Elvis.com e-mail holders will also have the option to receive a variety of Elvis
and Graceland e-newsletters, as well as opportunities for sweepstakes and other promotions.
The Elvis.com Web site itself, as the official Elvis site, offers an array of things Elvis,
from news to film and music credits, a lengthy biography, a virtual tour of Graceland,
ShopElvis, with numerous collectible items, and Elvis-related venues like the Memphis
restaurant/nightclub Elvis Presley's Memphis and Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel.
The site recently received an "A" rating and an "editor's choice" designation from
Entertainment Weekly's Internet editors.
"There is really no other site out there like Elvis.com on the Web,"
noted Burgess. "It's a tourism site, it's an interactive site, it's an entertainment
site, it's a shopping site, it's everything Elvis and has such a variety of
content and experiences."
The live streaming video coverage and the subsequent archived streams of
the Candlelight Vigil "Vigilcast"TM during "Elvis Week" last August were watched by hundreds of
thousands of viewers.
To sign up for free Elvis e-mail and receive additional information, visit Elvis.com.
BLUELIGHT recently released "Shakin' That Rockabilly Fever", a 17 song CD by BILLY HANCOCK & the TENNESSEE ROCKETS (catalog number BLR 3372 2). HEPCAT RECORDS is distributing the Bluelight CD. Telephone (800) 404-4117; - Box 1108, Orange, CA 92856; email - email@example.com; www.hepcatrecords.com. A selection from the CD may be found on the Washington Post's MP3 site. Go to washingtonpost.com/mp3; enter "Roots Rock" in the genre category; then enter "Billy Hancock & the Tennessee Rockets".
HANCOCK & the TENNESSEE ROCKETS were a critically acclaimed rockabilly band
active internationally between 1978 and 1982. All the songs on the CD were
recorded from 1978 to 1981. The songs include all eight that RIPSAW released
on four 45s in those years and all 14 included on the 1981 "Shakin' That
Rockabilly Fever" LP (Solid Smoke 8015). The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of
INDEPENDENT RECORD DISTRIBUTORS awarded the LP an Honorable Mention at its
1982 annual convention. BILLY HANCOCK has been a frequent nominee for Best
Vocalist in the Roots Rock
category for the WASHINGTON AREA MUSIC ASS'N.'s annual WAMMIE awards.
According to the British-born Patey, The Teens were born out of last minute desperation. A former member of Miss Xanna Don't & The Wanted, Patey played "for fun" in a honky-tonk band with the Amazing Crowns' Jack Hanlon, The Loudermilk Brothers. When Hanlon couldn't make a gig at the last minute, Patey called up some guys he had been jamming, quickly figured out a playlist and played a rough set of rockabilly classics. Figuring the performance to be both their first and last, the hastily formed group were pleasantly surprised when their appreciative audience wanted to hear more. They knew they were on to something, but a few changes had to be made.
After their first real tour, the group's initial bass-player discovered he preferred music as a fun part-time activity and left. Stuck for a replacement, Patey put up fliers, eventually choosing Murphy, a student at the Berklee School Of Music. "Matt played jazz and had never really heard of rockabilly, but he was a great player. He picked things up really quickly." Doubling as lead guitarist and vocalist, wishing to concentrate on the latter, Patey began asking around about guitar players. Bandmates introduced him to Griffin, whose chances of getting into the band were not readily apparent. "She showed up with an earring in her nose, dressed like a total slob, and she had this crappy guitar and even crappier amp. She played - it sounded terrible, but I knew she could play."
Supplied with Patey's Telecaster and Fender amp, Griffin's sound improved markedly and continues to grow. With a name taken from a series of Norton Records New England rock'n'roll compilations, an easy-on-the-eyes guitarist, and a lot of personal ambition, the Teens have toured to great response in the U.S. and England.
The Los Angeles-based Dickerson became friendly with the group when they opened a show for him in Boston. Impressed by their rough, raw style, the skilled slinger of the doublenecked Mosrite offered to produce them should they ever make it out to California. They did. According to Patey, the Raging Teens leader, Dickerson is a full-service producer. "Deke's got a lot of know-how. Every day when we were arriving over there to record, he was out with a soldering iron fixing stuff. This old stuff is always going to break - so he's continually mending it and making it work." Describing recording with Dickerson as "fun and a real challenge," Patey and crew quickly learned that doing an old-style 13-song LP in 4 days required some compromise.
Schubert was constantly instructed to play his drums softer. Patey and Griffin were reminded that if they made little mistakes, they'd have to live with it because "that's what makes records great, those little imperfections." Upon hearing the finished product, the Teens wholeheartedly agreed.
Dickerson says he feels the group's first CD was "an altogether too common occurrence of a traditional styled band recording with modern recording techniques with a not-so-pleasing outcome." Explaining his production philosophy, Dickerson adds, "I always start by listening to the band and determining in my own highly opinionated mind how their record should sound. For the Raging Teens, that meant playing live with no overdubs and generous amounts of slapback tape echo." Such an approach suited the vintage equipment-toting Raging Teens just fine. On stage, Patey strums a 1953 D-18 Martin, Murphy rides a '50's Kay bass, Schubert pounds a Big Band-era Gretsch drum kit and Griffin pulls saucy bop from a '56 Gibson 225.
However, Dickerson's Eccofonic Studio was a wonderland of old time equipment that left the group in awe. "Amy got to use a lot of Deke's equipment," an impressed Patey reported from his home in Beverly, Mass. "He has an Echosonic amp, the one that was built for (Elvis Presley's original guitarist) Scotty Moore with the tape delay in it. (These amps were also used by Sun Records alumni Carl Perkins and Roland Janes) There were only like 10 of them made. He had us using different amps and guitars in order to get different sounds. We didn't realize how important that was, but it helped each song become more distinct."
One compromise they didn't have to make was their choice for guest pianist. Carl Sonny Leyland, himself a HighTone artist formerly with Big Sandy and renowned session player, lives just a few blocks from Dickerson. "I really wanted piano on 'Let's Drink Some Booze,'" explains Patey. "It wasn't a Jerry Lee thing I was going for. It was more like a Moon Mullican or as Deke described the song, 'It sounds like the Sparkletones walked into a bar.'" Leyland impressed the group with his honky-tonk rolling style, but the real show was yet to come. For "Snowbound," a song based on a true experience, Patey instructed Leyland, "'You just go nuts.'"
When Leyland attacked his solo with Jerry Lee Lewis-type fury the band nearly stopped playing out of awe and admiration. "We thought, 'Oh my God, look at him go!' It was really cool." Rubric is mainly a rock label, raising the question, wouldn't they have been more at home on a roots oriented label like the one Dickerson and Leyland are on?
"HighTone basically had no interest in us whatsoever," laughs Patey. "(Rubric) got us a lot more money and a lot more stuff - though it's not exactly lucrative." The Teens hope that their indie rock label will help open more doors, especially in college radio, which tends to stigmatize roots labels as too country. "The rockabilly world, as much as I love it, it's small," admits Patey, who further explains that expanding audience appeal without changing their sound is one of the band's chief priorities.
Though they have not yet garnered the big bucks, the Raging Teens have racked up memories and experiences that fill the coffers of their rockabilly souls. "We've played with a lot of bands that are heroes of ours, guys who kept the music alive." Among that number are contemporaries Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys, Ray Condo and Dickerson. The band has also basked in the reflected glory of older artists á la Lew Williams, Sonny Burgess and Billy Lee Riley. Some of those music veterans dig them right back too. Reached at their respective Arkansas homes, Sun rockabilly legends Burgess and Riley both called the band "fantastic" and praised their professionalism and showmanship.
Patey et al also have great reverence for the pioneers of New England rock'n'roll, inviting as many as they could find to their recent record release party, including 83-year old Ernie Hamil. "He played in the Gibson String Band which was the premier Western band in this area during the 1940's," says Patey. "He played guitar on a famous New England rock'n'roll record by Gene Maltais, the A-side was 'Raging Sea' and the B-side was 'Gang War.' It's considered one of the most collectable rockabilly records." With the Raging Teens backing him, Hamil played both classic tunes. "It was really emotional - I got kind of choked up just having this guy on stage."
Equally significant was the appearance of Ricky Coyne, whose "Rollin' Pin Mim" the band resurrects for the new CD. How did the lost legend of Boston rockabilly like the remake? "He loved it," says Patey with pride. "Actually, I got two really big compliments. (Coyne) told me that our version is slightly faster than his, and that was his complaint that when they recorded his, that it was a little too slow. So, he really liked that. Then, Brione Herlihy came to the show - he's like the 'boom-boom' in Freddy 'Boom-Boom' Cannon. (Herlihy) told me he was listening to the radio, and they played our version of 'Rolling Pin Mim.' He called the radio station to ask what alternate take of Ricky Coyne's song that was because he didn't have that version. He thought I was Ricky Coyne! You can't get a better compliment than that."
Timing and momentum seem to be working in their favor, but the Raging Teens won't know
exactly how much support they have until they hit start touring in May.
Moreover, extra care must be taken in setting up the band's dates as Patey's wife,
singer/songwriter and Sony/Work recording artist Mary Lou Lord, also has career demands.
According to Patey, Lord, who co-wrote the hillbilly-flavored "Lies" for the new album, is
very supportive, but "when she's got stuff she has to do because that pays the bills, I'm
like Mr. Mom, and she goes and does it."
Yet Lord's largess provides Patey with the time and financial freedom to crawl into a
van with his bandmates and tour. The disparity in the couple's paychecks is
enormous, "Ten days she's gone, and she makes more money than I can in six months."
But there was a time, in the mid-1950s, when Hall was this close to stardom: She had a recording contract (with Decca's Coral subsidiary), a starring slot on the Big "D" Jamboree housed in the once-venerable Sportatorium on Industrial Boulevard, and enough fans to have been voted among the best female country singers in more than one magazine (often, ahead of women who would become legends). More importantly, she had her own songs: Hall was among the few performers, male or female, to pen her own material, much of which even now sounds ahead of its time - these feminist anthems, these pissed-off missives about carousing husbands being told off by their indignant spouses. "You don't care about your home/You don't care about your wife," she sang in 1955, before offering the ultimate slapdown: "You're the perfect example of wasted life."
"It seemed to me that was the theme of the day," Hunt says now, laughing at the mention of all those old songs about honky-tonk husbands. "All the big writers, like Webb Pierce, they all seemed to write about that sort of thing. I wrote 'Wasted Life' because it rang a bell. I was somewhere playing a show, and I heard a girl say she was mad at the fellow she was with. She walked away and said, 'You're the perfect example of a wasted life,' and it just rang a bell. I don't know. I never thought much about it. I just wrote about different things, but it's mostly about cheating husbands. That's what country music was all about anyway. They don't do it now, because they got all those long-hair boys from Nashville changing the music altogether. It isn't all that groovy anymore."
At first listen, "Wasted Life" and so many of Hall's other songs - among them "What Else Does She Do Like Me?," "Rock Till My Baby Comes Home," "Hello Baby," and "Honky Tonk Husband," some recorded in the 1950s and others from as late as 1973 - sound like proverbial classics, something you heard forever ago on a jukebox somewhere; they carry a familiar sting and sway with a familiar swing. But don't be fooled: They're strangers to your ears, songs that have been buried away in storage for decades - lost and forgotten, especially by the woman who cut those tracks. To Hall - who once played the Jamboree on crutches after a 1955 car accident - they might as well have never existed at all.
She was reminded of their existence only recently, when she received a call from David Dennard, a man who's made a career (if not exactly a living) out of rescuing deserving, discarded musicians out of history's dustbin. Dennard began the 1990s by releasing albums by some of Dallas' best-known young bands (among them Tripping Daisy and Hagfish) on his Dragon Street Records label; he ended the century by unearthing and restoring to glory such abandoned heroes as "Groovey" Joe Poovey and Johnny Dollar. It was Dennard who also unearthed the "lost Dallas sessions" of rockabilly icon Gene Vincent, releasing them on an astonishing CD in 1998, and who last year issued The Big "D" Jamboree Live! Volumes 1 & 2, a double-disc collection of recordings made on the Big "D" Jamboree stage in the 1950s by the likes of Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Ronnie Dawson, Jerry Reed, and Wanda Jackson.
Dennard called Hall to tell her he had in his possession some recordings she'd made in 1955 at the studio of producer Jim Beck, among them "Honky Tonk Husband" and "Wasted Life," and some demos she cut in a Fort Worth home in 1957. He told her he wanted to release those songs on a CD he was planning to release titled The Gals of the Big "D" Jamboree, a companion disc to last year's two-CD release. The collection, he told her, was going to feature nothing but performances by women who had appeared on the Sportatorium stage, among them Hall, Charline Arthur, Sunshine Ruby, The Lovett Singers, Sherry Davis, and Betty Lou Lobb - all women relegated to the margins of country and rockabilly history. When Dennard phoned, Hall recalls, she was "surprised to no end."
"These are all women who were deserving of fame, but they didn't make it for who knows what reason, and they deserve recognition," says Dennard, who has become the most important figure in the preservation of this city's musical past. "They were thrilled anyone cared at this point. They couldn't believe anyone was interested anymore. They've become grandmothers and were shocked anyone would remember them, much less someone my age. And they were always flattered by how much I knew about them. They would ask me, 'Where did you find this stuff? How do you know this stuff?' I mean, I was sending them cassettes of things they hadn't heard in almost 50 years."
Unlike last year's The Big "D" Jamboree Live! collection, most of the songs on Gals of the Big "D" Jamboree weren't actually recorded on the Sportatorium stage; in fact, only a handful of the 29 were taped in front of that raucous Saturday-night audience. But that does nothing to diminish the importance of the collection: If The Big "D" Jamboree Live! served as a historical document, presenting a snapshot of that precise moment in time when country music began its obstinate struggle with that encroaching demon known as rock and roll, then The Gals of the Big "D" Jamboree exists to remind us there were so many female country and rockabilly performers whose work remains viable long after it was discarded.
"Show business is so mercurial," says Dennard, who assembled the collection from recordings he discovered at the Library of Congress and in the archives of Ed McLemore, who ran the Big "D" Jamboree and managed so many of the artists who performed there. "You get a talent like Helen Hall. Why didn't she make it? Is it because of her car accident? Wrong place, wrong time? I just don't know. For every star, there are 10 people who didn't make it who are just as good. There's such legacy of good music here, and I didn't think [the fact they've been forgotten] was a good enough reason to let their music disappear."
Of the 11 artists found on the collection, only one's been remembered by history: Henrietta-born Charline Arthur, who joined the Jamboree in 1952, recorded for RCA Records from 1953 till 1956 (thanks to some help from Colonel Tom Parker, no less), and kept trying to make records until the mid-1970s. Hers is one of the most fascinating tales in Texas music history, and among the least-told; that she died in 1987, living in anonymous squalor, ensured she would remain a legend, if only because it would later become so hard to distinguish facts from fictions by those who recounted her story. That she was the only woman to play the Jamboree in slacks, that she took photographs with cigarettes dangling from her fingertips, only made her more mythical.
She was born to a Pentecostal preacher, bought her first guitar when she was 7, and wrote her first honky-tonk tune when she was all of 12. When she was about 20, in the late 1940s, she began playing clubs across the state, landing in Kermit to take a job as a radio DJ. When Eddy Arnold and Parker heard her perform, they managed to land her a record deal with RCA, and when she started cutting tracks for the label in 1953, she was produced by Chet Atkins. Though she performed on the Grand Ole Opry, she and Nashville were hardly a perfect fit: The stodgy gatekeepers of country had little patience for her temper and overt sexuality. She fared better at the Jamboree: "Texans," Dennard reminds, "really like to party, and the Big 'D' was a lot less hesitant about letting women do their own thing than the other uptight venues."
Arthur became close friends with Hall, so much so the two began writing and recording together; in 1957, Arthur went into her mobile home in Dallas and cut a version of Hall's "Hello Baby" that appears on the Gals collection. Like so many of the songs on the disc, it straddles country and rockabilly: Arthur sneers that she'll be a "slave to your love"; she roars over a twanging guitar and flat, four-four beat. It's sexy but only from a distance; there's something about Arthur that even then seemed a little dangerous - as though getting mixed up with her might become more trouble than it was worth.
"She was sort of a country music Janis Joplin," Hall says of her old friend. "She might have been like that, just a real rebel. But it led to her undoing."
In 1957, RCA dropped Arthur when she proved too commercially unviable; at the same time, she also divorced her husband Jack, who had been her bassist. She moved around, from Utah to Idaho to California, and kept recording for small labels, but nothing ever came of it. She wound up broke and, according to some stories, addicted to drugs (she suffered from debilitating arthritis). In 1986, Bear Family, a German label devoted to reissuing the works of unsung heroes of country and rock and roll, released a collection of her material, Welcome to the Club; a year later, Arthur died penniless and, from all accounts, utterly alone. "She is," Dennard says, "a tragic heroine."
In the end, what makes something like The Gals of the Big "D" Jamboree so intoxicating isn't just the music but the lost tales these women tell - of sharing stages with the likes of Johnny Cash and Johnny Horton, of playing with the Light Crust Doughboys, and of sacrificing their careers for their families. That, more than anything else, is why so many of these women have vanished from the history books: More often than not, they willingly settled down, had children, and left behind the hellish life of the touring bus.
That's the very reason Sherry Davis gives for quitting the show-business life in 1971 - despite the fact she once recorded with Buddy Holly and the Crickets, toured Texas with Elvis Presley, and performed in Las Vegas for several years with Esquivel, whose music would, in the 1990s, become the soundtrack for would-be hipsters living in their space-age bachelor pads.
Davis is represented on The Gals by five songs, most of which she barely remembers recording. Of the hell-raising "Bop City," cut in a Dallas studio in 1957, she will only say that it's "something I don't even remember doing." But she very clearly recalls recording "Broken Promises" in July 1957; no amount of distance can fog the memory of making music with Buddy Holly in Clovis, New Mexico, a mere two months after Holly cut "That'll Be the Day" in the same studio.
"This was before Buddy Holly became famous," says Davis, better known to fans of her long-running Las Vegas act as "Della Lee." "Buddy was crashing there at the little apartment in back of Norman Petty's studio, so when Norman Petty asked him and the Crickets if they'd mind backing me, they said no, they didn't mind. I didn't know it was Buddy Holly. I met him, and we all had a long conversation over dinner, so when he became famous, I realized this was the group that backed me. But my manager would not release 'Broken Promises' without the publishing rights, and none of the major record companies wanted to give us the publishing rights, because that's where they made their money. It was two years before my manager found a small company that agreed to let him have the publishing, and by then I had moved on and didn't have any interest in it whatsoever."
Three months after recording with Holly, Ed McLemore persuaded Davis to do a short tour of Texas with Presley, and she recalls the trip with mixed emotions: She was thrilled to perform with Elvis, but it wasn't easy being one of the only God-fearing Christians among so many rock-and-roll heathens. But it would always be like that for Davis, who moved to Cocoa Beach, Florida, in 1962 to entertain the Mercury astronauts - she recalls that John Glenn asked her to perform "Around the World" upon his return from outer space - and then wound up in Las Vegas to sing with Esquivel. (She appears on but one recording: "Malaguena Salerosa" on 1967's The Genius of Esquivel.)
She quit show business completely in 1971, when she had a daughter after years of being told she'd never be able to have children. For years, Davis never let her girl out of her sight, refusing even to leave her with baby sitters to go out to dinner. She now lives back in Dallas, known as Della Lee to her closest, churchgoing friends. No one's called her Sherry Davis in a long, long time.
But even though she's quick to denounce rock and roll as "squalling and screaming" made by those with "long hair and no dignity and no quality," Davis is a bit thrilled about having these old recordings out there, even something as bawdy and brash as "Bop City." If nothing else, people will be able to hear the pride she took back then - the quality of her craft, as she likes to say. And there is no crime in wanting to be remembered.
"It would be very nice to know that people can hear the quality I worked so hard for - the study, the hard work," she says. "If they appreciate it, it would be great to know that, but I don't sing like that anymore, because I haven't sung like that in years. The voice is like any instrument: If you don't use it, you lose it. I will be excited if people get excited about it, but I don't know what I could do about it, except enjoy it and be grateful someone has done all this stuff." She chuckles softly. "I can't believe those records were ever made at all."
VISIT THE DRAGON STREET RECORDS WEBSITE.
Featuring an all-star lineup of singers from the golden age of rock and roll, the "Legends for Charity" concert benefits the Sunshine Kids, a support group for children with cancer, and the Gretna Food Bank. Past concerts have featured a coterie of artists who had hit recordings in the 1950s and 1960s, including Ford himself whose 1959 smash, "Sea Cruise," has been described as "one of the defining songs of early rock and roll."
The lineup for the rescheduled, two-day event includes most of the same performers who participated in the 1999 benefit and agreed to return for the benefit that was postponed last year. They include Dale & Grace, the Dixie Cups, Jean Knight, Troy Shondell, the Big Bopper, Jr., Johnny Preston, Jimmy Elledge, Irma Thomas, Barbara Bennett, Rockin' Dopsie, Jr. and Mason McClain, in addition to Ford and his New Orleans Dynamo Band. Other local bands slated to appear include Chris Klein and the Boulevards, the Ole Man River Band, Amy Adams and the Hank Sinatras and many other great artists still to be confirmed. All artists appearances are subject to availability and scheduling. A more detailed schedule will be announced as the event date draws closer.
Also, "Cruise Night" will be part of the fun and entertainment, featuring dozens of "hot cars" and motorcycles. Vintage restored autos from the '50s and '60s (and some even older) will again be displayed in the parking lot outside Zephyr Stadium, along with racing roadsters, "funny cars," custom trucks and just about anything else that moves on two or four wheels.
Frankie Ford, "The New Orleans Dynamo," has enjoyed a stellar performing career for more than forty years - ever since "Sea Cruise" rocketed into the top 20 on both the pop and R&B charts. The popular expression, "Oooh Wee Baby," came out of that record and Ford's wailing vocals, backed by Robert Parker's rollicking tenor sax and Huey "Piano" Smith's keyboard artistry, combined to make "Sea Cruise" an all-time R&R classic. He was only 19 years old at the time and his hit status earned him marquee billing with legendary deejay Alan Freed's rock and roll shows in New York.
Some of Ford's other hits on the old Ace and Imperial labels include "Last One to Cry," "Alimony," "Time After Time," "Chinatown," and a fine cover version of Joe Jones' only hit, "You Talk Too Much." Following a three-year hitch in the military in the early '60s, Ford's career took a downturn due to the "British invasion," but a cameo appearance in the movie American Hot Wax (loosely based on Freed's controversial career) revived his popularity. He now tours nationally and internationally more than 180 days each year, singing his old hits like "Sea Cruise" while accompanying his backup band on piano. Ford also mixes some more recent, original tunes into the repertoire of his live performances and he is a musical entrepreneur, as well. Along with his manager, Ken Keene, he owns and manages Briarmede Records and a music publishing company that controls the rights to a number of popular songs.
Johnny Preston, who hit the charts with the top-selling novelty song "Running Bear" in the fall of 1959, was a protŽgŽe of the late J.P. Richardson - better known to the rock and roll world as "The Big Bopper." Richardson, a disc jockey in Beaumont, Texas, adjacent to Preston's hometown of Port Arthur, also had a novelty hit record a year earlier, titled "Chantilly Lace," and he wrote the lyrics for "Running Bear." He steered Preston to a contract with Mercury records but, unfortunately, he never lived to bask in Preston's success. He died in the same plane crash that killed Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens on February 3, 1959.
Today, Richardson's son, "The Big Bopper, Jr.," carries on the "Bopper" legacy, belting out his father's immortal signature line, "Ooooh baby, that's-a what I like!" from "Chantilly Lace" and other hits like "Little Red Riding Hood" and "The Big Bopper's Wedding."
Troy Shondell had a top-seller with "This Time (We're Really Breaking Up)" in the fall of 1961 and Jimmy Elledge hit paydirt with "Funny How Time Slips Away" the same season. Dale & Grace topped the charts in 1963 with "I'm Leaving It Up To You" on Sam Montel's eponymous Baton Rouge-based label and Jean Knight scored big twice in the 1970s and 1980s with "Mr. Big Stuff" and Rockin' Sidney's "(Don't Mess With) My Toot-Toot."
The Dixie Cups, a New Orleans female singing quartet, had a number one song, "Chapel of Love," in 1964 and followed it up with "People Say" and "Iko Iko."Irma Thomas, nicknamed "The Blues Queen of New Orleans," is a local icon who puts together a dynamic show everytime she performs. Barbara Bennett, popularly known as "The Toast of Pat O'Brien's," has been the featured pianist and chanteuse in the world's most famous bar for many years. Mason McClain is a recording artist on the Digi-Tek label.
Admission to the "Legends for Charity" concert is $10 for each day or $15 for
both. A donation of canned or packaged goods for the Gretna Food Bank is also
requested. For more information call Gene LeBlanc at 738-7190, Henry LaFrance
at 737-6964 or George Verret at 738-9512. Information is also posted on
Ford's website, www.frankieford.com
She was the "Queen of the Cowgirls" to Rogers, the "King of the Cowboys." She rode her horse, Buttermilk, beside him on his celebrated palomino, Trigger. The first movie she made with Rogers, already an established singing cowboy star, was "Cowboy and the Senorita" in 1944. They married in 1947, and together appeared in 35 movies, including such Saturday afternoon favorites as "My Pal Trigger," "Apache Rose" and "Don't Fence Me In."
When the B Western faded in the early 1950s, they began their television career. "The Roy Rogers Show" ran from 1951 to 1957; later incarnations included "The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Show," 1962, and "Happy Trails Theatre," 1986-89, a show of repackaged Rogers and Evans movies on cable TV's Nashville Network.
In 1951, she co-wrote "Happy Trails," which became their theme. She also wrote the 1955 gospel music standard "The Bible Tells Me So," with the refrain, "how do I know? the Bible tells me so." She and Rogers recorded more than 400 songs. Their most recent album was "Many Happy Trails," recorded in Nashville in 1985. Rogers died in July 1998 at age 86. In a statement, Evans remembered him as "a wonderful human being. What a blessing to have shared my life together with him for almost 51 years. To say I will miss him is a gross understatement. He was truly the king of the cowboys in my life."
Through her life, she was active in Christian evangelism, which she called "the most meaningful, the most enjoyable part of my life." She wrote more than 20 books, including the best-selling "Angel Unaware," a poignant account of their daughter, Robin, the only child born to the couple. Robin, who was retarded, died of complications from the mumps shortly before her second birthday in 1952. It wasn't the couple's only taste of tragedy. Korean-born Debbie, one of the couple's adopted children, was killed with seven others in a 1964 church bus crash; the following year, their adopted son John choked to death while serving in the Army in Germany.
"In the Bible, it doesn't say you're going to get by without having troubles," Rogers once said. The couple also adopted another daughter and raised a daughter by foster parenthood. In addition, Evans had a son by a previous marriage, and Rogers had a son and two daughters, one of them adopted, with his first wife, Arline. She had died in 1946, shortly after giving birth to Roy Jr. Evans was born Frances Octavia Smith on Oct. 31, 1912, in Uvalde, Texas. When she was a girl her family moved to Osceola, Ark., where she attended high school.
She was working as a secretary in Chicago when she tried to launch a show business career, she recalled in the 1984 interview. "I wanted to get a foothold in radio, but I couldn't get a job," she said. "Finally I succeeded in Memphis, then I got jobs in Louisville and Dallas before going back to Chicago."
>From local radio singing jobs, she worked up to national radio, signing on in 1940 as a singer on a weekly CBS radio show "News and Rhythm." Shortly afterward, she started working in Hollywood, appearing in films such as "Orchestra Wives" and "Swing Your Partner."
She said she felt sorry from some of today's rock stars: "They are
overnight successes making unbelievable amounts of money. They're like meteors,
shooting up and then falling just as fast. People like Bob Hope, Jack
Benny, Roy and me, we paid our dues. We've known the hard times and the good,
and we appreciate what we've got."
Tribute To Dale Evans
Condolences may be sent to Dusty and Family at: Queen_Of_The_West@royrogers.com
The first half of the show featured
highlights from Elvis late '60's and '70's period. Songs performed included
"In The Ghetto" and "Just Pretend." Around about the middle of the show,
three former members of his backing group The Imperials sang, "He Touched
Me," an Elvis gospel favorite. It was after this song, though, that the
night's only technical glitch appeared. This selection segued into Elvis
singing "How Great Thou Art," but his vocals for the first few lines of the
song were lost, forcing the musicians to mark time for a few minutes while
this was fixed. After the break, the female backing group Sweet Inspirations
sang the song that originally won them their job in Presley's entourage,
also called "Sweet Inspiration."
Throughout the night, this quartet added
lively body language and soulful singing to the concert. Much of the last
half of the show was comprised of Elvis hits from the '50's, including
"Heartbreak Hotel" and "Hound Dog." This segment also featured Elvis doing
"Love Me Tender," where the he did more kissing of female audience members
than actual singing. Still, it was fun to watch as these female fans almost
fainted at his touch. Elvis concluded by singing "Can't Help Falling In
Love," before Jim Murray of The Imperials jokingly proclaimed, "Elvis has
left the building." He probably should have said, "Elvis' image has left the
video screen," but why quibble. Some might wrongly call this touring package
capitalism at its worst, but think of it as watching an Elvis concert movie
on a massive drive in screen, with the best damned stereo system in the
world for the soundtrack. (courtesy: Country Standard Time)
The Journal of Country Music is published three times a year by
the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The magazine is in its 29th year of publication
and is heralded by Dave Marsh as the "best-written and best-edited journal about
any form of popular music." The JCM is offered through subscription, or you may
find it on newsstands and in finer bookstores nationwide. Back issues are available by mail
order. For an index of articles printed from the magazines inception through 1995, see
The Country Reader: Twenty-Five Years of the Journal of Country Music.
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There was much to dig about the nearly two-hour set from the five rockabilly road dogs who put a spit-shine on their live shows by playing for years at Robert's Western Wear in Nashville, Tenn. While mainstream success has eluded BR5-49 - "too country for country," they say - the Grammy-nominated mavericks have found a following with their rip-roarin' road gigs. Wednesday's crowd was only 200-plus, but its amazing diversity - cowboy boots/combat boots, ponytails/rooster tails, chains on wallets/chains in noses - was a nod to the band's impossible-to-label sound. Rockabilly? Texas swing? Punk? Honky-tonk? Rock? All of the above, and then some. Lead vocalist Chuck Mead wailed with Elvis-like intensity and attitude on "Cracker Jack" and the band's more rowdy numbers, while fellow lead vocalist Gary Bennett opened up his distinct whine on "Six Days on the Road" and slower songs.
You have to love a pair of vocalists who can have as much fun as the crowd with
lyrics like these: "There's a bone stickin' out of your hip. There's a
mustache on your dainty lip. Oh darlin', little maiden, you're a hum-dinger."
Don Herron made easy work of any instrument within hand's reach - mandolin, fiddle and especially
steel guitar. Toss in McDowell and the beat-keeping "Hawk" Shaw Wilson and the jamming got
serious enough to bring on a hoe-down hangover.
It's no wonder actress Kate Hudson and Black Crowes lead singer Chris Robinson asked
these guys to play their private wedding ceremony on New Year's Eve. They're like a party
in a bus. The next time they pull into town with their little gig that could, be there.
The Cramps made their debut in 1976 at the legendary punk rock club CBGB's in New York. Gregory was known for his wild antics on stage and his distinctive black hair with a lock of white hanging over his eye. "He was into feedback," friend Andrella Christopher said of Gregory's musical style. "He loved making the most obnoxious sound he could get out of that guitar."
The band released two albums, "Gravest Hits" in 1979 and "Songs the Lord Taught Us" in 1980. Although Gregory left the group in 1980, band members Lux Interior and Poison Ivy continued to perform as The Cramps. Gregory also appeared with other Cramps members as "punk thugs" in the 1978 film "The Foreigner."
After leaving The Cramps, Gregory performed with the band Beast from 1980 to
1984, and with The Dials from 1992 to 1995. He had recently formed a new
band called Shiver, Christopher said. Gregory is survived by a daughter,
Tracy Ellis, and a sister, Pam Beckerleg, both of Michigan.