Ed Morgan and The Music Business:
Great Beginnings

Ed's love of music was natural as he had a gift, an "ear" for music, which he used to gain mastery of the guitar at an early age. When he left Morgan Buildings at age 30, he pursued his passion for music by managing and promoting artists.

In 1970, Ed began managing a young female vocalist who had been discovered by Johnny Cash's bass player, Marshall Grant. Sammi Smith had toured with Waylon Jennings and just signed with Mega Records. She recorded a song written by Kris Kristofferson called Help Me Make It Through The Night. In February 1971 it was the number one song in the country.

She won the 1971 Grammy for Best Country Female Vocalist. She toured the U.S. and Great Britain. Sammi had hit the top. She was 27. Ed was on top of the world. He was 31 years old. Over the years Ed managed and promoted many artists.

In 2000, he produced a CD "Rockabilly Masters" with his friend of 58 years Burl Boykin. They had a band in Beaumont, TX called the Rocking Rebels with Johnny Winter and played with artists like George Jones, The Big Bopper (J.P. Richardson) and Janis Joplin from Pt. Arthur, Texas. Burl had a record called "Let Me Come Your Way" and "Life in a Dream" with Johnny Winter on Clover Records in 1959. Robert Todd and Ed Sanchitano produced the record for about $200. It became a hit on ACE Records in England and Germany.

Ed contacted Burl in 1999 to produce a rockabilly cd as a tribute to Johnny Cash, Elvis, and Carl Perkins and one of the early Sun artists, Mack Self. They contacted Roland Janes at Sam Phillips Recording Studio. Roland was in the music business at Sun Records, was the lead guitarist for Jerry Lee Lewis and managed him in the mid-fifties. He produced many artists in rockabilly in the early 50's and knew how to engineer the sound that created the careers of Elvis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry lee Lewis, Billy Lee Riley, Sonny Burgess, Charlie Rich, Mack Self, Warren Smith, Dickie Lee, Carl Mann, Eddie Bond, Narvel Felts, Ace Cannon and many others.

50's Rock 'n' roll was beginning to take off and Roland, Ed and Burl lined up W.S. "Fluke" Holland, drummer for Carl Perkins, Carl Mann and Johnny Cash for the past 45 years, to create a tribute CD.

W.S. Holland contacted Stan Perkins to do the tribute to his dad, Carl Perkins, with Stan playing lead guitar on songs like Honey Don't, Blue Suede Shoes, Rockabilly Fever and Match Box. You could feel the songs written by his dad come alive again at the studio. Roland Janes said Stan had put the feeling of his Dad and his superb singing and lead guitar playing at the session. Roland said Carl would really be proud of this.

A great guitarist, C.W. Gatlin, who was associated with Levon Helms and The Band and a studio musician for Jack Clements in Nashville had a passion for music played by Luther Perkins, Scotty Moore, Carl Perkins, and Chuck Berry. C.W. made an impact on the CD with his excellent lead guitar on his Fender Telecaster making Luther Perkins come alive once again. C.W.'s singing of Johnny Cash's hit song Give My Love to Rose was excellent, as was Sweet Marie, the answer to Chuck Berry's single, Memphis. Burl Boykin met lead guitarist and manager for Travis LeDoyt, Mike Slahetka, at a rockabilly festival and saw this young Elvis singer as the one to complete the tribute CD. With top musicians like Nick Real and Henry "Butch" Carter on Piano. Travis had just completed a tribute show called "Tales From the Heartbreak Hotel" at the Tupelo, MS festival and was voted the number one Elvis impressionist by the Elvis Presley Estate.

Mack Self, one of the earliest Sun Recording artists for Sam Phillips, recorded his hit songs, Jody McClain, Mexican Limbo and a tear jerker called Shadows. Mack had many hits overseas with his songs called Mad at You and Vibrate.

Two super slap bass players, Kent "Superman" Blanton who played for Marty Stuart and Joe Fick from the Dempseys, completed the sounds of the 50's.

After practicing at W.S. Holland's studio in Jackson, TN, the group headed for Sam Phillips Recording Studio to make a 20-song tribute CD to their favorite artists.

The project was named Rockin' on Madison Avenue in Memphis, TN.

Bob Timmers, curator of Rockabilly Hall of Fame in Burns, TN put out the CD Album on his Rockabilly Hall of Fame label. He also named the group "The Rockabilly Masters" as he said all the singers and musicians were masters in their field of music. W.S. "Fluke" Holland, who Johnny Cash gave the name "Father of Drums" played on every song with his driving beat. W.S. Holland had the privilege of playing for four (4) presidents at the White House.

As a concert promoter over the years for Johnny Cash and The Tennessee Three, Burl Boykin aka Johnny Crash sang his favorite Cash songs, Big River, Folsom Prison Blues, and I Walk The Line, and Catchin' The Blues, written by a friend in England, Dave Travis. Burl also did an Elvis song, Baby Let's Play House. Burl was known as "Little Elvis" in high school in the 50's.

Shortly after finishing the CD in Memphis, Ed became ill and was on a respirator for 30 days. He was unable to finish his dream of promoting his CD of the Rockabilly Masters.

His dream went with him to heaven on September 12, 2003. Ed will be promoting it in the great beyond with many artists that he loved. He said in his last days, the ring of music he created was a circle and it will live for eternity.

Ed Morgan will be honored at a concert on Saturday, October 11, 2003, at the Memphis Shell at Overton Park in Memphis, TN, where Ricky Nelson's twin sons will be doing a tribute to their dad. Ricky Nelson will be inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

Ed wanted to preserve rockabilly music and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame for the younger generations. Donations in memory of Ed Morgan may be sent to:
Bob Timmers, Curator
Rockabilly Hall of Fame
P.O. Box 639
Burns, TN 37029
Phone AC (615)-740-ROCK

To order the CD write to:
Rockabilly Masters
333 County Road 215
Abbeville, MS 38601

Roland Janes Reflects:

When I was growing up I was a true blue fan of all kinds of music, musicians, singers, artists, etc.

I believed that the music business and the people in it were true to their profession and could do no wrong. It was my greatest dream just to meet and know someone in the business.

In time, with a little talent and a lot of luck I was able and fortunate enough to be able to be associated with and, in fact become a part of the music business. It didn't take me long to realize that I had been very naive about many people and their methods of doing business. It seemed that almost everyone had an oversized ego and many were willing to do just about anything to achieve success.

Therefore, I became somewhat cynical and suspicious of just about everyone I came in contact with - unethical business practices were the accepted method doing business and no one seemed to notice, care, or mind very much.

In short, I was somewhat disillusioned by my chosen profession over the last 50 years.

Then a couple of years ago some friends of mine (Burly Boykin and C.W. Gatlin) introduced me to a gentleman from Texas by the name of Ed Morgan. Ed had been in and out of the business over the years and had a deep love for the business just as I had and most of the people in it.

I found it refreshing to do business with a talented straight forward, honest man of integrity. We hit it off quite well and the Rockabilly project we were working on turned out very good thanks to Ed's expertise and the good people he brought with him.
,br> Ed's honest down to earth approach toward people and business in general, helped to restore my faith in many things and many people.

Although we knew each other for just a short time, we developed a mutual trust and deep special friendship. As you can see, I had much admiration and respect for my deal friend, Mr. Ed Morgan.

I will miss him very much.
Roland Janes
Sam Phillips Recording Studio

Ed Morgan:
Rockabilly Hall of Fame

By Joe Simnacher Edward Franklin "Ed" Morgan II helped pioneer portable buildings, promoted and produced recording artists and once operated an exclusive hunting club in Junction, Texas.

Mr. Morgan, 63, died in his sleep Sept. 12 at his Arlington home.

A Mass of Christian burial will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at the North Chapel of Calvary Hill Mausoleum, 3235 Lombardy Lane in Dallas, where he will be entombed.

"He was a really interesting guy," said his brother, Hicks Morgan of Dallas. "He loved business, he loved his family, but he always had this love for music that pulled him in that direction."

In 1961, Mr. Morgan and brother Guy Morgan moved to Dallas to build up the family business - Morgan Portable Buildings - that their father, the late G.H. Morgan, had started in Beaumont.

Guy Morgan focused on sales and marketing, while Ed Morgan was in charge of production, their brother said.

Ed Morgan was born in Beaumont, Texas, where he developed a lifelong passion for music. In Beaumont he played guitar and knew future music stars Johnny and Edgar Winter.

In September 2000, Mr. Morgan was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

"He was a big influence on a lot of people," said Bob Timmers, founder and curator of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in Burns, Tenn. "He told me one time that he was once the lead guitar player for the Big Bopper, J.P. Richardson."

Mr. Morgan never got far from the music business, Hicks Morgan said.

In the 1970s, Ed organ sold his portion of the portable building business, now known as Morgan Buildings and Spas, to his brother Guy. He started promoting musicians and operated a hunting club. Executive Sportsman Association, in Junction.
,br> "He was the kind of guy who had fun and liked people," Hicks Morgan said."

Mr. Morgan was friends with Waylon Jennings and at one time promoted Sammi Smith, his brother said.

"That was his first big success," his brother said.

Mr. Morgan had musicians he knew perform for the executives at his hunting club.

Despite meeting and working with many stars, Mr. Morgan was never a big success as a manager, his brother said.

Mr. Morgan had musicians he knew perform for the executives at his hunting club.

Despite meeting and working with many stars, Mor Morgan was never a big success as a manager, his bother said.

"Ed was really good at spotting people and getting them promoted, but wasn't always good at working out long-term contracts," his brother said. "They all still liked him and they were friends."

In the late 1970s, Mr. Morgan had a heart attack while having surgery for lung cancer. He effectively lost his vision but kept his ties with music, when his health permitted.

Mr. Morgan played a role in producing the album The Rockabilly Masters, a re-creation of early rock, Mr. Timmers said.

"It was a very good album," he said. "He had a lot of high hopes for it. I don't think he was done promoting it when he died."

In addition to his two brothers, Mr. Morgan is survived by three sons, Rick Morgan and David Morgan, both of Rendon, Texas, and Michael Morgan of Garland; and four grandchildren.

Page posted October, 2003

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