Sunday, October 30, 2011

Lloyd Price's "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" features Fats Domino on piano


The great Lloyd Price sat down with The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame to talk about "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" and how the song came about in 1952.  When he recorded the single for Specialty Records, he didn't have a band so the best players in New Orleans were used.  This included Fats Domino on piano!  It's been covered by artists like Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Paul McCartney, The Hollies and many more...including Fats himself.  Here's Lloyd discussing this song...






Friday, October 28, 2011

At a Liverpool record store in 1961, a fan asks the store clerk, Brian Epstein, for "My Bonnie"


Legend has it that a young fan named Raymond Jones walked in to North End Road Music Store looking for "My Bonnie" by The Beatles.  Actually, it was Tony Sheridan with "The Beat Brothers".  The Beatles were Tony's back-up band on these recordings and it was only released in Germany.  Brian Epstein was a clerk at the store and told Raymond they didn't have it.  When another person asked for it, he ordered it and then went to check the band out.  Some have claimed that he had to have heard of them before because he wrote a column in Mersey Beat.  Whether he had heard of them or not, the questions about the single made him go check out the band at the Cavern Club which was a short walk from the store.  Brian of course went on to be their manager.

Here's "My Bonnie" in it's original form...


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wilbert Harrison dies this day in 1994


Wilbert Harrison dies this day in 1994 at the age of 65.  His biggest hits "Kansas City" (1959) and "Let's Work Together" (1969) came 10 years apart but he toured regularly until the time of his death.  The Beatles covered "Kansas City" on their Beatles For Sale LP.  Several others covered "Kansas City" including Little Richard, Dion, Albert King, Muddy Waters, Wanda Jackson and Brenda Lee. Canned Heat had a hit with "Let's Work Together" in 1970 on their Future Blues LP.  The Kentucky Headhunters also covered it for the movie soundtrack of Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man.  Here's the originals and fun covers to enjoy...

"Kansas City"

"Let's Work Together"

The Beatles- "Kansas City"

Little Richard- "Kansas City"

Canned Heat- "Let's Work Together"

The Kentucky Headhunters- "Let's Work Together"




Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dion's "Runaround Sue" tops charts in 1961

"Runaround Sue" 45 single picture sleeve

Runaround Sue album
Dion's "Runaround Sue" hit the top of the charts this day in 1961.  It marked his first solo hit shortly after the split with the Belmonts.  The album of the same name also contained another signature song of his called "The Wanderer".  Here's some video footage of Dion doing this #1 smash...








Saturday, October 22, 2011

Kim Wilson on Thunderbirds, Blues, Slash and Radio Labotomy


Kim Wilson
When you speak with Kim Wilson these days you hear him speak with a joy over his life, music, choices to change for the better, etc.  I talked with him about his days even before starting the Fabulous Thunderbirds with Jimmie Vaughan in 1974.  Before then he was tutored by such Blues greats as Muddy Waters, Jimmie Rogers, Luther Tucker and others.  His music career has been fascinating and it doesn't look like he's going to slow down any time soon!

When you and Jimmie Vaughan started the Fabulous Thunderbirds, you were really more of a straight up blues band.  The sound has evolved over time to include Soul, Rock, Cajun, and other influences.  What led to this evolution?
When I first heard that first James Cotton record and he was doing “Knock On Wood”, Little Walter and Sonny Boy with Blues & Soul songs all on the same record.  I thought “gee…that’s where I was going when I was a kid”.  I decided why not do everything I like.  A lot of it has to do with knowing the material you have an affinity for and going in that direction.  You can’t help but have your own voice.  You really can’t sing like other people anyway.  It’s impossible to imitate people.  You can play the notes…you can sing the notes…but it’s impossible to do it.  Once you get that in your mind and start deliberately having your take on things, it wasn’t difficult to take off in that direction.  Everything is improvised at the same time.  As long as you have the juice of the old stuff in you…the Blues stuff, the Rock & Roll stuff, the Soul stuff…it’s basically just spilling your guts.  Some people call it sincerity.   If you have that in you, you’re on your way to doing something with it.

So that’s really your main influences then…the early Blues and Soul?
It is for me personally.  I think a lot of the directions I go in, the Fabulous Thunderbirds don’t even encompass.  It’s just my own personal take on music and whatever vehicle I have at the time to express whatever desire I have at that particular moment.  It’s also a learning process.  To get respectable as a vocalist in those genres of music is a really tall order.  I think that’s why the standard has sunk so low over the years.  It’s because a lot of white people have picked up this music and realized “Wow…this isn’t really easy to do”.  That’s the only way to satisfy yourself.  Otherwise it’s just a hobby unless you’re serious about competing with the old stuff and then standing up to that.  There are a few great performances by people since the mid sixties.  But really it’s based on an era when everyone could play and everyone can sing.  You just kind of stay in your own world and be respectable within the world you want to be in.

Tell me about the label you started called Blue Collar Music.
Well, it didn’t last long.  On paper it looked good.  I think I was trying to gather up all the people that could play.  A lot of them were already around me.  Once you get a label, you gain new respect for the labels you were bad-mouthing in the past (laughs).  There are certainly good reasons to bad mouth some of them.  They’re the only ones who know where your money is going.  In my case, we were dealing with people that most of the time didn’t know what the hell we were doing.  It was very difficult to do business with the label unless you went into that contemporary area.  Blues labels are sometimes hit or miss.  There’s always somebody on a blues label and you scratch your head and wonder “why is that person on a label?”  But it was a cool experiment.  We had some great sessions come out of it and that really stood out.  I had over 120 tracks from that period.  I think people are looking for a box-set of that stuff.  It’s really great sounding.  It’s direct to mono analog…no overdubs…none of that stuff.  A lot of people say it’s my best work.  I know that’s not true, however, it’s great documentation of that time period.  The musicians are stellar on that group of sessions.  You’re talking about my personal evolution based on the people around me.  Those people are just excellent musicians.  They’re standouts. 

How does it make you feel when you hear a quote from Muddy Waters calling you “the greatest harmonica player since Little Walter”?
How do you think it makes me feel?  I compare it to that scene in Raging Bull…”Look at me.  And look at you.  And look at me.  And look at you”.  It didn’t matter what Muddy said, it was the greatest thing I’d heard in my life.  The stories I could tell and the conversations I had with them and the daily interaction with legends….gods….that was incredible.  I couldn’t get my head full of it.  I knew he was wrong but it made me want to be what he said.  There was no way in the world that was true at the time.  I had the tools but I just needed to develop it and hone it.  When you’re not knocking off records and it’s not a cookie cutter thing, it takes a lifetime to develop what you do.  You can have potential, which I did.  There was a foggy period of the whole substance abuse era and the only thing that saved me was that I was on the stage for so many nights a year and developed when music was the last thing I was concentrating on.  When all that stopped almost 25 years ago, that’s when the real development started.  I was able to clean house.  I was able to exercise my demons both chemically and personally.  It really made a difference for me.  I was around all people that respected me and it just so happened those were people I respected.  It was an awesome place to be.  There comes a time when you have to make that decision.  A little while longer and you might as well just keep going.

Unfortunately a lot of people do keep going.
Unfortunately a lot of people do.  I never did the AA thing…I never did the rehab thing.  I never did any of that stuff.  Sometimes you can address it your whole life and never fix it.  You do become slightly religious.  You can sit back and count your blessings that you’re able to progress to that level and play at that level.  It’s a lifetime thing.

The band has done so many great covers over the years including “Diddy Wah Diddy”, “Rich Woman”, “Scratch My Back”, “Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line”, “Wrap It Up”, etc.  Is it pretty random how these come about?
It’s pretty much random.  You put your iTunes on “ramble”.  James Cotton calls the shuffle putting it on “ramble” (laughs).  You just do whatever you’re doing around the house and something comes up and you run over to the computer to see what it is.  There are  so many killer covers that are so off the beaten path that are just bad-ass.  There’s just a never ending supply of them.  If you have those Stompin’ compilations…Chicken Shack Boogie…there’s volumes and volumes of this stuff.  If you go deep into the Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry or Stax catalogs, you’re going to find something that at least influences you even if you don’t cover it.  There are little things to steal here or there.  That’s the beauty about traditional music is that you don’t become influenced by one particular thing.  You might have your favorites but it’s all processed into your memory banks.  It’s all beautiful.  It makes it really easy to become yourself.  It’s impossible to dwell on one or two people.  There’s so much good stuff there.  Lee “Shot” Williams…how about him?  Or Jesse Thomas?  Or Cecil Gant?  You listen for enjoyment but you’re constantly soaking it up.  I’ve been getting on this Specialty Records kick…Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers.  I could listen to that every day and I have been.  What about Julius Cheeks?  Oh my God!  Of course don’t even try to emulate these people.  At the same time you become influenced and certain things hit you.  There are certain technical things you pick up and you can apply.  Your technique is constantly changing…instrumentally and vocally.  I can tell that guy is singing that way and using naturally that thing that I’m working on.  It’s pretty interesting.

What have been some of the more memorable experiences touring with other artists over the years?
The Rockpile guys were a great band.  It’s where we got our producers.  Live they were incredible.  Dave Edmunds got me on that thing with Dion.  The band was great.  Steve Cropper, Phil Chen, Terry Williams, Dave Charles, the horns.  That was a really cool gig.  The Clapton tour...Bob Seger…really cool tours.  That was at the tail-end of me being out of it.  Some of those things you wish you had back now.  The tours with B.B. (King), Buddy Guy and Dr. John were a lot of fun.  There was a tour we did at the end of the 80’s called Antone’s West.  We had Albert Collins, James Cotton, Mel Brown, Jimmy Rogers, Luther Tucker and a few more.  That was my idea.  It was a really fun thing.  That’s something you’re never going to see again and we knew it at the time.  It was very special.  There are just so many moments.  When you look at your moments, it’s like looking at a snapshot.  I don’t need any more snapshots of myself.  I like to dwell on the snapshots of other people.  Some are feature films! (laughs)

You have always toured a lot…whether it’s with The Fabulous Thunderbirds or with Kim Wilson’s Blues Revue.  Is it a different mindset with those?
No.  The thing is the Thunderbirds are on the same page.  We’ve come full circle in a lot of ways.  There’s a lot more blues in our set now.  Whenever we want to do it we do it.  We still have this hybrid thing in mind.  Originally it was based on moving in a contemporary market.   It really is just doing what you like.

You’ve been a guest on so many projects with people like Bonnie Raitt, Eric Clapton, Paul Burlison and others.
I just did Kid Rock last year.  I worked with Rafael Saadiq on Austin City Limits which was killer.  What a great artist he is. 

Is it a different mindset to go in as a guest on an album for someone else as opposed to one of your own?
Not really.  It really is an honor for these people to call you.  Sometimes it’s people that you don’t even know that know you exist.  There’s not much pressure.  Very few are taskmasters.  They just want you to come in and do your thing.  They respect what you do.  They bring you in for the way you played on that other record.  They know me well enough to know that it will be totally different every time I go anywhere.  There is some role playing as far as what part you are.  When I come in, I have an open mind on the role I’m going to be playing.  Am I going to be the main lyricist?  Am I going to just go with the flow and fill in?  It makes other people a lot more comfortable and not acting like a bad-ass and just ready to harmonize in any way you can.  I’ve been on hundreds of things and people still keep calling me,  so that’s a great thing (laughs).

My 11 year old son loves you guys and had a question after hearing the line from Tuff Enuff where you say “I’d work 24 hours, 7 days a week/Just so I could come home and kiss your cheek”.  He wondered how you would have the time to come to kiss her cheek if you were working that much.
(laughs) Well, that’s a great question.  I guess it says it makes you “want” to not that you “will” do it.  That’s a good point.  That kid has a mind like a steel trap!

The new band and self-titled album has a raw but tight band sound.  These songs have to be fun to play live.
The Fabulous Thunderbirds
You go through so many records where if they don’t hear it on the radio it doesn’t go over.  A big thing for me now is doing songs that will go over live easily and appeal to live audiences.  If you go back to a Louis Jordan concept, he would try songs out on an audience before he recorded them.  That’s kind of what we’re doing these days.  I think this record now is going to be revamped and officially released on a label.  A lot of people don’t know it exists.  It never got officially released.  We’ve got several more tracks to put on there.  We’ll probably keep some of it and lose some of it.  It’ll basically be a whole new record.  You can mess with as much as you want when you own it yourself.  When it goes to a label then the label will own it.  Even if it’s a long term lease, there’s a lease in place.  Even if it’s ten years at least you get your masters back.  You don’t have to deal with the stereotypical record labels that have put themselves out of business.  They painted themselves into a corner they can’t get out of.   A lot of it is fairytale music not geared to adults.  It’s geared to children.  The analogy is for me when I was a little kid.  My mother gave me one of those cheap little record players you could get anywhere back in the 50’s and there were those little Mother Goose records.  Now those are hit records.  People enjoy no substance.  They don’t want to make the emotional investment in a musical performance.  I think this is why this American Idol thing is so successful.  Because people are on the tube, they have to make an investment in the people they are voting for.  It’s genius.  I’m not saying it’s a great concept …it’s an awful concept because it helped destroy everything.  However, it’s a genius concept in the fact it’s more like a drug to people.  They pick a person they want to root for and it becomes their person…their kind of pet.  It’s based on everything traditional without the talent.  That’s the way that goes.  In general, when it comes to the record industry and radio and what people surround themselves with, they don’t like to have the hair stand up on the back of their necks like when you hear a Solomon Burke song or anything on Chess Records.  They don’t want that feeling.  They’ve been slapped into their cubicle and have been fed this stuff piped into them.  It’s like a lobotomy coming out of a speaker. (laughs)  I think with the demise of the record industry, you’re in control of your destiny. 

Anyone you’re a fan of currently?
I’m kind of a fan of Slash.  I never bought the band Guns N Roses but I liked him.  I’d be thumbing through the TV and he’d be on there.  I thought “I like this guy”.  He’s got great tone.  He’s really doing something here.  I’ve followed him a bit.  This latest band he’s had, he had some really good rock singers in that band.  That was a legitimate outfit.  I would enjoy working with someone like Slash.  I like the guys from AC/DC.  I like Malcolm (Young).  I like the author of the blues chords.  And by the way we have the same birthday (January 6th).  We’re both blues freaks.  It would be great to get a couple of these guys in the studio and see what happens.

What does the new year look like for you?
It’s wide open.  Hopefully, there will be a new release…maybe 2 or 3 new releases.  It’s just onward and upward.  I’ve got a great bunch of guys playing.  I’ve got the Moeller brothers on guitar (Johnny) and drums (Jay).  I’ve got Randy Bermudes on bass.  I’ve got Mike Heller on guitar.  I had Mike Finnigan play with me up in Ventura recently which was a great addition on organ and piano.  I can see things catching on with this band.  Hopefully it’s an example of the era of the player.  


The Fabulous Thunderbirds EPK

The Fabulous Thunderbirds live from JazzFest 2011

Kim Wilson- "Lookin' For Trouble"

The Fabulous Thunderbirds- "Tuff Enuff" 1986

The Fabulous Thunderbirds- "She's Tuff"

The Fabulous Thunderbirds- "The Crawl" (w/ guest guitars by Stevie Ray Vaughan)




Monday, October 17, 2011

Billboard 1960 reports Dion & The Belmonts are splitting

Billboard's report from this day in 1960 states that Dion & The Belmonts were splitting.  The group had enjoyed such hits as "I Wonder Why", "Where Or When", "Teenager In Love", "No One Knows" and many others.  They were part of the Winter Dance Party in 1959 when a plane crash tragically took the lives of fellow headliners Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper (J.P. Richardson).  You can see them on stage on a date from that tour with a young Waylon Jennings playing bass (far left):
After the split, Dion went on to such solo hits as "The Wanderer", "Runaround Sue", "Ruby Baby" and more.  The group did reunite for the 1966 album Together Again as well as the 1972 Live From Madison Square Garden album.  Enjoy some great footage of their hits below:

"I Wonder Why"

"A Teenager In Love"





Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Kentucky Headhunters mix blues, rockabilly, soul and more


Keeping things authentic, loud and fun are the best ways to describe The Kentucky Headhunters. They formed in 1986 but several members played together as far back as 1968 when they formed the band Itchy Brother. I had a chance to ask Greg Martin about some of his earliest influences, touring non-stop, side projects and so much more...including being on the other side of the microphone as host of his own radio show for the past 10 years.
Greg Martin

You guys really ushered in a new country/rock/blues sound in the late 80's that sort of kicked off a lot of what we hear on the radio today. Recent albums have continued this great sound and maybe even more blues influenced but also a bit under the country radio radar. "Great Acoustics" (available now on iTunes) is the first single from your upcoming album, Dixie Lullabies (releasing October 18th), and feels a bit more country radio friendly. Was that done intentionally or did that just happen naturally?
Our roots are Rock N' Roll, through that we discovered Blues, R&B, and some Jazz. Of course, growing up in Kentucky in the 50's, 60's and 70's, you couldn't escape Country Music. Even the larger Rock AM stations in Louisville, WKLO & WAKY, would play Johnny Cash, Buck Owens, Eddie Arnold alongside The Beatles & Rolling Stones. You got to love that kind of radio programming. It was all about the music. Our old band, Itchy Brother, was a stone Rock n' Roll band in the sense of Led Zeppelin, lots of heavy Blues/Rock. With that said, being rural people with big city aspirations, we always had our own sound and did things our own way. When The Headhunters were formed in 1986, it was at a time we were studying Blues, R&B and Rock-A-Billy. We were students. We also embraced "real" Country Music; it had soul. When Pickin' On Nashville was released in 1989, the grounds were fertile for a roots revival. Steve Earl was making waves in Nashville, and the Georgia Satellites were busting out of Atlanta, a music scene we'd always admired from our youth. I can't say that the new LP was intentionally done for country radio; we just did what we normally do. We hole up in the practice house, write some tunes and make a CD. It's a natural process. We just throw it out there and hope it sticks to the wall.


The band has always toured extensively over the years. Have you seen new generations of fans discovering your music?
Touring has been our bread and butter from day one. Touring and video broke the band in the early 90's when radio wouldn't embrace us. We kept on playing live, and continue to play around 75 dates a year. Playing livemakes a band real to the fans'. You can't fake it in front of them, they know the deal. It is cool after 21 years to see grandparents, parents, and children in the crowd grooving together. It's just amazing. We've noticed a lot of young children are in the front row at many shows these days and we must look like the Muppets or something. In a nutshell, we are very lucky guys to still have a fan base and it continues to expand.


How have the new tracks gone over live?
The audiences have embraced the new tunes very well. The new songs are fun to play and the fans can sense when we're into it and not phoning in our parts.


Anyone that really digs into your catalog and sees you guys live knows how much the band digs into its musical roots....rock, country, soul, rockabilly, blues, etc. Who are your early musical influences?
I can say collectively, The Beatles would be our biggest influence. Of course Elvis, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Jeff Beck, Cream, B.B. King, Albert King, Freddy King, Muddy Waters, Jimi Hendrix, Moby Grape, NRBQ, Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Sonny Boy Williamson, Howlin' Wolf all made an impact in our musical maturation. Personally speaking, The Beach Boys, The Lovin' Spoonful, Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac, early ZZ Top, Robert Johnson, Chet Atkins, Merle Travis, The Byrds, Gram Parsons, John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, Johnny Cash, Johnny Burnett & The Rock N' Roll Trio, Gene Vincent with CliffGallup, Buffalo Springfield and Bob Dylan all made an impression on me. My list of inspirations could go on forever.


You've toured with and played live with some music icons like Hank Jr., Carl Perkins, Johnnie Johnson (pianist on all the great early Chuck Berry tunes) and so many more. You've even filled in on guitar for Lynyrd Skynyrd on tour. Have there been some moments that really stand out to you?

I've been very blessed over the years. Music has taken me places I only dreamed about in my youth. Playing with Johnnie Johnson has been a highlight for the guys and me. Playing with Johnnie made men out of us. Personally speaking, there's been so many great moments...jamming with Danny Gatton, jamming with Billy Gibbons in a dressing room, jamming with Ronnie Montrose, Brian Setzer, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Warren Haynes, James Burton, Scotty Moore, The Lovin' Spoonful, RL Burnside, Sonny Landreth, Jack Pearson, Jimmy Hall, Sam Bush & New Grass Revival and others.


You're never one to have too much free time on your hands as you also have side projects like the gospel-blues band The Mighty Jeremiahs and a heavier rock band Rufus Huff. What are you planning this Fall and in 2012?
The Headhunters are always my priority from a music standpoint. The side projects are a way to stretch out. As for 2012...touring with The Headhunters and finishing up a CD we started with Johnnie Johnson before he passed away. I plan on starting another side project...more blues and jump into some vocals. I've never aspired to sing, but why not? I also have plans to expand my radio show, "The Lowdown Hoedown,” and plans for a new website. At this point in my life, it's about enjoying life. We've had the good fortune to make a living at something we dearly love. The Guitar has been very good to me. I thank God everyday for His blessings. In the big picture, God gets the glory.


Of course if all those bands weren't enough, you also find time to host a great weekly blues-roots radio show (The Lowdown Hoedown) on D93 WDNS in Bowling Green, KY (www.wdnsfm.com/). How has that experience been to be on the other side of the microphone?
Ever since the early 60's, I was infatuated with radio.  I grew up in Louisville and we had two great rock stations, WKLO and WAKY.  In 1965, I used to take a bus downtown to Chestnut Street and watch the DJ's do their thing at WKLO.  They had a cool show case window.  Radio was a big part of my education, and doing my radio show is way to give something back to a younger generation of musicians.  I've gotten some wonderful letters from kids that have discovered B.B. King or Robert Johnson through my show. Sometimes I go back to my youth...listening to WAKY, WKLO, WLS, WCFL on an old table radio with the lights out or in my father's Ford Falcon.  Radio was magic.  It was the theater of the mind.  I celebrate 10 years at WDNS this November and it's been a joy!


What have been some interesting interviews you've done on your radio show?
Johnny Winter, Billy Gibbons, Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple & Trapeze, Steve Cropper, Dion, John Sebastian, Peter Frampton, John Oates, Clarence "Frogman" Henry, Jonathan Edwards, Ronnie Montrose, Delaney Bramlett, Warren Haynes, Tommy Emmanuel, Marty Stuart, Little Milton, Harvey Mandel, Charlie Musselwhite are a few.  There have been so many interesting interviews over the years; many are archived at my site.....www.lowdownhoedown.com

For news, concert dates and music visit http://www.thekentuckyheadhunters.com/



Preview Dixie Lullabies here-

http://reddirtmusiccompany.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=23&Itemid=27

The making of Dixie Lullabies-

with Johnnie Johnson "Sunday Blues"

"Louisiana Co Co"

"Big Boss Man"



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dale Watson & The Texas Two- The Sun Sessions

If you like the early Johnny Cash style from his Sun Records days, then chances are you will love this new project from Dale Watson & The Texas Two:  The Sun Sessions.  Dale and the band recorded this at the legendary Sun Studios in the style Johnny Cash did back in the mid-50's.  Here's a video for the song "My Baby Makes Me Gravy"

official music video

performed live on Texas Music Scene




Friday, October 7, 2011

In 1957, RCA announces over 500,000 pre-orders of Elvis' Christmas album

RCA initially was going to press 200,000 copies of the 1st Elvis Christmas album in 1957.  Pre-orders exceeded 500,000 sending the label scrambling to fulfill orders.  To get in the Christmas mood, here's Elvis' classic "Blue Christmas"...




Happy "weekend" from Eddie Cochran

Since we started the week off celebrating Eddie Cochran's birthday, let's kick off the weekend with his appropriately titled song..."Weekend"....Happy Weekend everyone!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Chan Romero talks about Elvis, Jesus and the Hippy, Hippy Shake

We recently got to spend some time with Chan Romero on the phone talking about rock & roll, his faith in Jesus and all sorts of things.  He was a total delight to talk to and his story is one repeating.

I read that your earliest influence was Elvis Presley.
Elvis was my inspiration in the beginning.  I had 5 brothers and 4 sisters.  All my brothers played guitar and sang.  They were country singers.  I was the only one that didn’t play.  I was 14 when I saw Elvis on the Steve Allen Show sing “Hound Dog”.  That blew me away to the place where I said “I’ve got to do that!”

You later signed to Del-Fi Records.  How did that happen?
Ritchie died February 3, 1959.  He was my next inspiration after Elvis.  When he died, a friend of mine that was a DJ…Don Redfield…told me that I reminded him of Ritchie Valens.  He sent a tape of some songs I had written down to Bob Keane at Del-Fi and that’s how I got signed.

Didn't you do some demos there on that same recorder Ritchie used?
I went to Bob’s house after we had recorded at Gold Star.  He had a little 2-track machine and he said it was the machine he recorded “Donna” on.  It came out so good that they released it that way and it went top 10.




The Beatles were impacted by "Hippy Hippy Shake" in those early days performing in Hamburg and then at the Cavern Club and even performed it on the BBC.  Paul still puts it in his set periodically.  Did you ever have any contact with those guys?

No I never had any contact with The Beatles or The Swinging BlueJeans but they sure did a lot for my music.



Did you ever have any idea how that song would make an impact when you wrote it?
No, I tell people all the time that I wrote 600 or 700 songs and most of those songs are so much better than “Hippy Hippy Shake” but it was the one that caught hold.  It was just recently in X-Men: First Class.  One of my sons called me from the theater and said "they're playing your song!".  I asked him which version they were using and he said it was my version

Around 1964 you were a touring member of The Crickets for several months.  How did this come about?
I’m surprised you found out about that one (laughs).  A friend of mine Jerry Naylor took over for Buddy after he was killed.  He sounded a lot like him.  He didn’t play an instrument but was a really good front man.  He became a good friend of mine.  When he moved to LA, I got together with him one time and he had brought Glen Campbell in to town from Albuquerque.  He got him going too.  Jerry asked “is there any way you could come work with the Crickets for a while?”  Glen D. Hardin and his wife were having a baby and he didn’t want to go out on the road.  They had a Midwestern tour getting ready to go and they needed someone to cover for him.  I talked with my band and they were able to continue on with the gigs we were playing then.  I really enjoyed working with Jerry Naylor, Sonny Curtis and Jerry Allison. (names).  We had quite a time.  The first gig we did in Sacramento with 4 Seasons and The Beach Boys.

What is really interesting to me is that at the height of your popularity, you gave it all up after you dedicated your life to Jesus.
Yeah, I had my band and we were up in Quebec.  It was around Christmas time and I was going to come home for the holidays to be with the family.  My wife and I had 3 kids at the time.  My wife had come to the Lord.  She and her sister were really hungry for a spiritual movement of God in their life.  The family all got saved and I had no desire to leave my new experience with the Lord and go back to Canada to continue the lifestyle I was in there.  It wasn’t really bad but I just knew it wasn’t right.  I called the guys in the band and said I won’t be coming back.  They said, “What’s wrong are you sick?”.  I said "no, I met the best friend that I've ever had and his name is Jesus.  I’ve decided to follow Jesus."  They thought I had lost my coins (laughs).  When I left there I had a bunch of instruments and a trailer full of equipment.  I said I’m just giving this to you guys as a sacrifice to the Lord.  I had just signed a recording contract with a couple of producers in New York (Jeff Barry and Shadow Morton) and signed a contract with the same label the Four Seasons were on.  I had recorded 4 sides and left the whole thing to follow the Lord.  I started my own label Warrior Records and started releasing my own gospel material.  I’ve been recording right along and written a lot of songs.  The Lord has been good to us. 

I'm sure your popularity also gave you a bigger platform to spread the good news.
Yeah that’s true.  There’s not as much interest in the music now as there was back then.  I’m currently working with a ministry called Twin Eagles Ministries.  I’m one of the pastors there.  We’ve pastored 7 churches so far.  We’re thankful for what the Lord has done.


How can people reach you if they are interested about your music or ministry?
I have a couple of addresses and an email address:


Po Box 43
Billings, MT  59103

104 Paseo Laredo
Cathedral City, CA  92234





If anyone is interested in our music, they can contact us at either one of these or email.  We could send a brochure of our recordings.

Do you still get requests to come out and play your rock & roll tunes?
I get a call every once in a while to do a rockabilly venue or a rock and roll oldies show.  We’re getting ready to do one October 23rd.  We do those occasionally or if they call us from Europe or overseas.  We’ve been to Austraila 3 times.  We had a top 10 record there.  It’s amazing where those sounds and that music will take you to.


Chan Romero- "The Hippy Hippy Shake"

Chan Romero- "My Little Ruby"

The Beatles- "The Hippy Hippy Shake"

The Swinging Blue Jeans- "The Hippy Hippy Shake"

Paul McCartney- "The Hippy Hippy Shake"






Sunday, October 2, 2011

Nashville's RCA Studio B

Nashville, TN's RCA Studio B has an impressive list of hits recorded here. Elvis himself recorded over 150 songs in that studio including "Fever", "It's Now Or Never", "Little Sister", "How Great Thou Art", "Are You Lonesome Tonight", "Big Hunk Of Love", "Stuck On You", "His Latest Flame", "Guitar Man", "Big Boss Man", "Hi-Heel Sneakers" and so many others including also Gospel, Christmas and Soundtrack albums. A portion of other big hits recorded here include:

The Everly Brothers at Studio B
The Everly Brothers- "All I Have To Do Is Dream", "Cathy's Clown" 
Roy Orbison- "Crying", "Only The Lonely" 
Waylon Jennings- "Only Daddy That'll Walk The Line" 
Dolly Parton- "Jolene", "I Will Always Love You"
Charlie Pride- "Kiss An Angel Good Morning" 
Jim Reeves- "He'll Have To Go" 
Don Gibson- "Oh Lonesome Me" 


And the list just keeps going on! Here's a historic view of the view back in it's heyday...

Today, you can tour the facility as part of the Country Music Hall Of Fame tour. Go here for more information: http://countrymusichalloffame.org/visit-3/

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Lanie Lane brings the modern retro sounds

Jack White recently produced a single for Australian singer Lanie Lane (pronounced "Lannie") called "Ain't Hungry" for his Third Man Records.  Her sound and style have been described as having the spirit of Muddy Waters and the grit of Billie Holiday.  Call her what you want....rockabilly, blues, jazz, modern retro...or put them all together and then you might come close to her sound.  If you haven't heard her yet, do yourself a favor and check out the video for "Ain't Hungry" here and you'll most likely become an instant fan...