STORY ABOUT THE AMERICA'S MUSICAL STORYTELLER - For years the artist behind the name Eddie Cash was a question mark. Interviewer Bo Berglind had
heard he'd played in Las Vegas but he could not locate him, and it was not until 1991 when his buddy Erik and he visited Memphis they saw him name on a sign. He played at one of those cheap hotels close to the airport, there tried to get hold of him but had
not the time stay and look further. Next rumors said that Klaus Kettner of Hydra had been in touch with him so there asked Klaus, but still no luck.
It wasn't until Tony
Wilkinson caught his act in Branson, Missouri in 1995 and Bergling asked him if he had any interest to have his story told. Berglind contacted Eddie and he agreed to the article. This is what came out of there correspondence.
EDDIE CASH - Edward Allen Cash was born on February 28, 1941, in Memphis, Tennessee. He was the only child to Virginia and James Cash (no relation to Johnny). His father worked
at Firestone Tire & Rubber and was a foreman in the machine shop, he was also a machinist and a tool and tire man. Eddie's mother was a house wife and he commented, ''My mom had a fulltime job raising an idiot like me''.
In school Eddie's biggest interest was history. He didn't caught a really interest for music until the cool cat music came along. He thought that there would be a place for him also. Asked him what his main music
influences had been before Elvis entered the scene and after, Eddie says: ''Well, to be quite honest with you I was very much affected by as far as my heart concerns with blues. I've always been a great fan of blues. I got into rockabilly or rock and roll
as you now call it at a very early age. I began in the business in 1956 and this is my 40th year. My biggest rockabilly influence was probably Carl Perkins. I think the first song I ever sang first at a contest which I entered at the Casino at the Fairground
which here in Memphis and incidentally won was a song called "Matchbox". I'm a big B.B. King fan, I love blues very much. I like all styles of music as far as answer your question. I grew up in a neighbourhood full of kids that wanted to be in the entertainment
business. I don't know why but for some strange reason, when I was a kid growing up in Memphis we had a neighbourhood full of kids like Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Isac Hayes, Al Green, The Staple Singers, Kay Starr, The Blackwood Brothers Quartet,
Booker T & The MGs, The Willie Mitchell Band, Sam The Sham & The Pharroas, goodness me head goes blank.. Carl Perkins of course came down from Jackson and that's just 40-50 miles from Memphis. We had a neighbourhood full of these kids who just wanted
to pick and sing and be like these big
Eddie put his first band together in 1956 which was called
"The Mad Caps". But, first of all Eddie wanted to be a drummer, but fait wanted different, Eddie recall, ''I was about fourteen. I began in the business wanting to be a drummer. I'm a frustrated drummer, I don't play very well, and I haven't played for a long
time, but I love to play drums very much. In the first band I organized I was the drummer. The kid that was gonna sing was Virgil Henry, and Virgil got arrested for stealing hub caps and they told me I had to sing. The reason being that they had another drummer
but they did not have another singer. So I had to sing and give up my drums or get out of the band, so I threw my drums away and began to sing and I've been singing for four decades now''.
Eddie managed to get bookings through Bob Neal without having a record released. He also got his first manager in Gary Peters, who was soon replaced by Bill Harris, Bill had played the bass for Harold Jenkins but when Harold left Memphis
Bill quit his job, Eddie recall, ''Bob Neal was a dear friend and Bob booked some dates for me, but he was not my agent or manager. My first manager was a man who worked for Quickeroots Company and he was a bass player and manager for the original Conway Twitty
band. When he left Conway he came with me and was my manager and as a matter if fact he was influential in getting me my first record contract with the American Recording and the Lansky Brothers at Peak. Bill was also instrumental in having me do my recordings
with Fernwood and Scotty Moore''.
When Elvis Presley, in September 1956, travelled to Los Angeles to make his first movie "Love Me tender", Scotty Moore, Bill Black and
D.J. Fontana was left behind in Memphis, they needed job to pay their bills, say Eddie. ''Scotty Moore and Bill Black was pretty much in the same bag as far as my interest was concern because we all worked together. My first professional job was singing with
the original Presley band, this what happened; Clearpool was an old place located out on the highway. Presley had gone to do his first motion picture. Colonel Parker asked Bill Harris and my other friend, a radio announcer that acted as a part time manager,
Ray Brown was his name. They wanted me to sing with the Presley band because they knew I knew all the Presley songs and all of his keys and tempos and they would not have to rehearse anybody. It was kinda sneaky but quite an experience. My band members were
tickled to death that I were able to go on stage with some of the greatest musician around and they did not mind''.
Eddie struck a long relationship with Scotty and Bill
and Bill even played bass with Eddie before he founded the Bill Black Combo, more about that later. On April 12 1957 did Eddie and his band participate in a talent contest called "The Mid-South Youth Talent Contest" at the Memphis Fairground which he won by
performing "Matchbox". A few days before the contest Eddie had picked up his brand new red coat with the initials "EC" and a pair of pin striped pants. On the same day as the contest he received a good luck telegram from the Lansky Brothers Mens Shop. Eddie
recall, ''I entered the contest because I had been watching a lot of them playing around Memphis and I thought I could do better than them, it was that simple''.
Mad Caps only lasted a short time until he formed a new band called "Eddie Cash and Company" and after a while a third band came with "Eddie Cash and The Cashiers". Among the musicians around this time were Jackie Hartwell (guitar), Tommy Bennett (piano),
Dennis Smith (drums) and Prentill McPhail (electric bass).
In 1989 in England Charly Records had two previously unreleased tracks by Eddie in their box "The Rocking Years".
These were credited to Roland Janes and held on February 11, 1959. The two tracks released were "Hey Good Looking" and "Little Bitty Pretty Girl". Musicians were Roland Janes (guitar), Billy Riley (guitar), Pat O'Neill (upright bass), Martin Willis (tenor
saxophone) and Billy Weir or Jimmy Van Eaton (drums). Eddie may well have the time wrong as he's sure he did the Sun session before the Peak recordings.
The Sun session
and the peak session seem to be very close, talking about this 40 years, later Eddie might very well be mistaken. Eddie say, ''The first recording session I ever did was at the Sun Recording Studio. I still have fond memories of that. It was a terrible thing,
they were really bad. We used all the Sun musicians, everybody that cut with Jerry Lee and all those guys, Bill Riley but it was terrible. My dad was a camera and recording nut and thanks to him I have a copy of every session I ever did. At about the same
time I also did recordings for a television show at WHBQ. They had a disc jockey by the name of Dewey Phillips who they used to call "Daddy-O-Dewey", he first broke Elvis'' Eddie recalled.
Like all the other musicians in Memphis Eddie bought his stage suits at Lanskys and struck a friendship with them. A friendship that would lead to a recording contract. ''To be quite honest with you I knew the Lansky Brothers very well as
I bought all my cloths there because Elvis did and so did everybody else that I grew up with. The Lanskys were pretty much the people who did all the clothing things around because they had black cloths on Beale Street, which is a black street in a black neighbourhood
full of black people and the black influence and black music and the Lansky Brothers were selling loud cloths and that was very much the thing for a young teenagers in 1956 who wanted to be cool and nosy. The Lansky Brothers very much had the market and all
of us went there. The Lanskys owned Peak and the American Recording which was a small studio they had build in the back of their warehouse where they kept all their cloths. Bill Harris knew about this and when he came along and asked if they wanted to record
me they said yes. So they got together and I was probably one of the first artists ever signed to Peak and I would have a hit record with "Doin' All Right". It did hit in several markets and did very well. However Lansky Brothers fell on their knees because
they didn't have too many distribution contacts. When people in the east, like in New York or New Jersey or up in Chicago began to want the record, 'cause I was pushing it hard, they couldn't follow up so the record died and fell of the charts. I'll never
forget them for that, I think that was very bad''
The signing of the contract and the actual recording session happened with a seven-day period. Asking him if there were
other unreleased songs and how many takes they used before it came out satisfactory, Eddie continues, ''Oh, my goodness, how many takes? To be quite honest I don't know, but it was a song that we got from Harold a little earlier and we reharsed it for maybe
a couple of hours, I guess. We got it down pretty good and I did all of the arranging. I arranged pretty much everything until we got with Scotty Moore at Fernwood, and then he helped us a lot. But I did most of the Peak stuff because it was my band that played
the music, they were not session musicians, they were my personal musicians and they played only with me. The arrangement was pretty much done before we even got into the studio and it went on real quick, probably not more than one or two takes. I wrote "Land
Of Promises" myself along with my guitar player Gerald Hunsucker. I did all the producing and the Lansky Brothers were executive producers. They put the money in the bank and behind it. We did approach them, Bill and I went down and brought the band. They
had heard me but not the band, so one day we got them into the little studio and played a few tunes and they were quite impressed and basically I had a contract the same day. Most everything I did went very very quick. I never had any problem standing around
and waiting for anything to happen. All the people I grew up with in Memphis were in the business. I used to hang around the Sun Studio for probably a year just looking and watching everybody else making big records. So I knew how to act when it was my time'',
Eddie's first record "Doing All Right" b/w "Land Of Promises" was released in November 1958. The Memphis disc jockey George Klein had it as his "Pick
Of The Week" on November 21 together with Johnny Cash' "It's Just About Time". Elvis held the number one spot with "One Night", Kimball Coburn , another Memphis singer, was on position eleven with "Please, Please" on Hi Records. On January 16 it was number
eight on radio WTUP chart, and in February we could read in the Memphis Press-Scimitar where Robert Johnson wrote:
''When WLEE-Richmond presented its chart for September
21, 1959 they had Eddie on spot thirteen. Rod Bernard held the second position with "This Should Go On Forever", Tommy Dee had "Three Stars" at number 14 and Neil Sedaka was at number 15 with "I Got Ape". The month he appeared in the Stardom Magazine''.
In 1959 Eddie entered another talent contest sponsored by the daily newspaper "Memphis Press-Scimitar" and WREC-TV. This appearance opened more doors and Eddie appears several times on Wink
Martindales TV-show "Talent Party" over WHBQ-TV. By this time Harold Jenkins had turned Conway Twitty and was a big star and had gone off to Hollywood to make a movie. His musicians was left behind and he was again asked to step in for the star and did several
shows with them during the shooting of Twitty's first movie.
By this time Peak Records had released quite a few recordings and this article appeared some time during
During this time Eddie Cash hand Bill Black on bass and they appeared during weekends on local clubs and in the nearby states of Arkansas and Mississippi. Most
of them time they had advanced booking on the same route during Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. The following story it quite remarkable. ''I put a band together, Bill Black and Scotty Moore had just left Presley and were looking for jobs. Both Scotty and Bill
worked with me several times on jobs and I had done some jobs with them so we knew each other and we worked together. Everybody in Memphis worked together at that time. All the Sun and Hi studio musicians and all those people at Stax. Everybody know everybody
from bass player Duck Dunn and all the way down to Jimmy van Eaton. I was the youngest and the most inmature and probably the worst in town, but I was working and some of them not, Anyhow, I called up Bill and we put a little band together, he had a drummer
called Jerry Arnold, who was to be the original drummer in the Bill Black Combo, they used to call him Satch. Satch Arnold and I had a saxophone player by the name of Martin Willis who was one of the finest musicians in town. He did a lot of stuff for Sun
Records and was also with Conway for a time. The greatest guitar player I ever run across in my life is Reggie Young. Anyhow, we were working this "C&R Club" in Truman, Arkansas and another toilet called "The Silver Moon" in Newport, Arkansas. Those were
jobs that we would work after school on Fridays and Saturdays.
''On this occasion I called Bill and said, ''Bill, get ready to go to the thing and I'll pick you up, and
he said, 'We're not going. So what do you mean, you're not going? This is Wednesday we're opening at the Silver Moon Night Club in Newport, Arkansas and Friday we're making $15 dollars a piece and you ain't going.
Bill said, 'No, Joe Cuoghi from Hi Records called and he's gonna give us a recording session. I said, 'Well, you go ahead and do your recording session and I'll organize another band and I'm going my way. He
said, 'Ok. So Bill went on and recorded "Smokie Part 1 & 2" and made his first million seller and I got $15 and went on singing at the Silver Moon Night Club in Newport, Arkansas. But that's a true Bill Black Story. It's a shame too that Bill's gone. He
was a fine man a lot of fun and I miss Bill Black, he was a good friend.''.
In late 1959 or early 1960 Peak released his follow up single "Come On Home" b/w "Day After
Day", which ad been recorded in 1959. Unfortunately this record died on the day of its release and Eddie Cash was very disappointed at the Lanskys for not pushing his records and he recorded a session at Fernwood Studio in Memphis.
''We recorded at the Fernwood Studio, downtown on the Main Street. Scotty gave me the story that Elvis was sorry to see them leave and bought Bill Black a house and Fernwood Records for Scotty. Bill Harris wrote
one side called "Thinkin' Man" and he got the idea from a Marlboro slogan. Then I wrote the other side "Livin' Lovin' Temptation". On the session we used Jackie Hartwell (guitar), Gerald Hunsucker (rhythm guitar), Prentiss McPhail (electric bass), Tommy Bennett
(piano), Dennis Smith (drums) and Martin Willis(tenor sax). We had female vocal group The DeLons, which also appeared on Thomas Wayne's recording of "Tragedy". But it got to the attention of Randy Wood through a friend of mine at radio WMPS here in Memphis,
I think it was Ray Brown or it might have been Scotty Moore, I can't recall. Anyhow, they got to Randy and told him to sign me up. Randy heard the record but didn't want it on Dot so he placed it on Dot's subsidiary label called Todd and it did absolutely
nothing'' recalled Eddie.
The record was released in March 1960 and Todd spent money on advertisement in Cash Box and it was also reviewed. There are also two different
label designs, my copy is pressed in Los Angeles by Monarch. Eddie's next stop was Roulette Records, which came by coincidence where one single was released. ''How I got my Roulette contract was a sick thing. I had graduated from High School in 1959 and left
Memphis. I left Bill Harris and everything behind me because my records didn't do what they were supposed to do. I wanted to go on the road as the record at this time made some noise in Chicago I went there to work. The record plays on the radio, people know
your name and get jobs, it's that simple. In Chicago I organized another band as the musicians from Memphis wouldn't leave town. When I got to Chicago I got a trio together and we played all over the city. We had a couple of tunes that we were just playing
and we went over to some guy's and for forty or fifty dollars we cut a two demos. It was a demo, a junkie demo, really a bad cheap demo in a garage with seven microphones. I had at the time signed a contract to work with Orchestras Incorporated at 332 South
Michigan in the McCormick building. They saw me on the Jim Lounsbury Show, which was the Chicago version of American Bandstand, at the ABC Building right across from the Chicago Theatre. They asked me to do several TV spots here because "Doing All Right" was
pretty big in that area. It got to the top ten in no time. While I was there and organizing the band and doing all these things I did this little Mickey Mouse thing. I sent the demo to my new agent Herb Grownauer, and asked him what do you think about this
and Herbie knew somebody at Roulette and send it to them to see what they thought. Next thing I know Herbie says that we gotta sign a contract real quick, they are gonna release the thing. I said, 'Release what? and he said, 'Your demo. I said, 'Oh no, it's
terrible. He said, 'No, they love it. So I signed a contract, they released it and it bell right on its butt'', Eddie said.
Eddie Cash died in Mukwanoga, Wisconsin on
September 16, 2016, after a short battle with cancer. He was 75.