Click for a A SPECIAL Extended Paul Peek Tribute from King Kaufman
Obituary in the UK's Independent newspaper
Memorial piece in Atlanta's Creative Loafing
PAUL PEEK (By Jean-Marc Pezet)
Born Paul Edward Peek Jr, 23 June 1937, High Point, North Carolina
Died 3 April 2001, Atlanta, Georgia
Paul Peek will be remembered as the red-headed, gum-chewing, Gretsch-strumming hoodlum that almost stole the show on Gene during the brief appearance of The Blue Caps rehearsing "Be Bop A Lula" in the classic "The Girl Can't Help It" movie.
Paul Peek was recruited in replacement of the departing rhythm guitar player Wee Willie Williams in the autumn of 1956. He already had quite a background in show business, having played steel guitar in various country bands from the early 1950s, and notably with Country Earl's Circle E Ranch Boys (a group that would provide more than its share of Blue Caps over the years).
Paul was raised in Greenville, South Carolina. His family was musically inclined with a piano playing mother, an uncle who was in a country band and particularly 3 older sisters that performed as "The Peek Sisters", a popular act around Greenville with their own radio spot. His first break came when joining The Blue Caps (instead of going with Lefty Frizzell) for which he played guitar, wrote songs (the cool "Pink Thunderbird") and developed the famous "Clapper Boys" routine with fellow Tommy Facenda. He was part of the famed 1956 Blue Caps and of the main working band that had a relentless touring schedule during 1957 (including the famous Australian tour) and that recorded "Dance To The Bop" and "Lotta Lovin'".
Early 1958 saw Paul leaving the Blue Caps to pursue a solo career with releases on Atlanta's newly launched NRC label, debuting with the powerful coupling "The Rock-A-Round"/"Sweet Skinny Jenny". Despite seeing some action locally, the single went nowhere. In the 1960s, Paul had little chart successes on NRC and Columbia. He never left the music business and played regularly the club circuit. In 1982, he was part of The Blue Caps reunion that toured the UK several times over the years, until his death from cirrhosis of the liver in 2001, aged 63.
Gene Vincent & The Blue Caps, 1956/1957/early 1958 recordings (until the "Record Date" album)
Rockin' Through The Teenage Years (EAGLE 90123). 30 tracks.
"Rock-A-Round With Paul Peek" EP ROLLERCOASTER RCEP 103
Recommended viewing: The Girl Can't Help It and Hot Rod Gang
Recommended reading: The Paul Peek Story by Roger Nunn, Now Dig This 41 & 42
I knew Paul back in the 70's. I played bass and would sit in for Jimmy Estes when Jimmy wanted to take a nightoff.He was at the Zebra Lounge behind the old Lowe's GrandÊÊtheatre in Atlanta.Paul was truly a great entertainer. He was so funny,sometimes I would have to stop playing because I was laughing so hard.I remember one of his favorite numbers was "The Twelfth of Never". Later I played in a trio in Marietta, Ga. At the Ramada Inn with Larry Sanders on piano, Eddie Wyatt on drums, and me playing bass.Paul and the Peek aboos were down the road at the Sheraton Winchester. We would alternate with them about every six weeks.They would come to the Ramada Inn and we would go to the Sheraton.I remember when was in that car accident on I-75 when he lost his eye. He was truly talented. "nnash" - firstname.lastname@example.org
I just ran across your Paul Peek tribute site. Many of the comments posted took me back in time, particularly those by former Marines, like myself, who knew of Paul and his music from 1960 to early 1962, when the Peek-a-boos were the house band at Jazzland, in Jacksonville, North Carolina.
One member of the Peek-a-boos I didn't see mentioned in the other postings was my personal favorite, Carol Upchurch. She was a pretty singer, with a good voice. Like a lot of lonely Marines stuck on Camp Lejeune, I had a helluva crush on her. Her boyfriend was a barber on the base. I envied him.
During that 1960-62 period, Martha Brown, mentioned in a couple of other postings, sang with another band in another bar, about a half-block away. But every once in a while, the two bands would link up in one bar or the other.
Matha's signature song was called the "Jacksonville National Anthem": "Baby lemme bang your box". Good job on the website. Thanks for the memories!
I have had Paul on my mind a lot in the past few weeks, since April 3 (2009) marks eight years since we lost this wonderful guy. Just wanted to remark on how much I miss his presence and miss knowing he was alive somewhere in this world and that I could pick up the phone to tell him I was thinking of him. I guess this will have to do. For anyone who visits this site now, after so many years have passed, I will tell you that PaulÕs son, Allen, is doing very well now. He had some major problems, but PaulÕs sister reports that he has really found himself and is doing quite well. Jackie and her sister, Libby, continue to keep PaulÕs memory alive and well.
I remember paul playing at a very rowdy club named "jazzland" when i was a young marine at camp Lejune n.c. around 1959 or 60. caught his act again in 1975 at atlanta federal pen. he and th peekaboo's were doing a free show for the inmates. I was a correction officer and mentioned his days at "jazzland". I always thought he should have had a bigger career.
My first encounter with Paul Peek was approximately 1982 at the old West Texas Music Club on the fabled Avenue in South Atlanta, Ga. As I was retrieving my guitar from the trunk of my auto I was immediately slammed into the trunk by a couple of big brutes (the Bouncers) at the club, they in all of their infinite wisdom thinking I had just stolen Paul Peek's guitar and was placing it in the trunk of my car to make a swift getaway, because someone had just done so, but I assure you it was not I, as I was on my way into the club to jam with the band. I'll never forget that evening as Paul asked me up to sit in, and I will say I got a quick education in the art of scat rather quickly. I instantly became freinds with Paul and had a great relationship with him for about 20+ years, and also had the chance to share the stage with him on numerous occasions. It was a grave loss of a great musician and a great man, he will be sadly missed but greatly remembered.
Hugh 'Doc" Pitts, Atlanta, GA
Member of the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame
paul was a true friend, we played many times togeather in bands. paul sang like a bird,when paul called me, i wood all ways be there. We go back to the sixtys in atlanta. Paul you will be missed, I thank paul for being my friend. I love and miss him. God bless paul and his family. I wish we could play togeather again.
Legend's are those who have a place in the hearts and toughts of many ... Legend's are those who never wil be forgotten. Mister Paul Peek you are a LEGEND. Till we meet again, rest up in peace ...
Nol - email@example.com
I just read on a search for his name on the Web that he passed away in 2001. I read about him on a few of the sites Google gave me and then at your site. I never knew him but in a way I did know him. I knew him from Jazzland in Jacksonville, NC when I was a Woman Marine in 1963 and 1964. Paul Peek and the Peek-a-boo's How we enjoyed his music. It was very brave for a WM to go into Jazzland as it was crowded with Marines from 2nd MarDiv. Usually we were the only women in there. There was a girl named Misty I think who sang with the band and if not mistaken a guy named Speedo who played drums. My memory isn't as good as it used to be though. Pretty Woman was one of the last songs I remember him singing before I left the area. There was a bouncer there named Wayne Estes who we called Mr. Clean because of his looks. He was a Marine though, employed by Jazzland.
Paul and the band sang Mountain Dew and a bunch of songs, sounding just like whoever recorded them originally. I'm sorry to hear that liver disease did him in. I wish I had thought to look for him sooner. I was in Atlanta (actually Canton) in 2000. I went to Jacksonville, NC in 1996 and was shocked to see all of the bars in town gone. Everything seems to have moved out toward the base. I'll never forget Paul Peek though.
Linda O'Brien Yaw W712865
I was the studio sax man behind Paul Peek on "Olds-Mo-William," (NRC, 1958). It was doing well enough on the charts that when Dick Clark came to Atlanta, Peek did the song on the show (at the Fulton County Fairgrounds). Also on the show were Dannie and Juniors, Conway Twitty, and Sam Cooke. I think Ray Stevens and Jerry Reed were also backup musicians on the single. All the acts were on floats pulled by jeeps from Ft. McPherson.
Jim Sorrells, Guerneville, CA
It was sad to hear this news of his passing, as I only knew him a short time. He was so full of life in those days! In the late 60's, I played the club scene from Carolina Beach, NC up to Jacksonville, NC. I met Paul at the "Mouse Trap" where he was setting in with some friends of his. He blew me away with his showmanship and talent. I introduced myself to him and invited him to set in with us at the Last Chance at the other end of the boardwalk at Carolina Beach. To our surprise he came down later and did! Though we never did play in a group together, we did set in with each other's band a lot in those days. He actually helped me get into the main stream music scene by recommending me to club owners when he was already booked and couldn't make the gig. I'm actually a pastor now and still making music the only way we knew how even in those days. Wide Open! God Bless and thanks for the place to remember PAUL PEEK a great musician and now a missed friend! Al Watkins -www.alwatkins.com
I had the pleasure to first meet Paul Peek at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa in February of 1994. He was with the Blue Caps and Graham Fenton. They put on one of the best rockin' shows I had seen in years. Also appearing that night were the Crickets, Narvel Felts, Ernie Valens, Tommy Allsup, the Fireballs and my buddy, Glen Glenn. I had been a Gene Vincent fan from the very beginning. Here I was watching the legendary Blue Caps live on stage with Paul Peek, Tommy Facenda, Johnny Meeks and the great Dickie Harrell on drums. It was a real treat for me that night. I had the chance to speak to Paul many times during that weekend at the Surf. He was fun to be around and had many great stories to tell. I hadn't seen them since the Surf and in August of 1996 they came to California. This time I had the great pleasure to work with them on stage. I played with them at the Derby in Hollywood and at the Foothill Club in Long Beach, California. We rehearsed at a place in Fullerton. I remember that Buddy Knox was late in getting there and I got to fill in for him at the rehearsals. I am glad that I video-taped the whole session. On the shows I did Eddie Cochran's "Twenty Flight Rock" and Gene Vincent's "Rocky Road Blues." It was a blast on stage playing with the Blue Caps. Paul and Tommy were really wild. They were all over that stage. I was in heaven. That was the last time I saw Paul. It was sad when I heard he had passed away. I am just grateful that I got to spend a little time with him. I'll always remember him with great fondness.
I knew Paul. I chose him to sing a C&W song I wrote because he had the voice I was looking for. I had a studio in Atlanta which I sold back in '85. This song is published through Bill Lowery's Group, but not much every came of it. I'm glad to share this link with any who would care to hear Paul's excellent country vocal ability. Click http://www.moneda.com/jukebox/ - If there's enough interest, I'll put a high-quality .mp3 online. Enjoy...
(Sorry I missed you, Paul...) Doc Roberts
HI GEORGE, HERE'S SOME INFO THAT WILL STOP YOU FROM TRYING TO FIGURE OUT THINGS YOU FORGOT ABOUT THE COURT STREET SCENE. THE MAN WHO PLAYED SAX IN PAUL PEEK'S BAND IN JACKSONVILLE, N. C,.IN 1960-61-62 WAS GEORGE GLENN FROM GREENVILLE,S.C., AND THE NAME OF THE CLUB WAS, THE JAZZLAND CLUB, OWNED BY BIRNIE CAPPS, ON COURT STREET, AND THE OTHER MUSICIAN'S WERE BUTCH WHITE DRUMS, BILL MACK BASS, AND PUG WEST ON LEAD GUITAR. THE BIRDLAND CLUB WAS OWNED BY A MAN NAMED DOBBY. MARTHA BROWN WHO SANG FOR PAUL, AND PUG WEST WHO PLAYED FOR PAUL, ALSO PLAYED FOR CHARLIE DANIELS AT THE BIRDLAND CLUB, NEXT TO THE BUS STATION. MARTHA LATER CHANGED HER NAME, AKA TO KELLY, AND SHE ALSO SANG WITH PAUL IN THE ATLANTA CIRCUIT. THE REASON I KNOW IS BECAUSE I REMEMBER YOU COMING INTO THE CLUB. MY NAME IS BILL MACK. BY THE WAY THAT WAS A GREAT TRIBUTE TO MY BUDDY. I THANK YOU FOR BEING SO KIND. GOD BLESS:
YOUR FRIEND, BILL MACK - MR.BASSMAN - BLUECAP
Having both seen Paul during his time at the old Cheshire Cat nightclub in Atlanta during the 1970's and getting to know him through our mutual friends, Johnny Carson and Phyllis Cole, I'm going to miss him. His humor and talent could fill a stadium. I'm sure everyone who knew him will recall his joke about "MISSISSIPPI" and I still laugh out loud whenever I even think about him telling it. God bless his family who I'm sure miss him most of all.
Larry Blanks - Fayetteville, GA
PS. I would like to hear from George Wesley Handlon in Calif. I was in the USMC in the early 1960's and in ITR with Rod Bernard. Also had a band down in Beaufort, SC during that time.
I would like to add my comments and wonderful memories to this forum, upon learning of the passing of Paul Peek - a true southern gentlemen, a great singer and a powerful showman.
When I was only 17, in 1960 - I joined the Marines.. and my permanent duty station was the Marine Corps Base at Camp Lejeune, N. Carolina. I was an aspiring young guitar player and started my own band, composed of other Marines - and some local fellows who played and sang. We played at Teen Clubs around Eastern N. Carolina, the Staff & Officers Clubs on the Marine Corps Base there - and had a great time with it. Our band was called "The Concepts" - and I still have some old rumbly audiotapes of the girls at the teen center in Richlands, N.Carolina "screaming" for us! *smile*
One of my great joys, however, was to go into town at Jacksonville, N. Carolina, on a "liberty pass" - and check out the club scene there. That is where I heard Paul Peek and his band, The Peekaboos, performing. I can't recall the name of the club - but it was something like, "The Birdland" or "The Thunderbird Lounge" or some such... the clubs there took names like famous Chicago, or New York venues. Paul Peek and his band, were exceptional... they played 5 nights a week (I think they were off on Sunday and Monday) and they just rocked that club. It was a dry (Onslow) county (beer/wine bar), and the club was always packed to the limit with servicemen and some locals.
Paul and his band played all the great new songs, his own songs, Gene Vincent songs - to a "T". The lineup changed, but it was always top-flight. They had a sax player, an excellent lead guitarist from around Wilmington, N.C. (his name is lost to memory) who studied Tal Farlow guitar style, whom Paul would feature on some great instrumental riffs on Leroy Anderson tunes, as I recall. Paul gave everything he had to every show. I was amazed at his stamina... and yes, he would sweat under the lights every night. They had a black girl singing with them, Miss Barbara Brown - and she was a knockout. They played many different styles of music. I seem to recall that Paul would occasionally sit and play the Steel Guitar on some songs! Wow!
For my part - I was barely learning to play, but Paul had this great big heart.. and invited me up on the stage to play along with them on some 3 chord classics - and never embarrassed me because I "wasn't so good yet"! Hey, I was rockin' with Paul Peek and the Peekaboos!! I'll never forget the opportunities he gave me - to play in front of a really packed house... with a really hot band.
When the young Cajun rocker, Rod Bernard came into the Marines on a (6) months stay as a "Reservist" - he passed through my training unit. Rod and I became friends, and I got Rod some liberty passes, and we would go into town, and jam with Paul and the Peekaboos. Paul really liked Rod (who had previously been on a Dick Clark Tour with his hit song, "This Should Go On Forever" - before his reserve stint, fulfilling his "military obligation" with us) - and I remember Rod on stage with Paul and the Band just blasting through "Drinking Wine Spo-de-o-de", "Flip, Flop and Fly", "Jambalaya" - and Rod's own regional hits then (on Hallway Records - Jim Hall's label), "Colinda" and "Fais Do Do". It was such great fun for us all. This was at the same time Don and Phil Everly were in the Marine Reserves, too - but they did their "6 month tour" out on the Pacific Coast - or I would've had them up there too! *smile*.
Paul had a long run there... and was recording in Nashville in 1961-63 or so... with Ray Stevens producing for him. Paul played a little gold/tobacco sunburst single pickup Gibson Melody Maker Guitar in those times. I was so inspired by his solid musicianship - that I bought myself a twin pickup model in 1962.. of that same guitar. I played it on the road for many years, and still have it right here, beside me as I write this - in wonderful condition today. I think lovingly of this Gentle Giant of Rock Music whenever I play this long-time 6-string friend of mine from all those years ago, which I bought at "Liberal Credit Stores" in J'ville - just around the corner from the club where Paul was playing. This is my "Paul Peek" Guitar.
Years later, after my Marine Corps enlistment ended - I came to California from Florida in 1966, with a band I started in Miami (named first, The Boss Beats, then The Poor Boys). We landed here in California in Costa Mesa... and began playing clubs in the area. Some personnel changes (the draft board took the organ player... etc.) and in about 1968 - a new Bass Player joined the band, (by then called "The Popcycle"). He was Ken Brown of Costa Mesa. Over a year later, I was talking with Ken after a club show, about early days in my musical life... and he told me that his Dad, Abe Brown.. had come out to California in the 50s with a friend of his from South Carolina to try their luck at playing music out here. His friends name - was Paul Peek.
They had gone separate ways, Paul went to L.A. and Abe moved to Costa Mesa, and started a band/musical instrument repair shop - that was a standard in Costa Mesa well into the 70s. It was quite an interesting synergy for me - that Paul Peek had been my first major "mentor" in rock music back east... and then, in the late 60s... I found myself in a band out west - with the son of an old friend of Paul from his early days.
Here's a listing: Paul Peek 45s on my shelf:
"Watermelon/Comin' Home in the Morning - (Fairlane 45-21005)
"You're Just In Love/When You Hurt Me, I Cry" - (Mercury 72118)
"Young Hearts/A Miss is as Good as a Mile" - (Mercury 72064)
"Brother-in-Law/Through the Teenage Years" - (Fairlane 45-702)
"Pin the Tail on the Donkey/Rockin' Pneumonia..." - (Columbia 4-43527)
"Sweet Lorraine/Out Went The Lights Of My World" - (1,2,3 label 1714)
My late 60s band, here in L.A./Orange County, The Popcycle - covered "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" in our live shows. We backed a lot of great singers in the late 60s: Ray Peterson, Dorsey Burnette, Dale & Grace, Joe Turner, Jose Feliciano, Freddy Cannon, (the various Wolfman Jack oldies revue groups...), Bill Medley, Bo Diddley - and others, tho' we never recorded together. But Paul Peeks influence - was very much a part of our music - especially between myself and Ken Brown.
So, that's my memory of this important, wonderfully talented true original - Paul Peek. Although I never saw him again after my time in the early 60s in N. Carolina - his influence is with me musically, always.
Someday, perhaps we'll enjoy a quick nip together from that little brandy bottle behind the cosmic water heater of some galactic club - and rock the joint again. Keep on rockin' with the stars, Paul. You're right at home among them.
George Wesley Handlon
Van Nuys, California
George Wesley Handlon: Miami 1965. With his 1962 Gibson Melody Maker "Paul Peek" Guitar (from J'Ville, N.C.).
I have been much too sad to put into words what Paul's passing has meant to me, but since tomorrow is his birthday and I wish to honor him, here goes: I first saw Paul Peek perform on a stage in 1956, when I was 12 years old. He was playing with Johnny Earle's band at a sales promotion at the old Rimer's Mobile Home Sales place in Greenville. He was just off the road at the time, and I never forgot him or his way with a song. As a young teenager, I kept up with his career--records, etc., but it was to be many years thence before I saw him again.
By 1975 I had nurtured a few music dreams of my own, having lived all over the country, but settling in Atlanta, GA. Imagine my surprise as I passed a local Ramada Inn and saw Paul's name on the lounge marquee! I looked him up, sat down and relived a few musical memories, then introduced myself as a long-time fan. He couldn't believe that I had first seen him perform live in 1956. In fact, that was something he mentioned again and again to me over the succeeding years that I knew him---the last time being in January of this year when he called to say that he had mailed me a copy of a cd he had promised. Anyway, to shorten the story, I had been filling in as a singer with the house band at a place in Atlanta called Country Green, and I found out that the management was going to let the musicians go. I talked to Paul about getting together and taking over the gig. What followed was to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my life--both personally and professionally. Paul became a life-long friend from that point on, and we had so many great times together. He was all of the things other people have said here and more. He was a gentle person, but I always loved him for his kindness and generous spirit. No matter how disappointed he was that his own career had stalled out, he was glad for any success others might have. And his treatment of his fans was a glory to behold. I have seen him, time after time, and even though dead on his feet, take the time to make a fan feel so special. He knew them all by name (sometimes with a little help from me) and would speak to them from the stage quite often. He had nicknames for many fans, some printable and some not-- Paul was given to blue humor, you know. His humor was legendary and powerful, and it was sometimes really, really difficult to complete a song for laughing so hard. During Paul's funeral I kept flashing on his face, lit up with laughter on the stage. I kept seeing the way he would lift his foot off the floor during a particularly profound guitar riff. I could see him ignoring the club owner's constant hand signals to turn down the volume. He and I would see Brince Manning out of the corner of our eyes and a silent signal would pass between us to "look the other way." It about drove Mr. Manning crazy, but he loved Paul Peek like a son.
I knew Paul was ill, and his death was not entirely unexpected, but somehow, when it finally came, I found it unbelievable. I asked myself how to define a world where Paul Peek no longer lived in it. I wondered at how diminished I felt at the thought that I would never get another phone call from him or hear his voice. Though still sad about it all, I have come to realize that Paul Peek will always exist in this world. He will exist in the music he left behind and in the warm memories he caused me and others to store up about him. But mostly he will continue to exist in this world because of the love he gave to all of us and the love for him we carry in our hearts ... and love never dies. Happy Birthday, Paul. I will never, ever forget you!
Johnny Carlton introduced me to Paul several years ago when Paul and I sang background vocals on a song that Johnny and I produced for another Rockabilly Hall of Famer, (and former Sun Records artist), Billy Lee Riley! Paul was, as others have mentioned here, a truly gentle man who seemed to always be smiling. The smile was contagious too, because he was a wonderful story teller with a million funny stories to tell.
In reading some of the other messages here I was surprised to learn that Paul was from Greenville SC, which is also my hometown. I'm proud to have known Paul Peek and even more proud that he graced my little basement studio with his presence, and I'm thankful for the memories left in my heart, of our very brief time together. I would also like to say to those who knew him longer than I and are so saddened by his death...Yes, we must mourn his passing, but above all else, celebrate his life!
Goodbye Paul...you will be missed,
Posted May 7, 2001 - It was with shock...and a great deal sadness...that I learned of Paul Peek's recent death. My sympathies go out to his immediate family, Barbara and Paul Allen...but also to his sisters Libby and Jackie. It has taken me several days to gather my thoughts, but I feel I need to express the gratitude I feel for God having let Paul be such a close personal friend from the time I was in the eighth grade until I graduated from Greenville Senior High School in 1954. Paul was one year behind me in school, but he was my closest friend through all those teen years.
Paul, his mother, Dessie, and his sister, Libby, lived in a house across the street from my family...on Wilton Street in Greenville, SC. I had purchased a 'Stella' guitar for $5.00 from a customer on my morning paper route. The guitar had a warped neck...and only the 'open' chords fretted true. The tuning nuts were missing, and we had to tune the guitar with a pair of plyers. When a string broke, we could not afford a complete set of strings, we bought only the string that had broken.
Charles Robinson, who was several years older than Paul and me, lived directly across the street from my family. Since I was unable to learn to play the guitar on my own, Charles' brother, Leslie Robinson, borrowed the guitar and took it to Davidson College where he was a student. In the course of an academic year, Leslie Robinson learned how to play the guitar, brought it home and taught his brother, Charles. Charles was/is a gifted musician who taught my brother, Jim Way, Paul Peek and me. However, since Charles Robinson, Jim Way, and I were all playing the rhythm guitar, Paul decided to learn to play a different instrument, i.e., the steel guitar. All of us were surprised at how quickly he learned to play that instrument...and how quickly he mastered it, i.e., he was playing a two and three neck steel guitar within a year of first picking up the instrument.
Paul and I played together almost daily for several hours, copying records we heard of Hank Snow, Johnny & Jack, Carl Smith, Hank Williams, etc. We both dreamed of being country music stars...and went so far as to call ourselves Chet and Hank when we pretended to be on stage.
I recall the first country star we saw live-and in-person at either the Center Theater or the Paris Theater in Greenville. The star was Roy Acuff. After the show we went behind stage and shook his hand and got his autograph. For days after Paul shook Mr. Acuff's hand, he would not wash the hand.
Later, Paul and I played on the Arhur Smith Talent Contest in Simpsonville, S.C. and later in Greenville, S.C. The Simpsonville contest was our first talent show...and we were very nervous. I forgot the words...and Paul and I had to start our song over from the start. The audience was very generous to us, and I think we placed third in the overall contest. My dad, who had driven us to the contest was in the audience. He told us afterwards that when I forgot the words, Paul's freckles lighted up like red lights, i.e., his face turned pale and the freckles were more pronounced.
Paul and I played at a number of church youth rallies during the early 1950's, as well as on the new UHF tv channel in Greenville. We organized a band that practiced several times a week and who appeared with us on many of those occasions. The band consisted of Don Whatley, Bodo Cook, and a young man, I can't recall his name, who had a very mature voice and a great singing style. This group, we didn't have a name, played at the Greenville County Fair one year, and we played on Greenville's UHF stations several times.
During my junior and senior years at Greenville Senior High School, Paul and I were asked to play for several school events. Paul's singing and playing won resounding applause. He truly had a great stage presence back then.
Later, in 1954, WFBC-TV (Channel 4) opened their new VHF TV station by having a several counties-wide talent contest. Paul and I were selected as alternates to play in the contest. Only an hour or two before the show was to start we were notified that one of the acts that had been selected to perform couldn't make it, and we were asked to fill in. We didn't have time to notify the other members of the band, so we went on by ourselves. We played and sang a Johnny and Jack duet, and then Paul played a couple of numbers on the steel guitar. He was at his best...and stole the show, and, we won the contest...but I had no illusions as to who really won the contest. Paul was brilliant, and I was blessed to be able to play and accompany him.
The summer after I graduated from high school, Paul was recruited to play with Arthur Smith and His Crackerjacks.
Since the last time I saw and visited with Paul in 1957, I've kept up with his career, but I have not seen him. Approximately ten years after I last saw Paul, when I was a student at the University of North Carolina, I heard...and played some of Paul's records that were on Juke Boxes at almost every diner and college's student union in North Carolina.
It was with shock and sadness that I recently learned of Paul's death. He was a special friend who helped me develop a musical skill that I've enjoyed throughout my life. He and his mother and sisters meant a lot to me at a very special time in my life. It is hard to believe he has left us. I, certainly, will never forget him.
John G. Way (firstname.lastname@example.org)
What can I say I am a fan who has never had the opportunity to meet Gene Vincent or any of his wonderful Blue Caps although I have been corresponding with several of them in recent years thru the mail. Still I feel a loss that hits close to home. What a tremendous man the kind of a guy that is a legend in the world of music and no one has ever to my knowledge written or printed a bad word on him and that speaks volumes for a man's charachter. I actually heard that Paul had gotten better very recently and was hoping for the best for him. What a specially talented musician guitar player vocalist and a great recording star outside his work with Vincent and company. Somewhere I know there is a real hillbilly heaven and a wonderful hallowed hall for that special breed of rockabilly rebels who fought for their music and what they believed in to the Screaming End. I know that Mr. Peek sits there in high regard. My sorrow is extended to the friends family and fans of Mr. Paul Peek and to all the Blue Caps living and those who arent with us any longer. You have my sympathy and best wishes.
Timothy William Booher
Bristol TN, USA
All my Love and my thoughts to the memory of a great guitarist and to you.
The Haywoods, California
Hi! Just wanted to say I'm sorry to hear Paul is gone. But never forgotten! Once you are one of the many rockers who make records you are immortalized. We will always be able to hear him and know he is still around. John Van Horn,
One of Link Wrays original Raymen
I've played drums with Paul and he also appeared on some of my recordings. To know him was an honor, to play music with him was a true pleasure. He was a very humble gentle man with class and a great sense of humor. Even though it was not a complete surprise, his passing still leaves me with a great sense of emptiness.
Mr. Paul Peek was a giant in the music business ... he will be missed by friends and fans ...
Rockin Richard, WNHU 88.7 FM, New Haven, CT
My wife Jo and I first met Paul and the other Bluecaps in '82. They became good friends of ours over the years. Paul always put his friends and fans first, he would always make time for everyone no matter how tired he was after a gig. In 82 he gave us his phone number and said "if you're ever in Atlanta look me up" - we did this in 91. We just wanted to phone him and find where he was playing - he and Barbara insisted that we go and stay with them! They treated us like family and we visited them on many occasions. I saw Paul play in various clubs in the Atlanta area - The Silver Saddle, West Texas, Southern Comfort and if you ever get a chance ask me about some of the things that happened in those places I can tell you some funny stories!!
We met lots of Paul's musician friends like Ken Watkins and of course Bluecap Bill Mack. We had not been able to get to Atlanta for about four years now , but always kept in touch with Paul, Barbara and their son Allen. We were worried about Paul when he fell ill, but it gave us a chance to repay him for all his kindness by organising the fund for his medical expenses. Paul sent us a letter thanking us and I must admit to getting very upset when I happened upon it by accident a couple of hours after I'd heard about his death.
Paul had given me his Bluecap a few years back and I took it back to him when I went to the funeral - it was Barbara's wish that he wore a Bluecap. I got to say a few words at the funeral, but as usual I thought of lots more things to say afterwards . I been in touch with Tommy Facenda and Dickie Harrell, who sent a bluecap to Barbara - they are both extremely upset at Paul's death, as everyone who knew him is.
I have great memories of Paul and some great laughs , as well as tears were had at the funeral as we all told stories about Paul. We really miss Paul and will never forget him, it was a privilege to have him as a friend.
Phil and Jo Whyte - Rock-a-Round vintage clothing
I have heard about Paul Peek, and what a great loss to the people of the music world, He was a great person and he treated every one good. My son Larry just found out and called me from Nashville. I phoned Paul's wife and talked to her yesterday.
Jerry Lee Merritt
Paul Peek, a true legend of the music, and a true gentle. He will be sadly missed by all his Australian Fans.
Mark "Hepcat" Heylbut
I was introduced to Paul Peek at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, IA. when the BlueCaps played there ('94, I think). We shook hands & I said,"tell me an Esquerita story". He got a big grin and said,"sit down, son" & told stories all weekend long!! We hung around alot that weekend & he wore a pink & black tux of mine when they went on stage. After, he gave me a signed Blue Cap & later Dickie, Bubba, & Johnny Meeks also signed. Wow, THE BLUECAPS, man!! The GREATEST ROCK & ROLL BAND OF ALLTIME!! WE went down to the Ryman last week & were really looking forward to seeing him again. We'll miss you, Paul, but you left a great big part of you with us forever. Thanks. Say Hi to your old boss, Gene, & I can hear SQ beatin' on the piano...AHWOO ONE & ONE IS TWO ...
Joe, a big fan from Wisconsin
I was lucky enough to meet Paul on a number of occasions. He was a true gentleman and a true legend. Paul you will not be forgotten.
The Power of His Smile. In the early 1960's I had the good fortune of filling in one night for Paul's bassist who had come down with the stomach flu. I had met Paul at NRC where my old group, The Night Shadows, had also recorded. I was still a teenager, so it is an understatement to say that I was quite nervous going onstage that evening unrehearsed with a "headliner". About halfway through the first tune Paul glanced over at me during the solo and gave me a brief nod and grin of approval. It put me at ease for the rest of the show and became a moment etched in my mind. Paul and his music will not be forgotten. Big Al Jano (Aleck Janoulis) & The Blues Mafia
Thanks Paul for all the times we spent together. Paul and I just recently had a get together at Jackie Peace's house, Paul's Sister, laughing, eating and just enjoying ourselves. Paul's other Sister Libby graced us with some of her great singing. Paul and I done a little bit a pickin and grinnin. I had the opportunity to play bass for Paul as one of His Peek-a-Boos and we also worked together as Blue Caps. Paul and I go back 60 years. We attended elementary school in Greenville, S.C. As we grew up together we became closest friends. Paul's Mother, Dessie Peek took me in as her second son. Today and from day one I have been considered family. I played on Paul's first recording The Rockaround in 1958 in Decatur, Georgia. Paul and I recently were to meet in Nashville, Tennessee to do The Rockin At The Ryman Show. Unfortunately Paul didn't make it. All Paul's friends at The Ryman, were very saddened of hearing of Paul's passing. Paul was a very talented person, and had friends the World over. After doing the Ryman Show my wife and I flew to Raleigh, N.C., and then we drove all night to be with Pauls family. I'll see you again in Rockabilly Heaven, Buddy. You helped me in more way's than you ever knew. I'll miss talking to you on the phone with all the crazy and funny things that we talked about. "God Bless You Paul and Keep On Rocking. WE Love You Paul and we will miss you."
YOUR TRUE AND LIFELONG FRIEND,
We are so sorry to hear about Paul. Mike (Vincent) is on the road and tells me when he gets home he's got an experience that that he had with Paul that he would like to share with you all. He will write it in here when he gets home. I just want to say May God Bless Paul's family, And May Jesus Take Paul Home safely and that he's in Peace. Who's going to fill his shoes? May God Bless You All. Sandy Vincent
I was really looking to see and play with Paul Peek at the Ryman show in Nashville. I was sad when I find that he died two days before. He was a great man and a true Blue Cap.
Marco Di Maggio
We were able to visit with Bill Mack and his wife at Paul's funeral on Saturday, which was well attended. Many people, including Phil Whyte who flew in from England for the service, spoke at length about Paul - it was truly a touching memorial. Barbara is very worried about covering final medical and burial expenses for Paul, so there are a couple of local benefits to raise at least some funds in the works. If you have any further thoughts on how we can help Barbara, please let us know what you think. After everything that she has been through, I regret her having this final worry as well. I thought that you might like to see the write-up on Paul that was in the Saturday, April 7th Atlanta Journal-Constitution - [posted below]. Sincerely,
I just returned home from a trip overseas and I'm reading of Paul's death while letting "The Rock-A-Round" wake up the neighbours. I guess Paul would've liked that. I guess the next thing to do will be go play the Hot Rod Gang movie and Girl Can't Help It and watch one of the brightest stars in Gene's Blue Caps do the stuff that made them all so unique. Keep Rockin', Paul, and thanks for the memories.
From all of the "Dallas" Blue Caps: A photo of Blue Cap drummer Dude Kahn
giving Paul an affectionate hug in the parking lot of a motel located somewhere "on the road" while on tour with Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps, November, 1957. We wish we could all hug you, Paul.
Dragon Street Records
I have just learned of the passing of Paul Peek. Paul was a Blue Cap and later a recrding artist on his own. I remember "Oldsmo-William" on NRC. That was one of my favorites when I a kid. See you at that great Rock 'N' Roll Revival in the sky, Paul. A Fan.
I am very sad to hear about Paul even though it was not entirely unexpected. I spent some time in his company over the years and he was a kind, sweet gentleman, with a fund of hilarious stories, and a great sense of humour. He also performed as we all know in the first and greatest rock 'n' roll band in the world and on some of the greatest records ever cut. Luckily for us, the rare moments of video and the enduring legacy of audio recordings will live on in actuality and in our memories. Keep on boppin', Paul, wherever you are. I shall miss you.
Fittingly in the March issue of major UK music mag Mojo there`s a regular full page feature called Last Night A Record Changed My Life, featuring Jeff Beck who had the immaculate taste to pick the Gene Vincent & His Bluecaps lp, Jeff being pictured holding the lp with Paul in the classic pose. Stu Colman`s Nashville Notes column in the current Now Dig This mentions Jeff playing in the Ryman recently and the guys meeting up again (Stu produced Jeff`s superb 1993 Vincent tribute cd Crazy Legs) and Jeff was thrilled that Paul had been at the previous night`s gig in Atalanta Georgia. "Suddenly it was Jeff who was the fan, revelling in how an actual Blue Cap had turned out to see him perform. A golden moment indeed." Paul pictured again on this page. Rest easy Paul, I`m off to spin The Rock Around.
It's a shock to hear of Paul's death ... I'm speechless, I humbly made a page about Paul Peek with pictures of a real living Paul Peek:
I'm so sorry to hear this sad news. My sympathies go out to all his family and friends. Rockin' in Heaven now.
It is with great sadness that I am writing you with the news of Paul Peeks passing. he died at 4:30 pm April 3rd of an internal hemmorage. Paul was a great friend, and wonderful musician, and I will miss him badly.
I am filled with sorrow to hear of the passing of Paul. He and I played in a couple of bands together in Atlanta over the years and I always enjoyed performing with him. He was a great guitar player, singer, and one of the funniest people I ever met. Paul always used to wear an eyepatch, and one night my wife and I and about 5 or 6 friends went to see him play at a place called Southern Comfort. We had all gone to the novelty store and bought eyepatches and when Paul came out to sing - we all put them on. He was laughing so hard he couldn't sing. That's the Paul I'll always remember.
As a friend of Phil Fessard and Belgian music journalist I am very saddened by PAUL PEEK's death. I first saw him in 1982 in CAISTER - Great Britain - for the first ever European visit of the fabulous BLUE CAPS. I saw him a couple of times thereafter in France and Great Britain and I must say that all the fans have always first respected this great musician because of his essential contribution to GENE VINCENT's and Rock and Roll history - also as a singer in his own right after leaving the BLUE CAPS. But after the respect came warm feelings of friendship and love for PAUL - always and ever one of the friendliest and most sincere gentlemen we've been fortunate enough to meet . Our idol was our friend and along with all my mates from several countries I want to say: R.I.P., DEAR OLD FRIEND - WE'LL NEVER EVER FORGET YOU . THANKS FOR THE MUSIC AND FOR HAVING BEEN WHAT YOU'VE BEEN - AN INCREDIBLY LOVABLE HUMAN BEING. BE HAPPY WHEREVER YOU ARE.
Brussels - Belgium
I don't know what to say or think. I guess not having seen Paul the last 5 years, I'll just remember our days in Atlanta when he was following me in a club or I was following him. When I would take Sunday's off sometimes at the West Texas Music Club in Atlanta, Paul filled in for me with my group. All the years I knew him, I never once heard him speak bad of another band or singer. He tried more than anyone I knew to bring musicians together for a common goal, the music and played and organized a lot of benefits. I know he will be missed for sure, anyone who was around Paul for anytime at all, knew he was just a good guy, who could sing and play. The 12th of Never was a song that always stood out for me when I think of Paul. He could flat tear that song up with the feelin he put in it.
I just heard the shocking news of the passing away of the legendary Paul Peek. On behalf of GENE VINCENT and PIPER VINCENT fans everywhere, I would like to offer our condolances and deep sympathy to his family. Truly Paul Peek will be missed as fans every where mourn this great loss. Paul was a man with a spine that stood straight and tall from the rythum and drumbeat of the rock 'n' roll and rockabilly music that he was so famous for and that he so intensly loved . The very blood that flowed thru his viens rushed thru him with the beat of the music that he loved and played, So much, he gave to his fans thru his music, there was never one greater that lived and gave his music so willingly and undauntingly, never giving up the beckoning urge .. for just one more applause and the roaring of the crowd that always followed any of his performances. He loved the crowds and the crowds LOVED him. People often mistook his meek and humble appearance off stage ... because on stage he was transformed into the strong, tall, powerful, giant that he was in rock'n'roll. Sometimes he would say to me when I was a little girl, "if you want to make it in rock 'n' roll" you gotta let 'em see ya sweat"!!
I am so sorry that Paul is gone. I just met him once and he seemed a great guy. I have written an obituary for The Independent newspaper in the UK and I gave the news out on BBC Radio Merseyside last night. I was sorely tempted to get a flight to Nashville and come to the Ryman. All the best to the family and thanks to Paul for all the great music.
BBC Radio Merseyside
I would like to express my deepest concern for the passing away of Paul Peek, and our best wishes and prayers go out to his beloved family. Let's keep in memory his passing and give Paul Peek the respect I know my father would have wanted.
Melody Jean Vincent
To Bob Timmers and Rod Pyke,
My thoughts go to you both. I know you both love the Blue Caps, and have made friends with many, if not all. I'm so sorry to hear of Paul's passing. I only emailed him once, he wrote a kind email. Thanks to you both, Paul enjoyed the last years of his life being honored by both of you promoting his talents and remembering his part in the music world.
Sad new for all of Gene Fans all over the world. In France the memory of Gene and the Caps is still alive we're praying for your memory Paul. I hope you've keep you guitar with you for a jam with all your friends Gene, Eddie, Buddy, Cliff and all of the Heaven Rock 'n' Roll hall of famers.
Shame to hear about Paul Peek. I scored a copy of "Sweet Skinny Jenny"/"The Rock-A-Round" on NRC recently ... and I'm blasting it as I head to the bed while clappin' away to the big, big beat. Sleepin' In a Blue Cap,
Odessa, WEST Texas
It was so sad when I heard from Dickie Harrell that Paul Peek had passed away. He was a good friend and a great legend. I will miss him ... I keep remembering the great time we had in Clear Lake. Paul is now in Rockabilly Heaven with GENE, ELVIS, CARL, and EDDIE - you can never replace him he was greatest. GLEN GLENN
Sorry to hear about Paul Peek. Man oh man. What sad news. I just got back in from outta town and got the news. So sorry to lose this great talent. And I was JUST talking to a guy here in Greenville that is a long time friend of Paul's. Another great rockabilly joins Heaven's Band. Bobby Lowell will be rocking now for sure! We'll miss that Blue Cap! All our prayers are with his friends and family. Michael B. Smith
Paul was scheduled to play the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, April 5, 2001. He was extremely excited about this, trying to get the other Blue Caps to join him on stage. I spoke to Paul just two days before his passing and we discussed the tunes he would perform. Even though he didn't make it to the Gene Vincent Tribute portion of the Ryman show, MC's Red Robinson, Steve King and Johnnie Putman (WGN-AM, Chicago) paid special tribute on stage to Paul. Paul was just a great guy, with a wonderful sense of humor - I have never heard one bad word mentioned about the man. I've been a fan of Paul's since the '50s, through the time he spend with Gene Vincent and throughout his solo career. I love you Paul and I'll miss our conversations on the phone. You became a part of my life and will remain there forever.
THANKS FOR THE KIND WORDS - A REAL GREAT LOSS TO ME AND THE MANY FANS AND FRIENDS HE HAD. HE WILL BE MISSED BUT NOT FORGOTTEN.
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