Though he played off and on for his entire life, Cliff will always be remembered for the body of work he recorded in a very short period of time, 1936-1940, first as fiddler on Milton Brown's last session in '36, to his own Texas Wanderers Decca sessions in '37-'38, and as sideman to many artists ranging from Shelley Lee Alley to Buddy Jones to Jimmie Davis.
Bruner's influence was integral to the early western swing sound, particularly in East Texas and Louisiana. He reigned supreme in Beaumont from 1937 to 1949 (taking in occasional flights to San Angelo, Amarillo, Corpus Christi, Shreveport, and even Chicago), and nearly everybody who was anybody in East Tx. played in Cliff's bands during those years: Bob Dunn, Dickie McBride, J.R. Chatwell, Leo Raley, Smokey Wood, Moon Mullican, Link Davis, etc. Despite rural origins (he was raised in Tomball, Texas), he never liked hillbilly or cowboy music, always concentrated on pop, jazz and blues, and never compromised his vision for commercial considerations. For the entirety of the '40s, he always dressed in sporty clothes and suits, never western wear or cowboy hats, and really didn't consider himself in the same field as people like Spade Cooley or Bob Wills. And although posterity will remember his as a "western swing" musician, he never used the term himself.
The Bear Family 5-CD box set issued several years ago is still in print and is highly recommended as an overview of Bruner's essential recordings under his own name, while his work as a sideman is reissued from time to time on labels like Krazy Kat.
Accomplishments aside, Cliff was at heart a very down-to-earth guy, as laid back as they come, well loved by everyone who knew him or worked with him. He was completely unsentimental about his past, and didn't own a single one of his recordings until the Bear Family box came out. He was always thinking about the next gig or the next recording he was going to make, but was somehow never satisfied with any of them.
It won't be the same without you, Cliff.
The important thing about the concert held in the municipal auditorium in Norfolk, Va., in September 1955 wasn't so much who was onstage - a pretty boy named Elvis Presley - but who was in the audience: a 20-year-old named Vincent Eugene Craddock who was anything but pretty, with his greasy curls, dingy teeth, and crippled leg.
Craddock was so moved both by Presley's hip-shaking performance and by the audience's raucous reaction that, writes music journalist Susan VanHecke in this biography, he "knew what he had to do."
And he did it. The poor kid from Norfolk became Gene Vincent, one of the first rock 'n' rollers, a major influence on dozens of future stars, and a sad example of where the fast lane can sometimes take you.
He owed it all, the good and the bad, to "Be-Bop-A-Lula," a nonsensical song about a girl in red blue jeans who is queen of all the teens, a girl who is his baby - and "I don't mean maybe." But there was something about the way he sang those sappy lyrics in his high, striking voice: a little bit sweet, a little bit sensual, and a little bit Elvis. Capitol Records signed him up as the company's answer to RCA's Presley.
That song took Gene from the record studio to the concert stage, where he and his first band, the Blue Caps (so named because they wore those flat golf caps), delighted the crowds with their manic performances. And if VanHecke's prose is sometimes overheated in describing Gene onstage ("he tore into `Be-Bop-A Lula' like a ravenous beast ripping the life from its helpless prey"), well, his performances were overheated, too. Often dressed in black, he bucked and cavorted, occasionally raising his left leg - permanently in a brace and forever painful as a result of a motorcycle accident - over the top of the microphone stand. As he sang, his face twisted into an approximation of agony, and he punctuated his words with gasps, all of this causing the audience to become similarly overheated - especially the young girls, whom VanHecke describes as "sweaty and moist" no less than four times.
This was rock 'n' roll, melded from rhythm and blues, country, and gospel, an "unholy union of white folks' music and black folks' music." And Gene Vincent was part of the first glorious wave, along with Elvis, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Carl Perkins, and others, most of whom Gene would befriend or perform with. Never mind that after "Be-Bop-A-Lula" he would have only a few minor hits, such as "Race With the Devil" - he had the mystique. So he'd drive across the country to perform, fueled by pills and booze and cigarettes and the screams of his fans.
It couldn't last, of course. Parental protests and cagey business decisions brought about a sanitized, safer, and duller brand of rock, featuring the likes of Frankie Avalon and Fabian. Yet if Gene Vincent's popularity was waning in America, it wasn't in Europe; there he was a cult figure, especially in England. But it was also in England where he was injured in a car crash that killed his good friend and fellow performer Eddie Cochran and added to the torment that seemed to stalk him.
Vincent is described dropping and adding wives and band members. Some of the latter are more interesting than others, especially Dickie Harrell, the wild-man drummer whose unrehearsed but joyous scream can be heard on "Be-Bop-A-Lula," and backing vocalist Tommy "Bubba" Facenda (who one day would have a small success of his own with the record "High School U.S.A."). An ocean of sometimes less-than-fascinating detail is reported about the changing of band members and the making of records.
With his lifestyle, too familiar among rock stars then and now, the death of Gene Vincent - in 1971, at 36, with chronic alcoholism a key contributing factor - has a ring of inevitability. Just how much the singer, who had become paunchy and balding, had deteriorated is made plain by a rambling and pathetic radio interview he did shortly before his death.
VanHecke has done a lot of research into Vincent's life, but mistakes about the era have crept in. President Kennedy's assassination is misdated; a Beatles' hit is attributed to the Rolling Stones; there is a badly reported account of the 1958 Boston Arena concert that led to a charge of inciting a riot against disc jockey Alan Freed. (I was there: There were no injuries or fights during the concert. The trouble came afterward on the streets, and may have had little to do with the show.)
One other quibble: Three pivotal events - the motorcycle accident that mangled Vincent's leg, the car crash with Eddie Cochran, and Vincent's death - aren't merely described. They're turned into fantasies in which Gene is racing with the devil, whose "smoldering orbs" burn behind the windshield. Oh, please.
But there's no quibbling over the impact of Gene Vincent on rockers from the Beatles to Jeff Beck to Adam Ant. At Vincent's 1998 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, John Fogerty sang a bit of "Be-Bop-A-Lula" and then said: "It doesn't get much better than that. I do believe that this record is probably one of the greatest records ever made."
Me too. And I don't mean maybe.
This story ran
on page B10 of the Boston Globe on 8/21/2000.
©Copyright 2000 Globe Newspaper Company.
"Well, he'd definitely be getting his Social Security," said his first guitarist Scotty Moore, who was at Elvis' side right from the start at those early Sun Record sessions and live shows. It is Moore's guitar you hear on such classics as "Hound Dog" and "Don't Be Cruel." "But seriously, I could see him becoming a preacher."
"He'd be a damn good one," added drummer D.J. Fontana, who was with Elvis from 1955 to 1969.
"Elvis was very vain, you know," Moore added. "It would have been hard for him to age gracefully."
Singer Ronnie McDowell, who has been headlining a Tribute to Elvis show at the Horseshoe Casino's Bluesville Nightclub in Tunica, Miss., along with Moore, Fontana and Elvis backup singers the Jordanaires, disagreed. "I'd say he'd look a lot like Vernon [Elvis' father], who was very handsome."
McDowell added that he could have seen Elvis doing shows with Led Zeppelin or Bruce Springsteen.
"I think he'd be doing ballads," Fontana said.
Early in his career Elvis had a tough experience at the Grand Ole Opry, where he and his music were not received well. As to whether he'd ever return there today, Fontana didn't think so.
"With all his money," Moore laughed, "he'd a probably bought it!"
"I'll tell you one thing," Fontana roared, "he'd be on Viagra like the rest of us!"
Edd has traveled and played all over the U.S. (including Alaska) and Canada and performed with such stars as Porter Wagoner, Marty Robbins, Hank Snow, Ernest Tubb, Carl Smith, George Jones and Johnny Cash - and helped Carl "go through" several pairs of "Blue Suede Shoes." Later, Edd decided to be part of music in a different way - by becoming one of Jackson's most popular DJs for 20 years.
Throughout the years, Edd has been a key figure in
organizing and performing in many benefits for The American Cancer Society, The American Heart
Association - the underprivileged, handicapped and many other individuals in need - urging others to
donate money to these causes as well as money for Christmas presents, groceries and radios for
gandicapped kids. He has received numerous awards from the American Cancer Society and The American
Heart Association as well as being among the first and few to be inducted into Opryland's DJ Hall of
Fame. Now Edd is proud to be part organizing the benefit for the Exchange Club Carl Perkins Center
for the Prevention of Child Abuse.
Jack's next show in the area will likely
be the Woodward Dream Cruise. It's one of the largest events of its kind in the world. Check it out
at: http://www.dreamcruise.org/ - Hope you can make it! Cheers, WC -
"Legends Fest" is the brainchild of Carl Unger who owns Buck Lake Ranch and Nashville agent and manager Marty Martel, president of Midnight Special Productions, LTD. In commenting on the show Martel states, "Both Carl and I feel there is a need to preserve the tradition of country music and what better place to do it than this beautiful park where the pioneers and legends of country music have appeared. We also feel that this area of northern Indiana is the perfect location to make this event a success for years to come. It is easily accessible to the residents of Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Michigan who make up a huge percentage of the country music fans in the United States."
Tickets for the event are $15 advance, $20 day of
show. Please add an additional $10 for reserved seating. Tickets may be ordered from Buck Lake Ranch
by calling 219-665-6699.
For more information contact:
Marty Martel at 615-822-6713
Carl Unger at 219-665-6699
Although still performing he never made an impact on the Australianscene, releasing just one single soon after arrival.In the mid 1990's a four CD box set of Johnny's recordings, including a28 page book was released by a German label. The notes contained manyinaccuracies due to the fact Johnny could not be found at the time.The past few years he has been living in or around Taree on the NorthCoast of New South Wales and in November 1999 he came out of retirementto record four new songs.One, 'Hillbilly Daddy' has recently gone to radio while all will be partof a forthcoming 30 track 'Best Of' CD currently being prepared byEnglish label Rollercoaster.The album will also include detailed liner notes written by Keith Glasswho also wrote two of the new songs and produced the session.Keith says 'Johnny exceeded our expectations on these songs and they hadgiven him a new lease of life. We were planning more recording and evenhoping to get Johnny out playing live.'
Sadly this wasn't to be. At 5pm on Saturday 15th of
July 2000, 68 yearold Johnny Duncan passed away after being admitted to Taree Hospital anddiagnosed
with inoperable bowel cancer. His story spans triumph and tragedy and three continents but the man
himself lived his final years very simply. Surrounded by the Australian bush and a few friends he had
found contentment and enjoyed a final musical fling. The future should re-evaluate Johnny Duncan's
contribution. More than a one hit wonder, his best recordings are exuberant slices of the musical
crossroads that brought on the modern era. He was the Hillbilly Daddy.
The album was inspired by, and is dedicated to, Nebraska rock and blueslegend Bobby Lowell, best known for his 1956 hit, "Um Baby Baby," onRoto Records. Lowell and Smith struck up a friendship while Smith waswriting an article for Goldmine Magazine on the death of Boxcar Willie,who had been on the roster at Lowell's Roto Records early in his career.Shortly after a visit to Lincoln to meet Lowell in person and an ensuingjam session with members of the Nebraska Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, andmany others, including the legendary Johnny Olen ("The Girl Can't HelpIt"), Smith learned that Lowell had been diagnosed with terminalcancer. Smith decided to record his next album in tribute to his friend,and all of the Nebraska rockers from the earlier jam session, allfriends of Bobby's, agreed to play on the project. Cowboy Bob Davis,proprietor of Jam Palace Studio, offered use of his studio and hisengineering skills.
The recording session took place on March 3 - 5, 2000. The Lincolnsessions were produced by Mike "Pinky" Semrad and Sean Benjamin, andengineered by Cowboy Bob Davis. Musicians include Semrad on bass;Benjamin on piano and guitar; Dave Robel on drums; Bob Timmers onguitar; Jim Cidlik on Hammond B-3 organ; Jim Jenkins on saxophone; andToni Bastian on vocals, along with Michael B. on lead vocals and leadand rhythm guitars. Oddly enough, Michael lost his voice after singingonstage with The Heart Murmers at the Zoo Bar upon his arrival inLincoln on Friday. He was forced to return to S.C. with one componentconspicuously missing from his master tapes - his lead vocals.
Enter Wes Nance and Subtle Chaos Records near Asheboro, North Carolina.In July, Smith took a road trip to Studio 5 in Trinity, N.C., where headded the lead vocals, and had the project mixed and mastered under thecapable hands and ears of Studio 5's Kevin "Caveman" Davis and WesleyNance, who are credited as co-producers for the North Carolina sessions.
"Midwest Carolina Blues" features contributions from many of hisNebraska friends, as well as one of Smith's original compositions, andsome blues classics. Guitarist Bob Timmers, who is also the curator ofThe Rockabilly Hall of Fame, wrote the excellent "Rockabilly Blue,"which features Toni Baustian of Omaha on lead vocals, and some fine saxwork from Jim Jenkins. Sean Benjamin sings "It's Been So Long," a lovesong written by Bobby Lowell himself, and the Rockabilly Hall of FameBlues Band rocks through the instrumental "Redeye," featuring Timmers onguitar, a tune penned by Johnny Meeks, an original member of GeneVincent and The Blue Caps. Smith turns in, "She's Got a Hold On Me," andhe and Toni share lead vocals on a blues medley that includes "StormyMonday Blues" and "Redhouse." There is also an up-tempo bluesarrangement of Steve Young's "Lonesome, On'ry and Mean," a retelling of"Jelly Jelly Blues," and a cover of the Edgar Winter's White Trashclassic, "Fly Away," complete with a studio choir.
Michael's debut release, "Happy to Be Here," an all-original album, wasreleased on Dreaming Buffalo in 1997. He is currently performing anall-acoustic, solo act, and preparing to tour with a full blues band.
"Midwest Carolina Blues" will be distributed by and available from TheRockabilly
Hall of Fame, Subtle Chaos, Gritz (http://www.gritz.net) ,Amazon.com and from Michael's website
Check out Michael's "Midwest Carolina Blues" Page, with photos from therecording session!
But Koda was much more than a one-hit wonder with a goofy name.At least a half-dozen other songs he wrote hit the Billboard charts. Buthe also was dedicated to blues and American roots music in a way thatwent far beyond the numerous club and concert gigs he played through theyears.Koda wrote a column for Discoveries music magazine for 22 years, one thatdetailed whatever music he felt needed to be heard. He also wrote aboutmusic for Goldmine and numerous other publications.Koda edited two music reference books, the All-Music Guide and TheAll-Music Guide to the Blues. In 1998, he co-wrote the criticallyacclaimed "Blues for Dummies."
His life was consumed by music, specifically sounds that
could evenremotely be considered American "roots" music: blues, rockabilly andr&b. He befriended and
championed a variety of artists through the years,ranging from Lonnie Brooks and Link Wray to Bo
Did-dley.Koda also was aware of the history behind the music he loved, and heannotated reissues of
classic recordings by Muddy Waters, Robert Johnsonand Spike Jones.And though he didn't play many live
dates in the past decade, he was aregular in Boston nightclubs and kept making his own music. He
hadfinished a new album just a few months before his death.To Koda, rock 'n' roll was all about fast
fun, something he revealed afew years ago when a writer asked if he felt "Smokin' in the Boys Room"was
a curse because he was never able to match it."Are you nuts?" he replied. "I consider it just the
opposite. For ashort white kid with big glasses from the Midwestern sticks to be in aband that makes a
record that gets played on the radio that a millionpeople go out and buy - how could that possibly be
a curse?"I can think of a whole lot of people with maybe even more talent," headded, "to whom that
never happened. To me, it's happened twice. "That's no curse, mister. That's a
If an hour-long conversation with Oberst is any indication,
the bookshould be almost as relevant to discussions about Presley as PeterGuralnick's acclaimed
two-fer Last Train to Memphis: The Rise of ElvisPresley and Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis
Presley. It documents afascinating period in Presley's development: He might not have had manypeople
show up to his concerts, but most of them were girls, and all ofthem went wild for him. Oberst dug in
deep and found out the real storyfrom the people who were there about all of the small-town screw-ups
(apromoter's booking gigs for Elvis in Wichita Falls and Seymour on thesame day) and short-lived love
affairs (just about every city he stoppedin). In the interest of keeping his book fresh, Oberst didn't
want to go intotoo much detail, spoil all of the stories before they even hit theshelves. But the
little he did tell us about was good enough to keep usinterested, begging him for more information
about Elvis' life on theroads through the backwoods of Texas. While we never imagined Presley'slife
would warrant yet another book, Oberst has us looking forward to it.And since Amazon.com lists more
than 700 matches for books about ElvisPresley, that's probably the most daunting task of all.
Back in the olden days, a man was traveling through Switzerland. Nightfall was rapidly approaching and the man had nowhere to sleep. He went up to a farmhouse and asked the farmer if he could spend the night. The farmer told him that it would be all right and that he could sleep in the barn. The man went into the barn to bed down and the farmer went back into the house.
The farmer's daughter came down from upstairs and asked the farmer, "Who was that man going into the barn?" "That's some fellow traveling through, "said the farmer. He needed a place to stay for the night, so I said that he could sleep in the barn The daughter then asked the farmer, "Did you offer the man anything to eat?" "Gee, no I didn't," the farmer answered. The daughter said, "Well, I'm going to take him some food." She went into the kitchen, prepared a plate of food, and then took it out to the barn. The daughterwas in the barn for an hour before returning to the house. When she came back in, her clothes were all disheveled and buttoned up wrong, and she had several strands of straw tangled up in her long blond hair. She immediately went up the stairs to her bedroom and went to sleep. A little later, the farmer's wife came down and asked the farmer why their daughter went to bed so early. "I don't know," said the farmer. "I told a man that he could sleep in the barn, and our daughter took him some food." "Oh," replied the wife. "Did you offer the man anything to drink?"
"Umm, no, I didn't," said the farmer. The wife then said, "I'm going totake something out there for him to drink." The wife went to the cellar, got a bottle of wine, then went out to the barn. She did not return for over an hour, and when she came back into the house, her clothes were also messed up, and she had straw twisted into her blond hair. She went straight up the stairs and into bed.
The next morning at sunrise, the man in the barn got up and continued on his journey, waving to the farmer as he left the farm. A few hours later, the daughter woke up and came rushing downstairs. She went right out to the barn, only to find it empty. She ran back into the house. "Where's the man from the barn?" she eagerly asked the farmer. Her father answered, "He left several hours ago."
"What?" she cried. "he left without saying good-bye? After all we hadtogether? I mean, last night he made such passionate love to me."
"What?"shouted the father. The farmer ran out into the front yardlooking for the man, but by now the man was halfway up the side of the mountain. The farmer screamed up at him, "I'm gonna get you! You had sex with my daughter!"
The man looked back down from the mountainside, cupped his
hands next tohis mouth, and yelled out, "I LAID DE OLADEE
This was Little Richard, outfitted entirely in blue -- navy polka-dots on a dark mesh shirt, azure pants -- warming up his crowd at the B. B. King Blues club on Monday night. But "warming up" doesn't quite capture it; "barbecuing" is more the word. For 90 minutes, his band pumped out a roadhouse mixture of funk and rock 'n' roll, pure eighth-note battering to match Little Richard's driving right hand on the piano. The shape of it was wild overkill: two drummers, two bassists, two saxophonists, at times two electric guitars.
Almost -- not quite, but almost -- as energized as its leader, this band could be easily manipulated; most of the songs were played as chorus after chorus of the same basic idea, without bridges or a lot of chord changes, so it was easy for Little Richard to stop on a dime and start up something new. There were the songs, enacted like speed trials, some of them only one or two choruses long -- and there was the free-ranging commentary, both during and between numbers. The show resembled a party, and from the stage Little Richard mingled with his guests. There was "Blueberry Hill," during which the audience started to sing along. ("That sounds so good, it's like singin' with Mitch Miller!"); "Boney Maronie" ("I'm gonna scream like a white lady!"); "It Hurts Me Too" ("I love that little part of that song -- it makes my big toe shoot up in my boot! Shaddup! I'm gonna play it again!").
Then came "Goodnight Irene" ("The God of
Abraham is the god of the world!"); "Tutti Frutti" ("I used to be a dishwasher, and I was the most
beautiful dishwasher in the world. I used to have to put my beautiful arm down in those tall pots and
scrub the food off them."); "I Saw Her Standing There" ("I still sing the songs in the same keys, you
know!") and "After Hours" ("You remember Count Basie? I remember growing up in Macon, Ga., and seeing
Andy Kirk, Cootie Williams, Hot Lips Page . . . ") It was a slow process, but Little Richard's voice
got looser and began to thud more confidently into the high notes; the belted phrasing of his lyrics
picked up the assertiveness of his early records. By the time he got to "Lucille," he demanded
entirely blue lighting and he went for the song's jugular, lodging a wild scream in the girl's name.
Even at its peak this wasn't memorable music, per se; but as a performance, it was to be
The Brian Setzer Orchestra's new CD, "Vavoom," is scheduled for U.S.release on July 11, 2000, and Bill Haley fans -- or at least those insoutheast Asia -- might find the release of great interest. Word has it that the Japanese pressing of the "Vavoom" CD will includetwo bonus tracks, one of which will be a cover of the Bill Haley classic"Rock-a-Beatin' Boogie." There is no word yet as to whether this track will be available on otherreleases of the album or in CD-single format elsewhere in the world.Anyone with additional information is invited to contact me firstname.lastname@example.org.
Such modern-day Haley covers are
rather rare these days -- in fact, theonly other ones that come immediately to mind is Robert Gordon's
versionof "Crazy Man, Crazy" and The Sex Pistols once attacked "Rock Around theClock." Setzer,
formerly of the rockabilly group Stray Cats, hascontinued to champion the cause of swing and
rockabilly, and it will beinteresting to see how he handles "Rock-a-Beatin' Boogie."Originally written
by Haley circa 1952, the song was first recorded byThe Esquire Boys (featuring Comets session
guitarist Danny Cedrone). TheJodimars recorded a version in the summer of 1955 during a demo
sessionfor Captiol Records, and Haley finally recorded his own version forDecca in the fall of 1955.
It became a major chart hit for the Comets,and in later years, Haley would claim that "Rock-a-Beatin'
Boogie" wasthe song that "gave the name to rock and roll music."
Satellite V - A word from the author .... "Satellite V makes another spectacular crash landing in Terra Nova with their second jug of 'Groove Juice'. A mixture of Mars dust, Nitro methane, Squirrels brains, and a little bit of Von Dutch. Nurtured by the glow of black & white T.V., the V no, 4.....? astronauts ponder scratchy vinyl transcripts from the past. The band have dragged the river, and continue to pulsate and quiver, to the Giant Quasar, beyond Alpha Centauri, that controls them". -Tim Knuckey
Satellite V continue to please crowds along the east coast of Australia.Following their
previous release 'Hail Bop!', the fellers have assembled acrazy jallopy and, with a shot of 'Groove
Juice' come draggin' down mainstreet. The band members and duties are:
Tim Knuckey, Hillbilly Singer Extraordinary & rhythm guitar
Roy Payne, Lead guitar & Lap Steel
Steve Wood, Bass Fiddle & Vocals
Rob Souter, on Drums
They're always set on a honky tonk, swingin' time. The songlist includes startling original tunes like "The Beatles miss you Johnny, Dizzyland, Eatin' brains, Hillbilly Nitro and Satellite Boogie!!! It's crazy Rockabilly and swingin' country boogie.
. Satellite Vs' influences include 50's Rockabilly, Hillbilly Swing, Rockin' Country and Jump Blues. The boys have played in various Rockabilly, Rockin' Country/Western Swing outfits. Tim Knuckey 'Dobbs and The Ludebakers', and Steve with 'The Stringbusters' and Rob with Slim Dusty. Satellite Vs' repertoire includes country style duets such as The Kershaw Bros.," Hey Sheriff", and The Perkins Bros., "Sure to fall", High steppin' renditions of the likes of Hank Williams and George Jones cross over into the wilder sounds of the Burnette Trio and Sonny Fisher and his Rockin' Boys. The band has released their first album, 'Hail, Bop!'. It has 14 tracks, five are originals. Hail Bop Comet, Cane Cutter Boogie, Parramatta HotRodman, an anthem for the west of Sydney, The Creature and a real thong clapper, the gear jamming Hellcat Rhythm.
They're playing authentic and obscure sounds of the fifties - so cut a rug to their real rock beat with a 'Hellcat Rhythm'. And sip on a jug with Tim, Steve, Roy and Rob as they hurtle down the lost highway. 'The Parramatta Hotrodman' will be in hot pursuit. They'll try and 'Hail Bop Comet', but beware of 'The Creature' it'll be running out from the smoke produced by the 'Cane Cutter Boogie' - "Groove Juice" new album available June. 10 new originals and 8 superb renditions, yes 18 wonderful tracks to be released in June 2000 @ Wintersun! Coolangatta Festival/Queensland, Australia
Contact Tim or Susanna for bookings on 02
PO Box 350 Camperdown 1450 NSW Australia
Visiting the ruins of the penitentiary where, at the age of 17, in 1943, he was sent to serve 99 years for rape, Johnny Bragg of the Prisonaires -- the group he formed in prison -- describes the genesis of his lovely R&B hit "Just Walking in the Rain." Now he's very old, nattily dressed, and, talking about what it meant to glimpse the rain from the inside, he begins to sing. He's absolutely glorious. The song expands, taking in anyone's aspirations for what they can never have. "I always had hope," Bragg says. "Of getting out. You know why? I was innocent." Phillips got him down on tape in 1953, 10 years into the 24 Bragg would eventually serve.
Shaking their heads in awe are,
most notably, R&B singer Roscoe Gordon (Phillips "could reach the soul of man through that board"),
Sun producer Jack Clement ("He scares the heck out of some people. He's telling you something, and you
know he's full of ... prunes, but it's profound, whatever it is. He can have you believe in something
and you know it's not true. For a while") and Memphis musician Jim Dickinson. With typical eloquence
he sums up Phillips' achievement by describing a 1954 show at Memphis' Overton Park Shell, where with
one "Ellis Presley," billed below country ham Slim Whitman, the crowd found itself faced with the
future. "It forced the listener to make a choice, simply to accept it or reject it, if nothing else.
What followed that choice was freedom, because of course that's what follows a
SUGAR MAMA MUSIC (BMI), a RIPSAW affiliate, is the publisher of "Alley Cat". RUN WILD is a predominantly rockabilly label that has released several hot rocking CDs, in addition to its "Friday Nite Rumble" series. RUN WILD's contact person is MIKE LYNAM. He can be reached by email at email@example.com. RUN WILD's address is Box 123, Lebanon, NJ 08833. Its webpage is http://members.aol.com/BluTwang. HEPCAT RECORDS, Box 1108, Orange, CA 92856 will be distributing the CD. HEPCAT may be reached at (800) 404-4117 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Performers on the CD other than HANCOCK include The Luxurious Panthers (Texas), The Atomics (Virginia), Wild Bob Burgos (UK), King Kerosene (NJ), The King Drapes (Finland), Nobody's Business (Michigan), The Uncool Hillbillies (Sweden), Ellis & the Angry Teens (Finland), and Steve Hooker & the S.T.s (UK). Reviewers, radio stations, and other distributors wishing further information or copies of RW 911 should contact RUN WILD's LYNAM.
This deal is not the first collaboration between RIPSAW
and RUN WILD. In 1993, RUN WILD licensed "Christmas in Tennessee" performed by BILLY HANCOCK & THE
TENNESSEE ROCKETS for the "It's A Rockin' Christmas" CD (catalog no. RW 500). In 1998, RIPSAW
licensed "Marie, Marie" performed by HANCOCK to RUN WILD for its "Blastered" CD (catalog no. RW 903).
Also, in 1995, SUGAR MAMA MUSIC and ROLLABILLY MUSIC licensed the song "It's Not the Presents under My
Tree (It's Your Presence Next To Me)" written by BILLY POORE and TEX RUBINOWITZ to RUN WILD for
inclusion on its "Another Rockin' Christmas" CD (catalog no. RW 600). The late EVA CASSIDY was that
song's performer on that CD.
Lou has decided to announce to Europe that in 1998 he was diagnosis with Parkinson's disease. He started working on the Europe market in 1995 after finding he had fans from songs he had recorded in the 1960's in Memphis Tennessee. "Not many people in Europe knew of his disease." said Chris and Bev Jackson, owners of the Americana Festival, one of Europe's largest and most prestige's festival showing the American life style in Europe.The Jacksons had become fans of Lou's music through the Country Hot Disc. Chris Jackson called Stuart Cameron told him he would like to have Lou on the Americana Festival 2000 along with Narvel Felts, Gale Davies, Linda Gail Lewis and a host of great other performers from the USA and Europe. Lou did back flips! After trying for 5 years to figure out a way to get on this event that hosted over 40,000 people last year they had called for him. Lou contacted Chris Jackson very excited, thanked Chris and said he would love to except, but wanted him to know he had Parkinson's and every day was a challenge for him. Chris said "Never you mind mate, come on, our people will except you, your music, Parkinson's disease and all."
Inspired by the
Jackson's understanding and at the same time depressed by other parts of the business Lou wrote a song
titled "Parkinson's Disease Blues" to be released on none other then Chris and Bev Jackson's record
label Americana International Records in the July issue of the Country Hot Disc to the European
market. The CD album, titled "Lou Hobbs Presents My Songs", contains twelve songs all written and
sung by Lou. Track twelve is a song titled "I'll See You At The Americana". The Jackson's and Lou
have become great friends and are looking forward to there meeting in July at the Americana Festival.
Lou will be performing with the fantastic Landon's, a high energy country rock n roll group that can
do it all.
Chris, Bev and the Jackson family say: "See you at the Americana!"
A very cool ballad "Lonely Teardrops" (not Jackie
Wilson's song) highlights Andy Lopez' soulful vocals.And for you greasers, "Switchblade Pompadour" is
on it too!! Get it at your fave Bop Shop on the Net or off, or directly from me, for $13.98 + $2 S&H
(foreign $4), Ronny Weiser, 2460 Casey Drive, Las Vegas, NV
Earle: So how did you end up on
this tour? You went out with Ringo before, didn't you?
Edmunds: Yes, I was the guitar player on an earlier tour in 1992, and he invited me out again. This is my second time with him.
Earle: So what's it like touring with Ringo?
Edmunds: It's great, just great. There are some different people to play with from the last time and some different songs, but it's still good stuff. There's a lot for me to do on this tour since I am the only guitar player. So for that reason, it's naturally great for me.
Earle: What's the set list like for this tour? What
are we going to hear if we come to the show?
Edmunds: We do Ringo's solo stuff and some Beatles stuff as well. Also, we'll do a couple or three numbers each from the guys in the band.
Earle: So you're doing some of your solo stuff?
Edmunds: Oh, yes.
Talk about the guys you're playing with on this tour. How is that going for
Edmunds: It's going well. We've got Jack Bruce [Cream], who I had never worked with before. We've got Eric Carmen [The Raspberries] out with us, who I also had never worked with or even met before. Simon Kirke [Bad Company, Free] is somebody I had worked with before. Mark Rivera [Billy Joel] is on saxophone and lots of other stuff each night. He's been on a few Ringo tours before this one, and he's sort of the bandleader. He's really great.
Earle: And it's working well playing
with all of those guys, I suppose?
Edmunds: Oh, yeah. I think we've all been at it for such a long time that we really understand what each other is trying to do. So yeah, it's good. I'm enjoying it.
Earle: Considering where you grew up and your music history, I would have to
think that it's pretty exciting to go out and do Beatles material.
Edmunds: Yeah, it's a good gig in lots of ways, and that is definitely one of them. Of course, I mean, it's an obvious musician's delight to be doing that stuff. It really is. I'm from Cardiff, which is in Wales, Britain, and it is not an area that is necessarily known for its musical natives. And so it really is kind of weird. I'm in America with Ringo touring for the second time. It's great.
Earle: What are
some of the songs you're enjoying the most each night from the set you're playing?
Edmunds: Well, we're doing some Cream songs with Jack, and I wanted to keep it pretty close to what Eric [Clapton] did on that stuff. As we're doing those songs, I always think the live performance should sound as close to the recorded performance as possible. That's my personal thing. But it's fun doing that material. It's a slightly different style for me. I'm more of the James Burton and Chet Atkins type of player. I'm a big Merle Travis fan, as well. We get to do some solo spots during this tour on various nights, and I've been going out with an acoustic guitar and doing some Merle Travis and Chet Atkins types of things.
Earle: Well, since I'm calling from Nashville and you're talking
about a local hero of ours in Chet, I'm wondering if you know him and if you've played with
Edmunds: Yes, actually, he's called me up on stage a few times when he was out in California. I had never met him before at that time, but we played together at those shows. And I've also gotten to be friends with Tommy Emanuel, the Australian guitar picker who made an album a couple of years ago with Chet. Tommy talked me into coming down to Nashville to attend the Chet Atkins convention thing that happens in July. I got up with Tommy there, and we both did some finger picking stuff. That's my greatest guitar love, that style of playing.
Earle: While we're talking
about Nashville, I'm thinking back to a solo album you did in the early 1980s where you did a cover of
"The Race Is On" by George Jones.
Edmunds: Oh, yes (laughs).
Earle: It seems like
you have strong feelings for American country music. Is that correct?
Edmunds: Oh, yes. Well, it's American music all around really, from the New Orleans stuff to the Nashville and Memphis stuff. It's quite incredible. That actual song was a bit of fun I had in the studio when I was producing The Stray Cats. I recorded it with them backing me up, and we weren't even thinking of it being released when we did it. We just did it for a bit of fun. It turned out OK, so we did release it, and it did pretty well. But it certainly wasn't a career move. It was for fun, and it was a tribute to George, really.
Earle: I guess I've always thought that in the 1960s, most English
bands were influenced by American blues music. But in the 1970s and early 1980s, bands like Rockpile
and some of the others were influenced by American country and rockabilly music. Is that the music you
heard growing up?
Edmunds: Yeah, actually we did. It came first as rock & roll. In England, rock & roll got imported in 1956 or 1957. We wouldn't hear it on the BBC, though. There was a radio channel called Radio Luxembourg, and they used to play all of the rock & roll hits from America. It was all of the pioneers at that time. The Everly Brothers and Fats Domino, Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran, Elvis and Chuck Berry. And then I discovered George Jones. I got his album New Favorites of George Jones, and I think it must have been pre-Beatles when I got that. I was absolutely mesmerized by that record. But I never heard anyone else ever mention him. It was like I discovered him before anyone outside of America knew about him.
Earle: Let's talk a little bit about Rockpile. I've
always wondered why the band didn't do anymore records?
Edmunds: Well, that was an accidental thing, that whole situation. I was signed to Swan Song Records, which was Led Zeppelin's company. Nick Lowe was a sort of friend and colleague at the time, because I had produced an album for his band Brinsley Swartz. That band broke up, and he got signed to CBS. We put the band together just to play in some London venues, and for something to do, really. It all went backwards, really. Instead of a band getting together to get a record deal, we had two record deals and no band (laughs). Next thing we knew, we were offered a spot supporting Bad Company on tour. Eventually we made the Rockpile record. I didn't think it worked so well then, and we all wanted to go on and do other things. It was never meant to carry on, and I'm amazed it lasted the four years that it did.
Earle: Do you
ever get interest from people who want you guys to tour or record again?
Edmunds: Yeah, but that won't happen. It's too long ago and too far away.
Earle: Do you still spend time with
Edmunds: No, we don't see each other at all, really. I did produce a record for him in about 1989 or so. He's a nice guy. But he had a manager I don't particularly get along with, so it's never really gone anywhere.
Earle: What do you have in the coming months besides the work
Edmunds: I don't know, really. I just did a Swedish tour with Billy Bremner. That finished a few weeks before I started this one. I might go back to do what they call the folk parks in Sweden. That's really good, playing those big open-air gigs. But I don't really have any long-term plans. I never have, actually.
Earle: Besides the people you've mentioned, who are
some of your other favorite guitar players?
Edmunds: Well, Jerry Reed has got to be one of the most innovative players ever. I've studied his stuff so much. I would have to put Eric Clapton on my list. I'd also have to put Albert Lee on my list, as well.
Earle: For the guitar players
out there, what kind of gear are you using these days?
Edmunds: I'm playing a reissue Telecaster through a reissue Fender Bassman with some pedals that I threw together myself. I'm using a Gibson Les Paul through another Fender called a Blues Deville on the Cream stuff. And I'm using a Gibson EC-10 acoustic/electric for my picking.
Among the more interesting features: Visitors will be able to make a customized CD of the songs they enjoy during the tour. They can also visit a booth where they can experience a blast of applause. The admission ticket, costing about $15, will resemble a laminated backstage pass. With it, visitors will be able to take an elevator ride to the top of the building.The three-hour tour will start with a series of giant mazes, where visitors walk through the early history of country music.Artifacts will be placed along the way to help tell the story."There will be headsets so you can listen to the music, and there will be video scrapbooks as a way of showing off our film and still photograph collections," he said.The mazes will end at a gateway marked by Presley's Cadillac. Visitors will then be able to view a display of stage outfits, including those worn by Reba McEntire, that trace the evolution of a country star's image.
Next comes a 21/2-story spiral staircase that leads to a room displaying every gold and
platinum album in the history of country music. There are about 900 albums.This part of the museum
also includes a display of private memorabilia collected by singer Marty Stuart and the office of Owen
Bradley, producer for Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn, who died in 1998. The structure also includes a
theater where songwriters can demonstrate their craft and space for rotating exhibits.The actual hall
of fame will be in a rotunda at the top of the building. -Jim
While not professionally trained, (in fact, he credits his mother with being his influence photographically speaking) Stuart certainly has a good eye for capturing attitude and emotion whether in the shots of family members (a photo of Stuart's father on retirement day from his factory job with a U.S. flag hanging from the ceiling is particularly poignant) or the one-legged peanut salesman in Philadelphia or the shot of Connie Smith getting into her car after coming or the local Choctaw Indian Fair (the story here is most interesting because not only was Smith Stuart's mother's hero, but because "On the way home I told momma I was going to marry that girl. I did - on July 8, 1997.") or many photos of Cash (not all of them making him look particularly good) or the Sullivan Family gospel group, Steve Earle, Dolly Parton or a visit by Hank Williams Jr. with his daughter to the grave of his father with the words "Praise the Lord/I Saw the light" etched on the stone. Stuart turns in some wonderful photos of Waylon and Willie as well with both quite photogenic.
"A Day in Poor Valley, Virginia" is excellent at showing the simple life of Janette and Joe "Bull Carter," the guardian angels of the place where country music was born, the homestead of A.P. and Sara Carter. Stuart, of course, has a direct connection to the Carters through by marriage to his first marriage Cindy Cash, daughter of John and June Carter Cash.
The photographs are spiced with little vignettes about such luminaries as Bill Monroe, who gave Stuart the stamp of approval with "You learned good, boy" just a short while before his death, Harlan Howard, Haggard, Merle Travis and on and on.Stuart does not tell the stories in a braggadocio, egomaniacal manner. Stuart imbues the book with a strong sense of history taking place, making it clear that he is participating in and recording it, not necessarily making it.These were people he really did know, who influenced his life both musically and spiritually.
Given the title of the book, it's no surprise that Stuart isn't
afraid to portray those who shaped him with a few warts and all.While it would be unfair to call
Stuart a chronicler of late 20th century country music in all its forms (not surprisingly, there are
no pictures of Garth Brooks, Shania Twain and the like, but, of course, that is not what Stuart is
into musically), he turns this into a masterful job of relating experiences of those with whom his
musical and family life intersected.This is an easy read, perhaps a few hours worth to do the reading
and look over the photographs. The time spent is well worth it to gain further insight not only to
Stuart, but many greats of country music.
- Jeffrey B. Remz
Travis counted Chet Atkins among his protégés, and it was after Travisthat Doc Watson named his son Merle (after whom, in turn, MerleFest isnamed). Faithfully presenting his radio hits, The Best of Merle Travis:Sweet Temptation (1946-1953) chronicles the often-troubled musician'speriod of greatest popularity. The tunes sparkle with his superbfingerpicking throughout.
Raised in the heavily coal-mined county of Muhlenberg, the Kentucky-bornpicker learned the local playing style from family friends Mose Rager andIke Everly (father of the Everly Brothers). By 1939, Travis wasperforming on radio shows; after being discharged from the Marines, hemoved to California, in 1944, where he found work in clubs and eventuallysigned with Capitol Records in 1946. The album opens with two songs herecorded for the label in March of that year: "Cincinnati Lou" and "NoVacancy," both of which made it to the top five on the country charts.
More familiar are Travis originals such as "Sixteen Tons" and "CannonballRag." Travis' vocals are warm and eminently likable, especially on coversof Jimmie Rodgers' "Blue Yodel No. 1" and "Re-Enlistment Blues" - memorably featured in one of the barracks scenes in the 1952 film "FromHere to Eternity." His easy style of singing belies the thematicundertones shadowing his lyrics.
Conspicuously absent are other Travis classics, such as "Nine PoundHammer," "I Am a Pilgrim" and "Dark As a Dungeon." Travis reprised thelatter two on the landmark Will the Circle Be Unbroken album, with theNitty Gritty Dirt Band, in 1972. NGDB also recorded "Wildwood Flower" forthose sessions, a song with which Travis and Hank Thompson scored atop-five hit in 1955. Unfortunately, none of those tunes is includedhere.
The only other real complaint to be raised, and it's not an
insignificantone, is that there aren't enough of the blistering instrumental passagesthat sealed
Travis' reputation as one of the greatest guitarists of 20thcentury American music. Despite Sweet
Temptation's considerablepleasures, here's hoping another, more instrumentals-focused compilationis in
the planning stages.
photo: Johnny Vallis
Wynette's Daughter Stand by Her MomBy Arlene Vigoda - To this day, Tammy Wynette's daughter Jackie Daly believes her mother's death two years ago at the age of 55 could have been avoided. She chronicles the circumstances surrounding Wynette's April 6, 1998, death, as well as the country singer's rags-to-riches life, in Tammy Wynette: My Mother's Story (Putnam, $24.95), out today."She didn't have to die," Daly says softly. "She was overmedicated, and we're still trying to find out what really happened that night."Daly and two sisters, Tina Jones and Georgette Smith, filed a $50 million wrongful-death lawsuit last year against Wynette's doctor, Wallis Marsh, and her fifth husband, George Richey.They have dropped the lawsuit against Richey, but he will have to answer questions in a deposition today about whether Marsh prescribed medication that may have triggered Wynette's death. Says Daly: "Dr. Marsh needs to be accountable for what he did or didn't do, and questioning him and Richey is the only way we knew to get these answers."
Freddy Fender Scholarship Winners AnnouncedOn Thursday, May 4, 2000, legendary music entertainer Freddy Fender held a press conference and reception for the official announcement of 5 Freddy Fender Scholarship winners. The press conference took place at the San Benito CISD, 240 North Crockett St. in San Benito, Texas. Recipients of the Freddy Fender Scholarships are:
Yvette Moncada - Nicki Rowe High School, McAllen, Texas
Yanira Martinez - Raymondville High School, Raymondville, Texas
Melissa Ruiz - Hanna High School, Brownsville, Texas
Christopher Acosta - Rivera High School, Brownsville, Texas
Micheal Cruz - San Benito High School, San Benito, Texas
** 2000 marks the sixth-year that country-tejano-pop entertainer Freddy Fender has awarded deserving students scholarship opportunities. "I have been blessed with an awarding career and have been able to send my children to college, so I want to help others have a chance to go as well," say Fender. "Maybe with this little money, it will give them the drive to do their very best."
Students were required to write an essay about plans they had for the future and why they deserved the scholarship. In excess of thirty-five essays were received and five were chosen for 2000.
For press information or interview contact: Kirt Webster; Webster & Associates Public Relations 615.777.6995
Another Rock Museum PlannedSEATTLE - Metallica, Patti Smith, James Brown, Beck, Bo Diddley and Alanis Morissette are booked for a three-day music festival kicking off the opening of Paul Allen's new rock museum. About half the events are free at the festival, which begins June 23. None of the performances will be in the interactive Experience Music Project museum being built by the Microsoft co-founder at the base of the Space Needle. The building, with dramatic metal loops and swirls, was designed by architect Frank Gehry. "You're going to be able to do things in this facility that you're not able to do in any other museum," said Kathy Scanlan, the museum's deputy director, referring to interactive features that will enable visitors to listen, watch and even play along with their favorite musicians. The museum is expected to open on the first day of the music festival.
Just part of the Saturday Night line-up on the VLV 2000's West Lounge stage
See Barry Klein's Viva Las Vegas 2000 Report w/Photos
FRANKIE FORD HAS SURGERYMay 4, 2000 - GRETNA, LA - Frankie Ford, the legendary New Orleans entertainer and pianist, underwent corrective hand surgery this morning at East Jefferson Hospital. Dr. Harold Stokes performed the hour and a half surgery, necessary to remove cartillage that inhibited his piano playing, according to Ford's manager Ken Keene. Ford performed at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on Friday (April 28) and in New York at the Nassau Coliseum on Sunday (April 30).
BOBBY LOWELL and SENATOR BOB KERRY.
Photo taken in Lincoln, Nebraska, December, 1999.
NOTE: May 11th is Bobby's 63rd birthday. Bobby (Nebraska first R&Roller and the cat that had the first 45-rpm record released in the state) is fighting cancer and wasn't even supposed to be around in 2000. Well, he's beating the odds, thank the Lord. We encourage you to send Bobby a birthday card. If you can, throw in a $ or two to help his medical bills
2833 Torchlight Lane
Lincoln, NE 68521 USA
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