BIOGRAPHIES
Alphabetical order by the last name of the Artist
 
Artists K - L
 
- Kearney, Ramsey -
- Kelly, Jack -
- Kennedy, Tiny -
- Kerby, Raymond -
- Kesler, Stan -
- King, Cast -
- King, Riley B. (B.B. King) -
Kings of Rhythm, The
- Kirby, Ed -
- Kirby Sisters, The -
- Klein, George -
 
- Lawson, Lathe B. with James Scott Jr. with Charles McClelland -
- Lee, Dickey -
- Leoppard, Clyde & The Snearly Ranch Boys -
- Leslie, Alice (Alice Lesley) -
- Lewis, Jerry Lee -
- Lewis, Joe -
- Lewis, Linda Gail -
- Lewis, Sammy -
- Lichterman, Ira Jay -
- Load Of Mischief -
- London, Johnny -
- Lott, Jimmie -
- Louis, Joe Hill -
- Love, Billie ''Red'' -
- Love, Coy ''Hot Shot'' -
- Lowery, Gene -
 
 © - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
KEARNEY, RAMSEY - was born on October 30, 1933, in Bolivar, Tennessee, where he attended high school   with his friend Bobby Sisco, who eventually moved to Michigan and became a rockabilly singer in his own   right. Kearney became interested in music at the age of 13 and took part in a talent contest, which resulted in   a radio spot on WDXI in Jackson, Tennessee in 1948. It was there that he met Carl Perkins, who was a guest   on Kearney's show several times. In 1952, Kearney gave up his show and joined the Snearly Ranch Boys in Memphis, Tennessee, a local country band led by drummer Clyde Leoppard. 
 
This group also included such   persons as Smokey Joe Baugh, Stan Kesler, and Bill Taylor. One year later, Kearney served in the US Army   and upon his discharge, he recorded some songs for Sun Records, which remained unissued.
 
As the vocalist of the Jimmie Martin Combo, he recorded two songs for Jaxon Records, "Rock the Bop" b/w   "Red Bobby Sox" in 1957 at 706 Union Avenue. Jaxon was founded by Martin himself and his group was the   first to appear on the label. It was a small company that gave local talents the possibility to record their first   single, for example Carl Mann. It was Kearney's first record release; however, the record went nowhere due   to missing promotion and distribution.
 
Kearney later moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, where he became a member of WNOX's Tennessee Barn   Dance. It was not until he moved to Nashville that he enjoyed some success both as a musician and as a   songwriter. During 1961-1963, he recorded for Hickory and penned such titles as "Emotion," recorded by   Brenda Lee, Juice Newton, and Mel Tillis. Kearney is still active as a musician and records for the Safari   label at the moment.
 
 © - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
KELLY, JACK - Jackie  Boy was born near Middleton and Rogers Springs in Hardeman County, Tennessee on March 12, 1905. The son of Ed Kelly and Emma (Amey or Annie) Sain, he  spent his life playing in the streets of Memphis, with musicians as Frank Stokes, Will Batts, Dan Sain/Sane. Kelly had two brothers (Willie aka Buddy and David) and three sisters (Emma, Alberta, and Chris aka Lizzie). Lizzie told Steve LaVere that her father, Monroe Bolden (who must have been either Lizzie's dad or Kelly's step-father or both) taught all the Kelly boys how to play music.
 
With some ten issued 78s to his credit from sessions held in 1933 and 1939, Kelly was a recording veteran by the time he came to Phillips' studio. His group was known as the South Memphis Jug Band but he confined himself to singing and playing guitar.
 
His trademark was an unlit cigar dangling from his lips, a habit he affected until his death.   In 1952, Kelly for the Sun label with Walter Horton credited as by Jackie Boy & Little Walter. 
 
He was no j ug-blower himself, concentrating on vocal and guitar duties.  According to LaVere, Kelly's death certificate identified his usual occupation as decorator. Although it was generally assumed that he died around 1960, there's a note in Marion Keisker's log book that says ''Deceased'', and Keisker left Sun in 1957. Later research seems to confirm this, dating his death to September 9, 1953. He's buried in Bolivar, Tennessee, close to his place of birth. It's possibly a coincidence but the check register for the Memphis Recording Service dated February 12, 1954, shows that a J. Kelly was paid eighteen dollars for painting at the studio. If it's our Kelly then the check remains uncashed. (CE)
 
 © - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
KENNEDY, TINY - Like Sherman ''Blues'' Johnson, Jesse ''Tiny'' Kennedy was recorded as a custom job,   and not as a master for re-sale or for Sun. Kennedy, probably born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on December   20, 1925, was quasi-established artist when Sam Phillips recorded him for Trumpet Records. In November   1949, he'd recorded with Jay McShann for Capitol, and in 1951 Trumpet Records president Lillian McMurry   had seen him with Tiny Bradshaw. ''Tiny was so big and fat that when he sang his fat just went up and down rocking with him'', she told Marc Ryan. ''We put him under contract and recorded him''.
 
Trumpet was based   in Jackson, Mississippi, but local studios couldn't handle a medium-sized band and still recorded to   expensive acetates, so McMurry first tried WHBQ studios in Memphis, sending Kennedy there with Elmore   James.
 
Disliking the results, she set up a session in Jackson for December 1951 with Mose Allison, but Kennedy   blew the ticket money and didn't show. On February 27, 1952, Kennedy violated his Trumpet contract by   recording a session with Tiny Bradshaw for King Records in Cincinnati. Taking a third shot at getting   Kennedy on disc, McMurry arranged for a session of Phillips' studio, and relied on Phillips' judgement in   choosing musicians. Although ''Strange Kind Of Feelin''' wasn't a charted hit, it sold well, justifying   McMurry's patience. The flip-side, ''Early In The Morning'' featured a dub of a trained rooster that crowed   on-air at WFOR in Hattiesburg, Mississippi for disc jockey Chuck Thompson. McMurry got one more   session out of Kennedy before he left for RCA's new Groove subsidiary. ''Strange Kind Of Feeling'' was   redone for Kennedy's second Groove single, but didn't do well. As far as we know, Kennedy didn't record   again. In 1975, researcher Bob Eagle heard that he was performing in a no-go area of East St. Louis, but his   current whereabouts are unknown. (CE)
 
 © - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
KERBY, RAYMOND - The Kerby's have two sons and a daughter. Like his father, John Kerby   also has strong musical interests and actually recorded in a rockabilly style for the fledling   Diane Records.
 
His only session was held in 1959 when John was still in high school. Bill   Black produced the date, which resulted in a fine rockabilly offering called "Get Hot Or Go   Home". Like his father, John Kerby succeeded in making one of the rarest records to come   out of Memphis in the 1950s.
 
Raymond Kerby has been making music a long time. He started playing guitar when he was   about fifteen. He played with a USO band during World War II. He's played with countless   local groups, including an all-black band that used to perform at baseball games. "I would   have liked to make music a career but things just didn't work out that way".
 
Thirty years after recording his closest brush with rockabilly, the demo "Paint Slinger   Blues", Raymond Kerby is still slinging paint. Along with work as a house painter, Kerby   raises beef cattle and continues to look after most of his own veterinary needs. Despite all   of this activity, there is still time for music.
 
Personal appearances and recording are no longer part of the itinerary, but periodic jam   sessions with friends for good old time pickin' are very much part of his life.
 
The Ripley Cotton Choppers took their name from a group of Tennessee musicians, who   had performed widely during the depression years. Although they had never recorded, the   original Cotton Choppers broadcast regularly over WREC in Memphis. The Cotton Choppers   group that Sam Phillips recorded for Sun was headed by Raymond Kerby, a house painter,   contractor, guitarist, cattle rancher and jack-of-all-trades. Kerby was born in 1919 in Halls, Tennessee, a small community outside of Ripley, which is itself eclipsed by nearby   Memphis.
 
Other members of the Cotton Choppers included Kerby's uncle Jesse Frost, who did most   of the singing; Raymond's brother James Kerby, who played guitar; Ernest Underwood,   who sang and played fiddle; James Haggard on mandolin; Bill Webb, another and,   depending guitarist upon the season, James or Pete Wiseman on string bass. On occasion,   a woman named Jettie Cox also sang with the band and even recorded some unreleased   material for Sun.
 
Thirty years after recording his closest brush with rockabilly, the demo ''Paint Slinger Blues'', Raymond Kirby was still slinging paint. Along with work as a house painter, he raised beef cattle and looked after most of his own veterinary needs. Despite all of this activity, there were still periodic jam sessions with friends and good old time pickin' remained very much part of his life. He died on September 10, 2006 in Lauderdale, Tennessee. An obituary of Kerby's son, Johnny Lee, noted that John Kerby too was dead by 2008.
 
 © - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
KESLER, STAN -  Stan Kesler is an American retired musician, record producer and songwriter, whose career began at the Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee. Producer Stan Kesler is best known for forming two of the industry's most renowned studio  groups, the American Studios Rhythm Section (otherwise known as the 827 Thomas Street Band) and the Dixie Flyers, only to have both groups stolen away. He co-wrote several of Elvis Presley's early recordings including "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone" and "I Forgot to Remember to Forget", and played guitar and bass on hit records by Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis. As a producer, his successful records included "Wooly Bully" by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs.
 
Born as Stanley Augustus Kesler on August 11, 1928 in Abbeville, Mississippi. He learned to play mandolin and guitar as a child, and steel guitar during his time in the U.S. Marines. After his discharge, he formed a band with his brothers, before joining Al Rodgers in his band, performing in and around Amarillo, Texas. After two years with Rodgers, Kesler moved around 1950 to Memphis, where he played in various country and western swing bands, including the Snearly Ranch Boys led by Clyde Leoppard, who also included Quinton Claunch. Kesler began writing songs for the band to record, and several were taken up by other singers at the Sun studios headed by Sam Phillips. These included Warren Smith, and Elvis Presley, who recorded "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone" in 1954, and "I Forgot to Remember to Forget" the following year. Presley's recording of "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone", written by Kesler with William E. (Bill) Taylor, was released as a single by Sun Records and reached number 5 on the country chart; his version of "I Forgot to Remember to Forget", written by Kesler with Charlie Feathers, reached number 1 on the country chart in early 1956.
 
By 1955, Kesler had also become a regular session musician at Sun, playing with the house band on records by Carl Perkins and others before switching to bass, which he played on Jerry Lee Lewis' 1957 hit "Great Balls of Fire", and records by Roy Orbison. He also worked as a recording engineer at the Sun Studio. In the late 1950s, he founded his own record label, Crystal, later starting two more labels, Penn and XL. In the mid1960s, he found success with XL, producing "Wooly Bully" and several subsequent hits by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs. He also worked as a producer with blues musician Willie Cobbs, recording the original version of "You Don't Love Me".
 
Kesler also engineered recording sessions for Quinton Claunch's for Goldwax label, working with soul singer James Carr among others, and in that capacity put together a band of session musicians who included guitarist Reggie Young, drummer Gene Chrisman, keyboardist Bobby Emmons, and bassist Tommy Cogbill. 
 
After achieving initial success with Kesler at Goldwax, the band was persuaded to leave to join Chips Moman's new American Sound Studio in Memphis, where they had greater success becoming known as the "Memphis Boys". The group went on to unheralded success,  playing on 120 hit records in a three-year period. Kesler then put together a new recording group at the Sounds of Memphis Studio, including guitarist Charlie Freeman, bassist Tommy McClure, keyboardist Jim Dickinson, and drummer, Sammy Creason, until they were able to cut a quality session (they backed Albert Collins on his Grammy-nominated Trash Talkin' album), only to have his studio musicians stolen again, this time by Atlantic  head Jerry Wexler. The group, naming themselves the Dixie Flyers, relocated to Miami's  Criteria studios, where they went on to record successful albums for Aretha Franklin and  Jerry Jeff Walker. When Kesler's third studio group was lured away by music attorney  Seymour Rosenberg, the producer finally gave up the notion of independent recording and  returned to work as an engineer for Sam Phillips. 
 
Kesler eventually gave up the idea of independent production and in 1978 returned to work at the new Sun Studio at Madison Avenue in Memphis as an engineer. He later formed a touring group, the Sun Rhythm Section, with guitarists Paul Burlison and Sonny Burgess, two drummers D. J. Fontana and Jimmy M. Van Eaton, keyboardist Jerry Lee "Smoochie" Smith of the Mar-Keys, and Marcus Van Story. The band toured internationally, and recorded an album on ''Flying Fish Records, Old Time Rock And Roll'' (Flying Fish FF445) in 1987.  Stan Kesler is retired from the music industry in the early 1990s, and later lived in Bartlett, Tennessee, close to Memphis.
 
Stanley Augustus Kesler died on October 26, 2020 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, from bone cancer.
 
 © - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
KING, CAST  - was a country musician and      songwriter from Old Sand Mountain, Alabama. King released the album, "Saw Mill Man", in 2005. He was    aged 79 at the time of recording.  A song from the album entitled "Outlaw" was included in the score of Gus Van Sant's 2007 film, Paranoid    Park. "Saw Mill Man" drew comparisons to Johnny Cash's American Recordings series.  King's baritone   voice and acoustic guitar have been praised as possessing a raw and affecting quality. The narratives of the    songs dealt with characteristic country themes such as poverty, broken relationships, and murderous outlaws.
 
Joseph Dudley ''Cast'' King had been born in Chattanooga, Tennessee on February 16, 1926 and was raised in Dunlop,  Tennessee until he was ten years old. Then his father died, King and his mother moved to Pisgah and stayed  by his grandparents and he became interested in music after hearing a band perform on stage, and started to  learn to play the guitar. In 1944, Kind drafted into the Army and went to Germany in the war, and during that  period he in various bands entertaining the troops. 
 
After the war, King started playing lead guitar for Curtis Parton and the Alabama Ramblers for about one  year, because he started and formed his own band, playing mostly country music, and were called the  Country Drifters. Cast King married Helen McKee in 1948 and the couple had five children, though two  unfortunately died. Because of his family and work commitments Cast King didn't have as much time for  music as he would have liked, but the Country Drifters played regular live show on radio WROS in  Scottsboro, Alabama, and playing shows on various radio stations around the country. Several people told
him the band was so good it should be on record but King took this with a pinch of salt until one day in early  summer of 1956 when radio man, Clyde Varner said, ''made some demo tapes and sent them to Sun Records.
 
Although his opportunity to record a full length album came late in life, Cast King had previously recorded  for Sun Records in 1956 and 1957. With his band, The Country Drifters, he cut around a dozen songs at this  time. After his two recording sessions at Sun, Cast King returned to Pigah and to his normal life as a parttime  musician. He didn't approach other record companies and the rockabilly boom continued without him,  as did the country music business for the most part.
 
By 1987 King was working with Sky Records of Muscle Shoals trying to get some of his original songs  recorded but little came of this. Strangely, at the age of 79, it was musician, Matt Downer, who located King  and encouraged him to come out of a long musical retirement and record. Downer also played electric guitar  throughout "Saw Mill Man". The record was met with favourable reviews from Rolling Stone, Arthur  Magazine, Mojo, and No Depression among other publications. In 2006, cast King finally made it to  Nashville, playing a show at a Baptist Church, and people wanted him to tour more widely, but he had never  been in a plane and didn't intend to start.
 
King was preparing a second collection of songs when it was discovered that he was suffering from cancer.  Cast King passed away at his Old Sand Mountain home in Alabama on December 13, 2007 at the age of 81. (MH) (HD)
 
 © - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
KING, RILEY B. (B.B. KING) - Blues singer, nicknamed "King Of The Blues", who was born Riley Ben   King on a plantation on September 16, 1925, between Itta Bena and Indianola, Sunflower   County, Mississippi (birth registered in Indianola). His grandfather was bottleneck guitarist,   his father was Albert King and his mother was Nora Ella Pully and were singers. One of five children, he often sang in local churches from 4 years of age. When his parents   separated, King moved with his mother to Kilmichael, Mississippi area to attend one-room   school house, where he frequent sang in a school spiritual quartet from 1929 to 1934.
 
After   his mother's death, quit school to work outside the music, and he returned to Indianola and   continued to develop his music while working as a farmhand on the local plantation, and to   live with his father and work outside the music with occasional church choir singing in 1939   into 1943.
 
He taught self the guitar forming from the Elkhorn Singers gospel quartet to work in local   churches circa 1940 into 1943, served briefly in the US Army and sang the blues for the troops at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and Fort Benning in California in 1943.
 
B.B. King is influenced by Charles Brown, Doc Clayton, Archie Fair, Lowell Fulsen, Al Hibbler,   Elmore James, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Lonnie Johnson, Sam McQuerry, Jimmy Rushing, Joe   Turner, Aaron "T-Bone" Walker, and Bukka White. He influenced artists like to Luther Allison,   Mickey Baker, Elvin Bishop, Bobby Bland, Mike Bloomfield, Lonnie Brooks, Andrew Brown,   George Buford, Eric Clapton, Albert Collins, Louis Bo Collins, Larry Davis, Arthur Gunter,   Buddy Guy, Sugarcane Harris, Jimi Hendrix, Bee Houston, Luther Johnson Jr., Albert King,   Freddie King, Carol Leigh, Little Joe Blue, Little Mack, Little Milton, John Little john, Magic   Sam, Johnny Mars, Chicago Bob Nelson, Alvin Nichols, William Norris, Andrew Odon, Elvis   Presley, Fenton Robinson, Otis Rush, Son Seals, Lucile Spann, Ted Taylor, Johnny Twist,  Phillip Walker, Albert Washinton, Joe Leon Williams, Johnny Winter, and Mighty Joe Young.
 
In 1943 into 1946, B.B. King returned to Indianola, Mississippi to work outside the music   with occasional singing in churches and the streets area, and appeared with St. John Gospel   Singers on WJPM-radio in Greenwood, Mississippi, and for WJPR-radio in Greenville,   Mississippi in 1945 into 1946.
 
In 1946 King hitched a ride to Memphis with his mother's cousin, Bukka White to worked at   the amateur shows at W.C. Handy Theater and the Palace Theater in Memphis. He returned   to the Delta briefly at the end of 1947 and in 1948 harvested a cotton crop. Later that year   he returned to Memphis, this time for good, and worked amateur shows at the W.C. Handy   Theater and Palace Theater, occasional sang in the local streets and parks for tips. He  frequently performed with Bobby "Blue" Bland, Johnny Ace, and Earl Forrest in a group  called "The Beale Streeters" in the local bars and clubs in the Memphis area in 1948 into   1949, and appeared regularly on his own 'Pepticon Boy" show on WDIA radio in Memphis. He   became a well-known disc jockey at Memphis radio station WDIA when he got his nickname   "Beale Street Blues Boy", given to him by station manager Don Kern. B.B. King also known as  "Blues Boy", "The Blues Boy From Beale Street", "The King Of The Blues", and "The Bossman   Of The Blues". B.B. King is no related to Albert King and Freddie King.
 
King organized a band, which played on KWEM-radio with Sonny Boy Williamson II (Alex   Miller), and worked on the 16th Street Grill in Memphis in 1949 into 1950, and B.B. King   recorded with the Tuff Green Band for the Bullet label in Memphis. B.B. King recorded one of Sam Phillips' most acclaimed records "Three O'Clock Blues" for the RPM label at the Memphis Recording Service. The sessions were held at 706 Union Avenue in Memphis on January 8, 1951; May 27, 1951; April 1952 and September 1952. King appeared with Floyd Dixon at the Club Morocco in   Little Rock, Arkansas; worked in small clubs and bars in Chicago, Illinois, and in New York   City in 1952; recorded with Sonny Boy Williamson II (Alex Miller) for the Trumpet label in   Jackson, Mississippi in 1953 and formed his own group to touring the club dates through   southern US in 1953; recorded for the RPM label in Houston, Texas in 1953 into 1955;   worked at the City Auditorium in Houston, Texas in 1952, and appeared with Bill Harvey  Band for working club dates on the West Coast in 1954; worked at the Apollo Theater in New   York City in 1954.
 
In 1955, B.B. King appeared at the Graystone Ballroom in Detroit, Michigan and toured   extensively with his own group for working on one-nighters in the clubs, theaters, concert   halls, package shows across the US in 1955 into 1961. Worked on the Robert's Show Lounge   in Chicago circa 1957; worked with Buddy Guy at the Trianon Ballroom in Chicago in 1958;   recorded for the Kent/Crown labels in Los Angeles, California in 1958 into 1962.
B.B. King claims to have known Elvis Presley before Elvis became a successful singer. Elvis   Presley frequented these spots and King's music was an important early influence. Elvis   Presley appeared with B.B. King at the WDIA Goodwill Review in December 7, 1956. King   lends credence to the belief that Elvis Presley hung around several nightclubs in Memphis   while still in school.
 
"He used to come around and be around us a lot", King said. "There was   a place we used to go and hang out at on Beale Street. People had little pawn shops there and a lot of us used to hang around in certain of these places, and this was where I met   him".
 
For nearly 20 years he performed some 300 one-night stands a year in black night spots   known as the "Chitterlin Circuit". Once a year he played week-long engagements in large urban black theatres such as the Howard in Washington; the Regal in Chicago; and the Apollo   in New York.
 
In the early 1960s King's career was in a slump, with blacks finding his music uncomfortably   close to their "down-home" roots and folk enthusiasts considering him too commercialized.   King's return to fame came when the Rolling Stones, Paul Butterfield's Blues Band, and other   British and American groups acknowledged him as their idol. After his first European tour in   1968 he was finally recognized by American critics, and since that time his career has   treadily grown, with frequent television and film appearances.
 
King's guitar style is influenced by blues guitarists Lonnie Johnson and T-Bone Walker and by   jazz guitarists Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian. He has always played an electric   guitar, which he nicknamed "Lucille". His delicate "bent" notes and powerful vocals echo the   blues style of the Mississippi Delta where King first learned his music.
 
From his early years in rural Mississippi to his international acclaim, B.B. King's blues career   is a rare success story. He has issued over 700 recordings and continues to produce and   perform at a pace younger musicians would find exhausting. His achievements as a blues   performer, composer, and spokesman were recognized in 1977 when Yale University   President Kingsman Brewster awarded him an honourary doctorate of music with the   accolade, "In your rendition of the blues you have always taken us beyond entertainment to   the deeper message of suffering and endurance that gave rise to the form". In "Why I Sing   The Blues" King explains the meaning of his music.
 
B.B. King won the Jazz and Pop magazine Readers Poll for the Best Male Jazz Singer of the   Year in 1968, won the Natra Golden Mike Award for the Best Blues Singer of the Year in 1969   and 1974, won the French Academie du Jazz Award for the Best Blues Album of the Year in   1968 for his "Lucille" (ABC-BluesWay BLS-6016) album. He won also the National Academy of   Recording Arts and Sciences Grammy Award for the Best Rhythm and Blues Vocal performance by a male in 1970 for his album "The Thrill Is Gone" (ABC-BluesWay BLS-6037),   won for Downbeat magazine the International Critics Poll for Best Rock-pop-Blues Group in   1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, and 1975, won the Guitar Player magazine Readers Poll for   World's Most Popular Guitarist (Top Blues Guitarist of the Year) in 1970,1971, 1972, 1973,   and 1974.
 
B.B. King is honoured with a Day of Blues by city of Memphis on August 27, 1971, and   Awarded Key to the City by Mayor Carl B. Stokes in Cleveland, Ohio in 1971, a B.B. King   watch marketed in 1971, he is also honoured with a B.B. King Day by Governor Bill Waller of   the State of Mississippi in 1972, awarded honourary Doctorate of Humanities from Tougaloo   College in Tougaloo, Mississippi in 1973, awarded Humanitarian Award by B'nai B'rith Music   and Performance Lodge of New York in 1973. Won Blues Unlimited magazine (UK) Readers   Poll for the Best Blues Guitarist in 1973, won the Melody Maker (World Section) magazine   (UK) Jazz Poll for the Best Blues Artist of the Year in 1973, won Ebony magazine Black Music   Poll for the Best Blues Album in 1974 ("Live at the Regal ABC-724"), won the Ebony magazine   Black Music Poll for the Best Blues Album in 1975 ("To Know You Is To Love You", ABC-794),  won the Ebony magazine Black Music Poll for the Best Blues Instrumentalist in 1974, and   1975, won the Ebony magazine Black Music Poll for the Best Male Blues Singer in 1974, and   1975, won the NAACP Image Award in 1975, and is honoured with the B.B. King Day by the   city of Berkeley, California on June 12, 1976.
 
B.B. King is the first and greatest bluesman of the modern age of electronic communications,   a superb showman, King is one of the world's greatest guitar soloists, and is certainly the   best known and most influential bluesman of them all. B.B. King has earned his title "King Of   The Blues" because he is simply the best blues singer of his generation.
 
In 1950, B.B. King lived at 386 Avery Street, Memphis, Tennessee. By 1951, he had moved to   1955 Frisco Apartment number 2. In 1953, the last year he resident in Memphis, he lived at   363 South Orleans Avenue. Today, when not living on a tour bus, he makes his home in Las   Vegas, Nevada.
 
On  Thursday,  May 14, 2015, B.B. King, the most recognized blues musician of the modern era, who defined the genre for nearly seven decades and inspired countless artists with his unique style of electric guitar play as the “King of Blues”, died as a diabetic in his sleep at 9:40 p. m. at his Las Vegas home. He was 89. (CE)
 
 © - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

KINGS OF RHYTHM, THE - are an American rhythm and blues and soul group formed in the late 1940s in Clarksdale, Mississippi and led by Ike Turner through to his death in 2007. Turner would retain the name of the band throughout his career, although the group has undergone considerable lineup changes over time. The group was an offshoot of a large big band ensemble called "The Tophatters". By the late 1940s Turner had renamed this group the "Kings of Rhythm". Their early stage performances consisted largely of covers of popular jukebox hits of the day. A 1951 lineup of the group recorded the song "Rocket 88", which was an early example of rock and roll. In the 1960s they became the band for the "Ike & Tina Turner Revue". For a few years in the early 1970s they were renamed "The Family Vibes", and released 2 albums under this name, both produced by, but not featuring Ike Turner. The band have continued, for a time under the leadership of pianist Ernest Lane (himself a childhood friend of Turner's), and continues to tour with vocalist Earl Thomas. The group has been running for at least 64 years. 

 © - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

In high school, a teenage Ike Turner joined a huge local rhythm ensemble called The Tophatter, who played dances around Clarksdale, Mississippi, playing big band arrangements from sheet music. Members of the band were taken from Clarksdale musicians, and included Turner's school friends Raymond Hill, Eugene Fox and Clayton Love. 

At one point the Tophatters had over 30 members, and eventually split into two, with one act who wanted to carry on playing dance band jazz calling themselves The Dukes of Swing and the other, led by Turner becoming the Kings of Rhythm. Rivalry between the two former factions of the Tophatters lasted for some time, with the two staging an open air 'battle-of-the-bands' where they played from atop two flatbed trucks every fortnight. 

The Kings of Rhythm had a regular Wednesday night residency at Clarksdale's Harlem Theater. This got them bookings around the Mississippi Delta region. Their early stage performances consisted largely of covers of popular jukebox hits. In March 1951 whilst driving between gigs, the Kings of Rhythm dropped in with B.B. King on a blues club date in Chambers, Mississippi. Turner persuaded King to let the band sit in and play a number with him. King contests this, remembering that it was only Turner who sat in with his band. They were well received and the club owner booked them for a weekend residency, whilst King recommended them to Sam Philips at the Memphis Recording Service in Memphis, Tennessee. In the 1950s, The Kings received regular airplay from live sessions on Clarksdale radio station WROX-Am, at the behest of disc jockey Early Wright. The band would sometimes play a session that lasted an hour. 

Sam Phillips invited the Kings of Rhythm down to Memphis to record at the Memphis Recording Service, and the group had to devise an original song at short notice for the session. The saxophonist, Jackie Brenston, suggested a song about the new Rocket 88 Oldsmobile. Turner worked out the arrangement and the piano introduction and the band collaborated on the rest with Brenston on vocals. "Rocket 88" came out with the group credited as Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats and went on to sell half a million copies, reaching the top of the Billboard Rhythm And Blues charts in June 1951. The success of the record caused divisions within the group, with Brenston believing he was now the star and should front the group, and Turner and Raymond Hill bitter that they had received little recognition or recompense for writing and recording a hit record. The group's regular singer was signed away to a contract with King Records, but Turner still refused to allow Brenston to take over as singer, so the saxophonist left to pursue a solo career, taking half the group with him. However Turner held onto the name and reformed the Kings of Rhythm with a new lineup. 

In 1951, when the band was touring, they were going to record a song ''Juiced'', so they had Billy Love as the pianist to record it for them. It was well known, and it was also known as a follow up hit to ''Rocket 88'', but the song ''Juiced'' was just a minor hit. They kept making more songs from 1951 to early 1953, but kept getting a little less success.Some of their famous recordings were ''Tuckered Out'', ''Leo The Louse'', ''Independent Woman'', ''Starvation''. 

In 1955, Turner took a reformed version of the Kings of Rhythm north to St. Louis, including Kizart, Sims, O'Neal, Jessie Knight, Jr. and Turner's third wife Annie Mae Wilson Turner on piano and vocals. It was at this time that Turner moved over to playing guitar to accommodate Annie Mae, taking lessons from Willie Kizart to improve. 

Turner maintained strict discipline over the band, insisting they lived in a large house with him so he could conduct early morning rehearsals at a moment's notice. He would fire anyone he suspected of drinking or taking drugs, and would fine or physically assault band-members if they played a wrong note. He controlled everything from the arrangements down to the suits the band wore onstage. Starting off playing at a club called Kingsbury's in Madison, Illinois, within a year Turner had built up a full gig schedule, establishing his group as one of the most highly rated on the St. Louis club circuit, vying for popularity with their only real competition, Sir John's Trio featuring Chuck Berry. The bands would play all-nighters in St. Louis, then cross the river to the clubs of East St. Louis, Illinois, and continue playing until dawn. In St. Louis for the first time Turner and the band were exposed to a developing white teenage audience who were excited by rhythm and blues. Clubs the Kings played in St. Louis included Club Imperial, which was popular with white teenagers, The Dynaflow, The Moonlight Lounge, Club Riviera and the West End Walters. In East St. Louis, the group would play Kingsbury's, Club Manhattan and The Sportsman. 

In between live dates, Turner took the band to Cincinnati to record for Federal in 1956 and Chicago for Cobra/Artistic in 1958. He befriended St. Louis rhythm and blues fan Bill Stevens, who in 1958 set up the short-lived record label, Stevens, financed by his father Fred. Turner recorded numerous sessions for Stevens with various vocalists and musician lineups of the Kings, of which seven singles were released (these are collected on the Red Lightnin' compilation "Hey Hey - The Legendary Ike Turner and the Kings of Rhythm" (RL0047). None of the Stevens records had wide distribution and the operation ceased after a year. In addition the band appeared on local television shows. They toured the "Chitlin' Circuit" of black southern clubs for many years. 

After the addition of his new wife Anna Mae Bullock (Tina Turner) as lead singer, Turner changed the name of the band from The Kings of Rhythm to the Ike & Tina Turner Revue. The creation of the revue was in a large part the birth of the soul revues of the 1960s. The band and Tina were joined on stage by the Ikettes who contributed backing vocals and choreographed dance moves. As backing band to the duo, the band played on many substantial soul hits, including the million sellers "A Fool In Love" (1960) and "It's Gonna Work Out Fine"(1961) both for Sue Records.

KIRBY, ED – Trumpeter, saxophonist, and sometime singer, Edward Lee Kirby (aka Prince Gabe)   worked for much of his career as ''Prince Gabe'' – because someone once told him he played trumpet like the   angel Gabriel.
 
He led a band known as the Rhythmaires, later changing his optimistically to the Millionaires.   His younger cousin, ''Big Lucky'' carter, worked with him for many years as guitarist and singer.
 
If nothing else, Edward Lee Kirby earns distinction among Sun blues musicians as the only one to write a   This was basically the group that Ed Kirby took to Sun Records in January 1957, although by then Kirby was   playing saxophone more frequently and sharing vocal duties with book: ''From Africa To Beale Street'',   published in 1983.
 
In it, Kirby scantily limned his background together with that of the blues itself. He was   born on March 23, 1929 in Memphis, but his family was from Kilmichael, Mississippi. ''My greatgrandfather,   Andy Hemphill, was a great violin player and harmonica player, who played for plantation   owners' gatherings'', he wrote. He went on to detail the musical proclivities and specialties of his kin.   Levester ''Big Lucky'' carter, learned to play on Kirby's mother's guitar, and another cousin, Jessie Mae   Hemphill, later recorded for David Evans' High Water Records. Kirby first went to Beale Street in 1943 with his family band. His early memories included following sound trucks (beer and soda companies would place   record players or jukeboxes in trucks and drive slowly through the predominantly African American   neighborhoods playing blues records). Kirby took lessons from trumpeter Otto Lee, who'd played with W.C.   Handy, and played fourth trumpet in Onzie Horne's eighteen-piece big band. Along the way, he saw nearly   every band of any repute that played in Memphis. After a stint in the Army, Kirby assembled a band with a   rotating cast of musicians but by 1955 a more stable group, the Rhythmaires, was formed to take up the   residency at the Fiesta Room, a club near Orleans and Vance Street in Memphis. When Lucky Carter joined   the group, he told Bob Groom, ''Kirby already had a band, him and Lindbergh Nelson the piano player. They   had Charles Ballard on drums. Gabe was playing trumpet then''. Linbergh Nelson, the brother of WDIA's   portly pianist, Ford Nelson, was from a musical family in Memphis and had led the Jazzettes at the Fiesta   Room before Kirby took over. His bass player, Chelsea Taylor, also joined Kirby in 1955.
 
This was basically the group that Ed Kirby took to Sun Records in January 1957, although by then Kirby was   playing saxophone more frequently and sharing vocal duties with Big Lucky Carter. Together they recorded   at least eight songs over three sessions in styles that straddled blues, rhythm and blues and doo-wop. To   support the lead vocals by Carter, Kirby had the whole band weigh in at times including backing singers   Jimmy Ballard and Leroy Beckton. Kirby's sax style varied from mellow to rocking, but Sam Phillips elected   to release none of their sides, apparently anything 'different' enough.
 
In the late 1950s and 1960s the Rhythmaires played on WDIA in the afternoons, advertising their shows at   local venues that included the Whirlaway Club at Lamar Avenue, and the Junker Club. When rocking and   soulful instrumentals from Memphis were the rage, Prince Gabe and the Rhythmaires made eight recordings   for Ruben Cherry's Home Of The Blues label, in 1962, one single appearing on their Six-O-Six subsidiary,   and then recorded for Savoy in 1963. Changing their name to the Millionaires, Gabe's band backed Lucky   carter on other recordings in the mid-1960s including on Westside, Gabe's own label. Gabe's band continued   their local residencies at clubs that increasingly focused on a white audience, including the Clearpool and the   Riviera. In later years, Gabe made two albums, featured on ''Rebirth Of The Beale St Blues'' on Four Ace,   and wrote his autobiography. He became a booster of the renovated and reborn Beale Street. In 1979, he was   co-chair of Blues Stage for the Memphis in May festival, and wholeheartedly embraced Beale Street's   official rebirth as a tourist attraction in October 1982. By then, Ed Kirby had developing health problems   related to asthma and high blood pressure, and Ed Kirby collapsed at home in Memphis and was dead on   arrival at Memphis Veterans Hospital on February 2, 1987 at the age of 57. (CE) (MH)
 
 © - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

KIRBY SISTERS, THE - In the mid-1950s, the sisters Bette and Mary, were appearing regularly   at Chaylor's Starlight Club in Texarkana. It was a regular gig that drew a steady stream of   musicians to the area. The owner of the club had a daughter named Johnnie, who was   variously described as "strange" and "very unusual". At some point, Johnnie wrote (or took   credit for writing - there is some suggestion that her mother also wrote lyrics) a song called   "The Blond In Red Velvet".  

The song, like Johnnie, is a far cry from ordinary. Like most   people living around the fringes of the music business, Johnnie wanted fame and fortune to   smile on her. 

It didn't help that the Kirby Sisters were in the spotlight every night. At some  point in late 1955 the Kirbys made some demos at the Starlight Club. The recordings were   rough, but they were good enough to demonstrate a world of potential. The tapes were sent   to Sam Phillips in Memphis by Bette, renowned to be the most business-oriented of the lot.   The Sun label was hot at the time with Elvis Presley, and Sun Records seemed an ideal place   to start. Phillips liked what he heard and invited the girls and their band to come to Memphis  so that they could experiment in the studio.

 
Actually, he did more than that. Sometime in late 1955 he made the drive to Texarkana and   visited with Bette to discuss her future with Sun Records. It is unclear whether Sam made   the trip for the sole purpose of seeing Bette, or whether he was on the road making his   regular rounds of regional distributors and disc jockeys. In any case, he called Bette - out of   the blue - and asked her to meet him at the Jefferson coffee house for lunch. Bette did so,   but the meeting didn't go well.
 
After 20 minutes, she and Phillips left the shop and drove back to her house so Phillips could   meet with Bette's then-husband, Bill Fairbanks. Apparently, Fairbanks was none too codial to   Phillips, a fact that mortified Bette. Nevertheless, the arrangement with Sun was solidified   and in early February, 1956, the Kirby sisters, drummers Bill Fairbanks, and guitarist Gene   Harrell made the all-night drive to Memphis when their last set at Chaylor's Club was over.
 
The Kirby Sisters never had a record released, by Sun or anybody else. There was at least   one earlier demo cut (still in the possession of Del Puschert) somewhere around 1953. Two   titles "T-E-X-A-S" and "Rime Will Tell" were sent to Ernest Tubb's record store in Nashville.
 
The destination seems curious, although there were musicians coming through the Starlight   Club all the time, any of whom might have made a suggestion or an offer. In any case,   nothing came of that demo, as well as several titles recorded in Dallas after the Sun debacle   that Tonk Edwards recalls playing on.
 
In light of all this non-success, Bette's daughter Sandy wondered aloud why anyone would be   interested in the life and music of her mother after all this time: "She was never a star. She   never even had a record. Why would anybody care?".
 
Sanda recalls watching her mother and Aunt Mary play at Chaylor's: "Sometimes when I was   little, at least way too young to be in a club, Mama would let me sit way up close by the   band just before closing time. I really did like those times. As I got older, she would sneak   me in for longer and longer periods of time. Once, around 1954 or 1955 Elvis Presley came   into the club and really enjoyed listening to the band. Mama brought him to our house that   evening and woke me out of a sound sleep to meet Elvis. I barely stayed up long enough to   remember. He signed a picture for me and played on Bill's drums at the club. Mama gave me   one of the drumsticks to keep but all of those things were lost in the moves over the years.   But just to know that Elvis liked to hear my mom sing and came to out house is enough for   me. Mama said he was the nicest young man she had ever met. She said he had such nice   southern manners".
 
Sandy accompanied her mother and aunt Mary to various giggs as well as one recording   session - probably the one at Sun.
 
Bette Kirby took her own life on Valentines Day in 1970. She was 42 years old. Bette's   mother had also committed suicide. Mary Kirby died on April 12, 1991 of natural causes.   None of their four other sisters were singers or musicians. Bette's daughter Sandy, on the   other hand, was probably bitten by the music bug before she understood such things. Sandy   recalls: "I wish I knew more about my mother's history. She died too young. I was 21 when   she died. In my teenage years I was too busy doing my own thing. I wasn't really paying attention. When I was real young, I was always around the music, but I took it all for   granted. And then suddenly it was too late".
 
Now in her 50s, Sandy is considering recording some songs of her own, including two titles   she wrote a long time ago with her mother. It's taken her a long time to come back to the   music, but nobody can fault her if she has mixed feelings about the music business.
 
 © - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
KLEIN, GEORGE – Born on October 8, 1935 in Memphis, Tennessee, is a disc jockey and television host.   He met Elvis Presley in the eighth grade at Humes High School in North Memphis, and they became lifelong   friends, until Presley's death in 1977. Klein can be heard weekly on Sirius XM channel 19 Elvis Radio, and   on the George Klein Original Elvis Hour on WKQK FM and Sirius XM Elvis Radio. George is an innovator and an ambassador to Memphis music. He has helped bring Memphis music to the   world and the world of music to Memphis. George Klein is much more than a friend of Elvis Presley. He was   one of the first disc jockeys in Memphis to play rock and roll on the radio, before Elvis. 
 
That was just the   beginning of what George would do for Memphis music wise and he became one of the most famous disc   jockeys in Memphis history. He had the RKO ''Boss'' jock sound down when he was at WHBQ radio. 
 
Klein and Elvis had a lot more in common than their careers, they thought a lot alike. Like Elvis, he doesn’t   have an unkind word to say about anyone. He is respectful, kind and caring.
 
In addition to his work at 56 WHBQ radio, George also had a TV show on WHBQ TV Channel 13 called   ''Talent Party''. ''Talent Party'' was always faithful to local talent. Every show featured at least one local act.   That show broke a lot of Memphis talent, like a group called Knowbody Else. You may know them better as   Black Oak Arkansas. He also helped launch Sandy Posey’s career (''Born A Woman'' and ''Single Girl'').   George broke some records on ''Talent Party'' that went on to be national hits. They were songs that couldn’t   get airplay on local stations. Songs by artist that George believed in like ''Keep On Dancing'' by the Gentrys   and Sam the Sham's ''Wooly Bully'' just to name a couple.
 
George Klein himself make several appearance on the Sun Records label, Klein performs probably in 1958 a traditional   southern Baptist hymn ''Lord Lead Me Home'' in the very style that served as nightly entertainment at Elvis' house. In all likelihood,   Klein has simply taken a bit of Graceland and transported it to 706 Union. Klein actually had two releases on   Sun Records, one the Jerry Lee Lewis novelty record "The Return Of Jerry Lee" (Sun 301) created to make light of his 1958 British tour debacle. Klein's second Sun release was the forgettable March 1961 ''U.T. Party 1 and   2'' (Sun 358) in 1961.
(Above) George Klein at Radio WHEY late 1950s. It was a daytimer at 1220AM and it operated in Millington. It was a rock station that was a little different and the kids liked. It was located in two stores in the back of a little shopping area on Navy Road in Millington north of Memphis and it was aimed for the Navy Base.  It was the station that George Klein had here one of his first jobs and it was the last place that Dewey Phillips worked before he passed away. 
 
Whenever a group wanted to be on the show George didn’t care what they had done, he cared about what   they sounded like. No tape? No problem. George worked out a deal with Roland Janes at Sonic Recording   Studios. For thirteen dollars a group could go in and cut one to four songs to lip synch on the show. Even   back then studio time was expensive and would run well over a hundred dollars.
 
George Klein watched to see what other music shows were doing at the time, he noticed that many of them   featured regulars. He decided to do the same. He picked two acts to feature every other week, Flash and the   Casuals (later Flash and the Board of Directors) and Sherry Grooms were who he decided on.
 
David ''Flash'' Fleischman (now co-owner of All Memphis Music, an internet station) says, ''I met George   Klein four days after turning sixteen and getting my drivers license. I Drove to WHBQ because I wanted to   meet this disc jockey. Not because I wanted to be in radio or was interested in radio, but because he booked   bands and I was in a band. That was the start of what's been a 48 year friendship. I'm proud to call George   Klein my friend and no matter what I do, I can never repay George for what's he's done for me. He's been   there and advised me all these years, every step of the way. And one of the things that makes George so   special, is that he has helped so many over all these years. As the title of the Tina Turner song says George   Klein is "Simply the Best''.
 
Klein not only discovered Memphis singing talent but other talent as well. During the annual Miss Teenage   Memphis Pageant, the Talent Party fashion coordinator spotted a standout beauty. She brought the girl to   George’s attention and they sent some pictures of her to a modeling agency in New York. The agency   accepted her. She became the model of the year and then Hollywood came calling on Cybill Shepherd.
 
For many years, George Klein hosts a program on Sirius XM radio Elvis channel, Memphis Sounds for WYPL-18   TV , and the Elvis hour for WMC radio in Memphis.
 
The legendary disc jockey and member of the ''Memphis Mafia'' George Klein, died on Tuesday February 5, 2019 to complications from dementia in hospice care in Memphis, Tennessee.
 
 © - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
LAWSON, LATHE ''L.B.'' WITH JAMES SCOTT, JR., & CHARLES McCLELLAND  – In many ways, the L.B. Lawson-Scott, Jr. songs on the 1952 sessions on 706 Union prefigure grunge-blues and Canned Head-style endless boogies. Some commentators have even draw a parallel with the Rolling Stones' mid-1970s recordings. With two lead electric guitars scrapping at each other Scott Jr's Blues Rockers were prophets, albeit prophets without much honor - or much of anything - at the time.
 
Singer L.B. Lawson fronted the Blues Rockers for their first and only session. Born as Latge B. Lawson in Enid, Mississippi on November 21, 1929, he played baseball with the Memphis Red Sox in the old Negro Leagues, and began his singing career with a gospel group, the Allen Chapel Specials.
 
According to Steve LaVere, Bob Eagle, and Jim O'Neal who interviewed the surviving Blues Rockers in 1972, Scott was ferrying the Specials to their gigs when he found that Lawson could imitate anybody, and recruited him for a group he started in 1946.    Lawson stayed until around 1956 when he reportedly killed someone in Lambert, Mississippi, and ran away to Chicago. In Lawson's very different account, he was jailed in 1955-1956 for his involvement in trying to settle a dispute between two women. His boss, Harry Robertson of Robert Motors in Clarksdale, bailed him out and he left for Chicago. He was working as a cab driver when LaVere, O'Neal and Eagle met him. As far as we can tell, Lawson is still alive, but cannot be traced.
 
James Scott Jr. was born in Lexington, Mississippi on January 21, or 27, 1913 (or 1912 according to his application for Social Security). When he was about twelve years old, he talked his uncle (also James Scott) out of an old guitar with just three strings. A year or so later, his mother traded a turkey to a white man for a guitar with all six strings. Scott began picking out some hillbilly songs and worked house parties with Luther Taylor, Cripple Crowder, and Snooky Pryor. According to Al Smith's interview with Pryor, Scott lived close-by, and when he heard that Snooky could play harmonica he would sneak him out of the house on Saturday nights so that they could play house parties. Pryor later said, ''We were really getting paid to rehearse, because we did not get much chance to play before people''. Scott would get Pryor home before his father woke up in the morning. This would have been in the mid-1930s because Pryor left Mississippi in 1937.
 
The Blues Rockers were formed in 1948 were rounded out by Charles McClelland on guitar and Robert Fox playing a tub bass that Scott had built. Later, Scott bought a drum kit for Fox. Apparently, Fox lived with the Scott's from the age of ten. Charles McClelland was born August 24, 1911 in Brookhaven, Mississippi but his family moved to the Delta when he was an infant. Like Scott, his interest in music was ignited by Luther Taylor. McClelland noted Taylor's style of playing and the female attention he received. After several years' service in Europe during World War II, he returned to the Delta and joined Scott's group.
 
Scott's recording debut was a bust. He played slide guitar on Boyd Gilmore's RPM-Modern recording of ''All In Mt Dreams'', but his intro was edited out before release and an Elmore James intro was spliced in. The Gilmore session was in January 1952, and the Sun session was probably later that year.   The handful of titles they cut at 706 Union were not released at the time, although   Scott claimed that the instrumental "Scott's Boogie" was given a radio broadcast - possibly to   test local audience reaction.
 
The Blues Rockers stayed together in Mississippi until Lawson left in 1955. Fox went to Tucson, Arizona, and died there in 1962.   Around   1956 Scott moved up to Chicago where he re-formed the group, worked in a factory by day and continued   playing parties and clubs by night. ''Scott, an easygoing man, never promoted himself very much'' wrote Jim O'Neal in Scott's obituary. He played occasionally with Eddie Taylor, Carey Bell and Little Arthur, working day jobs in factories. The first single released under his name was on Big Beat Records in 1972, and it was a new version of the Boyd Gilmore song he'd worked on twenty tears earlier. 
 
In 1978, music became his sole career and he began working clubs like Sheila's Lounge and touring with Hip Linkchain and Mojo Elem. In 1981, they played a four-week gig in Paris, France. That same year, Scott made some recordings for Chicago's NPR station, WBEZ, that were licensed to Red Lightnin' in England.  James Scott Jr. died in Chicago on July 18, 1983, a year after   touring Europe for the first (and only) time. (CE)
 
 © - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
LEE, DICKEY - Born Royden Lee Lipscomb on September 21, 1936 in Memphis, Tennessee, known   professionally as Dickey Lee (sometimes misspelled Dickie Lee or Dicky Lee), is an American pop and   country singer and songwriter, best known for the 1960s teenage tragedy songs like "Patches" and "Laurie   (Strange Things Happen)''. Dickey Lee was unabashedly a pop music fan. ''I was a Hilltoppers freak'', he   said. ''Jimmy Sacca of the Hilltoppers was my main influence. Maybe that's why I was never Sam Phillips'   favorite. I kinda thought of myself as a misplaced Philadelphia teen idol living in Memphis. That wasn't  really Sam's style of music''.
 
But Lee was a protege of Dewey Phillips and that counted for something with   Sam Phillips. ''Dewey was a legend'', continued Lee. ''When I started listening to him I thought he was black.   By today's standards, he was an illiterate.
 
He had a grade 6 or 7 education and he would screw up  commercials because he couldn't read two syllable words. He had a lot of pain in his life from accidents he'd   suffered and he had a pill problem because of it but he was a raw, pure talent. 
 
He really got Sun going in   Memphis. He'd tell all his listeners, and damn near every kid in the city was listening to him, to blow the   horns on their cars at 10 o'clock. Now Memphis had an anti-noise law but at 10 o'clock, you'd hear nothing   but horns blowing for a 25 mile radius. The chief of police would get on the phone and say, 'Folks, don't do   that anymore'. Dewey would go back on the air and say, 'Folks, the chief of has just called and said we can't  do this anymore. I was going to have do it again at 11:30'. And of course, at 11:30 you'd hear it all again.   Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler and even Alan Freed used to call him to find out what was moving. The guy   never took payola, never had an ego problem. He was just a big overgrown kid who loved to do what he did.   It was Top 40 that killed him''.
 
''I got to meet him. I had some songs I'd written and I played them for him and he told me I should get a   group together and come back. So I did. He liked what he heard and he recorded us right there in the WHBQ   studio''. Dewey placed the songs with a fly-by-night label called Tampa Records that was owned by Bob   Scherman. From the start, Royden Lipscomb was Dickey Lee on records. ''Dickey is my mother's maiden   name. I don't even remember how we came up with the name 'Lee' but it sure didn't take too much   imagination. Some guy in Philadelphia called 'Dickey Lee' tried to sue us for using his name, so I changed   my name legally to 'Lee'. We called our group the Collegiates because three of us were going to Memphis   State and four of us went to South Western University in Memphis. Allen Reynolds was the anchor man. He   played rhythm guitar and sang with me. Eddie Weill from Indianapolis was with us. He was a semi-psycho   who went to Memphis State on a basketball scholarship. Nill Talmadge was another. He became a preacher. I   forget the others. I was a commercial art major and a physical education minor but I've never used the skills.   I've only ever worked in music. I just kinda stumbled into it. Dewey Phillips basically made Sam sign me.   Dewey and Sam were real close and Dewey could get Sam to do all kinds of things that other people   couldn't. Sam never produced any of my sessions. Jack Clement was always at the board. We would play a   lot of stuff for Jack and he would pick and choose what we wanted. We'd always record at night and play   until we got something or were too wiped out to go anymore'', Dickey said.
 
''It was very spontaneous. You didn't have to watch the clock. In fact, the studio clock never worked. It   always had 4:30 on it. When we did our first AFM style session (four songs in three hours) it scared me.   When you're creating you shouldn't be tied down to a time schedule. The big thing in Nashville has always   been quantity. I'd prefer to use the whole three hours to get one quality single. ''Memories Never Grow Old''   was written by me and Stella Stevens, a movie actress from Memphis. We went to Memphis State at the  same time and we double dated once. She had a kid from another marriage and she was going out with this   football player. Anyway, the kid kept calling the football player 'Daddy' and he got scared off. Personally, my   favorite of the Sun cuts was ''Dreamy Nights''. That was pure Philadelphia''.
 
Lee made his first recordings in his hometown of Memphis for Bob Scherman's Tampa Records and Sun   Records in 1957. Actually, Tampa was a jazz label of some renown that operated for most of the 1950s, and   after Lee became successful on Smas Sherman had no qualms about his single. Talking to the Memphis Press   Scimitar in January 1958, Dickey Lee talked about his second Sun single, yet to be recorded. Playing for a   students, he was asked to sing Elvis's ''Treat Me Nice'', but heard it as ''Dreamy Nights'' and immediately  figured that was a great title. ''Fool, Fool, Fool'' was called ''Fool In Love''. The Collegiates had changed,   shedding a few members. Allen Reynolds and David Glenn were still here, joined by Sam Cole.   ''Back in those days everything was loose but we were always on edge during a session because we were   always going for it. Today no-one worries about getting their part right. They can overdub. All the feel has  been lost. Back then we were always on edge, the old adrenalin was flowing. These days they waste more   money on studio time than they do on cocaine'', Lee said. As far as we can tell, there were four sessions at   Sun, Yielding two singles. ''Good Lovin'' was a revival of the Clovers' 1953 rhythm and blues hot; the other   songs were Lee's original, and, after they flopped, he moved on. He recorded one single for Dot at Sun, and   another while under contract to Dot issued under the name Jon Deaux Trio on London's Felsted label.
 
He achieved his first chart success in 1962, when his composition "She Thinks I Still Care" was a hit for   George Jones (covered by Elvis Presley, Connie Francis, Leon Russell and later Anne Murray as "He Thinks   I Still Care"). Later that year, "Patches," written by Barry Mann and Larry Kobler and recorded by Lee for  Smash Records, rose to number 6.
 
The song tells in waltz-time the story of teenage lovers of different social classes whose parents forbid their   love. The girl drowns herself in the "dirty old river." The singer concludes: "It may not be right, but I'll join   you tonight/ Patches I'm coming to you''. Because of the teen suicide theme, the song was banned by a   number of radio stations. However, It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.
 
Lee had a number 14 hit in 1963 with a song he co-wrote, a conventional rocker, "I Saw Linda Yesterday''.   The song has a strong resemblance to Dion DiMucci's number 1 pop hit, "Runaround Sue'', released two   years earlier. In 1965, he returned to teen tragedy with "Laurie (Strange Things Happen)'', a song related to   the urban legends known as the vanishing hitchhiker and Resurrection Mary. When the British Invasion   changed the complexion of music Dickey Lee and Allen Reynolds moved back to Memphis for three years.   He and Mitt Addington wrote Jerry Lee Lewis's ''Memphis Beat'' and Gene Simmons' ''The Dodo''. Reynolds   wrote a number 5 rock hit, the Vogues' ''Five O'Clock World'', based on his day job at First National Bank.
 
After the 1960s, Lee devoted his efforts to country music performing and songwriting. Lee's BMI catalog   holds 330 songs. His 1970s country hits as a singer include "Never Ending Song of Love'', "Rocky" (another   bittersweet song, written by Jay Stevens of Springfield, MO - a.k.a. Woody P. Snow), "Angels, Roses, And   Rain'', and "9,999,999 Tears''. He also wrote with Bob McDill the song "Someone Like You" which   Emmylou Harris included in her album Profile II. The hits stopped in 1981, but from 1980 onward Lee was a   professional songwriter, only rarely performing.
 
He co-wrote the 1994 Tracy Byrd number 2 hit "The Keeper Of The Stars'', and has written or co-written   songs for a number of other prominent country artists, including George Strait's number 1 ''Let's |Fall To   Pieces Together'', Charley Pride's number 1 hit ''I'll Be Leaving Alone'', and Reba McEntire's number 1   ''You're The First Time I've Thought About Leavin'''. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of   Fame in 1995. Lee is included as co-writer and singer on singer-songwriter Michael Saxell's 2005 album   Wonky Windmill on the song "Two Men". In 2011, ''Memphis Beat'' became the theme-song of a short-lived   cop show based in Memphis. Meanwhile, Allen Reynolds produced six of Garth Brooks' mega-selling   albums, totalling 34 million records. The two old Collegiates made good.
 
In 2012, Dickey Lee returned to Memphis for Dead Elvis Week, revealing during a songwriter forum that he   wrote ''She Thinks I Still Care'' with Elvis in mind. Apparently, he'd given the song to Elvis's buddy Lamar   Fike, but Fike had forgotten to play it for Elvis. Eventually, Elvis recorded it, and found out that it was   intended for him. ''Fike, you son-of-a-bitch'', the King reportedly said.
 
 © - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
LEOPPARD, CLYDE & THE SNEARLY RANCH BOYS - Although Clyde has undoubtedly   overstated the paucity of 'live' music venues in Memphis, the general point remains true.   Clyde's Snearly Ranch Boys were one of the few bands playing regularly in Memphis. Clyde   kept a band going right through the changing scene of the fifties.
 
They played a mixture of   western swing and hillbilly and, on their day, the Snearly Ranch Boys were a match for   anybody. Clyde himself was more a bandleader than a virtuoso player. He started out on  steel guitar then moved to bass, and eventually found a niche behind the drumkit.  "Soon after I came to Memphis from Arkansas in 1949", said Clyde Leoppard, "I formed a   band and got a job every Thursday night at the Five Gables club here in town. 
 
Now, for   some time after that, anyone wanting to go out to a dance in the midweek had just two   options. There was the Skyway Restaurant in the Peabody Hotel, which was kinda   expensive, or there was Clyde Leoppard playing country music. And that was all, in the   city of Memphis, outside of the black clubs".
 
Through the years, Clyde's featured artists included Bill Taylor, Smokey Joe, Warren Smith,   Barbara Pittman, Gene Simmons, Ace Cannon and the Kirby Sisters. All of these artists   found their way onto tape at Sun Records, and most had discs issued.
 
The Snearly Ranch was not in fact a ranch but a boarding house on McNeil Street run by a   lady named Alma Snearly. While staying there in 1949, Clyde formed his first western   swing band and he soon moved most of his players into rooms at the 'Ranch". The Five   Gables gig started out as a solo with Clyde playing steel guitar and drums at the same time,   one with each hand. The Thursday night slot proved viable, so Clyde was soon able to   bring in Buddy Holobaugh on guitar, Bill Taylor on trumpet and vocals, Lucille Van Brocklin and Joe Baugh who shared the piano duties and doubled as door attendants, and other   now-forgotten player. Clyde remained on steel guitar until 1952 when a young Stanley   Kesler joined the band and took the instrumental quality up a notch or two. Clyde moved   to bass until the advent of rock and roll dictated the permanent use of drums.
 
The band traveled the mid-South for four years. Then Clyde Leoppard took a day job in   insurance and cut back his gigs to concentrate on Thursday at the Five Gables and   Saturday nights at the Cotton Club in West Memphis, Arkansas. Clyde also had a spot on   KWEM radio in Memphis, starting in 1950. He came on immediately after Howling Wolf. "I   don't recall who called him the Wolf", said Clyde, "but the name kinda fitted. He'd sit   there - a huge man - with his legs spread apart in front of the microphone, and just howl   those blues".
 
Clyde Leoppard's own style was entirely different, but just as basic in many ways, and aimed   at the Arkansas farming community. Clyde shared the country music duties with the likes of   Cuzzin Bob Prather, Shelby Follin, Holly Douglas, Pepper and his Shakers, and Delta Dan and   his Swampriders. Equally as obscure as these artists was fiddle player Jim Steward who   played with Clyde's band on his radio gigs, although Steward went on to play a major part in   Memphis music when he formed the Stax label several years later.
 
Out at Grady Lofton's Cotton Club in West Memphis, Clyde shared Saturday nights with a   blues band led by someone he calls "Drummer Red". Clyde was never in the American   Federation of Musicians, and he remembers that when he did once apply in 1956 he was   turned down on account of his mixing with blues bands. Whether or not this was the real   reason, Clyde's non-Union status may have affected his chances as a recording artist.
 
Other members of Clyde's band worked regularly on Sun sessions though, in particular   Stanley Kesler, Buddy Holobaugh, Smokey Joe Baugh and Johnny Bernero. Drummer   Bernero in fact ran a band in his own right and it seems that he sat in with Clyde and used   Kesler, Baugh and Holobaugh on nights when Clyde wasn't playing. Stanley Kesler also   gigged with other bands, including Elvis Presley's Blue Moon Boys. Clyde recalls Elvis   Presley borrowing Stanley for a tour of one nighters in Mississippi which averaged 8 dollars   a night for each player, less than Stan got at the Cotton Club.
 
Other later members of the Snearly Ranch Boys was Warren Smith, who shared the   spotlight vocals with Elsie Jo and Bette Kirby from Dyersburg, Arkansas. The Kirby Sisters   recorded for Sun in February 1956 at the same time as Warren Smith but their efforts   were not released. Smith went on to greater things and left Clyde in the spring of 1956.   He was succeeded briefly by Barbara Pittman, Gene Simmons and Hayden Thompson, all of   whom recorded for Sam Phillips.
 
Clyde Leoppard remained in the western swing business until early 1960s when the Cotton   Club was closed after an under-age girl who had visited the club was murdered nearby. At   the turn of the 1960s, Clyde briefly went into the recording business putting in a studio on   North Main Street with Stanley Kesler and Jack Clement. later, he bought a fast food shop   in downtown Memphis and continued to run a gospel and country recording venture in his spare time. Clyde Leoppard hot lunch palace and little studio fell victims to urban renewal   a few years ago and Clyde dropped out of sight.
 
Clyde Leoppard will not be heard very much as a musician, but at least half a dozen Sun   singers owe their first break to him and, as Sam Phillips put it, "Clyde always kept a pretty   damn good band". (MH)
 
Note: The Snearly Ranch Boys got their name from Miss Imah Snearly. Imah owned a mansion located at 233 North McNeil Street in the Evergreen District of Memphis in 1949. Her affinity and desire to help musicians led her to open up her home to any musician who needed a place to stay or live. It became a boarding house (known as ''Snearly Ranch House'') and rehearsal hall for local country musicians.
 
 © - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
LESLIE, ALICE (ALICE LESLEY) - "I was born in 1938. My father was born in Liverpool, England.   They came over to the States and we moved to Arizona in 1948. I had my own band called   the Arizona Stringdusters. We used to perform on KTVN, Channel 3 in Phoenix. I was   discovered by Buddy Morrow, who led a big band''. ''He had me come up on stage I sang "Blue   Suede Shoes", "My Blue Heaven", "Hound Dog" and "See You Later Alligator". It was during   "Blue Suede Shoes" that I kicked my shoes off into the audience and they all loved it''.
 
'' I performed at the Silver Slipper in Las Vegas in 1956. Elvis flew out there to see me. We  never performed together but we were friends. In 1956 I recorded "He Will Come Back To   Me" for Era Records''.
 
''I also cut a song I wrote called "Why Do I Feel This Way" (This side   remained unreleased). In January 1957 I flew into Hollywood from Vegas and cut one more   side called "Heartbreak Harry". The record (Era 1034) came out in April 1957.
 
While I was in Las Vegas, I was seen by Lee Gordon, an Australian promoter, who signed me   for a tour in 1958. I flew over with Eddie Cochran, who was also on the bill. Little Richard   and Gene Vincent were on the show as well. This was the same show where Little Richard   renounced rock and roll and threw his ring into the ocean. When I got back from Australian, I   did a lot of shows in the Dakotas, as well as New Jersey and New York City. I appeared with   Bobby Darin in Alabama, and also toured in Quebec, Canada in late 1958 and 1959".
 
At this point, Alice Leslie and Sun Records crossed paths. "I was thinking of going with Sun   Records, and did some recordings for Sam Phillips in Memphis, but the deal did not go   through".
 
"I retired in 1980 and have spent a lot of time traveling around the world, studying history   and genealogy. I'm very interested in my British roots. I was stricken with cancer in 1995 and I'm a cancer survivor. I'm still fighting to live. I continue to sing and do a lot of charity work.   I perform mostly country and western and gospel music and work as a vocal coach to teach   stage presence to young singers".
 
 © - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
LEWIS, JERRY LEE - Country and Rock and Roll singer born in Ferriday, Louisiana, on   September 29, 1935. In his youth, Lewis listened to many Al Jolson records (he still has a   large collection). The subject of Jerry Lee's musical influences has been raised countless   times, and continues to be because nobody can come up with a very satisfying answer - least   of all the man himself, who tends to dismiss such questions by declaring he never had any. Students of the music have suggested to Jerry that he might have been influenced by artists   as diverse as country boogie pianist Merrill Moore ("never heard of him, son"), or black   boogie-woogie pianist Cecil Gant ("Cecil who?").
 
One of the few names to elicit a glimmer of recognition is Moon Mullican, the self-proclaimed   King of the Hillbilly Piano Players, but Mullican probably did no more than reaffirm Lewis'   conviction that the piano had a place in country music. Mullican's music was marked by   restraint - never, after all, a hallmark of Lewis' style. 
 
Lewis' cousin, Carl McVoy, was probably his most direct early influence. McVoy's mother,   Lewis' mother, and Jimmy Swaggart's mother were sisters; McVoy was older than Jerry Lee   and has been to New York with his father, who ran a ministry there for a few years. He   learned the primitive joys of boogie-woogie in New York and returned to Pine Bluff,   Arkansas, to work in construction. One summer, Jerry Lee Lewis came to stay. "He worried   the hell out of me", recalled McVoy, "wanting me to show him things on the piano. I think I   was instrumental in the way his style developed, because I got attention when I played. I   rolled my hands and put on a damn show. When Jerry went back to Ferriday, he played   everything I knew".
 
And then there was Haney's Big House, a black juke joint outside Ferriday. "Me and Jimmy   Lee Swaggart used to slip in there, hide behind the bar, and listen to B.B. King when he   wasn't but eighteen years old", Lewis recounted to Dave Booth. "That place was full of   colored folks. They'd been picking cotton all day, they had a twenty-five-cent pint of wine in   their back pocket, and they was gettin' with it!".
 
Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart were regular, though unwelcome, guests at Haney's,   owned by their uncle Lee Calhoun. Lewis and Swaggart were later seen as opposite sides of a   disordered personality - until it was revealed in February 1988 that Swaggart had been   consorting with prostitutes and had, as he termed it, "a problem" with pornography. The   public defrocking and humiliation that followed revealed how close, in fact, they were.
 
In truth, the influences close to home, like Carl McVoy and the roadhouse rhythm and blues   bands who played at Haney's, were probably more important in the formation of Lewis' style   than artists on the radio. 
 
Yet of the artists whom Jerry heard on the radio, he has always   singled out Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, and Al Jolson as "stylists" - by which he means   that they, like him, could take any song and mold it into an expression of their own  personality.
 
Later, as his legend and ego grew, Jerry Lee would become more comfortable in making the   connection: "Al Jolson", he would declare, "is Number One. Jimmie Rodgers is Number two.   Number Three is Hank Williams. And Number Four is Jerry Lee Lewis".
 
And the one who held   the greatest sway over Jerry Lee during his early years must have been Hank Williams.   Everyday Saturday night during the late 1940s and early 1950s, Williams sang his bleak songs   of misogyny and despair on the Louisiana Hayride and the Grand Ole Opry. He sang with the   terrifying intensity of one who is staring the Angel of Death full in the face. Jerry has performed Williams' material throughout his career, and it usually elicits the best from him   because he knows that he is up against some stiff competition in Williams himself.
 
On November 2, 1954, he cut his first acetate disc in the studio of KWKH radio in   Shreveport, "I Don't Hurt Anymore"/"I Need You Now". His vocals aren't as strong, or as   immediately identifiable, as they would become; the piano playing is a little mawkish and   florid, as it would often tend to be on slow numbers. But the Lewis left hand was rock solid.   Like Presley's first acetate, it can be invested with as much - or as little - significance as you   like. It can be seen as a portent of future greatness, or merely a confirmation of the Hayride's judgment. "I believe", says Lewis, leaning toward the former, "if I heard it today, I'd   declare that boy had talent".
In 1955 Jerry Lee Lewis went to Nashville and made the rounds of the record companies,   most of which advised him to learn the guitar. One person who gave him a job was Roy hall,   a pianist and raconteur who owned a Nashville after-hours drinking spot, the Musicians'   Hideaway. After escaping a raid, Lewis went back to Ferriday and took up a steady gig across   the river at a Natchez club called the wagon Wheel. Among the souvenirs he brought from Nashville was a song that Roy Hall had sung (and, by Hall's account, co-written) called   "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On".
 
Jerry Lee Lewis grew fond of Elvis Presley's early recordings, and at some point in 1956,   after reading an particle about Elvis Presley in Country Song Roundup, he decided that his   music might fall upon more receptive ears in Memphis. In 1956 Jerry and his father, Elmo   Lewis, sold thirteen dozen eggs and drove north to Memphis using the money they'd raised   to book themselves into a hotel.
 
Then, Jerry Lee become the label's most recorded artist. His first release was "Crazy   Arms"/"End Of The Road" (SUN 259) in November 14, 1956. Lewis' biggest hit record was   "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" (SUN 267). On the label he was billed as Jerry Lee Lewis and   his Pumping Piano. Nicknamed "The Killer", he was the only guest to appear on "American   Bandstand" who sang live rather than lip-synch to his record. Jerry made his national debut   on "The Steve Allen Show", later naming one of his sons Steve Allen (the boy drowned in the   family pool in 1962).
 
Lewis' career in rock and roll was ruined when in 1958 he married his thirteen-year-old   cousin, Myra Gale Brown. (As if wasn't bad enough, Lewis was two weeks short of his final   divorce decree from his previous, and second, wife, Jane. He had married his first wife,   Dorothy, when he was only fourteen years old).
 
In 1960 he cut an instrumental on the Phillips International label, "In The Mood"/"I Get The   Blues When It Rains" (Phillips 3559), under the name Hawk. Lewis was one of the   participants in the famed Million Dollar Quartet session on December 4, 1956, in which Elvis   Presley relinquished playing the piano so Lewis could play. In a session at Sun on February   14, 1958, Lewis tried his hand at performing a number of Elvis Presley hits, "Good Rockin'   Tonight", "Jailhouse Rock", "Hound Dog", and "Don't Be Cruel", perhaps just to see how he   would have done the songs. 
 
He left Sun Records on September 29, 1963, to record for   Mercury’s subsidiary label Smash, then run by Shelby Singleton.
 
In November 1976 Jerry Lee Lewis was arrested for shooting a gun outside the gates of   Graceland in the early morning hours, when he was refused permission to see Elvis Presley.   Lewis was a patient of Dr. George Nichopoulos, from whom he could obtain prescriptions for   vast amounts of legal pills. Lewis has been successful in both the rock and country fields. In 1958 country artist Mickey Gilley recorded an unreleased version of "Whole Lotta Shakin'   Goin' On" at Sun Records. Gilley, who was once the co-owner of Gilley's, the largest nightclub   in the world, is Lewis' first cousin, and both Lewis and Gilley are cousins of evangelist Jimmy   Swaggart. Jerry Lee Lewis' father, Elmo Lewis, like Vernon Presley, had spent time in prison   - in Lewis' case for making moonshine. In 1962 Elmo Lewis recorded eight unreleased songs   for Sun Records.
 
Elvis Presley recorded several Lewis hits, "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" (SUN 267) and   "What'd I Say" (SUN 356). In concert, Elvis Presley performed Lewis' "Breathless" (SUN 288)   and "It'll Be Me" (SUN 267). In the 1988 TV miniseries "Elvis and Me" Elvis (Dale Midkiff) was   shown singing "Great Balls Of Fire". Both Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis recorded "High   Heel Sneakers" and "Tomorrow Night", among other songs.
 
Jerry Lee Lewis mention Elvis Presley in two songs, "Lewis Boogie" (SUN 301) in 1958 and "It   Won't Happen With Me" (SUN 364) in 1961.
 
After toured around the world, he's now retired and on February 28, 2019, Lewis suffered a minor stroke in Memphis. He is expected to fully recover and had to cancel a few upcoming appearances in small clubs.
 
 © - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
LEWIS, JOE - Joe E. Lewis was born in the Pennington community near Newport, Arkansas, on January 4,   1937. Pennington doesn't figure on most maps, but it's in the same country, Jackson, as Newport. Lewis’s   father and grandfather played at church socials, high school dances and picnics. Aged thirteen, Lewis was in   a western band that played Rural Electrical Association concerts in Jackson County. He graduated from   Newport High School in 1957. 
 
In Sonny Burgess account, he auditioned at Sun soon after working with   Elvis Presley at Newport's Silver Moon club, and was told by Phillips that he needed to upgrade his band.   Burgess promptly hired Lewis and Jack Nance from another band. Back then, Burgess band was called the   Moonlighters, and at Lois’s suggestion they renamed themselves the Pacers after the Piper Pacer airplane.
 
Sonny Burgess and the Pacers scored a pretty big non-charting hit on Sun with ''Red Headed Woman''. It   would be the biggest record they ever had. The Pacers' recordings make it easy to visualize their bruising act.   They formed human pyramids; Lewis, as the tallest and strongest, was on the bottom. They's do the Bug   Dance, tossing imaginary bugs on each other before tossing them into the crowd.
 
On the ferry back to Arkansas after some dates in Mississippi, the Paces met Harold Jenkins who was on the   point of reinventing himself as Conway Twitty. When bookings dried up for the Pacers, Lewis and Nance left   to join Twitty, whose career appeared to be on the upswing. Right away, they took off for Canada. Joe Lewis   stayed with Conway Twitty through his rock and roll years and his rebirth as a country star. He switched   from guitar to bass, sang harmony, and did the on-stage patter after Twitty decided that he would remain   enigmatically silent. That was until April 15, 1976 when Lewis died in an automobile wreck. According to   his girlfriend at the time, Carol Braddom, Lewis had borrowed her red Corvette because she thought he'd be   safer in a car than on his motorcycle. Braddom's girlfriend was in the car with him as they drove from Percy   Priest Lake to a local store to get some food for a cookout.
 
Joe Lewis is buried in Newport's Walnut Grove cemetery, quite close to Jack Nance.
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
LEWIS, LINDA GAIL - Born July 18, 1947 in Ferriday, Louisiana. The youngest sister of Jerry Lee Lewis.   Encouraged by his success, she was only 13 when, with sister Frankie Jean, she recorded a single for Sun   Records on 13 December 1960. It was not released but it sparked her desire to be a singer. Frankie Jean   however, never had her sister's desire to be a singer, although she had made rockabilly duets with Jesse Lee   Turner for Sun in 1958, that attracted Chet Atkins. She claimed she wanted to sing Patsy Cline material not rockabilly like her sister and turned down a Decca Records contract.
 
She toured with Jerry Lee Lewis for  some years and later became involved with the Jerry Lee Lewis Museum at Ferriday. Linda Gail quit school   in the early 1960s and took to the road as a backing vocalist with her brother's show.
 
She gained no   preferential treatment from the unpredictable star, on one occasion being embarrassed when, after missing   her cue, her brother stopped singing to ask through the microphone ''Are you watching this show or are you in it''? She was not so backward regarding marriage since she first married at 14 and soon divorced to marry   a sailor, after a three-day romance, when she was 15. He went back to sea and she never saw him again but   soon married Jerry Lee Lewis' best friend Cecil Harrelson. They had two children, Cecil Jnr. and Mary Jean,   then divorced but after a brief marriage to husband number four, Jerry Lee Lewis’ guitarist Kenneth   Lovelace, she remarried Cecil in 1971.
 
In March 1963, she duetted with her brother on ''Seasons Of My Heart'' and at the same Sun session, she cut   two solo numbers ''Nothin' Shakin'' and ''Sittin' And Thinkin''. They were set for release on Sun 385 but for   some reason were not issued. When Jerry Lee moved to Smash Records in 1964, she duetted on ''We Live In   Two Different Worlds'', which appeared on Another Place Another Time, his first album for the label. The   success of this record led to a duet album, which contained fine versions of ''Milwaukee Here I Come'' and   two chart hits, ''Don't Let Me Cross Over'' (number 9) and the less popular ''Roll Over Beethoven'' (number   71). She recorded several singles for the label (some were later reissued by Mercury Records), including   ''Turn Back The Hands Of Time'', a superb version of ''Paper Roses'' and ''Before The Snow Flies''. She also
gained her first solo album and registered her only solo chart hit, in 1972, with a Mercury release ''Smile,   Somebody Loves You''.
 
In the early 1970s, the whirlwind life style, as a member of her brother's touring show, finally showed she   did not have the stamina or resilience of her sibling. Her health began to cause concern, she also suffered   from drug addiction and underwent a nervous breakdown. While confined to hospital in 1976, she almost   died but after a long period of convalescence, she regained her health and broke the drug addiction.
 
In 1977, she married husband number six, Brent Dolan and retired from show business for 10 years, during   which time she had two more children Oliver and Annie. In 1987, she re-emerged as a rockabilly revivalist.   She again began to appear with her brother and accompanied him on his European tour that included an   appearance at London's Wembley Festival. However differences with her brother's sixth wife, Kerrie   McCarver, who had vocal aspirations of her own, soon saw Linda Gail leave to pursue a solo career. In this,   she was initially helped by husband number seven, a nightclub singer Bobby Memphis (b. Robert Stefanow).   With a backing group that included her daughter, Mary Jean, singing backing harmonies and mainly   featuring rockabilly material, she began to tour with her own show. She played piano (standing up) in a   similar pounding style to her brother and cousin Mickey Gilley and recorded a second album. Her first tour   to the United Kingdom, in June 1991, proved so popular (one critic described her as ''the hottest rockabilly   act in Europe at this time who served up piano playing rock and roll that was not a million miles away from   the style of her illustrious brother'') that she made two further European tours in 1991/1992.
 
One London show (backed by Sonny West And The Rhythm Kings) was recorded live and released on CD   by Deep Elem. In the USA, Lewis released a cassette album on her own label, which contained her much   requested self-penned ''I'll Take Memphis'' and a mixture of country and rock. In December 1991, she married husband number eight Eddie Braddock. She continues to perform into the new millennium,   especially in Europe where she enjoys considerable success particularly in the Scandinavian countries.
 
By 1998, (she was now married to husband number nine) she was becoming more respected for her fine   singing of material other than rockabilly. In 2000, she collaborated with Van Morrison on ''You Win Again'',   which increased her public profile considerably.
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
LEWIS, SAMMY - Samuel ''Sammy'' Lewis was working with guitarist Willie Johnson when he came to the attention of Sam Phillips. But their Lewis-Johnson Combo was a brief alliance during 1954, working the clubs in West Memphis, Arkansas after Howlin' Wolf had left Johnson behind and before Johnson rejoined Wolf in Chicago.
 
Sammy Lewis was apparently born in Memphis on September 26, 1928 (though he told Steve LaVere September 1925) but the 1930 census indicates 1926 and some other public records show September 15, 1931 or August 9, 1932.
 
When Sammy was young, his family moved to the country and he told LaVere that he became interested in music through his guitar-playing father and made his first harp out of a tobacco can with four holes and rocks inside.
 
The first song he learned was ''If I Could Only Hear My Mother Pray Again''. He wasn't allowed to play blues. later, the first blues he learned was ''Baby Please Don't Go'' and he travelled to West Memphis and Memphis to play the blues influenced by Sonny Boy Williamson and Walter Horton. 
 
Around 1949 he started playing with a guitarist named Leonard and he played occasionally with Willie Nix at Blackfish Lake. State marriage records show that Lewis married Ruth Mae Gatewood of Black Fish, Arkansas on July 23, 1951. Despite forming his group with the older and more influential Willie Johnson, recording for Sun, and seeing the release of ''I Feel So Worried'' in the spring of 1955.   Nonetheless his one moment of glory - SUN 218, "Feel So Worried" - remains one of the   finest singles ever released on the yellow Sun label.
 
Lewis remained a parttime musician, working at Baker-Yorks Inc. He told Steve LaVere he played blues harp around West Memphis with a group let by Harman, an old guitar player who was known for ''Who's Gonna Be Your Sweet Man When I'm Gone''. Lewis then worked with Pat Hare, James Cotton and drummer Johnny Bones. After that, he told James LaRocca, he played in a band led by Simon Lane and at one point too to singing with a soul band. He was playing with Houston Stackhouse and Joe Willie Wilkins at Annie Brown's Bar in 1970 when his brief rediscovery led to recordings for the West Memphis label, 8th Street. Jim O'Neal reported that Lewis was still singing exceptionally well in 1979 when he sat in the band at Blues Alley in Memphis. After that he remained under the radar and it seems that he was the Samuel Lewis who died on March 9, 2007 in West Memphis, Arkansas. (MH)
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
LICHTERMAN, IRA JAY - Sun Records was a magnet for talent. All kinds of talent. In his way, Ira   Jay Lichterman was one of the most successful of all Sun graduates. Ira Jay was twelve or   thirteen years old when he wrote some songs and sent them to Bill Justis, a family friend.   Justis encouraged him, and used one of the songs, "Rockin' Bandit", on a Ray Smith session.   Bill Justis had quit Sun by the time Ira Jay Lichterman cut his only Sun single ''You Don't Love Me''/''More Than Anything'' (SUN 351) at the new Madison Avenue studio in 1960. The   contract file indicates that the record was leased from Ira's father, but Ira insists that it was   a single done for and at Sun Records.
 
After it failed to budge, he continued to work for Justis' Tuneville Music and Play Me   Records. In 1962, he got his first major break when he and Ed Bruce wrote "Save Your   Kisses", which appeared on the flip-side of Tommy Roe's "Sheila". The following year, Bill   Justis took Ira Jay Lichterman to New York. He was handling a kid up there. 
 
At the age of eighteen, Lichterman go to work for the Stax label in Memphis, and wrote with   Steve Cropper for William Bell, and at the same time he was commuting to Nashville and   writing for Bill Justis' Tuneville Music, were he wrote for Charlie Rich, "No Room To Dance".   He wrote jingles for a lot of the top stars, like James Brown and Buck Owens. He wrote for   National Homes Corporation, and got a Addy Award for a fertilizer ad. That time, Lichterman produced a syndicated radio program, "Football Over Dixie" in the 1960s and 1970s.
 
Later, Ira Jay Lichterman had his own music publishing company, "Ira & Friends'' and he   wrote for a big ad agency in Memphis, "Ward Archer & Associates'', were he finally got out in   1976 and started with his brothers in the shoe business today.
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
(Above) Load Of Mischief. From left: Larry Wall, Jimmy Tarbutton, David Mayo, Ray Sanders, Ken Woodley.
 
LOAD OF MISCHIEF - Lead singer Davis Mayo was born in Memphis, and in 1965 he was leading a band called the Coachmen in Little Rock, Arkansas. He made his first recordings at Roland Janes' Sonic Studios on Madison Avenue. ''I met all the other guys in different bands'', says Mayo. ''Ken Woodley played keyboards, Ray Sanders was in a band called the Jokers, Mike Houseal played guitar, but the star was Larry Wall who played bass 'cause he'd come over from the Gentrys. I knew the Coachmen were going to stay in Little Rock so I talked to all these guys and we rehearsed at Ken Woodley's house, and it clicked. I knew Knox and he signed us to Sun''.
  
The record hadn't been out long when Sam Phillips folded Sun to become president of Holiday Inn Records. He transferred the Load Of Mischief master to Holiday Inn, remixing it for its re-release, adding Charlie Chalmers' horn section. ''We weren't happy about that'', notes Mayo. ''I remember arguing with Sam about it. I told him that Columbia Records wasn't in the hotel business, so what was Holiday Inn doing in the record business? I took the unissued Sun masters over to Estelle Axton at Stax, and she signed us to their Hip label. We recorded as ''Paris Pilot'' for Hip. Don Nix was our producer''.
 
Mayo went on to work with Steve Cropper at his TMI Records, and then recorded with a band called Zuider Zee for Columbia (who were not in the motel business). By then he was under the aegis of British producer Gordon Mills (Tom Jones, Gilbert O'Sullivan, etc.) Ken Woodley and Mike Gardner hung around Don Nix's camp during the booze and pill-fueled 1970s and, until recently (1998), Ray Sanders was the house bass player at the restored Sun Studio on 706 Union Avenue.
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
LONDON, JOHNNY - Born in Memphis on July 18, 1936 and attended Melrose High School. He first   became interested in music in the 7th grade.   "I wanted to play football but I was too small,   and the next option was the band. later, in the 9th grade, I started playing a few jazz songs   and other things. My band director was a famous musician, Tuff Green.
 
''I played with Tuff   Green's band while I was in high school, and I put a group together to play in his place down   in Mississippi. We did so well that I decided to form a teenage band, and we had success   right away".
 
Tuff Green, who was one of the few jazz musicians of any repute to have come from  Memphis at that point - was fresh from the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra.  His name   frequently comes up when former rhythm and blues musicians who recorded at Sun talk   about their early days in the business.   The other three member of London's group, The   Rockets, are Charles Keel on tenor sax, Joe Louis Hall on piano, and Julius Drake on drums   - also received their earliest tuition from Tuff Green. 
 
Although Johnny London cited Charlie Parker and the Basie and Ellington Orchestras as his   prime influences, he was obliged to play music which was far removed from the harmonic   complexity of Parker or the musical sophistication of Ellington. The Rockets played   raucous rhythm and blues: "What I was playing was the music that was selling - not the   music I liked. You can't dance to Charlie Parker's music. That's the thing that my band   director taught us, and that's what we played with him. You play what the people want to   hear if you want to make some money. You can go to a jam session to satisfy yourself".
 
Johnny London was only fourteen years when he formed the Rockets and first began   gigging professionally. He recalled that the police did not care whether the musicians   playing in the bars were of age or not. After two years of club work at weekends and   during the summer (the entire band was still in high school) they got the chance to record   for Sam Phillips. "We saw the studio and wanted to record, so we went over and talked to   Sam Phillips. He was interested after taking down some demo sessions. He fell in love with   what we were doing and he decided that he'd hire us. After that we started doing some   things for him".
 
The first "official" session was probably on March 1, 1952: London's combo played a   version of "Drivin' Slow" and also backed Phillips' wife on "When I Lost My Baby". Sam   Phillips was excited with the results and made acetate dubs of both sides, which he rushed   over to disc jockey Dewey Phillips at WHBQ. Dewey played them the same evening, and   Sam cut masters the following day. On March 5 sent dubs by Air Express to Leonard Chess   in Chicago.
 
One week after that first session the group was called back into the studio and made   several new cuts of "Drivin' Slow", together with another instrumental "Flat Tyre". It seems   that by this stage Sam Phillips had already decided that he was going to use the London   sides to launch the Sun Record label, a project he'd been nurturing for several months.   The same night Phillips sent dubs to Jack The Bellboy at KWEM and to Rubye at WHHM,   who duly aired the sides as the introduction to the new Sun label. On March 10 Phillips   sent the two masters to Shaw Plating and assigned matrix numbers: the following day he  gave a dub to Rufus Thomas at WDIA. The first records were pressed on March 27, 1995,   and were shipped later the same week.
 
"Drivin' Slow" had an unique sound, with a haunting, echoey production: "Sam Phillips had   a gifted ear. His role was really director. We kept doing it over and over, and he found the   sound that he wanted. It was the sound that we were doing all along, though. I remember   that he wanted to create a chamber, a hollow sound. That's how the "Drivin' Slow" sound   came about. This was something he had never even tried before. So, he did a separation.   He created a chamber that he didn't have. He got something similar to (an American) telephone booth. It was a home-made thing - 8'x4' or something like that".
 
According to London, "Drivin' Slow" was a number 1 record locally, and provided a great   deal of additional work for the band. In view of that it is indeed remarkable that London's   final appearance in the Sun studio should have been just 10 days after his record had been   released, on April 9 he backet Raymond Jones on 10 takes of a straightforward pop song   "Let Me Count The Curls". London recalls: "During that time Phillips was also recording Rufus Thomas, and some others. He had his hands in everything. I think we were busy too   - trying to make as much money as possible off the record. We were at school at that time,   too. Also, we never made as much money off the record as we thought we would. That   may have been the reason".
 
The Rockets continued to play together until 1954. They took on a vocalist, Bonita Cole,   but never recorded again. In the fall of 1954 Johnny London went off to college at the   University of Arkansas in Pine Bluff. He formed a new line-up of The Rockets that gigged   locally, playing for both black and white fraternities and colleges throughout eastern   Arkansas, West Tennessee, and Northern Mississippi and Alabama. During this period they   also backed up various nationally-famous rhythm and blues singers who were touring in   the South.
 
Johnny London went on to do graduate work at the University of Iowa. There he continued   playing in various small jazz groups. Following his graduation he briefly led Bobby "Blue"   Band's touring band, handling both musical and business matters. During the late 1960s   and early 1970s, London formed a production and publishing company with local sax   legend Fred Ford and a silent partner. At one point they came close to signing with Motown   Records but the deal fell through, and shortly afterwards London quit music for good, opting instead for a life in the computer industry. He later cited two reasons for his   decision: the inability of the Memphis scene to support full-time musicians combined with   the increased drug and alcohol abuse among fellow musicians. Today he still lives in Memphis, one of the very few artists from Sun's earliest days still among us. (RB)
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
LOTT, JIMMIE L. (JAMES) - Jazz drummer and was a Vietnam War veteran of the Marines. Born on June  29, 1938 in Memphis, Tennessee, Jimmie was a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the British  Music Hall of Fame. Jimmie Lott played with the band of Warren Smith for Sun Records, who was one of the originator of rockabilly music. 
 
On Warren Smith's ''Miss Froggie'', recorded in February 1957 at 706  Union Avenue, but Jimmie Lott more than finds his way and by the last 30 seconds has contributed one of  the most memorable single stroke drum rolls in rockabilly history. Lott recorded several sessions with Smith,  but eventually left to pursue a career in sales as his family responsibilities mounted.
 
Jimmie Lott was first drummer to play and recorded with Elvis Presley. On Elvis' "You're A Heartbreaker"  (Sun 215), recorded December 20, 1954, drummer Jimmie Lott was brought in to augment Elvis Presley's  sound. Lott was a well-known local drummer, but the use of a drummer was a major change for Elvis' music.  No record was kept of which cuts Lott played on, but he probably also appeared on the alternate cuts of "I'm  Left, You're Right, She's Gone". Jimmie 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.
 
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 died on June 10, 1996 at his home after a heart attack at the age of 57. Jimmie is buried at the  West Tennessee Veterans Cemetery, 4000 Forest Hill Irene Road in Memphis.
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
LOUIS, JOE HILL  - Also known as "Chicago Sunny Boy", "Johnny Lewis", "Little Joe", Joe was   born Lester (or possibly Leslie) Hill, September 23, 1921, one of four children (3 boys and a   girl) in Froggy Bottom, out from Grant's Corner, near where Whitehaven, Tennessee is now,   just a few miles south of Memphis, and lived there until about a year after his mother died. His father was Robert Hill and his mother was Mary Wilson. Joe Hill Louis learned some harmonica and the guitar from Will Shade in his youth in the   early 1930s.
 
At the age of 14, after frequent beating by his step-mother, he ran away from   home to work outside the music with frequent work in streets and dives in Robinsonville,   Mississippi area from circa 1935, and fell in with Billy and Drew Canale, the younger   members of a well-to-do Memphis family.
 
The Canales cook welcomed the responsibility of   looking after the young lad and he continued to live with and work for the Canales in one   household position after another for the rest of his short life. Early in his lifelong stay with the Canales he was put up to fighting a local ruffian named   "Prince Henry" and came out the better, a victory which inspired the Canale boys to name   him after the then heavyweight champ. Hence the moniker which was to serve him well and   stick with him to the end.
 
Joe Hill Louis' natural musical aptitude was first manifest itself upon the jew's harp, which   eventually was replaced by the harmonica, his primary and dominant instrument. The guitar   and drums were added in the course of time but not without a great deal of ear-shattering   displeasure from the Canales and their friends. At first, of course, his manipulation of the   three was very uncoordinated, but he eventually got it all together to the amazement of his friends and the consternation of would-be accompanying guitarists and drummers. Rufus   Thomas, the well-known record star and disc jockey reported that Joe was envied by many   local musicians for his ability to earn the same amount of money that it would have taken   three or four other musicians of singular talents to make. Joe could make all that money by   himself; he didn't need anyone else.
 
Joe Hill Louis worked outside the music at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee in the   late 1930s and frequently worked with Eddie Taylor, Willie Borum, Will Shade, Lockhart Hill   and others in gambling houses, the streets in Memphis and West Memphis, Arkansas area and   frequently worked as one man band in Memphis, Tennessee. He also frequently hoboed   through the Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi on working in dances, suppers, ballgame intermissions in the late 1940s into the early 1950s. He recorded for Columbia Records in   New York City in 1949.
 
He through his appearances on street corners and in Handy Park in Memphis and in juke   joints and roadhouses in the surrounding countryside, Joe Hill Louis became a popular   entertainer in the mod-south area in the late 1940s and it eventually opened the doors of   WDIA-Memphis, the local black radio station, for a 15-minute show for a patent medicine   called Pepti-con (from B.B. King) on which he was known as the Pep-ti-con Boy. This   appellation was later replaced by "The Be-Bop Boy", as indicated by the accompanying   photograph.
 
He through, by an informal union, Joe is reported to have a son named Leslie Hill who was   living in Chicago, Joe Hill Louis married his only wife, the former Dorothy "Ruthy" Mae   Pearson, on July 25, 1952 and the following year their son was born. Named Robert, he later   took Louis as a surname for himself and took name "Joe Louis" in honour of the boxing   champion. His brother was Lockhart Hill and was also an great musician. Despite Dorothy's  statement that they lived together until Joe died, the marriage may not have been one of  constant satisfaction for Joe, for he was soon back with the Canales, who always had a need   for a chauffeur or a houseboy, or a bartender at their frequent gatherings. He also worked   intermittently for Drew in his vending machine business, packing pennies in cigarette   packages by day and playing music in the countryside juke joints and roadhouses at night.
 
Drew Canale, who was to become Tennessee state senator from Shelby County (Memphis and   its environs) (1966-1970), was dabbling in recording in the late 1940s and claimed to have   been the first to record Joe, a session which, if ever issued, has yet to be identified.   Surprisingly, it was Columbia Records, that was the first to release recordings by Joe Hill   Louis.
 
Over a period of more than three years, between March 31, 1952 and September 9, 1953,   Joe Hill Louis recorded a number of sessions for Sam Phillips, alone and with accompanists,   which reached release on Modern and Checker as well as on his own labels The Phillips and   Sun Records. Sometimes during the mid-1950s, Drew Canale produced a rather curious   solitary release on his own Vendor record label. The vocal was credited to Les Vendor Keyboards and contained a spoken introduction by Canal, who later confirmed that the artist   was indeed Joe Hill Louis. Made exclusively for use in Canale's own jukebox and vending   machine distribution business, no more than a couple of copies are known to exist today. It   was reissued from the original stampers for collectors in the mid-1970s on the Mimisa label. Canale recorded him again, however, but by that time, Joe Hill's recording career included sessions for Meteor, Big Town, Ace, Rockin' and House Of Sound and among them are some   remarkable records, the Rockin' sides being especially notable. However, this later session   for Canale is believed to be Joe Hill Louis' last. A number of attempts, different approaches,   were made on a single tune, ironically entitled "late date" and though most of the session   still exists on tape, it remains unissued to this day. Joe Louis worked for the Blue Light Club in Memphis; the Brown Jug in West Memphis; the Tennessee House in West Memphis,   Arkansas in the early 1950s; recorded for the Rockin' label in Memphis, Tennessee in 1952;   recorded with Walter Horton for the Checker label in Chicago in 1952; recorded with Billy   Love for the Sun label in Memphis, Tennessee; recorded for Meteor label in Chicago in 1953;   recorded for Bigtown label in Memphis, Tennessee in 1954; recorded for the Ace label in West Memphis, Arkansas circa 1954; recorded for the House Of Sound label in Memphis,   Tennessee in 1957.
 
Joe Hill Louis had a great sense of humor and was definitely a ladies' man. He had a   different woman for every day in the week. His Sunday gal was Dorothy Houston who said   Joe would take her to nice quiet places: church, nice restaurants, quiet bars. He wouldn't   take her to gigs as he said they were rough places where the men didn't respect the woman.   Perhaps for one of these 'dailies' Joe was doing yardwork when he badly cut his thumb and it became infected with fertilizer. Eventually he contracted tetanus infection with which he   collapsed a few days later in his car on Beale Street, beyond help. He was taken to John   Gaston Hospital in Memphis, where he died August 5, 1957, loved by his friends and fellow   musicians, mourned by many women, and admired much too belatedly by the music public   around the world. Joe Hill Louis is buried at the Ford Chapel Cemetery in West Junction,   Tennessee. From the late forties until 1956, Joe Hill Louis was among the most popular figures in Memphis and the rural areas of Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi. (CE)
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

LOVE, BILLY ''RED'' - Billy Love was a serious talent, as a solo artist, a session pianist, and sometime leader of Rosco Gordon's road band. But he spent his life in and out of the armed forces, in and out of employment, in and out of jazz clubs, and in and out of the attention of law enforcement officers.

Billy Love led a full, short frustrating and strange life. Sam Phillips remembered him as ''a super-good musician'', but one who didn't focus on his musical gifts.

Milton Morse Love (aka Billy ''Red'' Love) was born on December 8, 1929 in Memphis, Tennessee, the son of Morse Love, senior and Lizzie Elliott. They were living on Florida Street just south of downtown Memphis in the summer of 1944 when Milton was fourteen years old and about to start work at the St. Louis Warehouse in Memphis.

Love joined the Army in February 1946 when he was a year under age, but by the late 1940s Love was back in Memphis gaining a good reputation as a piano player and teacher. He met budding saxophonist Richard Sanders just in from Yazoo County, Mississippi and they formed a band. Lillie Sanders remembered living on Florida Street near Milton Love and Rosco Gordon: ''Around the year of 1948 through 1951 musicians including my older brother Baby Richard Sanders Jr., Johnny Ace, Billy ''Red'' Love, Earl Forrest, Little Milton, and Rosco Gordon used to rehearse almost every day at Rosco Gordon's family home across the street. While walking home from school daily, I had the opportunity to hear great sounds of blues singing and music... This fair-skinned, freckled-faced, slenderframed, handsome blues singer from across the street used to whistle and wink his eyes at me every time he'd see me. He was Billy ''Red'' Love. He seemed to be a nice, quiet and very mannerable person - but I never forgot the music he'd sing''. Years later, she encouraged her daughters, the Jubert Sisters, to record some of Love's songs.

By the end of the 1940s Love was a formidable singer , pianist, songwriter, arranger. Rosco Gordon told John Floyd, ''Love and I we lived about two blocks apart... my mother got rid of the piano (from our house) so I would go to Billy Love's house periodically, two or three times a week, and I would learn from him. He had so much talent. If you couldn't learn from him you couldn't learn from anybody. He would show you note for note how to make the chord''.

Much of the music scene in those days was across the river in West Memphis, Arkansas where there were a number of clubs and other drinking and gambling houses centered an 7th and 8th Streets and all of them helped support a number of blues musicians. Many of the players who recorded for Sam Phillips worked at Jack Brown's club while Joe Hill Louis held sway at nearby Suggs cafe. The Be-Bop Hall was where the ''better'' musicians played, according to local musician Bo Pete, who gave as examples the likes of George Coleman and Billy ''Red'' Love.

In 1951 Sam Phillips was very busy in his part-time studio (the Memphis Recording Service), recording as much of the local blues and rhythm and blues talent as he could. He had not yet started his Sun label and leased most of his product to Chess and RPM/Modern. Billy Love did some session work for Phillips, backing Walter Horton, Rufus Thomas and Willie Nix, before he got the chance to cut his own record as a singer-pianist. This resulted in the storming drinking song "Juiced", probably cut on July 24, 1951. Phillips was under pressure from Chess to come up with a good follow-up for Jackie Brenston's "Rocket 88" (a number 1 rhythm and blues record, produced by Phillips, his first big success), after "My Real Gone Rocket" had bombed. It was decided to issue "Juiced" under Jackie Brenston's name (Chess 1472). Brenston was a better sax player than a singer and hardly had time for recording, as he was in constant demand on the road. Love was a better singer, wrote his own songs and played a mean piano. "Juiced" was the finest record that Jackie Brenston never made - and that Billy Love was never credited with making. But it did not chart. Love's next session took place in October or November 1951 and yielded three songs, two of which, "Drop Top" and "You're Gonna Cry" were issued as a Chess single (1508), this time credited to "Billy 'Red' Love and his orchestra". "Drop Top" was in the same uninhibited style as "Juiced", an attempt to follow in the slipstream of "Rocket 88". There were four sessions in 1952, but only one single was released, "My Teddy Bear Baby"/"Poor Man" (Chess 1516, now very rare). These two singles seem to have received very little promotional support from Chess and sold poorly. Through 1952 (the year in which Sun Records was launched), Love continued to work as a session pianist at Phillips's studio, but Sam's files are completely silent on Billy Love for the whole of 1953.

On January 19, 1954 Love returned to the Sun studio with a new band and cut five titles. He must have had a real expectation of seeing his first Sun record out in the spring, and so must Sam Phillips, who scheduled "Hey Now" and "Way After Midnight" for release on Sun 205, registering their copyrights with BMI that May. Sam assigned Sun master numbers to the two titles (U 118 and U 119), but the record did not appear with the May batch of Sun discs. By July, the first record by Elvis Presley had been released on Sun 209 and Phillips was too busy promoting his hot new property to release Love's disc. It was the beginning of the end for most blues and rhythm and blues singers at Sun and particularly so for Love who had a reputation for unreliability. Phillips told Martin Hawkins: "Billy Love was a supergood musician but he didn't have the gut desire to succeed. Not that he didn't want to, but I didn't have time to waste and I think Billy's problem was lack of patience and devotion to what he was doing. He played well but there is a kind of dedication and belief in your music that extends beyond the doors of the studio. He did not have that."

One more session was recorded at the Sun studio, resulting in "Blues Leave Me Alone" and the promotional record "Hart's Bread Boogie" for the Hart's bakery in Memphis (released on Harts H B-66). Pat Hare played guitar on that session; Billy played piano on Hare's "I'm Gonna Murder My Baby" (recorded May 14, 1954, originally unreleased).

Around this time Love had joined Rosco Gordon's band and he spent a good part of the 1954-1956 years travelling with Gordon, who re-signed with Sun in 1956 (that's Billy playing piano on "Shoobie Oobie"). In 1957 Love disappeared from Memphis and nobody knew where he had gone. It later turned out that he had relocated to Colorado Springs, playing at Duncan's Cotton Club. He was still living there when he got in trouble with the law in January 1974, accused of selling heroin and possessing an illegal weapon, but apparently this did not lead to a jail sentence.

Love's luck ran out the next year. Milton Morse (Billy ''Red'') Love passed away on Friday May 2, 1975 and was buried at the Memphis National Cemetery. "Drank himself to death", according to Rosco Gordon. (MH)

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

LOVE, COY (HOT SHOT) - Coy Love Jr. was into his forties by the time he appeared at Sun Records to record his idiosyncratic harmonica solos and talking vocals. The son of Coy and Lula Love, he was born  in Clarksdale, Mississippi, on September 9, 1914, and he said he learned to play harmonica from his father and that he traveled through many states in his twenties and thirties, working and playing music where he could. His mother told Steve LaVere that her son's picture appeared in the Memphis World newspaper in 1933 or 1934 when he saved someone's life.
 
Talking to LaVere in 1970, Coy Love claimed to have recorded with Will Shade for Paramount Records during his lengthy and dundry travels around Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, and New Orleans.  He talked about being recorded non-commercially at different times during the 1920s and 1930s. He was arrested and spent time on the Shelby County Penal farm in 1940 or 1941 and he was later in trouble for shooting craps before, in June 1945, he was arrested for loitering and sentenced to 36 days on the Farm again. He talked about broadcasting over WHBQ with Nat Williams Amateur Show and playing with Elvis Presley out in east Memphis.
 
Love   was truly a man   who marched to a different drummer, sign painter by trade, who traveled round Memphis on   his bicycle looking for work, his leather jacket lettered with part of his highly individual philosophy, and he was reputed to have lived with seven women at one time.
 
Love got himself a session at 706 Union a few months before Presley did. In January 1954, and by the time Sam Phillips met him Love was as well known as a sign-painter as he was a musician. Sam Phillips would have found his individuality something to be admired even tough he only released one record by him. Love did not record again until August 1963 at Steve LaVere's Memphis Blues & Folklore Center, the front window of which Love had hand-lettered. There he recorded five tunes, two of which appeared on Mr. Bo Weevil Records.
 
Coy "Hot Shot" Love died in a road accident on Interstate 55 on June 4, 1980, a mile or so   outside of Memphis. (MH)
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
(Above) Left: 1st edition of Gene Lowery's ''Dixie Four Collection of Poems and Pictures'', 117 pages, compiled and  written by Gene Lowery (right), circa 1949.
 
LOWERY, GENE – Born as Newton Gresham ''Gene'' Lowery on March 8, 1906 in Clanton, Alabama. Son  of a Baptist minister, he was taught strict discipline from the cradle by stern, yet loving parents.  Even before he was old enough to go to school he begin singing and ''sitting in'' on singing schools. He was  directing congregational singing by the time he was eight years old.
 
He was educated in a Congregational  high school, the Howard College and the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas,  majoring in music. During summer months, while in school, he led music for evangelists. He became a  church music director, a music director for Dempsey W. Hedges' evangelistic party, which toured the South.  Upon leaving seminary in 1929, he obtained his first job as radio announcer at Shreveport, Louisiana. Has  had programs on thirty-two individual radio stations from coast to coast and held position as music director  of some of the large churches of Birmingham, Alabama: Jackson, Mississippi; and Memphis, Tennessee.
 
In 1938 he organized the Dixie Four Quartet in Jackson, Mississippi, where they had daily broadcast until  1940, when they moved to WMC, Memphis, Tennessee. Gene enlisted in the US Navy in 1942 and served  until 1944. Upon his return from service to Memphis , he reorganized the Dixie Four and resumed  broadcasting. Had ''Faultless Starch'' broadcast on a network for two years, also a Burial Insurance Company  program on local station.
 
Moved them to Indianapolis, June 25, 1946. Began series of programs for Mutual broadcasting System in  1947. He was also the lead singer for the Dixie Four and they has given 3,000 radio broadcasts and at least  that many concerts, to at least one million people. He published several song books which included songs  and recitations performed by the Dixie Four. In the late 1940s, while in Indianapolis, Gene organized Lowery  Enterprises, which operated a record company with the ''Gospel'' label. In 1950, he formed a new ''Hoosier'' record company.
 
In the early 1950s Lowery transitioned out of his singing role with the Dixie Four. During this period he  organized the Southland Quartet in Olney, Illinois, and managed the Pathfinders. By 1957, he had a group  called the Gene Lowery Singers consisting of Edwin Bruce, Sara Bruce, Nita Smith, and Lee Holt, which  performed as backup singers at Sun Studios in Memphis for Sun recording artists such as Johnny Cash,  Charlie Rich, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis, Barbara Pittman, and many more. In his later years he organized and  managed the Gene Lowery Quartet. Gene Lowery died in 1971.
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
 Sun recordings can be heard on the playlists from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <
 
 © - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©