill the Houston City Auditorium". As many as 2,000 fans were  turned away at the door. Billboard magazine wrote, ''Elvis performed, ''Little Mama'', ''That's All Right'', ''You're A Heartbreaker'', and ''Shake, Rattle And Roll''.

APRIL 3, 1955 SUNDAY

Elvis Presley is stopped by officer Nolan Strange for speeding outside of Shreveport, Louisiana, in the 1954 fourdoor  pink and white Cadillac at 80 mph that he has bought since Bill Black wrecked the Lincoln. He  post $25 bond and is notified to appear for arrangement on Tuesday, April 5.

APRIL 4, 1955 MONDAY

It is beyond doubt that Elvis Presley played at the Nettleton High School outside of Jonesboro, Arkansas. It was for the class of '55, which means it was definitely no later than the month of May. The photo sold at the show was not used until mid-January of 1955, and most witnesses remember that the weather was mild and they wore short sleeves. Dub Pardew of Pardew's Department Store gave a young man in a yellow outfit driving a pink 1954 Cadillac directions to the school, which puts the show after March 1. Elvis came back from somewhere at 11:30 that night, according to a private source, and would have been able to do that, playing in Nettleton. The show could also have been on some of the other open dates in March and April, and in principle also on May 20, although that seems to be too late in the school year to make sense.

Bob Neal reports to Colonel Tom Parker that he is unable to fulfill the Colonel's request  that he find out where Elvis records are selling. Meanwhile, the Colonel and Tom Diskin  continue to try to drum up interest in Elvis from promoters throughout the South.


Scotty Moore, Elvis Presley, and Bill Black at the Charleston High School Gym, Charleston, Mississippi, April 5, 1955.

APRIL 5, 1955

Elvis Presley played at the Charleston High School Gym in Charleston Mississippi. According to Otey Sherman an Charleston banker remembers, ''George Bailey Peters was president of the Future Farmers of America at Charleston High School, and Bill Hardin was the facility advisor. Early in 1955, the rumors started about this country music act that was different and had the girls screaming. Bill contacted Bob Neal, and Elvis was booked for the show on April 5th. The old gym was readied with a small stage just under the goal. He used the boys' dressing room at the left side of the stage to make his entrance''.

Peggy Newman says, ''All the girls were screaming and jumping around in front of the stage. After the show, Elvis looked me up and we had a nice talk. He shared the fact that he had come from very poor people and he wanted to be somebody. Before he drove off, he called me to the car and kissed me goodbye''. George Peters counted the gate and gave Elvis his $175 share.

Songwriter John Marascalco says, ''I had written ''Rip It Up'' and had it on tape. I was talking with one of the disc jockeys there, and he told me, 'Hey, I hear Elvis is going to be in Charleston'. So I jumped in my car that night and went over to the gymnasium in that town. Bob Neal, who was Elvis' first manager, was at the door. I said, 'Bob, I work for radio station WNAG in Granada, Mississippi. I've got a song I'd like to play for Elvis'. He said, Ókay, wait 'til intermission and I'll let you go back there'. So, at intermission I went backstage and met Bill Black, Scotty Moore, and Elvis. Elvis was an unbelievable guy, the nicest person you'd want to meet. I told Elvis how great he sounded and how great the crowd was reacting to him. I said, 'I've got a song I'd like to play you', and Elvis said, 'Play it'. I brought my tape recorder with me and played him a demo of ''Rip It Up''. He said, 'I love it'! I said, 'Great'! Hey said, 'I don't pick my songs. Sam Phillips picks my songs. Call Sam and tell him you played it for me tonight. Tell him that I wanted him to hear it, and up to Memphis and play it for him'. I said, 'You got it, man'. So I went up to see Sam Phillips in Memphis to play him ''Rip It Up''. he said, 'I like the song but I'm taking Elvis a new way'. Undoubtedly, the demo had a little more of a country feel than I thought. Sam said, 'I like the song but I'm gonna pass'. But after the fact, that opened the door to allow me to submit other stuff to Sam, and he recorded some of my songs'', said John Marascalco.

Edited from ''Writing for the King'' by Ken Sharp

Eventually, Elvis Presley recorded two of John Marascalco's song for his second album, ''Rip It Up'', and ''Ready Teddy'', both hits by Little Richard at this time.



Becky Martin of Tupelo, Mississippi, was a classmate and friend of Elvis Presley during the Lawhon  Elementary School in East Tupelo, Mississippi, and back in the mid 1940s. In a letter she sent the  writer a photograph of herself being interviewed by a BBC TV actor Marc Bannerman who was in Tupelo,  birthplace of the late Elvis Presley, with a camera team filming a variety of scenes for a TV documentary on  the life and times of Elvis. Over the years Becky has featured in quite a few Elvis related TV documentaries,  and is therefore a part of popular music history. Her present home lies just across the road from the little  house where Elvis was born. Becky kindly enclosed a photo of herself and Mrs Grimes who was the teacher  who encouraged Elvis to sing the song "Old Shep" to the class.


Becky Martin knew Elvis from the very early years, she was also with him at the Mississippi/Alabama Fair  show were Elvis won the 5th place in place talent show were he sang ''Old Shep''.

Becky has been battling cancer for years; had been in and out of hospitals, always fighting that dread disease  with the heart of a warrior; and more recently had been transferred to a Tupelo rehab center.

Becky Martin of Tupelo, Mississippi, died in the early morning hours of June 9, 2004 of heart failure. Becky  Martin has been, for decades, the true friend of all Elvis fans who visited the Elvis Presley birthplace home  in Tupelo.

APRIL 7, 1955 THURSDAY

Elvis Presley, and probably Onie Wheeler, appeared at 3:30 and 8:00 p.m. at the meeting room of Alcorn Court  House in Corinth, Mississippi. Tickets were 75-cents for adults and 50-cents for "school children". Only a handful  of people turned up for the 3:30 p.m. show in Corinth, and the first show was cancelled. Elvis looked quite  disappointed as he left the building, then parked his guitar at Borroum's Drugstore across the street from the  Courthouse and headed out to pay his hometown Tupelo a visit before the evening show.

Becky Martin, one of Elvis' favourite fifth-grade classmates at Lawhon Elementary School, was walking home from  work on Lake Street, having stopped to pick up one of her little sisters from school, when all of a sudden a pink  Cadillac stopped on the curb right in front of her. Its pink door opened and, before her dazzled eyes, out sprang a  vision clad in bright Kelly green. Before she could take in anything but those colors blazing in the sun, the Kellygreen  suit wrapped itself around her in a great big hug and then plucked her little sister clear off the sidewalk  with another big hug. ''Elvis''! ''Becky! Come on, hop in, you both''. They rode in style for about ten yards to  Becky's father's cafe next to his grocery store. Once there, Elvis ordered them the sodas of their choice and all  the candy the youngest Miss Martin could consume on the spot and store up for later. Then, casually, Elvis  wandered over to the jukebox, ran his eyes over the titles, and put in a couple of nickels. He strolled back to  their table, sat down and began chewing his nails.

The jukebox came to life and made that funny lurching noise it always does before the record clicks into place.  Then came the amplified whoosing sound of the needle spinning for a couple of silent groove revolutions and  then at last, music. Though the five crisp fast bars of rhythmic strings, Elvis sat silent except for his fingers  drumming on the table, and then unexpectedly cutting in somewhere, somehow at the end of the fifth, or was it  the beginning of the sixth bar, like silk tearing across the taut strings, came that clear, piercing, unearthly voice,  pure and pleading, that voice unlike any ever heard before, ''Well, that's all right, mama...''.

Elvis, grinning from ear to ear, couldn't sit still. Back and forth he slid around in his seat, turning from Becky' to  her sister and back again, asking, ''Who's that? Huh? Who's that''?

The record played once round, and then it played for the second time. Becky looked at Elvis amazement. There  they were, sitting in the same cafe they had sat in when they were kids of ten, when Elvis used to sing in Mrs.  Grines' class.

As for Elvis, in his eyes his old friend Becky remained unchanged; east Tupelo was unchanged and he himself was  unchanged, except for the fact that it was undeniably his voice singing to them over the jukebox. It would be  hard to imagine by what more satisfactory yardstick Elvis could have measured what he had accomplished than  by the expression on Becky's face at that moment.

Elvis looked at his watch and saw that he had to leave. He was on his way up to Corinth to appear on WMCA on  Buddy Bain's show that evening, he explained, and he just happened to find himself passing through Tupelo, but  here he broke off to confess it wasn't like that at all. The truth was he'd suddenly felt the need that day to get in  his car and come down to see Tupelo alone. He didn't know why, really. Didn't know what he expected to find.  Then Elvis was kissing Becky goodbye and making her promise to come and see him whenever she came to  Memphis. She promised she would, and she meant it. Her mother and father had recently divorced; her father  was living with his new wife in Memphis and thereafter, whenever Becky went to visit her father, she stopped in  to see Elvis. And often afterwards, whenever Becky recalled their meeting, his Kelly-green suit, his pink car, and  his record on the jukebox, she thought whatever it was he was looking for that day, he'd found it.

From ''Elvis and Gladys'' by Elaine Dundy



Contract for Elvis’ performance at the B&B Club in Gobler, Missouri on April 8, 1955. It’s signed by  Elvis in green ink, but its possible that this is Bob Neal’s penmanship. According to the contract, Elvis,  Scotty, Bill and DJ would receive 75% of the admission money, but had to supply their own window  cards announcing their appearance.

APRIL 8, 1955 FRIDAY

Elvis Presley was late arriving for his appearance at the B&B Club in Gobler, Missouri. A  dangerous ice storm had slowed his progress. Scotty Moore and Bill Black were at the club  quite a while before Elvis Presley, and when he made his entrance "the party began".


Onie  Wheeler, Bob Neal and Jimmy Haggett and his band the Daydreamers, were on hand for the  festivities. Admission was $1.50. The ice storm kept the crowd small, and tickets sales did  not leave Elvis Presley enough money for gas to get himself and the band back to Memphis.  After the show, everyone travelled to Sikeston, the home town of Wheeler and his band,  where they ate at Little Man's Cafe across from the Armory. The weather was too dangerous  for travel, so Elvis Presley and the group slept on the living room floor of the home  belonging to Ernie Thompson, a musician with Wheeler's combo. Ernie's wife, Alma,  remembers that Elvis Presley subsisted on milk and doughnuts because he didn't drink  coffee. The next morning, Ernie Thompson lent Elvis Presley the money to get home.


B&B CLUB - Peaceful little Gobler, home of the Gobler Mercantile Store, which billed itself as  "Missouri's Largest Country Store", was an unlikely candidate to host one of Missouri's  toughest roadhouses. The B&B Club was built in 1952 by Gerald Burke and a man named  Bounds, and it was managed by the Pughs, Walter and Gleeda. The B&B was as rowdy a  dance hall as one could hope to find. The main reason for its reputation was its location. It  sat on the Pemiscot County side of State Route 108, with tiny Gobler across the highway in  Dunklin County. No matter how often the good people in Gobler complained, their  neighbours in Pemiscot County did little to curtail the activities at the B&B. As a result, the  club which was open 24-hours a day, justly earned its descriptive nickname, "The Bloody  Bucket".

Don "T-Bone" Hall of Kennett, the county seat of Dunklin County, recalled, "The boys  would come in wearing their gumbo (a local reference to Missouri's sticky mud) boots.  After a couple of beers they would go from one person to another asking them if they  wanted to fight". Because of local laws prohibiting the sale of hard liquor in clubs, the B&B  sold only beer, along with soup, sandwiches and setups. However, right next door to the  B&B was the package liquor store. Morris Browning, a sax player who often played at the  B&B, remembers the layout of the club. The dance floor occupied the largest part of the  building with the bar and a crap table in a smaller room behind and to the left. The bandstand  was very small, with only a white curtain as a back-drop. In front of the stage was a  lattice-work fence to protect the entertainers from the customers. After years of legal  problems, the B&B passed into history in December 1962, destroyed by a mysterious fire.  The Gobler Mercantile Store had already met the same fate in 1956.

APRIL 9, 1955 SATURDAY

Elvis Presley was back in Shreveport on the "Louisiana Hayride". Elvis Presley appear on the  show without pay, and members of the "Hayride" remember that Bob Neal and Elvis Presley  fought about his future. It was now clear to many that Neal's inexperience was hurting Elvis  Presley. Sam Phillips, for his part, worried that Elvis' management problems might affect his  concert appearances, which would in turn hurt his record sales.

Elvis performs ''That's All Right'', ''I Got A Woman'', and ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'' on a show  that also includes Johnny Horton, Hoot and Curley, and Jim Reeves.

APRIL 10, 1955 SUNDAY

Although there was no advertising, in all likelihood Elvis Presley played at Magnolia Gardens  in the afternoon, followed by a show that evening at Cook's Hoedown Club in Houston,  Texas.



Breckenridge High School, Breckenridge, Texas.

APRIL 13, 1955 WEDNESDAY

Tickets for Elvis' 8:00 p.m. show at the High School Auditorium in Breckenridge, Texas, were  $1.00 in advance at the Harmony House and $1.25 for adults and 75-cents for children at  the door after 6 o'clock. Opening the show were a collection of local acts, including Fonda  Wallace, eleven-year old "Pretty Little" Dee Don, Ben and Deana Hall, steel-guitarist Weldon  Myrick, and rockabilly singer Dean Beard, who was a regular on KRBS in Abilene. These  performers were followed by Onie Wheeler. Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black took  the stage about three-fourths of the way through the two-hour show.

Elvis sings ''That's All Right'', ''I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine'', ''Tweedlee Dee'', and ends  with ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky''. The paper reports that many of the young women ''swooned  with his every appearance on stage''. It is also noted that more than one man is overheard  saying: ''I'd like to meet him out behind the bar'', or ''I'd better not see any girlfriend of mine  going up after an autograph from that singer''.


The Blue Moon Boys at the Breckenridge High School, April 13, 1955

The next day's article by Ann Cowan in the Breckenridge American offered the first  post-show review of an Elvis concert. Ms. Cowan reported that he arrived in his pink  Cadillac and played to a "near capacity crowd of teenagers and adults". On stage,  Scotty Moore and Bill Black wore "vivied orange shirts" and charcoal trousers while  Elvis Presley emphasized his "cat look" by donning a shirt and slacks in an apricot  shade of orange and a black sport coat with inserts of orange in the jacket's back.  Ms. Cowan noted that his show was a big success with the young women in the  audience, many of whom "near swooned with his every appearance on stage".


However, Elvis Presley had the opposite reaction on their boyfriends, several of  whom were over heard exchanging "vicious statements" among themselves about  what they would do to Elvis "behind the barn". According to Ms. Cowan, Elvis Presley  performed several songs that he had not recorded, including "Tweedlee Dee". He also  sang "That's All Right", "I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine", and "Blue Moon Of  Kentucky". Jay Thompson, disc jockey at local KTSB radio, recalled that Elvis Presley  was paid $300 plus 50% of ticket sales above $300. It was his later impression that  Elvis' first appearance in Breckenridge lost money.



Breckenridge High School, Breckenridge, Texas, April 13, 1955.

THE BRECKENRIDGE STORY - After a break Elvis, Scotty, and Bill started another set of backto- back gigs across north central Texas, starting in Breckenridge. Poised on the brink of West  Texas, Breckenridge lay in Tornado Alley, about 100 miles. . . from absolutely nothing.  Immediately after the show, the boys would have to scoot 166 miles through the "lake  district" to their Thursday Gainesville concert, only to back-track past Breckenridge to catch  Friday night's double feature in Stamford. On these long drives, Scotty and Bill usually  alternated at the wheel, not out of deference to their lead singer, but out of sheer selfpreservation.


With a country driver certainty that any road they traveled would eventually  get him to his destination, Elvis maintained a brilliance for getting lost. Earlier ventures  found Scotty jolted awake in the wee hours of the morning by the uneven sur-face of an  abandoned gravel road. When asked for a location update, Elvis contentedly announced that  he didn't know, while continuing to rocket through country so remote, even the local  roadrunners had to consult their GPS compasses. It's said that when you see road signs  printed in Spanish , you should start worrying. Thus, Elvis-the-driver got demoted to Elvisthe- passer for the majority of their adventures., except when they needed speed. Then  Elvis was their man. This agreement lasted until Elvis bought his first car, a 1951 Lincoln  Cosmopolitan he was so attached to they had to pry him out with a crowbar.

Scotty pulled up short in front of Breckenridge High School. The dirt that had chased them  across the state finally settled across the broad hood of the used pink and white Cadillac,  stuffed to the girls with band equipment. Last month, after a valiant struggle, the Chevy  Bellaire got called to a higher service station.

True to his promise in Abilene, disc jockey Sid Foster brought Elvis and the gang to his  hometown stomping ground. Sid personally arranged the concert, filling the bill with the  local talent of disc jockey/singer Ben Hall; country singer Onie Wheeler; Dean Baird, who  played with the Champs of "Tequila" fame; Weldon Myrick, whose steel guitar stylings can  still be heard behind many other famous musicians; Gene Funderburk; and Sid himself.

Sid made sure the concert received a plug from every disc jockey who owed him a favor,  which constituted most of the state. Packed to the rafters with rock-a-billy aficionados ready  to par-tay, the house band found it an easy task warming up the audience. They were  already stoked when Elvis and the Blue Moon Boys vaulted on the stage and set the high  school ablaze. The girls shrieked their approval of everything that came from Elvis's mouth.  He could have sung "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," and the females would still have screamed.  And when he gave them the come-hither look and sang, "I'd rather see you dead, little girl,  than to be with another man," the women climbed over the beats and their boyfriends'  heads to rip the orange and black Ricky Ricardo jacket off his body.

Needless to say, the boyfriends ceased to be quite so thrilled at the evening's entertainment.  Bill danced with his bass and slapped it in time to Scotty's mad guitar pounding. Strings flew  off Elvis's guitar as he literally ripped the chords off his Martin. Warned by Sid that Elvis  played the guitar like a ravenous wolf with a T-bone, the house band stayed out of the range  of the Martin jerking violently on the neck strap. Elvis had been known during particularly  happenin' moments to slam the instrument backwards so violently that it bashed into the gut  of any unsuspecting band member who stood within ten feet behind him. Years later when a  newspaper reporter remarked to Johnny Cash that he played the guitar hard, Cash  exclaimed, ''I don't play hard. Now, Elvis, he played hard. He broke strings before he got  started''.


Backstage Breckenridge High School, Breckenridge, Texas, April 13, 1955.

Tonight the only victim to his enthusiasm was the six-string, five-string, four-string, threestring.  Bill Black asked backup Gene Funderburk if Elvis could borrow his guitar while the  other one went into outpatient surgery. Gene resisted the temptation to clutch it to his  chest and take off for parts unknown. Like a parent watching his only daughter moving out  of the house, Gene painfully handed over the precious instrument to the wild man.  Ironically, Elvis treated it like Gene's daughter, stroking the strings gently instead of  wrenching them off the neck.

After the performance, Elvis returned it to its grateful owner/father, not a scratch marring  the surface.

During the photograph signings, Elvis found himself a date to take to the Dairy Mart for a  burger and Coke. He returned a few hours later to catch Sid's wife, cousin, and Sid himself  going out for a late bite at the Why Not Cafe. A second dinner? Why not.

One of the girls at the show walked home that night, proudly bearing a newly autographed  Elvis picture. When she got ready to pay the baby-sitter, she realized she'd fust spent her  last available dollar on a picture of the King. Instead of waiting for a bank to open in the  morning, or an ATM to be invented in forty years, the baby-sitter opted to take the picture  instead. Even though she hadn't been to the concert, she thought the man in the photograph  looked handsome. That photograph is now worth about $750, pretty much what one night of  baby-sitting costs today.


Owl Park, Gainesville, Texas

APRIL 14, 1955 THURSDAY

According to Ms. Cowan, Elvis Presley left Breckenridge in the morning driving his pink  Cadillac while clothed in pink slacks and a sport shirt the colour of orchids.

That evening Elvis Presley and Onie Wheeler played at 8:00 p.m. show at Owl Park, the  local baseball field in Gainesville, Texas. Opening tonight's concert were Frank Starr and  the Rock-a-Way Boys. Frankie Starr recorded for Lin Records, a local Gainesville label. This  show was staged by Jerry O'Dell of KGAF radio. Tickets sales at the ball park totalled $257  with ducats priced at $1.00 and 50-cents.


Radio KGAF, 401 North Radio Hill Road, Gainesville, Texas.

When Joe Leonard, the owner of KGAF Radio and Lin Records, booked Elvis to play at the  Gainesville Baseball Field, he didn't exactly have philanthropy in mind. Mr. Leonard wanted  to promote his own singer, Frank Starr, and thought that hitching him to the Hillbilly Cat  would act as good exposure to him.

Mr. Leonard executed the usual advertisements on the radio and newspaper. His promos  adorned every telephone pole in town. He even ordered a 25-count box of Elvis Presley's  records from Big State Distributors in Dallas to sell at the show so he wouldn't be accused of  playing favorites when he whipped out the trailer full of Frank Starr's single.


Elvis, Scotty, and Bill drove the couple hundred miles from Breckenridge to Gainesville. They  arrived in town revved from last night's performance, ready for their Gainesville stint.  Unfortunately, Gainesville wasn't ready for them.

The boys zigged through town and rolled out into the sticks, where radio station KGAF  perched in the cornfield. Elvis, clad in his orange and pink travel best, crawled out of the  Cadi and stretched his back after the long drive. Scotty and Bill spilled out after him. Slicking  back his hair and fluffing up his sideburns, Elvis approached the front door of the radio  station just in time for the station's chief engineer to spot them coming up the walkway. He  yelled into the other room, panic clearly audible in his voice. Someone better lock the door;  there's some hoodlum-types outside!

The disc jockey swiveled to peer out the window. Oh, it's probably those guys who are going  to play tonight.

The three wandered inside and acted so polite during their interview that the engineer feit  guilty for planning to bolt the door on them. No one in the station mentioned the "hoodlum"  comment to the performers. After the interview, Elvis, Scotty, and Bill drove back to town.  They checked into the Curtwood Motel to grab a couple of winks before that night's show.

For the show, a couple of flatbed trucks had been maneuvered onto the Owl Park baseball  field, where hundreds of empty bleachers awaited the throngs of eager music lovers. As  eight o'clock neared, a handful of folks trickled into the stadium. At showtime, less than 200  people peppered the stands.

Elvis leapt onto the flatbed and played his heart out just as he did in Breckenridge, but the  audience response lacked the electricity that zapped the halls of the high school. After the  show, folks filed out without a word, leaving two big boxes of unsold records collecting dust  on the baseball grounds.

Elvis apologized to Mr. Leonard for not making any money for him. Tickets sales netted  $300, of which Elvis, Scotty, and Bill received $270. Leonard tried to console the visibly  upset young man that folks around there liked their country music a bit more conservative  than he delivered. Leonard told them he personally liked their sound very much.

Unappeased, Elvis promised Leonard that he would do a free show for him to make up for  the fiscal disaster. Leonard agreed.

Scotty, Bill, and a couple of KGAF's disc jockeys drove across the Oklahoma border that  night to drown their sorrows in a pint at a rustic joint called the B-29. Elvis attended his  usual date, drowning his sorrows in another, less alcoholic, method.

A year later Elvis spied Leonard at a disc jockey convention. He marched over to the owner  and told him to set a date. ''I'll come do a show for free 'cause I hate people to lose money  because of me''. By this time Elvis made several thousand dollars a performance, so his offer  set the standard for generosity. Parker decidedly had other plans. The Colonel had scissored  the word "free" out of his personal dictionary long ago.


Stamford High School, Stamford, Texas.

APRIL 15, 1955 FRIDAY

Remaining in central Texas, Elvis Presley gave a stage show at 7:00 p.m. in the Stamford  High School Auditorium in Stamford, Texas. Ads promised a combination of "Blue Moon Good  Rockin'". The show also featured Onie Wheeler. Tonight's entertainment sponsored by the  senior class, which was trying to raise money to charter a bus to New Orleans for their  senior trip.

At 9:00 p.m., the entertainers moved over to the Round Up Hall, the High School's  Gymnasium, for a dance until the wee hours of the morning.


After his part of the show,  Elvis Presley was ferried to local radio stations by Miss Roulhac Toledano in her father's  Dodge, which was filled with her friends. When Elvis Presley was through making the  promotional appearances everyone stopped at Nat's cafe for chicken-fried steak.

Judy Metz Jackson and Susan Ann McKnight grew bored watching the Stamford High School's  April track meet, so they decided to leave and grab a coke at the Super Dog in town. When  they arrived, the two girls were stopped short by the vision of a pink and white Cadillac,  parked like an alien spacecraft outside the dog stand. Curious if these were the Louisiana  Hayride singers who were slated to play the high school gym that night, they forgot their  weenie fix and followed the strange car to the local radio station, located like most of its  kind, in the rural fields outside the city limits. One man hopped out of the car, and the two  others sped off. The girls shimmied in the doors after their quarry. They scooted down the  hall to their favorite DJ and barged in during an interview. The girls watched as the young  man plugged his show that evening at the high school auditorium with a molasses-slow  accent and invited folks to come out to the Roundup Hall afterwards. When the interview  ended, the girls "hem-hemmed" their DJ until he introduced the handsome young stranger.

Apparently his name was Elvis Presley, and he didn't have a ride back to his motel. Would  the girls do a big favor to the station and drive him back to town?

Oh, no problem absolutely, they just happened to be going that way.

Although the girls agreed on the transport, the seating arrangement caused a scuffle, which  Elvis cured by sitting in the middle and putting his arm around each girl. He kidded with  them all the way into town, and when they pulled up in front of his motel, he prodded Judy  for a little kissy-poo goodbye.

''I can't, I'm going steady'', she quavered. (She'd even buckled the back of her hobble skirt so  everyone would know her pre-premarital status.)

So am I, but who cares, Sue Ann replied, and Elvis gave her a tonsillectomy of a kiss.

Rumor spreads fast in small towns, but like the game of Operator, the truth got a bit  distorted. By the dance at the Roundup Hall that night, everyone believed that Judy had  been caught smooching with the musician, much to the girls' envy and her boyfriend's  extreme annoyance. He made a scene on the dance floor. Elvis flew off the stage and told  the boyfriend that Judy had turned him down because she was going steady with the  boyfriend's worthless hide, not that he deserved her. Elvis didn't, however, bother to  mention that Sue Ann apparently felt no conflict of interest.

Apparently, April 15 was Damsels-In-Distress night at the Roundup Hall. Shirley Stewart drove  from Abilene to attend the dance with her friends. None of them were on hand, however,  when she got crushed by the surging crowd after leaving the poorly placed restroom. A wave  shoved her petite frame into the stage at Elvis's feet and her teeth into the polisheil wood  siding. After a few frantic seconds, she became airborne and landed on her feet facing Elvis,  his hand under her arm. The show continued without a hitch, and after the set, Elvis found  Shirley and asked her if she'd like to dance.

After touring the floor a few times, Shirley decided that he sure could sing, but he couldn't  dance to save his ever-lovin' soul. A few bruised toes did not stop her, however, from  accepting his generous invitation to drive her back to Abilene an hour away.  On the road to Abilene the two talked about his shows in the area and in particular, his  performance in Breckenridge two nights before. Elvis pulled a newspaper slipping out of his  wallet about the show. The journalist wrote that girls loved him, but boys wanted to take  him out back, presumably to realign his facial features. Elvis told her that he didn't  understand why those boys wanted to whip him; he was just trying to earn a living. He said  he didn't want her to think he was bragging, but truthfully, he'd made more money at the  show in Stamford than anywhere else before.

Shirley told him that speaking of earning a living, she and her friends had appeared on  television that day modeling hairdos for the beauty school she attended. Elvis told her, you  may have beat me to TV, but I'11 get there.

They arrived at the small apartment Shirley shared with her friends, and she invited him in.  Elvis plopped onto the couch and propped his feet on the coffee table, and they gabbed for  a while. Very shortly it became obvious that some of the girls had been preparing to go to  bed. Elvis stood to leave. Shirley's roommate, Barbara, sauntered by on the way to her room  and whispered coyly in her ear, make sure you get a kiss from him before he leaves. He must  have overheard her, because just before leaving, Elvis remarked, you know, I like to treat a  lady as I would expect someone to treat my sister, if I had one. With that, he bolted to  Barbara's room and leapt onto her bed, trying to plant a kiss on her startled, shrieking lips,  only to slide off her face. Good ole Golden Pencock Cream #1, face cream so greasy you can  lube your car and your face at the same time. And oh yes, it protects you from rock singers  with a sense of humor.



Linda Gray Arnold & Elvis at Big D Jamboree, Dallas, Texas, 1955.

APRIL 16, 1955 SATURDAY

Elvis Presley played the "Big D Jamboree" in Dallas, Texas. The show was held in the Huge  Sportatorium from 8:00 p.m. to midnight, and featured Sonny James, Hank Locklin, born  in McLellen, Florida on February 15, 1918. In his youth Locklin leaned toward becoming an  Irish tenor, Charlene Arthur, the Bellew Twins, Jimmie Collie, Doug Bragg, LeFawn Paul,  Orville Couch, Riley Crabtree, Joe Bill and others, including three bands. According to  promoter J.F. Dolan, Elvis "pulled a terrific crowd".


"This is the Big D Jamboree,  broadcasting live from the Dallas Sport Auditorium", the announcer said, "and you've just  been listening to the great young sensation, Elvis Presley, singing his new platter, "Baby,  Let's Play House"!.

It serves as an important vehicle to expose Elvis to listeners across Texas, and Bob Neal  arranges for four appearances on the show, despite the fact that Elvis will have to pay a  substantial penalty for missed Hayride shows. At this time Neal also commits Elvis to do two  Beaumont, Texas, shows in June with the same promoter.



Alta Hayes, Big State Distributor's Secret Weapon, 1955.


For Elvis' debut on this day, Big State Distributors, the company who sold independent  record labels like Atlantic and Sun to the jukebox operators, sent their heavy-hitter, Alta  Hayes, out to make sure Presley didn't make a fool of himself on live radio. Convinced that  Elvis would strike i big someday, Alta bought a couple hundred copies of ''That's All Right''  from Sun. To hedge her bets, she hired a gaggle of girls to sit in the front row of the arena  and yell like they enjoyed the show when he played. She gave them records as bribery. Sure  enough, when he appeared on stage, the girls started screaming and carrying on.


It looked  like Alta got her money's worth, but as Smokey Montgomery of the Light Crust Doughboys  remarked later, those girls didn't scream any louder than the unpaid girls. In June Elvis  played under Marty Robbins, but by September he headlined.

Kay Wheeler's first Elvis Presley Fan Club, organized in Dallas, Texas, kept close tabs on  the future King of Rock And Roll, helping him receive newspaper publicity. The club sent  out postcards when Elvis Presley appeared in Dallas, and were responsible for the many  hand-lettered signs at his concerts. As early December 1954, the Dallas Elvis Presley Fan  Club printed membership cards and handed out advertisements on his Texas appearances.



Elvis Presley and Bill Black at Big D Jamboree, Dallas, Texas.


THE BIG JAMBOREE - In Dallas, longtime wrestling promoter Ed McLemore had started the Big 'D' (for Dallas) Jamboree back in 1946 and was similar to the Louisiana Hayride in that it was a weekly country   music variety show broadcast locally (over powerful 50,000 watts KRLD station in Dallas.) and carried across a wide region by the   CBS-radio network program "Saturday Night Country Style".

It is known that some Big D   shows were taped recorded a week in advance for the CBS network, but it is not known if   this was a regular occurrence.


McLemore's dedication to the folk music business survived his original Sportatorium burning down in May of 1953, and he spent hundreds of thousands building a new modern Sportatorium. It was a big barn-like structure sitting on the corner of Cadiz and Industrial. After the new building was finished, it was realized that the acoustics were all wrong and another 10,000 dollars had to be invested into a sophisticated ''Circa Sonic'' sound system. Wrestling was a main activity at the Sportatorium, but not one one Saturday found Dallas without its Jamboree.

McLemore always insisted that the show had to go on, and the very night after the 1953 fire, the show was held at the fairgrounds. Every third week, the Jamboree was featured as part of the CDS Country Style network broadcast, and on Sundays a smaller production aired on local TV. Ed had more than fifty acts connected to his program. Acts like Lafawn Paul, Sonny James, Hank Locklin, Charline Arthur, and the Belew Twins were the big names in 1955, and like the Hayride, the Big D had house bands, two of them, in fact.

Every Saturday there would be at least one guest star appearing. Hank Snow had been there, so had Lefty Frizzell, and Jimmy & Johnny. Current stars like Webb Pierce, Faron Young, and the Carlisles got their early careers going with performances on the Big D, and on April 16, Elvis Presley made his debut on the show.

Not shy about what they had accomplished, the Jamboree's ''Biggest, Boldest, Oldest and Best Country Music Attraction - Just Like Texas, It Gets Bigger Every Time You Hear About It''. The Big D Jamboree in Dallas like the Louisiana Hayride, saw itself as a rival to the Grand Ole Opry. Ed McLemore and the Sportatorium were synonymous with the fine country music entertainment. With the average Sportatorium attendance around 5,000, it was a perfect showcase for Elvis Presley.

According to Linda Gray Arnold, ''I was 15 years old and lived in Dallas. We were three girls going together on Saturday nights. I was in Sonny James fan club. I was the photographer, so I made all these pictures of Sonny James. We were nine girls sitting in the front row. We wrote requests to radio stations. Willie Nelson was a disc jockey at KFJC in Fort Worth. He would then mention the names on the songs they wanted to hear. Sonny James was a Big D regular. We would invite the stars over the parties at our houses. Burgers and cold drinks, and we would all enjoy it. A cousin living in Fort Worth used to take the bus to visit me and go to the Big D, and stayed with me on the weekend''.



Scotty Moore, Master of Ceremony Jimmy Hicks, Elvis Presley (with Sonny James, Martin D-28 guitar), & Bill Black at  The Big D Jamboree, Sportatorium, Dallas, Texas, April 16, 1955.


APRIL 19-20, 1955 MONDAY/TUEDAY
There is no documentation for Elvis Presley shows on this two days. A private source has Elvis arriving home on Monday, and in Memphis on Tuesday. The following two days were small town shows in Mississippi, before closing the week in Texarkana and with the Hayride in Waco on Saturday. Mrs. Edythe Peeler, wife of Randall peeler, who was a member of the entertainment committee of the VFW Club in Hernando, Mississippi, remembers that Elvis Presley (not with Scotty and Bill) came by the VFW club in Hernando.

Se said that Elvis did an unannounced performance of a few songs with Eddie Bond, whose band was playing a dance there. Elvis mentioned that he had come from the hayride (not necessarily direct). Mrs. Peeler also remembers that Bob Neal was present that evening.

Eddie Bond's steel guitarist Jody Chastain made a little drawing of Elvis that places him in the VFW building in Hernando. Chastain's show-notes have an entry of him playing with Bond in Hernando on April 19, 1955, but no mention of Elvis. Eddie Bond recalls that he did play with Elvis in Hernando, but has no recollection of when. (Eddie Bond probably meant the appearance of Elvis with his band in 1953). In any case, Jody Chastain's drawing and notes are not definitive proof of placing Elvis in Hernando on this date. Mrs. Peeler's memory of Bob Neal being present would seem at odds with Elvis' just dropping by, but Neal may possibly have been there with Eddie Bond as a booking agent. Mrs. peeler memory of Presley's comment about ''coming from the Hayride'' obviously puts the show she remembers well after Elvis October 16, 1954 Hayride debut.


The original Jody Chastain's drawing.


Jody Chastain was born Joe D. Chastain in 1933 in Ennid, Texas. He played with early rockabilly  Eddie Bond's band, The Stompers, and wrote the rockabilly great ''Boppin' Bonnie'' for Eddie Bond.  Jody later played with Fuller Todd before becoming associated with Charlie Feathers and Jerry  Huffman as The Musical Warriors. When Feathers transformed his band from country to rockabilly,  Jody changed from steel guitar to string bass, and Jerry Huffman took over lead guitar. The Musical  Warriors played gigs together throughout the midsouth. Charlie Feathers, Jody Chastain, and Jerry  Huffman wrote and recorded the famous ''Tongue-Tied Jill''. It was released by Meteor Records.


On  June 23, 1958, the Kay music label released a 45rpm rockabilly record containing Jody Chastain's  ''My Way'' and ''Jody's Beat'' on the flip side of Charlie Feather's '' Jungle Fever'' and '' Why Don't You'' . The three Musical Warriors performed together for the last time on the 1960 release, '' Dinky John'' . Jody wrote songs; he had fourteen of his songs recorded in two years, and he acquired his own studio, Memphis , at 773 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee, devoting much of his time working with Buford Cody. Huffman moved to Huntsville, Alabama. Jody's music can be heard in recent compilations, Complete Sun Singles, Volume 2 (1995), Get With It: The Essential Recordings -  Charlie Feathers (1998), and Complete Sun Singles, Volume 6 (1999).

APRIL 20, 1955 WEDNESDAY

Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black, along with Onie Wheeler and Bob Neal, played a   mid-week show at the American Legion Hut in Grenada, Mississippi. According to Red West,   Elvis' High School pal who was now acting as a combination chauffeur and bodyguard, after   the 8 o'clock show, he and Elvis escorted two young women back to their house for sodas. A   pair of boyfriends appeared, words were exchanged, and Red ended up taking them both on.

It was in Grenada that Scotty Moore told Bobby Ritter he had earlier that day bought a new   guitar and amp and, Ritter says, "Scotty was telling me he hoped that (Elvis' success) would   last long enough for him to pay for them". After the Grenada gig, while eating in a local   diner, a neighbourhood tough picked a fight with Elvis Presley and came out runnerup.

According to Dixie Lyons, ''I was only 15. We were the front band for these shows (they played a handful with Elvis). My brother had the band, and we did sing with Elvis' band too. We would go out and sing three or four songs, and then my brother would sing about that many, and the ;;star'' would be on stage''.

John Marascalco, who had pitched his own composition ''Rip It Up'' to Elvis at the Charleston show a few weeks earlier, had arranged with Bob Neal to have Elvis play John's hometown of Grenada. John received 30% of the admission, out of which he would have to cover local expenses.

Elvis Presley performed at Charleston, Mississippi. This show is rumoured to have occurred   around the time of the Grenada show, April 20.

Red West, lifelong friend of Elvis, on the first time he saw him perform he said, ''It had to be Grenada, Mississippi. It was a one-night gig. He came over to school one day, as I was getting on a bus to go and play football. He said, 'How would you like to go to some of my shows, just to keep me company''? That's how it all came about. It was a pink and white Ford Victoria. We borrowed money for gas from my father to get down there. I remember we got stuck going down there. There was a detour. I finally took over the wheel starting to go reverse and forward, rocking the wheel, and finally got out. Elvis got some mud on the seat of his pants. He got on stage, he wore what he was going to wear, and that's what caused the confrontation in the restaurant, because we had been to their girlfriend's house, or at least what they thought were their girlfriends, and we went to this gas station afterwards to get something to eat and go home. They came in and started mounthing off, ''Look how he has shit his pants. He's so scared'. And that was it with me and we had a little confrontation''.

APRIL 21, 1955 THURSDAY

Elvis Presley perform at the Belden High School Gymnasium in Tupelo, Mississippi. "Elvis   slipped all of his family and friends in through the back window", said Bobby Ritter. At that   show, Ritter took a polaroid picture of Elvis and handed it to him while it was still   developing. "In those days the chemicals were still wet when the picture came out the   camera", said Ritter. "I handed it to Elvis and his thumbprint appeared on the picture when   the chemicals dried. I gave the picture to him. He later gave it back to me, but now it's one   of the many Elvis things I once had that have disappeared".

Bobby Ritter lays claim to being the next disc jockey after Dewey Phillips to play Elvis   Presley on the air. He did it as a favour to Sam Phillips, an old friend. "I played "That's All   Right" on a Monday. I didn't know anything about Elvis, so after I played it, I filed it back   with the black records. I had an early morning show, "Blues Before Dawn", and I planned to   play it on that show later. We got a lot of mail in those days and by Wednesday I was   getting a lot of mail and phone calls to play that song again and I did. Again on Thursday.  We had our own WTUP Hit Parade and that same week "That's All Right" was number one   on it.

Elvis, he said, often dropped by his station while he was on the air and visited with his fans   via the air waves. He was scheduled to make an appearance there October 2, 1954, but   called and begged off, saying he had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to appear on the Grand   Ole Opry in Nashville. "The way that fiasco turned out", said Ritter, "he would have been   better off appearing on my show in Tupelo".

UNKNOWN DATE APRIL 1955

Elvis Presley appeared in Greenwood, Mississippi. This show is rumoured to have occurred   around the time.