Friday, February 17, 2012
I was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee back in the 50's. That was a great time for music, as it was everywhere.
My Mama bought my first guitar, and told me "Son, always wrap yourself in your music, and it will take care of you." She was so right. Mama was killed when I was twelve, but her words and her love is with me today.
My first paying gig, was in the principal's office. Mama had brought my guitar to school, and though I didn't know a chord from a woodpecker, I wiggled my leg, and sang at the top of my voice. He gave me a box of pencils, tablets, and other stuff. WOW! I was in Heaven. When I transferred to Rainshaven school, they had a stage in the lunchroom where everyone met for general assembly. Sherry Grooms, (I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus) and I would get up on stage and perform. The kids would throw money up on the stage. A buddy of mine would collect and count the change, keeping a cut for himself, and I've been giving a cut off the top to this day!
When I was around ten, Mama would take me to a place called, "Little Abner's" where she knew the owner. I wanted to be a drummer so bad, I made my first set out of old oil drums, so Mama decided I needed to sit in with some musicians. Well, they were not real happy at first, but I had learned a few licks listening to my older sister, Rita's 45's. So they said I could come back. I would play with them on weekends, and when the cops were dropping by, I would hide under the drum stand.
As I grew up, I didn't have to hide anymore. I played Jazz on the Memphis and Mississippi Queen show boats. I played in every country bar in Memphis! Hernado's Hideaway, Western Steakhouse and Lounge, Oasis, The Levi Lounge, Vapors Club, Bad Bobs, The Road House, The Dynasty Lounge, El Morocco, Little Abner's, and later in life, The Daily Planet. That's where I met the man that would change my life forever. Nichols hosted the songwriter's night. He worked with me, introduced me to different gizmos for the guitar, and encouraged me to keep coming back. I owe my songwriting career to him.
My father was good friends with Elvis, and we spent lazy afternoons on our boat at McKellar Lake. Once I got to jam with him, and man what a time. He was a great guy, and a very talented artist.
Sometimes people overlooked that.