Then he abruptly changes course.
"Sorry about you being up there (in Nashville)," he says, with a guilty laugh. "I don't want to go back to that cold. And if you don't have to, you don't have to."
Cash, 68, is basking in the Jamaican sun - and the glow of two Grammy nominations - just two years after spending 12 days in a coma with deadly pneumonia.
He's nominated for his latest album, "American III: Solitary Man," in the contemporary folk album category and for "Solitary Man," his version of the Neil Diamond hit, in the male country vocal performance category.
The singer-songwriter is planning another album with producer Rick Rubin, his creative partner for his past three albums. And Cash says his health is much improved; that he was misdiagnosed as having Shy-Drager Syndrome, a neurological disorder.
"My doctor came to me and said, `If you'd had it, you'd be dead by now,"' Cash says. "I denied that disease all along. God wasn't going to let me die with something that sounds that nasty."
The doctors now tell Cash that he has autonomic neuropathy. He isn't sure what that means, but he doesn't sound frightened.
"There's nothing wrong with me," he says defiantly. "I don't have any disease. ... It's not doing anything to me, except I'm getting a lot better."
Cash, who toured regularly for four decades, is a rare musical talent; too broad for any single genre to contain.
His classic hits include early rockabilly sides like "Get Rhythm," story songs like "Don't Take Your Guns to Town," meditations on prison like "I Got Stripes" and message songs like "Man in Black." He's made movies and recorded live albums at prisons. And he gave Bob Dylan and other '60s artists their first network television exposure on his 1969-71 variety series.
He's a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame, Rockabilly Hlal of Fame and the winner of a Grammy Legend Award (1990).
Only in the 1980s did he falter, when country radio stations turned him away in favor of younger talent. He abandoned the Nashville music business in 1994, signing with rap-heavy metal producer Rubin's American Recordings. His three albums with Rubin have been triumphs.
The American Music albums have featured a stripped-down, mostly acoustic sound. Rubin has pushed Cash to record songs by non-mainstream writers like Nick Cave and Will Oldham.
"It's just Cash doing exactly what he wants to do," says country singer Marty Stuart, who played on "American III: Solitary Man."
"They're done with a living-room atmosphere, catching an American icon in his natural habitat and seeing what's on his mind.
"It's very earthy, very organic, very down to earth. It holds on to every tradition that he ever helped create, but it also busts down the walls of his future, as only he can do, to kind of help give us a different place to go."
Cash has made some concessions to age and infirmity, but says he's far from through.
"I'm focusing all my time and energy on the creativity, writing and recording songs for my albums," he says. "That's basically where all my creative energies go.
"I haven't taken any offers for television or live performances or commercials or any such thing for years. ... I don't care to be on video. I don't care to be on camera. I've had my 40-plus years on the stage. ... After a while, the suitcases get to be a little heavier."
He has a home outside Nashville, but spends winters at his Jamaica estate. There he rises at 5 a.m., reads, writes songs and eats breakfast with his wife, June Carter. They often drive their golf cart about a mile from their home to the sea.
In the afternoons, he likes to listen to music; both for pleasure and to look for songs to record. He's been listening to "Flatt & Scruggs at Carnegie Hall," The Cathedral Quartet and a box set of the Carter Family.
Of modern country, he likes Trisha Yearwood and the Mavericks.
"Sometimes, I'll even listen to Hank Williams Jr.'s album if I feel like I can stand the pressure," he says jokingly. "I love him like a brother, but boy, he comes on strong."
He's planning a fourth album with Rubin and is excited about going in a "heavier" musical direction.
"For instance, I may record a real classic spiritual, and I might use an orchestra on it. There are some things that Rick and I are finding that call for a little bigger sound. ... I said, `Let's go for it. I am a rockabilly.'
"If nothing else, I am a rockabilly."
MEMPHIS, TN - Dec. 28, 2000 - A four-day celebration of Elvis Presley's birthday at Graceland,
Elvis' famed home in Memphis, will feature an extensive new expansion of artifacts recently
completed on the mansion grounds, including a never-before-seen desk and items from Elvis'
personal study upstairs in the mansion. As part of the new and expanded tour, the new audiotour
guiding visitors through the mansion will include Lisa Marie Presley sharing personal
recollections of her father and growing up at Graceland.
Fans and friends from around the world will be visiting Memphis for the four days of
activities celebrating Elvis' life and career. In addition to the new tours and exhibits,
FRIDAY, JANUARY 5
Special Graceland Evening Tours - Just after the day's regular tour operations end, fans will have the opportunity to visit Graceland Mansion in all its traditional holiday splendor and enjoy the stunning additional new outdoor lighting in the backyard by Arkansas philanthropist Jennings Osborne and his family. This will be an opportunity for the fans to enjoy the expanded Elvis exhibits and new audio tour on both Friday the 5th and Saturday the 6th.
Elvis Presley's Memphis - Elvis Presley's Memphis restaurant/nightclub on Beale Street in downtown Memphis will feature live entertainment with The Dempseys as well as Elvis video and music programming day and night throughout the celebration.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 6
Elvis Fan Club Presidents Luncheon - Noon at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel. This is the annual gathering of Elvis fan clubs.
Graceland Wedding Chapel Open House - On Saturday the 6th and Sunday the 7th between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m., fans and media are invited to tour the recently opened wedding chapel in the woods next door to the mansion property.
Cosmic Bowling Tournament - From Midnight to 3 a.m., fans will celebrate Elvis' Birthday at the dawn of the new millennium with a Cosmic Bowling Tournament. Costumes and an on-site DJ playing Elvis music. The lanes take on a special look with colorful, dramatic lighting and even a mirror ball for a total cosmic experience. All proceeds benefit Junior Achievement.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 7
Gospel Brunch at Elvis Presley's Memphis - Starting at 11:00 a.m. at Elvis Presley's Memphis on Beale Street. Sunday brunch menu offered. Gospel music performed live by former members of The Imperials who sang back-up for Elvis in the studio in the 60s and early 70s and on stage 1969-71, including the 70 MGM concert film.
Presley Place Open House - Presley Place is a new transitional housing complex being funded through the Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation. It is expected to be completed by February or March 2001. Open house tours will be held between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. on Jan. 7 and 8.
Elvis Moody Blue Dance Party - 8:00 p.m.-12:00 Midnight. The Memphis Marriott-East, 2625 Thousand Oaks Boulevard. Named after the song and themed around Elvis' favorite color with cool blue decor and attitude.
MONDAY, JANUARY 8 - Proclamation of Elvis Presley Day Ceremony - 11:45 a.m. on the Graceland Mansion grounds. The annual ceremony proclaiming Elvis Presley Day throughout the City of Memphis and Shelby County. Free admission. Complimentary birthday cake and coffee served all afternoon at the Chrome Grille in Graceland Plaza.
Elvis, That's the Way It Is: Special Edition - By special courtesy of Turner Classic Movies, Graceland is presenting three theatrical screenings of the highly anticipated new version of the beloved 1970 concert film, "Elvis, That's the Way It Is -- Special Edition." The screenings will be held at 2:00, 5:00 and 8:00 p.m. at the Malco DeSoto Cinema and will benefit one of Elvis' favorite charities, the Motion Picture and Television Fund Foundation.
This year's other inductees include: Aerosmith, Solomon Burke, The Flamingos, Michael Jackson, Queen, Paul Simon, and Steely Dan. This year's "non-performer" inductee is Chris Blackwell, and "Side-men" inductees are James Burton and Johnnie Johnson.
At 17 years old, Ritchie Valens -- less than seven months after the release of his first single, "Come On, Let's Go" and exactly 26 days after "La Bamba" hit the pop charts for the first time -- was killed in a plane crash on February 3, 1959, along with 22-year old Buddy Holly and 28-year old J.P. Richardson ("The Big Bopper"). His biggest hit, "Donna," was #2 on the U.S. pop charts at the time.
Del-Fi Records' owner & president Bob Keane -- who produced all of Valens' recordings -- issued the following statement from his office in Los Angeles today: "I am gratified to learn that Ritchie will finally been inducted in the Hall of Fame, as I feel this has been long overdue. I realize that he doesn't have the background and long list of hits that other artists have had, but there's more to Ritchie's story than hit records. Since his death, nearly forty-two years ago, Ritchie Valens has become an legend and an icon, revered by young and old alike, and he represents the true meaning of freedom in America. Ritchie and his song 'La Bamba' are both symbols of what is possible to achieve if you believe in yourself. in spite of race, religion, or station in life." In the past, Del-Fi Records have joined forces with Westwood One, ABC Pure Gold Networks, the Jones Radio Networks, and oldies radio stations across the country, coordinating massive petition and postcard campaigns in numerous U.S. cities, and gathered signatures of support from thousands of Ritchie's fans from across the entire world. Valens has also received a strong show of support in the past from RIAA president & CEO Hilary Rosen, and Congressman Howard L. Berman (Democrat - Mission Hills, California), among others.
Valens has been eligible for induction since 1986. He has
been nominated three times previously (including the past two
years). Valens has also been honored with a U.S. postage stamp
bearing his likeness and was awarded with a star on the
Hollywood Walk of Fame. The story of his life & music was the
subject of a 1987 motion picture, La Bamba. In May 1998,
Del-Fi issued Come On, Let's Go!, a 3CD boxset of Ritchie
Valens' complete recordings.
In September of 1999 I was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver.
Although I had carried health insurance for many years, at the time of my diagnosis
I was not insured. My dear friend, Phil Whyte, set up a Paul Peek medical fund and he and
Steve Aynsley, via the internet, issued a plea to all of our Blue Caps fans for contributions
to this fund to help defray the cost of my medical expenses. I would like to personally thank
Phil and Steve for all their work in this regard and also, Bob Timmers, Rod Pyke and Alain
Whyte, who helped me so much by providing the internet capability.
Barbara and I wish to take this opportunity to express to all of our United Kingdom,
other European, and American fans our sincere and heartfelt appreciation for the overwhelming
response to this plea. Your generosity has indeed helped us to make it through this very
difficult time. My apologies for not yet writing a personal note to each of you, but
I am presently in the process of doing so.
We want to especially convey our thanks to Phil and Jo Whyte, our dear friends of nineteen
years, of Rock-a-Round Vintage Clothing, for all their assistance, including benefits on my
behalf and pleas through word of mouth. Also, my thanks to my friend Trevor Cajiao and
his staff of Now Dig This magazine.
As for my future prognosis, although my illness is chronic, with the help of medication,
my condition has stabilized and I am looking forward to the future with much hope.
In conclusion, I would like to especially thank Johnny, Dickie and Bubba for carrying
on the old Blue Caps tradition in my absence during the 1999 tour, and also my
lifetime friend Bill Mack. I am looking forward to joining them on the next tour
and seeing all of our Gene Vincent and Blue Caps fans again.
With Sincere Thanks and Appreciation,
Paul and Barbara Peek
The actual letter that Paul signed< /font>
Barbara and I wish to take this opportunity to express to all of our United Kingdom, other European, and American fans our sincere and heartfelt appreciation for the overwhelming response to this plea. Your generosity has indeed helped us to make it through this very difficult time. My apologies for not yet writing a personal note to each of you, but I am presently in the process of doing so.
We want to especially convey our thanks to Phil and Jo Whyte, our dear friends of nineteen years, of Rock-a-Round Vintage Clothing, for all their assistance, including benefits on my behalf and pleas through word of mouth. Also, my thanks to my friend Trevor Cajiao and his staff of Now Dig This magazine.
As for my future prognosis, although my illness is chronic, with the help of medication, my condition has stabilized and I am looking forward to the future with much hope.
In conclusion, I would like to especially thank Johnny, Dickie and Bubba for carrying on the old Blue Caps tradition in my absence during the 1999 tour, and also my lifetime friend Bill Mack. I am looking forward to joining them on the next tour and seeing all of our Gene Vincent and Blue Caps fans again.
With Sincere Thanks and Appreciation,
Davis began recording in 1928 and was still recording 70 years later, giving him one of the longest recording careers in entertainment history. Davis also had the distinction of being one of the earliest country singers to record with a racially integrated band. One of 11 children born in Beech Springs, La., to a sharecropping couple, Davis rose to prominence in the 1930s with a smooth vocal style that helped popularize country music far beyond its original rural southern audience. The singer's best-known songs, particularly "You Are My Sunshine," helped carry him to the governorship of Louisiana in 1944 and in 1960. With its easy-to-follow melody and sweet inspirational message, "You Are My Sunshine" has been recorded more than 350 times by many top artists. The song, now a country music anthem and a children's favorite, became nationally known in 1941 through recordings by Gene Autry and Bing Crosby.
Davis' own Decca recording was released in 1940. Prior to his purchase of the song, "You Are My Sunshine" was credited to Paul Rice, a member of Louisiana band The Rice Brothers Gang, but Rice previously may have purchased the copyright himself. The rumored sale price between Rice and Davis was as low as $15 and as high as $500. The copyright to "You Are My Sunshine" is now perhaps the most valuable in country music. Far from being frowned on, purchasing the original compositions of other local musicians was the accepted practice of the time. There was nothing underhanded about it. Like A.P. Carter and a host of other artists of the era did, Davis would rework the original tunes to fit his style of singing and change the lyrics to meet his own needs. Regardless of its origin, "You Are My Sunshine" clearly belonged to Davis -- he's the reason it is one of the most recognized and most loved songs in the world.
Davis began his singing career in the Glee Club of Louisiana College in Pineville. At the same time he was a member of a local quartet, the Wildcat Four, singing lead tenor. After school, he worked in the fields and busked on street corners until he had raised enough money to allow him to study for his master's degree at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. There, too, he sang in the Glee Club as a tenor in a quartet. In the late 1920s he accepted a teaching position in Shreveport at Dodd College, a Baptist junior college for women, and began performing weekly at Shreveport radio station KWKH.
Davis left Dodd after one year and began working as a clerk at the Shreveport Criminal Court, a job that lasted until 1938 and that helped usher him into a career in Louisiana politics.
After recording a couple of piano-accompanied records for KWKH in 1928, Davis made records for RCA Victor Records for four years, most of them excellent white blues songs performed in a Jimmie Rodgers style. Some, such as "Organ Grinder's Blues" and "Tom Cat and Pussy Blues," contained risque lyrics that political opponents would later use in unsuccessful efforts to discredit him.
In 1934, Davis began recording for the newly-formed Decca records. His first release on the label, "Nobody's Darling But Mine," became his first substantial hit. Although a risque element remained in his repertoire for a while, Davis soon focused on western swing, recording two songs with The Musical Brownies, by then led by Milton Brown's brother, Derwood. In 1938, Davis was made Shreveport's Commissioner of Public Safety and in 1942, he was promoted to State Public Service Commissioner. He scored Top 5 country hits in the 1940s with "Is It Too Late Now," "There's a Chill on the Hill Tonight," "Grievin' My Heart Out for You" and "Bang Bang." Davis' biggest chart single was "There's a New Moon Over My Shoulder," which topped the charts in 1945 and lingered on them for 18 weeks. Between 1942 and 1947 Davis appeared in five Hollywood films: Strictly in the Groove, Riding Through Nevada, Frontier Fury, Cyclone Prairie Ramblers and his own life story, Louisiana. In 1944, standing as a Democrat, Davis was elected to governor.
After his first four-year term as governor, Davis began singing full time for the first time and began to specialize more in gospel music than in straight country songs.
He went back to the governor's mansion for a second four-year term in 1960. School integration was a hot issue in the Deep South in those years and while Davis maintained a segregationist stance, his moderate form of opposition helped Louisiana avoid much of the violence that took place in neighboring states.
"Where the Old Red River Flows" gave Davis a Top 20 country hit in 1962 and went on to become yet another very popular and much recorded song. After the death of his first wife, Alvern, in 1967, he married Anna Carter Gordon, a member of the Chuck Wagon Gang gospel group. In 1971, Davis was unsuccessful in his third bid for the governorship and instead concentrated more on sacred songs. The following year he was elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
During the 1970s and up to the mid-1980s, Davis continued to make recordings of gospel music and appearances at some religious venues until a heart attack in 1987 caused him to restrict his activities. However, in the spring of 1992 he appeared on CBS-TV's special celebrating the Country Music Hall of Fame's 25th anniversary, and in 1998 he recorded a new version of "You Are My Sunshine."
Davis celebrated his 100th birthday with a party in Baton Rouge. The celebration was attended by about 800 people at a local hotel, and benefited the Jimmie Davis Tabernacle Fund, a non-denominational, non-profit place of worship located in Beech Springs. Davis performed four songs, proving he could still enthrall an audience. Survivors include his wife, Anna, and his son, James. Funeral arrangements are incomplete.
A hybrid of country, rhythm & blues and gospel, rockabilly music exploded out of the American South in the mid-fifties, sweeping across the country in popularity and influence. Although the "golden age of rockabilly" only lasted for a few short years (roughly 1954 to 1959), the music was responsible for launching the careers of many famous artists such as Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Conway Twitty and Jerry Lee Lewis. Many "mainstream country" artists such as George Jones, Marty Robbins, and Buck Owens dabbled in rockabilly for a while, and an even larger number of artists recorded one or two records in the genre before disappearing into relative obscurity.
More than forty years later, these records and artists continue to influence a new generation of musicians, and the original recordings are highly sought-after treasures.
Some of the goals of the Rockabilly Music Foundation include plans for the construction of a Rockabilly Museum and Hall of Fame in Tennessee, providing financial and healthcare assistance to " first-generation" rockabilly artists, and lending promotional assistance to a new generation of rockabilly musicians. A major"kick-off" fundraiser is planned for April 5, 2001 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, with many rockabilly acts both old and new slated to perform. More information about the Rockabilly Music Foundation and its sponsored events can be found at the Foundation's official website, www.rockabillymusicfoundation.org
Chronicling Sun Records' founding by Sam Phillips and surveying the label's legacy, the docu will feature a series of recording sessions and present-day rock 'n' roll icons who will reflect on the influence of Sun's artists and music. Among the musical legends who have agreed to participate in both the film and soundtrack are Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Jeff Beck, Chrissie Hynde, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Van Morrison, Mark Knopfler, Bryan Ferry, the Who and Aerosmith.
Other stars include Live, Third Eye Blind, Chris Isaak and Ben Folds Five as well as France's Johnny Hallyday and Italy's Zucchero. Brian Setzer and Kid Rock are also slated to contribute to the soundtrack. These artists will perform the music of Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and other pioneers from the Sun stable. Likely highlights include McCartney singing "That's All Right," recorded by Elvis Presley at one of his earliest Sun sessions in 1954, with the former Beatle backed by guitarist Scotty Moore and drummer D.J. Fontana, who played behind Elvis in that session nearly 50 years ago.
For Solitary Man, Cash and Rubin assembled a group of musicians and guest artists whose musicianship and sense of musical heritage were in sympathy with Johnny's own: Tom Petty (vocals on "I Won't Back Down" and "Solitary Man," organ on "I Won't Back Down"), Sheryl Crow (vocals on "Field Of Diamonds, accordion on "Wayfaring Stranger" and "Mary Of The Wild Moor"), Merle Haggard (vocals on "I'm Leaving Now," guitar), June Carter Cash (vocals on "Field Of Diamonds"), Norman Blake (guitar), Mike Campbell (guitar), Laura Cash (fiddle), Will Oldham (vocals on "I See A Darkness"), Larry Perkins (guitar), Randy Scruggs (guitar), Marty Stuart (guitar), Benmont Tench (piano, organ, harmonium).
"...the song is the thing that matters," writes Cash in his liner notes to Solitary Man (Cash has won two Grammys for penning liner notes). "Before I can record, I have to hear it, sing it, and know that I can make it feel like my own, or it won't work. I worked on these songs until it felt like they were my own. 'Mercy Seat,' Solitary Man,' 'I Won't Back Down."' As surprising as some of Johnny's song choices may be, each bears the unmistakable stamp of the original man in black: the deep rustic integrity, the wit and intelligence, the moral ferocity that borders on the Biblical, the unwavering ability to cut into the heart of a song and its listener at once. In song choices like "I Won't Back Down," one hears the strength of a man who has faced his own mortality and emerged victorious. "On the question of youth and old age," Cash continues in his liner notes, "I wouldn't trade my future for anyone's I know. After all my experiences of the past and present to bring the best song I know to the sessions. The future is not questionable, but for me it is a path of light. Lit by those I know, who enrich my life. The Master of Life's been good to me. He gives me good health now and helps me to continue doing what I love. He has given me strength to face past illnesses, and victory in the face of defeat. He has given me life and joy where others saw oblivion. He has given me new purposes to live for. New services to render and old wounds to heal. Life and love go on. Let the music play."
On Solitary Man, Johnny Cash performs:
1. "I Won't Back Down," a song originally written by Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne for the Traveling Wilburys
2. "Solitary Man," originally written and sung by Neil Diamond
3. "That Lucky Old Sun (Just Rolls Around Heaven All Day)," penned by Haven Gillespie and Beasley Smith
4. "One," originally written and performed by U2
5. "Nobody," written by Egbert Williams
6. "I See A Darkness," written by Will Oldham
7. "The Mercy Seat," written by Nick Cave and Mick Harvey
8. "Would You Lay With Me (In A Field Of Stone)," written by David Alan Coe
9. "Field Of Diamonds," written by John R. Cash and Jack W. Routh
10. "Before My Time," written by John R. Cash
11. "Country Trash," written by John R. Cash
12. "Mary Of The Wild Moor," written by Turner
13. "I'm Leavin' Now," written by John R. Cash
14. "Wayfaring Stranger," written by John R. Cash, John Carter Cash
"The weight of Johnny's performance shines new light on familiar tunes," says Rubin. "The seriousness of the lyrics are revealed for the first time. He has a way of singing a song you know and making it brand new. Solitary Man includes material you'd always wished you could hear Johnny sing. The album contains a range of songwriting that goes deep. There are songs written by Tom Petty, Neil Diamond, U2, Nick Cave, and David Allen Coe as well as traditional songs over a hundred years old and new Cash originals." Solitary Man was recorded at The Cash Cabin Studio, Hendersonville, Tennessee and The Akademie Mathematique of Philosophical Sound Research, Los Angeles, California.
The recording was nearly sidelined the day before the sessions began. Sonny Burgess, on his way to Nashville from his Newport, AR home, suffered a mild heart attack and had to be hospitalized in Little Rock. A film crew, the backing musicians and several special guests were alerted that a delay might be inevitable. After meeting with Clement, Riley and film director Bruce Sinofsky, Griffin decided to go ahead with the sessions, hoping to add Burgess' tracks on his recovery.
Bassist Garry Tallent from Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, Mark Horn from the Austin band The Derailers, guitarists Bill Lloyd and Tim Carroll and pianist Ben Folds of Ben Folds Five we all on hand for the recordings. Even Cowboy Jack joined in adding acoustic guitar as well as guiding the musicians and Riley through the four new original tunes. The highlight of the day was a sing-a-long to Billy Lee's "Walk, Talk & Sing" anthem for world and personal peace. Waylon Jennings, John Carter Cash and Jordanaire Ray Walker joined in for a rousing chorus and lots of shared memories. Jennings was sporting an injured leg so the vocal overdubs were moved to Cowboy's office Ð wired for sound.
The new century has seen a renewed interest in Sun Records and the men who played a big part in the music of the era. In recent years, new recordings by Johnny Cash and other from the Sun era had garnered awards, critical praise and respectable sales supported by a new generation of fans. A recent A&E biography of Sam Phillips told his side of the Sun story while new documentaries on Sun Records is being produced by The Shooting Gallery, the film company who produced Billy Bob Thornton's "Sling Blade". Also, Dan Griffin is producing the first film to tell the story of Elvis Presley's backing band - Scotty Moore, Bill Black & D.J. Fontana. The latter two projects are being completed to premier in 2001, making the time ripe for more new recordings. The soundtrack to the Sun documentary includes a lineup of rock's biggest names and will be presented on two CD's of tribute material to the label that started it all. Artists contributing to the film and recording including Paul McCartney, Jimmy Page & Robert Plant, Elton John, Bob Dylan, Chrissie Hynde & Jeff Beck, Mark Knopfler and many others. Several of the sessions included Scotty Moore & D.J. Fontana as guest musicians on the tracks, all Sun recordings - some well known and a few obscure surprises.
The next session for the Burgess/Riley project will be a live recording and film date taking place on September 12. The venue is the legendary club owned by 84 year-old Bob King in Swifton, Arkansas. The club is a private venue that hosted Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Conway Twitty, Ronnie Hawkins and many other legends during the touring circuit days of the fifties. Special guests from the Sun era and contemporary artists will join Sonny Burgess and Billy Lee Riley in a celebration of their careers. The finished recording will feature four new studio tracks each by Riley & Burgess and six tracks from the live duo show.
For more information contact: Dan Griffin - Dan4456@AOL.com
Rockabilly Hall of Fame records owner, Bob Timmers, brought in some heavy hitters for it's most extravagant endeavor to date. Legendary Nashville session man Bob Moore's upright bass commanded a rock-solid bottom while W.S. Holland, who was 30 years the drummer for Johnny Cash, hammered out the snapping back beat. These guys are renouned music industry work horses who can sure enuff rare back and run! They've appeared individually on almost countless rockabilly classics with artists such as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Carroll, Johnny Burnette, Warren Smith, Charlene Arthur, Janis Martin, Wanda Jackson, Arlie Duff, Roy Hall, and of course Carl Perkins. It was W. S Holland who appeared as drummer on Carl Perkins original "Boppin the Blues" at Sun Records in Memphis in 1956.
Mr. Timmers also brought in some sensational new young talent who will have their first international exposure with this upcoming record release.
They don't come walking in the door like this everyday. What an amazing find is Rockabilly Hall of Fame records new 18 year old performer, R.G. Darnell. Laced with the rich Alabama accent bestowed upon her by her homeland, the beautiful voice that this young girl has, a natural gift that no amount of training could have provided. She is the real thing. Her tone pure and her notes true as a bell. Her powerful quality can deliver the words of a song with such awesome force that it will run straight through you. She is mesmerizing.
Eric Todd, the rockin' fair haired boy out of Daytona Beach, Florida, was next up. Wait till you hear Eric's seductive version of "Endless Sleep." Every musician on the session was focused as if in a trance caught up in the dreamy feeling of the song which they so brilliantly captured. Even Grammy nominated engineer Kurt Storey and studio owner, Gordon Stinson, paused in silence as the magic unfolded. And, as the echo of Eric's voice faded.... and the "cut" was announced... a giant "Yee Haw" let loose from everyone in recognition of having been witness to an historic moment. When you hear it, you will definitely agree.
Surprise. Surprise. The 'fit as a fiddle' Miss Morgan Graham's chance appearance at the session worked out well for everyone. Miracles do happen! Although she has years of experience singing, performing and acting from the age of three, she wasn't expecting to put her skills to work that day. She was just casually visiting sitting around looking like her usual, charming, perky, sexy, self when Mr. Timmers asked if she would consider singing, songwriter, Paul Duncan's hot little cha cha flavored number, "No Other Sweetheart." Morgan jumped right up to the microphone, quickly learned the lyrics and knocked out a remarkably clean, crisp, professional vocal in no time. Hey, the voice of experience shines through! Nice work Morgan.
More news on the CD that will spring out of this session will be posted here soon.