Ed Logan, hands folded and to the left of George Harrison, was a member of The Cavaliers in Memphis, Tennessee in 1960-61. The Cavaliers had worked their way from San Angelo to New Orleans and finally to Memphis in late 1959. After securing a 6 nights a week playing job at a Memphis Club this young sax player walks in one night wanting to play a couple numbers with the band. He told the band his biggest influence was Duane Eddy’s sax player. Sid Holmes then tested him by kicking off “40 Miles Of Bad Road” in which Ed quickly impressed the paying crowd and the band with his great sax playing. In order to keep Ed coming around Sid traded in his Fender Telecaster for an orange Duane Eddy Gretsch. During the time Ed Logan was with the band numerous Duane Eddy numbers were recorded at Fernwood Studios in Memphis basically for fun. Ed would later join the Bill Black Combo and when The Beatles toured America for the first time in 1964 they wanted Bill Black Combo to open for them. So, this is how Ed got in this photo with The Fab 4. Notice on their jackets BBC. Too bad Bill couldn’t be there as he had died earlier. Ed later joined The Memphis Horns. During his career he played on sessions with Elvis, Rod Stewart, Aretha Franklin, B.J. Thomas, Al Green, Stephen Stills, Isaac Hayes to name a few.
The original “Last Kiss” on Gala Records
The song idea, along with some of the lyrics, was first put down on paper by Wayne Cochran of Georgia back in 1956. Wayne lived in a small house near Highway 341 and got the idea for the song from the many car wrecks. After reading about one car wreck in particular on Highway 341 in 1962, that had taken the lives of 3 teens, Wayne completed the song. Wayne then cut a deal with small independent record producer Ed Perry from Vidalia, George.
In order to pay for recording time Wayne gave Ed the song publishing rights. According to the wife of Joe Carpenter, the lead guitar player on the recording, he was co-writer with Wayne never getting credit. Two others, Randall Hoyal and Bobby McGlon also claimed to have had a hand in writing the lyrics. Chuck Downs, a drummer, later claimed he had written the song for his girl friend who had died in a car wreck. He said when he presented his original sheet music in pencil to Wayne Cochran, he rushed out having it copyrighted.
After recording the song using only a bass, guitar and drums Ed Perry had a few copies printed on his Gala label. When the record failed to attract any attention Wayne then cut a deal with King Records in which Ed sold his contract with Wayne along with the publishing rights. Ed had no idea at the time he was dumping song publishing rights that would later be worth 2 million dollars.
After recording a new and more modern version of “Last Kiss” with studio musicians at King Records, Wayne took off around the country promoting it. When Sonley Roush, a small independent record producer in Midland, Texas heard the song he liked everything about it but Wayne’s vocal performance. Sonley then offered the song to The Chevells, a Rock group he had been working with at Ben Hall Studio in Big Spring, Texas. When they turned it down he remembered booking The Cavaliers (featuring J. Frank Wilson from Lufkin, Texas) from San Angelo, Texas back in 1962.
It was during this time J. Frank had left the band returning back to his home in Lufkin. After being reinstated J. Frank & the band copied Wayne’s King 45 at Ron Newdoll’s small recording studio in San Angelo, Texas in July 1964. The master tape was shipped to Jay Gee Josie Records in New York City and then released on their Josie Label with national distribution. When the record began to climb the charts in August 1964 J. Frank Wilson went solo.
When Wayne’s writer royalty checks began to arrive at his home base he was out on the road performing. It wasn’t until he returned home that he discovered his manager had cashed and spent them all. It would be 9 years later in 1973 when Wednesday, a Canadian Rock group, would cover the song with the vocalist sounding much like J. Frank Wilson taking it to #2 in Canada and #34 in the U.S. selling 2 hundred thousand copies.
In 1998 Pearl Jam covered “Last Kiss” taking it to #2 in the U.S. RIAA Certified Gold. Over 25 different versions of “Last Kiss” have been recorded receiving over 21 million YouTube hits led by Pearl Jam’s 11 million. When Pearl Jam’s version hit in 1999 a front page story, based around home town Ed Perry, was featured in the Vidalia, Georgia newspaper.
Ed Perry had moved to Houston having died never receiving a penny from the publishing of “Last Kiss.” Wayne Cochran earned most of his livelihood over the years from his song royalties. J. Frank Wilson died penniless in a nursing home in Lufkin, Texas at age 49 from alcohol abuse. Sonley Roush, whose brain storm led to the covering of Wayne’s recording, died in a car wreck while on tour with J. Frank Wilson in October 1964. The female vocalist behind J. Frank Wilson on “Last Kiss” continues to be a mystery.
Joe Sonny West on-stage November 1st at the Ubangi Stomp Festival which is held each year in Benidorm, Spain in the ballroom of the Gran Bali Hotel. The town is a hot vacation spot located on the Mediterranean Sea. Sonny, looking cool with his stage jacket and shades, is playing his Silverton Fastback guitar and being backed by Uncle Charlie’s band. Sonny received a BMI Songwriter Award for “Oh Boy.” This prestigious award is presented by Broadcast Music Incorporated when a song receives one million airplays. “All my love, all my kissin’, you don’t know what you’ve been missin’, Oh Boy, when you’re with me, Oh Boy, I want the world to see, that you were meant for me.” Recorded in Clovis, NM at Norman Petty’ Studios by The Crickets and then released as a 45 RPM record on the Brunswick label # 55035 the song climbed to #13 on the Cash Box Singles Charts on 11-16-57 and on 11-25-57 reached #10 in Billboard staying around for 20 weeks. “Oh Boy” continues today being one of Buddy Holly’s most requested and popular songs. Every time it’s played on the radio or on national TV…Sonny receives a royalty check. Sonny lives in Abilene, Texas.
When you have song-writing talents like Ray Evans and Jay Livingston you never have to work a day in your life. This song-writing team won three Academy Awards in 1948 for “Buttons And Bows” from the movie The Paleface with Bob Hope. In 1946 the #1 hit “To Each His Own.” In 1950 they wrote “Mona Lisa” for Nat King Cole. In 1956 “Que Sera Sera” for Doris Day. In 1957 the all-time top song from West Texas “Tammy” recorded by Debbie Reynolds. The Christmas standard “Silver Bells.” TV theme songs for Bonanza and Mr. Ed. “Dear Heart” for the 1964 film. Ray Evans died February 15, 2007 he was 92. Jay Livingston studied piano and played local clubs while in high school meeting Ray organizing a dance band. He died October 17, 2001. After writing “Silver Bells” they became known as the Jews who wrote Christmas songs. Ray’s brother Alan is best known for signing The Beatles to Capital Records. Interesting to note they wrote the song “Alley Oop” that kept Roy Orbison’s “Only The Lonely” out of the #1 position in 1961.
‘Tis the Season
I assembled this list of amazing accomplishments of Big Crosby in December 2010 and sending it out again this year. In order for Bing to accomplish below he had to have great health, the drive, good looks, a brilliant mind, super talent, tremendous stamina and a great immune system etc. etc. Since Bing Crosby continues to get air play during the Xmas holidays here are some facts on his singing career: Bing has sold close to one billion records, tapes, CD’s and Digital downloads around the world. Only The Beatles, Elvis & Michael Jackson can rival his sales figures. He has scored 41 #1 Records. The Beatles (24), Mariah Carey (19) & Elvis (18). His recordings hit the charts 396 times (more than Frank Sinatra (209) & Elvis (149) combined) Bing found time to record commerically 2000 times holding the record.. Guiness Book of Records report White Xmas at 100,000,000 copies hitting the American Top Pop Charts 20 separate times. He was the vocalist on 4 Academey-winning songs & co-wrote 15 songs, Besides making recordings he found time to make motion pictures coming in at #3 All-Time with ticket sales of one billion, 77 million 900 thousands Clark Gable #1 & John Wayne #2. Won an Acadedmy Award and nominated for 3 others. Road musical comedies with Bob Hope…the most popular team in film history. He was big in Radio & TV. The first receipient of Grammy Lifetime Acievment Award. Found time to have 7 kids, concerts, into sports as owner of baseball teams, horse racing, played golf, smoked pot, drank heavy early in his career. His easy-going style might have been attributed to pot. His duet with David Bowie “”Peace On Earth”/Little Drummer Boy” became an annual holiday classic and TV Giuide list the duet as one of the 25 most memorable moments of 20 Century TV. Bing’s son, Nathan, was a high level golfer the youngest to ever win the U.S. Amateur (19) later broken by Tiger.
An original photo of The Gatlin Brothers as they appeared on The Slim Willet Show in 1955 on KRBC TV Abilene, Texas. Rudy (3) Larry (7) Steve (5). They performed gospel and country songs and later had their own TV show in Abilene. In his senior year at Odessa High Larry (quarterback) led the Broncos football team to a district title. Larry enrolled at the University of Houston on a football scholarship where he majored in English. From 1973 to 1990 Larry would chart 42 times with Larry writing each and every song. Larry Gatlin recorded under various names such as Larry Gatlin with Family & Friends, Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers Band, Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers and Larry, Steve, Rudy: The Gatlin Brothers. Back in the 50s Larry & his brothers entered a local talent contest in West Texas where they first met Roy Orbison who also had entered. In 1989 Larry recorded a duet with Roy Orbison entitled “Indian Summer.” After winning numerous awards such as CMA Single of the Year, Album of the Year and a Grammy they began touring. They have performed at the Whitehouse for 3 different presidents. Larry has led a charmed life having the best of all worlds with talent, looks, family, friends, fans, wealth, awards and good health. Larry’s biggest hit was “Houston” from 1983. Larry and his brothers continue to perform in 2012.
RCA producer Chet Atkins (left) playing rhythm guitar behind Elvis in 1956. Although Elvis brightened millions of lives with his numerous hit recordings the producers at RCA dropped the ball numerous times in the early 60s. Below is a list of sub-par arrangements/recordings/vocal performances and bad decisions by RCA and Elvis that other artists took full advantage of.
Ral Donner took “Girl Of My Best Friend” to #19 (first recorded by Elvis April 3rd 1960 and released on the “Elvis Is Back” LP). With a better studio mix and production RCA and Elvis had a potential Top 10 hit. Listen to YouTube below and hear an Elvis sound-alike slightly out perform the real Elvis by singing with more feeling.
“Suspicion” recorded by Elvis on 3-19-62 in which the master tape was later spliced from different takes. First released on the Pot Luck LP June 1962. Terry Stafford from Amarillo, Texas recorded “Suspicion” for the Crusader label. Bob Summers produced, recorded and played all the instruments on the record. Song was a potential #1 but ran into The Beatles who were holding down the Top 5 at the time. Song eventually reached #3 RIAA Certified Gold in 1964. RCA then rush-released Elvis’ version on a 45 that reached #103.
“Wooden Heart” English version of a German folk song by Elvis from his G.I. Blues movie became a #1 hit in the UK in March of 1961. RCA refused to release it in the U.S. fearing it would harm his image. Joe Dowell rushed to record it for Mercury Records (Smash) having to learn the lyrics in just a few hours taking it to #1 in the U.S. in June 1961. Elvis (Gladys Music) had the publishing rights.
“Always On My Mind” by Elvis ended up on the B-side of “Separate Ways” that reached #20 in 1972. In 1982 Willie Nelson recorded the song taking it to #1 in Country, #5 in Pop, RIAA Certified Platinum, Grammy Song of the Year, CMA Song of the Year in 1982 & 1983, CMA Single of the Year, Grammy Best Country Song & Grammy Best Male Country Vocal Performance.
Roy Orbison in the early 1960s with his Gretsch White Falcon guitar. This early photo and YouTube video was before he began coloring his hair black like Elvis, wearing shades like Buddy and Beatle boots. Roy would later comment: “The Gretsch White Falcon wasn’t much of a guitar, so I took a hammer and knocked the neck off.” “I had some professionals put a Gibson Super 400 neck on it along with steel guitar pickups and it was sprayed black.” “This was a new creation, a great guitar.” Sometime later when a couple of executives from a guitar manufacturer from Japan saw Roy playing the hybrid at one of his concerts they conned him into letting them have it. They convinced Roy they would take it to Japan making copies of it in which he would receive royalties. Roy never got it back, no royalties, no guitar, no nothing. Roy owned 12 different model guitars during his career. In 1956 he played a Les Paul Gold Top on his first charted release “Ooby Dooby” recorded at Sun Records. “Only The Lonely” (Grammy: Hall of Fame co-written by Roy & Joe Melson from Midland, Texas) YouTube video is around 1960 in which the song reached #2 being kept of out of #1 by “Alley Oop” a silly number by prolific producer/performer Gary Paxton released as The Hollywood Argyles. Roy’s first wife, Claudette (24), died in a motorcycle accident in 1966, two young sons Roy Dewayne (10) Anthony (6) died in a fire in 1968, Roy died of a heart attack in 1988 from years of heavy smoking and his second wife Barbara Orbison (60) from Germany died in 2011 of cancer on the 23rd anniversary of Roy’s death. She was 60. Roy’s co-writer Bill Dees (72) from Borger, Texas on his biggest hit “Oh, Pretty Woman” died October 24, 2012 of a brain tumor.
A few days ago, my husband, Charlie Dalton, received his Official n World Record Certificate for being one of the 1867 Guitar Pickers who met at Luckenbach, Texas on August 23, 2009. They joined together under the trees to help raise money for “The Welcome Home Project”, a nonprofit organization that puts out albums to raise awareness about veteran issues and uses music to help injured Vets recover while finding a creative outlet for them (if you were there and would like a certificate,go to their website thewelcomehomeproject.org). The Guinness World Record Officials were on hand in Luckenbach as Charlie and 1866 other Guitar Pickers joined together and played in unison, “Luckenbach Texas” and “This Land Is Your Land” (written by a West Texan, Woody Guthrie) for 5 minutes each to break the world record. The previous record was 1,803 held by Germany. I guess you could say, America has another Gold Medal, of which we are very proud. It all was for a good cause. The West Texas Music Hall Of Fame even has an official guitar signed by a lot of the pickers. This was also a very patriotic event.
While we’re on that subject, my brother Armando Cantu has just finished his fourth Music Video which concerns the American flag. Go to youtube.com and in search put in americantu then click on “Indignity Of Freedom”. It is a very touching video and features Charlie’s 90 year old uncle Gordon Dalton, who is a Vet and lives in San Angelo, Tx. He is also in the video Armando did with Charlie. I guess you could call this a “REAL WEST TEXAS MUSIC VIDEO. It has the dance hall, country music, and the boots. To see this video go to Pioneers, click on Charlie’s name or go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKDpWkB9Aww
Charlie wrote and sang the song, “The Old Man In His Tennis Shoes” . Charlie’s 90 year old uncle is the star in this video. The music recording session was done at Patrick McGuire’s Studio in Arlington with Buddy O’Bannon’s help on the guitar. The video was all filmed exclusively in San Angelo, Texas. You will see the park on the Concho River, West Texas railroad tracks, and the familiar “Twin Mountains”. Charlie used an old Martin guitar that he borrowed from Lewis Elliott. The dancing scenes were at the VFW while Snake Atkinson and The Country Showmen band were playing. Let us know if you see any more youtube videos that have West Texas connections.
See you next time–Rosie Dalton